Spending a week in Abuja taught me that plants deserve some space in urban areas too. Not only are they beautiful, but they also make the air better. I will throw that ecology textbook out the window now because Backdrop is about finding pretty places (and also because no one wants to hear about how plants breathe.) I am keeping my glasses on, though, because Abuja restaurants are worth looking at with perfect vision.
Abuja restaurants make the most out of earthy aesthetics and greens. There's wood, nudes (just the colour, unfortunately) and all shades of green at the Nigerian capital's most beautiful restaurants. Things do tend to get a little less leafy and a little more flashy every once in a while, though, thanks to — usually inspiring — neon quotes and signs. No matter what the colours are, Abuja restaurants certainly bring energy that all kinds of people can get in on. Looking for the right energy for you? Here are 15 of Abuja’s most beautiful restaurants:
1. The Pier Restaurant and Lounge
The woody structures and flooring of The Pier Restaurant and Lounge all appropriately contribute to the restaurant’s wooden bridge aesthetic, an allusion to its name. Part of the restaurant’s dining area is three dome-shaped structures, one of which is an atrium. Dining in the middle dome provides you with an incredible view of the sky and the rest of the restaurant outside.
2. Eden by Wingist
The outdoor area of this restaurant manages to be just as homey as the inside. At Eden by Wingist, the decor, good service and delicious food easily make it one of our favourite Abuja stops. With greenery on the outside and clean white on the inside, the ambience is a combination of nature and peace. A truly spiritual experience. Fortunately, nothing on this restaurant’s menu is forbidden, so no one’s kicking you out of the restaurant for indulging.
3. Vanilla Restaurant & Lounge
I look forward to listening to SAD GIRLZ LUV MONEY (preferably through my AirPods so I can really sink into it) as I walk through some parts of Vanilla Restaurant & Lounge, Abuja. The different shades of pink and purple in the decor of those areas help maintain the vibe the ‘GIRLS DO IT BETTER’ neon sign gives me. The rest of the place is mostly minimalist — but in a really impressive, satisfying way, where an entire area is just neutral colours like black and white.
4. 4 Sistas Fine Dining
The solid yet playful ambience makes 4 Sistas Fine Dining a great place for all sorts of social appointments; you can visit for romantic, official and even family purposes. This homey feel is practical, seeing as the place is owned by — you guessed it! — four sisters. Dom was on to something: Family really does benefit the world. But while fast cars and hot people are quite the benefit, I think food and proper ambience works too. No?
The dim lighting of this restaurant’s soft glow aesthetic has to be my favourite thing about it, and the minimalist decor complements it all too well. Tar Tar offers an Asian and African combination in its cuisine, but that's not the only form of variety. A simple walk from the minimalist to the artsy sections of the restaurant can be quite the trip too.
6. Lagos Bistro
It's really not that confusing; Lagos Bistro is in Abuja, not Lagos, but the place does provide a bit of the Lagos experience. Tricycles make up a part of the public transportation system in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria. They are famously known as Kekes. Lagos’ Kekes are yellow, like most of the other vehicles in the public transportation system. The front part of what is representative of a Lagos Keke is part of Lagos Bistro’s aesthetic. The rest of the cultural ambience comes from graffiti-covered surfaces and playful decor.
7. Green Chilli Steak House
The chariot-like structure covered in leaves gives the Green Chilli Steak House scenery some romantic magic that I love. The sitting arrangement makes it easy to focus all your attention on that one person, enough that you get lost in their eyes. There’s an intimate kind of cosiness here, putting the restaurant at the top of my list of date locations.
8. Taj Bistro
The palette of Taj Bistro’s decor is one I adore — mostly because I’m obsessed with pastels and lower saturations in general. Almost every part of the restaurant is picture-perfect, but you just know specific parts, like the ‘TAJ MADE ME DO IT’ neon sign, were made to star in pictures. I also love how the evening sky through the glass compliments the aesthetic inside.
9. Kapadoccia Abuja
Earth really is home, and Kapadoccia is a great reminder. Rightly known as The Cave Restaurant, the aesthetic is an intimate mix of comfort and great lighting. There are both one-on-one and group sitting arrangements, making the restaurant, as a user reviewed on Backdrop, ‘...a really nice location for both intimate and group outings.’
10. Uncle T’s
Each neon sign at Uncle T’s has no more than three words, but I’m sure every high school coach in a Hollywood movie would agree that only a few words are necessary at the right time and with the right state of mind. The restaurant’s contemporary soft lighting complements the neutral colours of the decor’s palette. I also noticed there's a little yellow all over the restaurant, in the furniture as well as the lighting.
11. Aldo’s Restaurant
My favourite thing about Aldo’s restaurant is how comfortable it all looks. At first, I thought it was the padding of almost all the seats, but it’s not like that’s much of a big deal. My small behind can definitely survive being pressed against a hard surface for a while. Anyway, there’s a sort of colour pattern in the decor, and for me, that's the big deal. All over the restaurant, there’s a blue on the other side of a nude colour. You can see it in the restaurant’s furniture as well as its art. Decision-making is a daunting task for neurodivergent people like me, but in the refuge of patterns, I can create a blueprint for completely unrelated but confusing situations.
12. Miso Japanese and Thai Restaurant
The open sky and the popular Abuja backdrop of greenery and hills makes the courtyard dining area my favourite part of Miso Japanese and Thai Restaurant. The rattan chairs, wooden floors and grass carpet can make lunch at the rooftop restaurant feel like a picnic. The food then completes the aesthetic because, is it really a picnic without toothsome works of art? The use of plants is consistent throughout the restaurant's aesthetic, even in the parts that are mostly minimalist.
13. Amazonia Restaurant
This boho restaurant is, as the name implies, a trip into the jungle, just without all the wildlife. Okay, maybe not all of the wildlife, though, but there's nothing to worry about as the gorilla at Amazonia Restaurant most likely just wants a cameo in your pictures. The lighting, for me, is a little surreal. Jungles don't get that bright without a side of heat. At the restaurant, however, you wear whatever suits you and/or the occasion, not the setting.
14. Crush Cafe
The entirety of Crush Cafe is a little more...exciting than the others on this list in terms of colour, but that’s not really an invitation to match the decor, else you be mistaken for a member of the staff. Vibrant as the colours are, there is only one hue or palette per section of the restaurant, so maybe it isn't that different from the other restaurants on this list after all? I also really like that the display of alcohol shows me the bottles in all their glory — for decision-making purposes, of course, and not because I’m pot-valiant.
15. A Class Restaurant
A Class Restaurant works wonderfully for group meetings. Unless a particular group is very audible, the different factions can mostly remain oblivious of each other’s discussions during their time here. The incredible lighting and orange padding really complements the wood coverage that dominates the restaurant. Also, I love the vacation feel that the outdoor sitting areas can provide. It really makes me want to drag my favourite people along.