Arabesque - Victoria Island, Nigeria
Mangoisms restaurant reviews are based on 5 primary categories. Ambiance (the mood the restaurant space evokes), beverages (options, presentation and taste), convenience (for all guests, location, ease of finding), Food (obviously!), Service (because this is a point that can really affect an experience).
Arabesque Restaurant Review 4.62 Mangoes
This restaurant is BEAUTIFUL. From the minute you hit the gate, the stone pathway leads you to your choice of cool indoor seating or outdoor Mediterranean garden combo lounge and eating spaces. Outside you feel “lush” surrounded by beautiful greenery that includes native tropical floral and palm trees as well as a water way lined with plants and stones. The sturdy wooden bridge you cross from path to sitting area only adds more to the light and colorful feel.
Bright pink and purple fabric drape larger lounge areas which feature low wooden tables and paisley print teal seating. Pillows are plenty and it won’t be hard for you to get comfortable almost immediately. Shoes were removed and it immediately felt like we were invited into someone’s home for an outdoor lunch.
The ONLY reason Arabesque did not receive a 5 here is due to no fault of their own - flies. #ThisIsNigeria so there is only so much one can do to prevent them from closing in on your food. The staff provided us with a spray and smokey stones to help ward them off, but unfortunately; the flies continued to come. We still really enjoyed our meal, but knowing a fly could land at any moment meant for quick eating and plenty of “take away” to avoid our food being spoiled by those tiny pests.
We opted for “mocktails” as none of us really wanted to drink. Considering we took an Uber there, we could have had plenty to drink, and I think Arabesque decided on that for us. An unfortunate decision. My sister tried a sip and asked the waiter if there was any alcohol in it, his response? “A little”. Seriously? What if one of us were preggers? Or allergic? Or on a medication that would react badly with alcohol? Exactly.
We decided to keep our carafe, but made a mental note of that. Mocktail means NO alcohol. At all.
As expected, we did not finish our carafe, but at ₦9000 ($25) for the carafe - we made out like bandits. We could have easily had 4 glasses between the three of us, but capped off because ALCOHOL and we aren’t lushes. We enjoyed the cranberry, pineapple, vodka blend but I can say without a doubt, we really enjoyed our Perriers more! Ha! A lot of my U.S. friends would be happy to catch that deal! Come to Nigeria people!
Getting to Arabesque by car (is there any other way on the island?) was simple. We literally took an Uber from our house to the restaurant’s gates. It’s off a side road from a main thoroughfare and easy to spot as it occupies to the corner directly in front of you. The gates are wide open and inviting, and unlike most places ni Eko (in Lagos), this one is definitely easily accessible. A smooth path and slight incline at the entry are your largest obstacles. Outdoor dining is the easiest to get too, even with it’s sone path, not much in the way to comfortable seating.
Two small steps take you inside to the restaurant itself where you will immediately find a bar on your left and the restrooms to your right. The restaurant isn’t crowded with furniture, so getting around is easy peezy.
There was a picky eater amongst us. Picky as in - always wants rice or stew of some sort. Can always “make it better than this” in her home, or just plain ol - let me find fault in this place. She had her moments, but all in all, she was satisfied. Mediterranean cuisine is not for everyone. Some people (especially Nigerians) may find it bland in comparison to what they are accustomed to. This was not the case at all for me or others while dining at Arabesque.
I ordered many options to really get a taste of what they had to offer, and I can say without hesitation - I was not disappointment by any of it at all. My falafels were crisp and authentic, the pita bread light and airy yet sturdy enough for the just-thick-enough hummus. The table favorite was a meat and pita combo called arayes arabesque. Described as a “Toasted Arabic bread filled with soujok (spicy lamb meat) and halloumi cheese”, it was light yet filling and it tasted sooooo good! The right bit of crisp and bread to meat ratio made it an ideal starter option.
Our mains included the mixed grill, a combination of lamb, beef, and chicken seasoned well and skewered then (surprise!) grilled til juicy and done along with Mediterranean grilled prawns (HUGE), seasoned simply with light salt, lemon and herbs. This one wasn’t spicy enough for my picky eater sister, but she enjoyed it thoroughly once she added the bit of pepper+tomato she requested.
When we left we were full, sleepy and carrying a load of take away portions enough to enjoy as a lunch. I will be back for sure.
Our wait staff was on point. Even when a glass was dropped and shattered everywhere, our waiter quickly came by and the “cleaning staff” followed up with mop and broom to ensure everything was cleared. Because the floors were terra-cotta, the wet spots dried up quickly and we got back to our color infused photo shoots.
As I mentioned earlier, they tried their best to rid our space of the pesky flies to no avail. I was impressed at the lengths they went to and their attentive manner. When our main server saw us swatting, he’d come right back to wipe down the table and help minimize the nuisance. Even more so, when their POS wasn’t taking my U.S. card, he followed me to the nearest ATM asking as personal security and escort all at once. If tipping were a thing here, he would have gotten a big one.
All in all, the Arabesque experience was like no other. Nigeria has a gem with this spot. They’ve been around for three years and it looks as new as it was their day one. I recommend it to locals and tourists the like.
Find Arabesque in VI at 225 B Etim Iyang Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.
I try to provide a detailed description on why each category received a particular rating. I am not partial to any eatery for any reason. Each Dining Out review is my own and I have not been compensated.