Welcome to street food Naija style…
Sometimes referred to as “Mama Put” – indicating a request for more by frequent patrons as the food is just too delicious, as in “Mama, I beg, Put more…”
No one is too big to eat at a Buka. It is pretty common in Lagos to see the so called “Big Men” or “Madam at the Top” sweating and feasting away at their favorite Buka every lunch time.
Some establishments like Yellow Chilli, Jevinik and Mass Cass have taken the concept one step further. In the process, creating national brands which appeals to Lagos’ growing middle class. These are generally referred to as “Buka-type” restaurants.
Our list however focuses on the original “hole in the wall” buka concept. Typically, the Mama Put shacks are made from roofing sheets with wooden benches and tables often with a view of the hot cooking pot.
So here are 15 of the best mama put restaurants in Lagos:
#1. White House, Yaba
Despite the name, this world famous White House Buka is located in the Yaba, the leading startup hub in the Lagos. White House is a local favorite. Beyond the menu variety and late opening hours, it’s quite affordable with free WIFI included for the techie heads.
Photo Credit: White House
#2. Amala Phase 1, Lagos Island
This is one of the original Bukas in Lagos serving the very best amala on Lagos Island. Over the last 30 years of existence, the restaurant has moved twice and has now settled at Adeniji Adele Phase 1.
Photo: Mt Active Kitchen
#3. Amala Shitta, Surulere
This is the best place to get amala and abula (ewedu, gbegiri and obe elépo) in Surulere. We will skip the endless list of urban legends on why the amala here has been drawing a crowd since the 1960s.
#4. Iya Eba, Lagos Island
The legendary Iya Eba is a small joint on Berkeley Street that has been providing culinary satisfaction since the IBB days. It is easy to mistaken this place for an eba joint given the name. It is actually more known for its Amala/ewedu and rice/black pepper stew dishes.
Photo: Ade Sotoyinbo / Instagram
#5. Olaiya, Surulere
Now run by the second generation Olaiya, this wonderful institution in Surulere lives on. Just ask for amala gbigbona pelu ewedu ati ponmo ninu obe ata. The restaurant is fully-air conditioned with backup generator to ensure there is no disruption to the foodie experience. Also has an outpost in Unilag.
Photo: Range Rover Doctor / Instagram
#6. Amala Canada, Ebute Meta
Located in Canada Villa in Ebute Meta, it is a popular buka known for various delicacies including Amala/Gbegiri/Ewedu and Rice/Beans with assorted Meat.
Photo: Naija foodie
#7. Bank Olemoh Designer Rice, Surulere
This is another second-generation run Buka which specializes only in rice along with beans, plantain and assorted meat. Some have argued that it is manna from heaven. We are not so sure however the designer rice is bloody good.
Photo: Agnes and Lola
#8. Ajisafe, Ikeja
Ajisafe specializes in various rice and stew combinations. It remains the best pepper rice joint on the mainland. By the way, this place comes highly recommended by Chef Fregz himself (yes, that same guy).
Photo: Rotimikeys / Instagram
#9. Amala Yahoo, Ogudu
Tucked away in Ogudu, Amala Yahoo is a must-visit for the very best of amala and assorted meats. There is always a crowd present at this buka, get there early.
#10. Defence Car Park Canteen, Marina
It is also known as First Bank Amala. You will find the efficiency of the staff impressive; quick table turnaround to keep the hungry crowd moving. Amala with Gbegiri and Ewedu is highly recommended.
Photo: Foodie in Lagos
11. Stella’s Kitchen, Ikeja
Stella’s Kitchen in Computer Village is a step up from the usual Bukas on this list however the space is tiny. This kitchen specializes in only pounded yam.
#11. Yakoyo, Ilupeju
Yakoyo is located along Ikorodu road in Ilupeju. The pounded yam and egusi soup with catfish is highly recommended. Also Yakoyo provides “meat cutting” service to ensure you don’t stain your office attire (I mean how do you even begin to explain what happened?).
Photo: Foodie in Lagos
#12. Iya Amala (Police College), Ikeja
This well-seasoned Buka was upgraded to blend in with the newly opened Police College in Ikeja. The food still tastes amazing, nothing has changed.
#13. Mama Ebo Pepper Rice and Bar, Lekki
The pepper stew at Mama Ebo is the truth and will likely cause some rumble in your tummy! It is NOT for everyone, know your level. When you find yourself at Mama Ebo, order the goat meat along with your rice dish, you wouldn’t regret it
Photo: Living in Lekki
#14. Ghana High, Lagos Island
Another longstanding Buka located near the Ghana High Commission and caters to business hub on Lagos Island. There is no swallow here, Ghana High specializes in rice, bean and stew combos. This is one of the best places to have ‘ewa-agonyin’ in Lagos.
Photo: Paul Aliyu / Instagram
#15. Belgium Canteen, Mile 2
Nigerians have a way of naming Bukas. No they don’t sell Belgian waffles here. This place is more appropriately called Amala Beljium (yes typo noted). There is usually a queue at lunch time, but don’t worry, when you get your amala plate, you will find it was worth the trouble.
Photo: ourfoodie_ng / Instagram
Most of the true Bukas have one signature native dish which they are known for. It is imperative to remember this to avoid any faux pas in your foodie adventure.