Posts Tagged ‘resturant’

Figo

April 1, 2010

Interesting moment for a bit of Dakar orientation – just before leaving for a few months, but there you have it. That big blob sitting in the middle of the map you have clicked above, is the airport. And I live pretty much next door to it. Here’s a little more detail:

Small blob in the bottom right-hand corner: that's my corner

Ouest Foire, that’s the name. It’s an upcoming, hesitantly middle-class part of town. Far away from the expatriate exuberance of Mermoz or the lunatic decadence of Almadies. My place is on the street at the top end of the oval mark. And the best place in my area, is restaurant Figo. It sits near the bottom of the mark, close to the Pont CICES. And it looks like this:

Figo, Route de l'Aéroport, Ouest Foire, Dakar (photo: Martin Waalboer)

You’d swear you’re in Southern Europe, somewhere, with that exterior. And you’re not far off the mark, because the owners and managers of the place have spent quite a bit of time – in Italy. Atoumane Diagne and Fatoumata Bathily got the idea in Italy, were they met seven years ago. They were both working in a restaurant and said to themselves: ‘This should be possible in Senegal.’

‘I did a survey,’ Fatoumata recalls, ‘and found this part of town ideal. It’s new, it’s close to the airport and there are very few restaurants.’

‘It was a house’ adds Atoumane, ‘we re-designed the entire place to make it look like a European restaurant and terrace.’ And Figo (nothing to do with the Portuguese football player, they assure me!) opened its doors on November 15th, 2008.

It's their place: Fatima, Atou - and the fellow in the middle is Aziz (photo: Martin Waalboer)

It’s been good going so far. Fatoumata is pleased. ‘Expatriates, Senegalese, people from Ouest Foire – it’s a good landing spot for a lot of people.’ And it’s also proof of something else: you can make it right here, at home.

So that’s where I will definitely park you if you pass through Dakar. Senegalese and Italy-style food, drinks, music (Saturday night it’s live) and the nicest restaurant managers you can think of. But don’t take my word for it…