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My favorite places to eat in Ibadan

Ibadan is a very "coded" city and sometimes it can seem like information isn't readily available, especially when it comes to the best places to eat. To know the in's and out's, you have to have lived in the city for some time and so it can be difficult for newcomers or visitors. I decided to compile some of my favorite places to eat in Ibadan, so maybe this list could be helpful to you.


Mama Ope

The first place on the list is Mama Ope. Whisper this name to anyone who has lived here for a while, the typical response would be a twinkle in their eye and most likely some salivating. This buka style restaurant has been around for 30+ years and throughout those years have been serving up some of the best tasting food in the city.


They serve a variety of Nigerian meals, but they are undoubtedly known for their white rice and stew. It stands out effortlessly and I am yet to find anywhere else in the country that makes stew this rich or this flavorful. It is a red pepper and tomato-based stew, loaded with spices and fried to absolute deliciousness. It's a good experience every time I go there, and the temptation to overeat is very strong.


mama ope menu
Mama Ope menu

My typical order looks like this. A portion of rice, a portion of white beans, some plantain and whatever meat I'm feeling like and this usually amounts to around N1,500. Just make sure you go early in the day because they sell out quickly - it's just that good!


Mama Ope Rice and Stew
Mama Ope Rice and Stew

How do I get there? Click HERE.

Amala Skye

You can't really talk about food in Ibadan without mentioning this spot. It is probably the most famous place in the country for eating Amala and people visit Ibadan just for this. It is another buka style restaurant in the middle of the Bodija market and is always packed to the brim with customers.

A typical bowl of amala looks like this, yam flour swimming in a trifecta of sauces for a flavor explosion that comforts your soul. Prices aren't bad as well, depending on your choice of protein, your typical meal won't cost more than 1,500.

Amala at Amala Skye, ibadan
Amala at Amala Skye

The servers there are your typical impatient Yoruba women so be sure to expect that, but I'm sure you will forget about them once you sit down to eat!


How do I get there? Click HERE.


Mama Soji

My third buka spot is another that has been around for a long time as well. They serve up a variety of Nigerian dishes but their pounded-yam and egusi soup should be in the history books. My mom had mentioned that back in the day, this was the go-to spot for pounded-yam and in present day, it still is!


*Picture coming soon*


They actually pound yam here, none of that processed poundo stuff, so you get that authentic pounded-yam freshness and texture. Their stews/sauces are always flavor packed so you can imagine how hard the egusi slaps - rich, spicy and savory. My only comment is how much oil they use.


I come here quite a bit because they've got variety. Their rice dishes give all they are supposed to give, definitely one of my favorite places to get food.

How do I get there? Click HERE.



Arnheim

Arnheim is a relaxing and secluded art café that I frequent quite often. They have an indoor restaurant and bar but my friends and I prefer to sit outside and soak in the calm garden ambience. They have a mini-golf course as well, and it's a great place to relax and let loose.


They make really juicy sandwiches here and so I typically go for a burger or a club-sandwich. The servings are very filling especially since they come with a helping of crispy fries and a cold Heineken(which is available as draught, by the way).

Club Sandwich from Arnheim, Ibadan
Club Sandwich at Arnheim

The service and the management could be way better though, but I still enjoy spending time with my friends here.


How do I get there? Click HERE.



Tamberma

Tamberma has a lovely space and it comes even more alive at night. The decorative lights give it a starry night feel which I really enjoy . The vibes are really good and they even have a hidden space at the back, which I can't wait for them to open.


They have an extensive menu, and I typically don't trust establishments that have a lot of things on their menu so I play it safe. They are Indian owned restaurant and so this is what I typically order. The lamb curry and butter chicken, work wonders on top of steamed rice and the portions are good for sharing as well. I also really enjoy their chicken and mushroom pizza, which I probably order way more than I should.


Unfortunately, they need to work on their cocktails, heard multiple negative comments on this, so I don't even bother ordering those. Their service is great and they have a lot of parking space.

How do I get there? Click HERE.

Chicken and Mushroom pizza from Tamberma
Chicken and Mushroom pizza


Martha's Kitchen

Martha's makes some of the best quality food available in Ibadan. That fact has become common knowledge and lots of people patronize them not just as a restaurant but also for catering services for events.


They have a wide variety of food but somehow nothing I've eaten here falls short of expectations. For instance, this loaded salad I got was simply sublime. It was an explosion of flavors from sweet to salty to sour and every bite had a satisfying crunch from the fresh greens.


My mom orders from here a lot and one time, she got these potato wedges, some lamb chops and topped it all with rich gravy. The food made me feel warm inside, like it was cooked with love and the best part is that they have quite sizeable portions.



I typically get the food to-go, but they have a cozy dining space. Their service is just okay, doesn't really stand out and I think their restaurant aesthetics need a boost.


How do I get there? Click HERE.



Honorable mentions


Wimpy Ibadan - They have the best hummus and their chicken wings are to die for! They are a bit on the pricey end but their food is top quality.


Paris Bakery - Decently priced and delicious baked goods, particularly their manakeesh's.





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