Kinshasa boasts some of the best restaurants in the country, which gives you unlimited access to choose from different eateries when in town. Naturally, being the capital of such a vast country, it’s quite easy to find what you’re looking for if you narrow down your choices. Unlike elsewhere in the world, restaurants are for the most part located in malls and commercial buildings. In Kinshasa, you would find restaurants everywhere, especially if you happen to be in Gombe, aka downtown.
If you’re looking for the real feeling of diversity when choosing a restaurant, then Gombe is the place to go. Eateries from around the world are located there. It’s where all of Kinshasa gather in one place and quite a lot of these restaurants have outdoor patios either surrounded by a eccentric outdoor decor or a swimming pool. If you don’t have something specific in mind, then keep walking until you find something that might grab your interest. You could start at the beginning of the boulevard, end of Colonel Mundjiba avenue, up until the end, gare central or Beatrice Hotel. Along the boulevard du 30 Juin, there’s a set of good restaurants like l’Orangeraie, Mandarin, or Cafe Muzik. Though the big hotels have the greatest restaurants, you’d find many great ones as well.
Now as you walk past all these restaurants and small eateries, keep walking until you reach almost the end of boulevard du 30 Juin and find a place called ‘Al dar.’
The restaurant specializes in traditional middle eastern cuisine. With all the middle easterns (mostly lebanese) immigrants here, it was only natural to create such restaurant among many others. Visitors to Al Dar can enjoy a wide variety of Lebanese delicacies such as falafel, balila, fou, hummus and labne. But Al Dar is mostly famous for its shawerma that the whole city of Kinshasa talks about. They offer both chicken and meat shawerma. Unfortunately, I perssonally can’t have a say on that since I’m a vegetarian but I could tell you about their falafel which is basically vegetables mixed together and served in shami bread, and it tastes really good. The mix of all these vegetables and spices makes it very appetizing.
Like most restaurants in Kinshasa, they also serve a wide variety of drinks as well as desserts. If you go in the morning, they also serve daily breakfast, nothing too fancy but your typical breakfast eggs, croissants, yogurt, etc. Currently on their menu they offer three natural juices such as orange, strawberry and maracuja.
The decor at Al Dar isn’t fancy at all. It’s not your luxurious type of place but it’s clean and air conditionned, which suits Kinshasa hot weather during rainy season. The tables are close to each other, which doesn’t make it your cozy like restaurant if you’re looking for some intimacy or privacy.
You’d be surprised at the number of people that it attracts every day, especially university students, and it’s not surprising considering their quick service and the waiters are nice and polite. The chefs are usually middle easterns.
Al Dar is one of the oldest restaurants in the city and they have both eat in and take out but if you decide to stay and eat, there’s an additional tax of about ($1.3) when you get the receipt.
If you’re starving and find yourself nearby, go to al dar and in less than five minutes you’d be served. I personally think Al Dar is still one of Kinshasa’s best secrets with its Middle Eastern influence.