I know this piece would generate lots of controversies, but it is based on my assessment after years of eating at various restaurants – both low and high cost ones. One thing I must say is that coming up with this list was a laborious task because there are lots and lots of superb restaurants in and around Ibadan. So, let’s get to my top 10 right away.
No. 10 – Diamond Restaurant, UCH Ibadan
I spend lots of time in UCH and whenever I am hungry, Diamond is my favorite place. It is located across First Bank and adjacent to the hospital’s water department. It is exactly beside another restaurant popularly called Alhaja which is also good but not as good as Diamond.
What I love about Diamond restaurant is the organisation, space, timeliness, meals, aesthetic values and pocket-friendliness. My best meal combo is as follows: Jollof rice + fried rice – N100, salad – N50, meat (agemawo) – N100, moinmoin – N50, plantain – N50, plus Amstel Malta — N120.
No. 9 – Ose Olohun Food Canteen, Trans Amusement Park Shopping Complex Ibadan
Let me say I discovered the restaurant by mistake. When I went to Trans Amusement Park for relaxation and to write the piece on the poor state of the park, my companion caught the aroma emanating from the restaurant. The rest, as they say, is history. With N400 you will get a good satisfying meal.
No. 8 – Ola Mummy Food Canteen Bodija Ojurin
This should be one of the well hyped restaurants in Ibadan. My first experience was when a friend came from Lagos to eat there. I wondered what was special so I followed him and I knew exactly why.
The vegetables and oily soup looked tantalizing. The assorted meat from a wide selection of wildlife animals were seductively displayed in one of those wide aperin pots permanently on woodfire. As if that wasn’t enough, the pounded yam was well pounded and amala was well done. No wonder people from all works of life regularly park all kinds of cars – from the latest Ford Explorer to the oldest Keke NAPEP at the restaurant.
No. 7 – Amala Skye, and Ina Straight Near Cultural Center
I never heard about Amala Skye until a friend who stays in USA told me about it. The last time he was in Nigeria, he visited the place. I am also adding Ina Straight to this category because they seem to be on the same level to me and I have lots of restaurants which means I can’t give them separate levels.
This is what my friend said about both places. “Everyone talks about the amala on Twitter but i don’t see what’s different from other amala dishes I’ve had in my lifetime. It’s good amala… But at the end of the day, it’s still amala. I don’t understand what the hype is all about.. Nothing different from Amala Inastrait, near cultural center.”
No. 6 – Soups & Sauces – Are, Bodija Ibadan
A female friend introduced me to the place. What I love about it is the vast variety of meals. It is a classy restaurant that serves local cuisines in the best manner. I love their porridge, Tanzania rice, beef and chicken. If you don’t mind the cost, you would love the tasty meals that are always hot. They have a branch at Cocoa Mall although I still prefer the one at Bodija any time.
No. 5 – Domino’s Pizza Ring Road
I love pizza a lot and the fact that Domino’s is in Ibadan is one good thing, the fact that it serves good pizza in a comfortable atmosphere is another thing. I enjoy their high quality services anytime. The members of staff are hearty and make you feel at home while spending your money and you have a wide variety of pizzas to choose from. There are pizzas for starters and some for professionals. The sitting arrangement is also nice and if you are as free as I am, you get to enjoy the outside eating experience there. Read more about the place in the piece I wrote on an evening at Domino’s Pizza
No. 4 – KFC Bodija and Ring Road
I love both outlets equally for different reasons. Bodija for the meal, Ring Road for the space. Sometimes there are lots of people at the outlet Bodija and you are forced to just buy your meals and leave. But if you want to spend quality time with family, friends, and loved ones, the outlet at Ring Road is the best place to go to. Last year, we held the birthday party of my younger brother at the branch at Ring Road. It was very nice. Check out my experience at KFC Bodija and what I think went wrong with the one at Cocoa Mall.
No. 3 – Shoprite Kitchen at Cocoa Mall Dugbe Ibadan
Many are in love with Shoprite’s bread which tastes good. But what I love more are the meals being prepared and sold at the kitchen section. There is a wide array of meals to choose from but here are my favorites – rice that has lots of stuffs from the sea, fried rice, beef + stew, chicken of various sizes and types, the list goes on. The snail too is special even though not all customers are aware of that, but I do love them.
Anytime I am hungry and I prefer to eat in my room, Shoprite is the place for me to buy food and leave. When Shoprite decided to open its largest West African store in Ibadan, I visited and bought the foods there. They also taste so good – just like the ones at Dugbe which made me believe they have a recipe book in-house.
The ladies at Dugbe are also hospitable and calm. If you are dating anyone of them, count yourself lucky.
No. 2 – D&D Restaurant at Airport Road
My first experience was when I landed at the airport on a trip from Abuja. I realised no one was at home to cook, and other outlets were afar. I didn’t think I had enough energy to go that far. So I wandered around the junction at Nigerian Breweries and, alas, I made the best discovery of my entire food eating career. lol.
D&D is not the expensive kind of restaurant, in fact, it is operated by a family but the food is sweet. I ate pounded yam and turkey. I literally licked the plate. The entire meal plus Fayrouz cost just N400.
No. 1 – Champ’s Restaurant at Heritage Mall
I am a loyal customer of this eatery and I regularly go there because of the scenery, quality of service, meal, layout and so on. The meals are expensive though, but I think it is worth it. When I call it the best restaurant in Ibadan, I know what I am saying because I have eaten at lots of places but no other restaurant take health seriously like they do. Their foods are not too salty, or over-laced with Maggi. The fried rice comes with vegetables and orisirisi that your body will be happy with.
If you can afford to eat there, please do and share your experience.
The place is owned by a white guy who sometimes serve the meals himself when they have lots of people waiting to be served. The TV is always at SuperSports – something to keep you busy while you wait for your food. They will also bring to you your ordered drinks first so that you won’t just be sitting there unattended to while they prepare your meal.
They serve a wide array of international cuisines which is why it is the restaurant in Ibadan that enjoys most patronage by foreign nationals.