There are at least 10 different types of restaurants one can patronize while on a visit to Nigeria’s south east City of Enugu. Enugu restsurant owners invariably serve a pot-pourri of menus that make them distinguishable one from the other. They also approximate to standard restaurant categorisations.
It can sometimes be tough for Enugu residents and visitors to enjoy the unique advantage of specializing in different pots. There are quite a number from the hundreds of restaurants dotted all over the city landscape, whose owners get it right. Plus the Igbos of Nigeria are reputed to serve the most diverse and nutritionally rich ethnic menus.
Let’s do a checklist of 10 categories of restaurants and see how Enugu restauranteurs rate in meeting the standards of each. Here goes.
1. Ethnic Restaurants
Ethnic restaurants are one of the different types of restaurants that specialize in preparing ethnic dishes. In Enugu, we are primarily concerned with finding restaurants where visitors can find Igbo, Yoruba, Riverine, Calabar dishes. Except at roadsides, it is difficult to find exclusive Nigerian ethnic restaurants in Enugu, except one patronizes roadside eateries like Nwanyi Ituku Restaurant on Presidential Road. However, if we consider Chinese as ethnic food, one can go to Octopus in Nza Street, Happy Panda at Upper Chime Avenue, and Discovery Kitchen also at Chime Avenue
2. Fast Food Restaurants
The name was coined from how fast it takes people to get food to eat when they step in through the door. Fast food joints provide the fastest service because every meal is cooked, waiting to be dished to patrons who are not interested in fine dining. Diners order the food from the counter and carry the plates themselves to their tables or packed in takeaway bags. Popular fast food restaurants in Enugu include Mama Onyinye Restaurant in Park Avenue, GRA. Take-away only fast foods can however be found in Shoprite at Polo Park, Spar at Okpara Square, and the Roban Stores located at Independence Avenue, Agbani Road, and Trans-Ekulu.
3. Fast Casual Restaurants
Fast casual restaurants are one of the different types of restaurants one will search far to find in Enugu. They are chain restaurants such as Mr. Biggs, Chicken Republic, and Sweet Sensation, all of which operate mainly in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. National fast casual restaurants like Mr. Biggs could not survive the competition in Enugu and had to close down. Only Crunchies on Rangers Avenue is making a strong showing at the moment.
4. Casual Dining Restaurants
These are restaurants that serve moderately priced menus in a casual atmosphere. They provide table service as well. Typical examples of casual dining restaurants include Ntachi Osa, Discovery Kitchen, Celebrities and Dolphin Restaurants.
5. Premium Casual Restaurants
Premium casual restaurants come with both a dining section and a lounge section. This is the place to be for millennials who want to eat in a good atmosphere as well as play games or watch matches at another section. The only restaurant that comes close to this description is Roots Restaurant on the intersection of Presidential Road and Okpara Square.
6. Fine Dining
They are the ultimate in connoisseur restaurants, delivering three- or two course meals in an upscale ambience. The décor is quite rich and exotic, and the owners may decide to set some rules for patrons, such as asking each diner to dress formally or wear a tie. Diners get full table service in tables that are traditionally covered by white cloth.
7. Buka Restaurants
The most common types of restaurants in Enugu is the Buka. Food is often served in an unpretentious local setting with fewer tables. The taste and richness of some Bukas can be quite delightful. It is for this reason that bukas such as Nwanyi Ituku on Presidential Road and .. opposite Enugu Sports Club are patronized by high profile clients who do not mind the make-shift arrangement under which they dine.
8. Buffet Restaurants
Most buffet restaurants in Enugu are found in star hotels and serve mainly guests and their visitors at the hotels. It is difficult to find diners choosing to visit a hotel restaurant because of exclusive menu that they have. Most hotel menus include a selection of food that is served at a fixed price. Better known hotel menus can be found at Blue Royal Hotel, Maxbe International, and
Cafeteria food are served in establishments such as schools, big corporations, and hospitals. The foods are ready-cooked, and the diners serve themselves – although some patrons may wish to request attendants who also clean the tables as each diner departs. There are cafeterias serving low budget foods at the IMT, the UNEC, and Godfrey Okoye University. Big establishments such as WAEC in Enugu also run cafeterias, although their quality and taste are considerably watered down.
10. Roadside Delicacies
Most Enugu local delicacies are surprisingly served mostly by street food vendors. You are likely to find otherwise discriminatory diners patronizing them because of their richness and acclaimed health benefits. One can accost the itinerant food vendor wheeling his or her barrow of carrying a pan filled with food on the head. Among the more popular delicacies are okpa and abacha, two menus that Enugu people specialize in. Abacha (cassava flakes mixed with vegetables and dry fish) is sold in open markets while okpa (paste prepared from Bambara seeds and garnished) is a regular fare at interstate bus and taxi parks dotted around the city.