Before the opening of the Onomo airport hotel, the Ibis Marcory was the closest major chain hotel to the airport. It still affords a good position for those not wanting to travel too far into the city, and provides a good standard of comfort particularly after the recent much-needed refit. The hotel is on the city's main boulevard running from the airport and is on the edge of the Zone 4 area, famous for its restaurants and bars and a favourite with expats. When booking, and travelling in taxis, just make sure to distinguish this Ibis from the chain's other hotel in the city, located in the Plateau area.
This modern Japanese restaurant comes highly recommended with a wide choice of dishes, including of course suschi, but also Western dishes for those whow want something a little less exotic. Great decor, waterfall and open cooking area.
On the south side of the bridges, the Waimea doesn’t have any equals, for this is the best crêperie in Zone 4. This may not be the only establishment in Abidjan offering these Brittany and Normandy specialities, but nothing quite beats the soul and atmosphere inspired by Yoann, the manager, and Virginie, responsible for the delicate and careful decoration (the garden has a shop selling decorations by Virginie, as well as canvases by Ivorian artists, lamps designed by Garance and diverse artisanal objects from different parts of Africa). Among the smooth pastel shades, you can taste pancakes inspired by Brittany and Normandy, while others have a hint of Savoy, Auvergne and even Thailand. There are other great dishes on the menu – the creamed spinach, the carpaccio or the steak tartar, made from fine slices of beef rather than the usual minced beef. Careful presentation and a personalised service add to the attraction of the restaurant, which is never too crowded. One to discover if you haven’t already…
Through the small wooden gate at the entrance, you'll find an illuminated garden divided into several areas: a bar with an outdoor terrace, three outdoor bowling areas for clients, and an air-conditioned lounge area inside. Blue and purple lighting makes for a soothing environment, but things can get lively when there's a social function or themed night.
The hosts, Solange and Gilbert, helped by Sandrine the chef de salle, provide a friendly welcome and the simple but original menu has clearly been given a lot of thought, much like the decoration. Solange and Gilbert's new concept is a theme bar focused on petanque (French bowls), a nod to Gilbert's home town Marseille. Opened in 2010, the bar-restaurant has a cozy family feel once found at the nearby Bidule, which the two used to run, until it evolved to became one of the hippest bars in Zone 4. The motto of the "Fanny Lounge" is aptly 'welcome home'.
In addition to the wines, beers and liquors, the bar offers various cocktails of champagne, rum and Curacao, as well as some unique non-alcoholic cocktails (cucumber, dill, fennel, grapefruit juice), from around 3,000 cfa. For dining, there's a mix of snacks (bruschetta, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, plates and platters of cold cuts or cheese), typical French cuisine (tripe, sausage, boudin blanc, Burgundy snails, steak or steaks), carpaccio, lights and salads and soups. For dessert, we'd recommend the exquisite chocolate fondant with salted butter. It's difficult to recommend one dish over another; in general the Boule bleue has a well-made and sophisticated choice of food.
We like: the hosts and the setting, the tapas that comes systematically with drinks, the way the space is organised, the motherly presence of Solange and the affability of Gilbert and the conceptual and thematic evenings (karaoke, bowls nights, pancakes evenings, etc..). We would like: a little more food on the plate for a better quality-price ratio.
With its lacquered wood and subdued lighting, Montparnasse transports clients to the Art Deco Parisian brassieres on the boulevard of the same name. For the ex-pat and local elite, this is of the one of the must visit places for French cuisine in classy surroundings.
It's also a regular haunt for local businessmen who constitute a major part of the clientele. Montparnasse has two main parts; a brasserie and a trattoria. From September to June, the restaurant has a selection of sea food as well as a broad selection of meat dishes (veal, kidneys, andouillette de Troyes, steak Chateaubriand, hock of ham...) with a ceiling price of around 13,500 cfa.
The prices will put some people of, but the Montparnasse is one of the culinary highlights on the Abidjan scene. The varied menu is regularly updated, the service is impeccable and waiting times are limited. Great for business lunches, but also for those special occasions when you're prepared to go the extra mile.