If you’re looking for meat, this is the post for you! I love a good list article, and this was an especially tasty one to write. The number of excellent restaurants in Kigali has been growing over the years, with plenty of very good places popping up since I arrived in 2010. It sort of boggles the mind to think about the choices we have in this city these days. Back in 2010 I could probably only name a couple of restaurants where I would dare try the steak – probably due to regularly being disappointed by the quality of the cut of meat.
Well, Kigali’s steak game is getting strong, friends! Not only with excellent cuts of meat prepared and seasoned well, but also with the creativity of the side dishes and the overall presentation. Going out for a steak these days isn’t like a game of Russian roulette where you live in fear of a chewy, fatty, blob of meat cooked to into oblivion. These days, at least at all of the places on the list below, you can count on getting a great cut of meat, (usually) prepared how you asked.
I still need to go eat steak at Bwok and The Bistro, but please take a look and let me know if I missed anywhere else! (Vegetarians might want to look away now.)
1,000 Hills Distillery
The 1,000 Hills Distillery is, as the name would suggest, probably better known for its booze than its food. However I think the word is well and truly out now about their ‘Hot Rock Beef Filet’ steaks (Rwf 15,000). They’re such a unique thing in Kigali and worth the trip out to the distillery. A huge fillet of beef is served up on a piping hot lava stone and is served to you sizzling and steaming which is an event in itself! Add a few cocktails into the mix (made with 1,000 Hills spirits) and you’ve got a recipe for an awesome night out. The 1,000 Hills Distillery is a bit of a trek out towards the south of the city but I can absolutely say it’s work the trip. Or you can head out in the afternoon and combine a trip to nearby Juru Park for some of Kigali’s most beautiful views.
Hours: Daily, 11:45am – 10pm
Phone: 0788 316 723
I love Brachetto‘s food. Everything on the menu is good and I’m told by people who know wine that they’ve got one of the best selections in town. The steak at Brachetto is less of a meat and potatoes sort of deal and more of a fully composed dish. The photo above is a bit crappy, but there’s steak under there, trust me! I loved the combination of ingredients and the steak (Rwf Rwf 14,500) was perfectly cooked. Brachetto isn’t a huge place and it’s popular so you should reserve a table, especially on the weekend.
Hours: Monday to Friday, 11:30am – 2:30pm and 6 – 10pm, Saturday 6 – 10pm, Closed Sunday
Phone: 0787 178 133
Heaven is one of Kigali’s oldest and most popular restaurants, especially for visitors to the city. I’ve eaten here more times than I can count and have tried a variety of different meals, but the top of my list has always been their filet steak with chimichurri sauce (Rwf 16,000). The dish itself has gone through several transformations as new chefs pass through, but the meat and the sauce have always been a staple at Heaven and something I order a lot. I like that they mix things up a bit by including produce and products local to Rwanda. In this case, their chimichurri sauce is made with cassava leaf instead of parsley which takes this Argentine classic and gives it an East African twist. Their brown butter sauce also elevates this dish into something that keeps me coming back.
Hours: Daily, 11am – 10pm
Phone: 0788 486 581
The Hut is a relative newcomer when compared with places like Heaven, Serena, and New Cactus but it’s become known as a top spot for all things meaty. Though they have a large and varied menu, it’s their grill that keeps people coming back with a choice of steak, lamb, chicken, pork, and seafood with a great selection of sides and sauces. It’s a sort of ‘assemble your own dish’ type place where you choose the cut and preparation of the meat and then choose from around 15 sauces, 10 different carbs (including baked potatoes which you hardly ever see anywhere), and a bunch of veggie options. For steak, you’ve got a choice between strip loin (Rwf 11,000), rump (Rwf 9,000), t-bone (Rwf 18,000), and filet mignon (Rwf 14,000). Service is super friendly, the view is nice, and The Hut is a relaxed and fun place for a meal out.
Hours: Monday to Friday, Noon – 11pm, Weekends 10am – 11pm
Phone: 0788 304 788
As you can hopefully deduce by the name of this place, Inka Steakhouse is dedicated to… steak! Of all of the places on this list, they’ve got the largest selection of different cuts of meat, and they even offer aged beef which is something that I haven’t seen elsewhere in Kigali. Prices range from Rwf 6,500 for 250 grams of sirloin or boneless ribeye up to Rwf 21,000 for the 750 gram Porterhouse. They’ve also got filet mignon (Rwf 8,500), T-bone (Rwf 13,500), Tomahawk (Rwf 17,000), and a tasting trio (Rwf 13,000). Sides are extra at Rwf 2,500 each. Inka Steakhouse really go the extra mile with their presentation as well, which adds to the whole experience in their beautiful restaurant.
Hours: Closed Monday, Tuesday to Friday, Noon – 3pm and 5 – 11pm, Saturday, 12:30 – 11pm, Sunday, 12:30 – 9pm
Phone: 0780 302 666
La Cucina, the Italian restaurant at the Kigali Marriott Hotel comes with its very own Italian chef. The food here is reliably good and the decor is beautiful. The steak here is one of Kigali’s more expensive options at Rwf 17,500, but I guess when you take into consideration it’s from the restaurant at the city’s fanciest hotel, it’s not so bad. Plus the serving size is huge and I actually took half home for lunch the next day. The question is whether it lives up to the price and I’m going to say it does. The steak was perfectly cooked and it was a beautiful cut of meat. It comes served on a bed of mushrooms which are delicious. The only option is mushroom sauce with potato wedges, so not like at some other places where you’re able to choose your own sauces and sides. Just something to keep in mind, depending on your preference. Service is good and the wine list here is excellent with a lot of options by the glass.
Hours: Daily, Noon – 3pm and 5pm – 11pm
Phone: 0222 111 111
New Cactus has long been one of my favourite restaurants, largely because of their glorious ‘Beef Arlequin’ steak dish (Rwf 9,200). Do I know what ‘arlequin’ means? Absolutely not. But I love it just the same. It’s a gorgeous cut of fillet steak served with black and green peppercorn sauce, and one of the more affordable steaks on this list. When you get it with a side of mashed potatoes and have them cook the steak just a bit rare, the juiciness of the steak and the peppery-ness of the sauces merge into a perfect storm of saucy goodness that coats the potatoes in that perfect way. This dish has long been at the top of my list of Kigali favourite’s and if you love steak, you need to give it a try immediately. New Cactus is a laid back, unpretentious place that’s popular with Kigali’s francophone community.
Hours: Daily, Noon – 2:30pm and 6 – 10pm (last orders)
Phone: 0788 678 798
Pili Pili is one of these places that’s a destination in itself, even before you start talking about the food. The restaurant, perched on the side of a hill in Kibagabaga, has one of the city’s best views. It feels like you’re on top of Kigali from there, with the whole city spreading out below. Throw in their multiple TV screens with various sports and their pool and you’ve got a place that ticks a lot of boxes. Their BBQ filet steak is excellent and at Rwf 11,000 for 500 grams, it’s one of the best deals. Or for the really hungry (or insane) or for sharing, try the 1kg for Rwf 19,000 (there’s a deal on this on Mondays). The sides and sauces are ok, but the steak really is the star here. Beware that the service could be improved, especially on Sundays when they’re really busy. I think it might just be a case of under-staffing but if you don’t like your meals to come with a generous side of frustration, stick to days other than Sunday for food.
Hours: Monday, 5pm – 11pm, Tuesday to Sunday, 11am – 11pm
Phone: 0728 285 800
Poivre Noir has fast become many people’s favourite restaurant in Kigali, largely due to their excellent grilled meat dishes including steak. The menu changes occasionally which keeps things fresh and interesting, but one thing that never changes is the quality of their steak. Their filet steak (Rwf 14,000) comes with a choice of one of four excellent sauces (black pepper, Béarnaise, blue cheese, or mushroom), fries, and a side salad. Don’t miss out on their starters – the cheese croquettes are one of those dishes that keeps people coming back. Make sure to make a reservation. It’s popular every night of the week.
Hours: Monday to Saturday, Noon – 2:30pm and 6 – 9:30pm, Closed Sunday
Phone: 0735 823 282
Sokoni (Serena Hotel)
For some unknown reason, I’d never ordered a steak at Sokoni, the restaurant at Serena Hotel. I used to be a member of the gym at Serena and spent a lot of time lounging by their pool, sampling lots of other dishes on their menu – but never the steak. Oh, the time I had wasted! I tried it for the first time not too long ago and it was so tasty that it was the inspiration for this list of steak places in Kigali. Their beef tenderloin pepper steak (Rwf 10,800) was massive and perfectly cooked, the pepper sauce was thick and very tasty, and the mashed potatoes and steamed veggies were perfect as sides. I was extremely impressed and somehow managed to wolf down the entire meal. They’ve also got a t-bone steak (Rwf 16,000) with herb butter sauce if you’re feeling extra hungry. Plus, the atmosphere at Sokoni is quite nice, especially if you grab a poolside table.
Hours: Daily, Noon – 3pm and 6pm – 10pm
Phone: 0788 184 500
Prices were correct at the time of writing but are bound to change over time.