The best restaurants for thiéboudienne in Dakar
Where to try Senegal's national dish
Senegal’s favourite dish – pronounced ‘cheb-o-jen’, sometimes abbreviated to ‘tcheb’ – literally means ‘fish with rice’ in the local Wolof tongue. That sums it up nicely. Thiéboudienne is a hearty concoction of fried, or sometimes grilled, fish, typically grouper, suffused with a garlicky paste (‘rof’), mixed in with fluffy seasoned rice, a rich tomato sauce, veggies and a lively sweet-sour tamarind. It’s really rather delish. Here are some irresistible spots to get your thiéboudienne fix around Dakar…
As real as it gets, this popular downtown joint is consistently packed with peckish Dakarois come the lunchtime rush. It’s noisy, lively and generous portion-wise, as is the Senegalese way, not to mention easy on the pocket. Chez Loutcha’s interior decor – monochrome tiling, popping primary colour tablecloths – is vivid and inviting, and almost unintentionally hipsterish. Not to mention the note-perfect thiéboudienne, with ample ‘xooñ’ (scrumptious crispy burnt rice scraped from the bottom of the pan).
101 Rue Mousse Diop
The first thing that strikes you about Le N’gor is the location, right on the Atlantic coast. It’s blessed with multi-level terraces, so pretty much wherever you dine you get a view of the colourful Senegalese fishing fleet going about its business. The thiéboudienne here is arrestingly plated with impeccably salty grouper and rice that’s just the right side of moist with rich, spicy tomatoey top notes. Finish up with a mango milkshake and, why not, a fat dollop of ice cream.
Cor des Almadies
Simple, unpretentious takes on African favourites – boiled yams are big here – are the order of the day at L’Endroit (‘The Place’) on the edge of the oft-overlooked Sicap Karak neighbourhood. It’s a pub, essentially, with regular live music – in particular jazz – and a soulful plate of thiéboudienne with extra chunky veg and frankly ludicrous portion sizes – enough energy to keep you revelling until the joint finally shuts up shop around 3 o‘clock in the morning.
Villa 4440, VDN Amitie 3
Noflaye Beach, which looks like some kind of high-end surf shack, revels in its glorious oceanfront vista. It even has its own private beach, which means your lunch can seamlessly roll over until sundown. As well as the classic Senegalese fishy staples, crepes and galettes are a done well. But thieboudienne is obviously the headliner, charred to smoky, crunchy perfection with a zippy, tomatoey rice and great gorgeous hunks of vegetables. It’s a shore thing.
Rte des Almadies