Inside Accra - Hidden Gems vol. 2
I introduced a few really nice spots worth visiting in Accra in my first "Inside Accra" blog post. I hope you found at least something interesting to add to your to-do-list for your next trip to Ghana!? Let's take a look at some five more well visited, explored, tasted, tested and photographed gems that can and definitely should be found in the Accra cityyyy!
1. The Shop ACCRA by Eyetsa – Arts, Crafts, Fashion & Natural Cosmetics by Various Artists and Entrepreneurs around the African Continent (Indie Dream!)
Take a seat on a wooden bench, order a fresh mango, pineapple and passion fruit smoothie, and listen to modern soul music while discovering all the interesting little artworks around!
The Shop ACCRA by Eyetsa is not a kind of place where you would end up accidentally. You have to know what you're looking for to find your way here. The entrance is very simple; one could never guess what hides behind the frontage!
This boutique was set up for about 1,5 years ago. There are mainly handcrafts and pieces of clothing and jewelry by Ghanaian artists, and some products from the neighboring countries and even all the way from Kenya sold here.
"These unique, modern hand-made goods
with a bohemian twist are quite different
from the local arts and crafts sold
on the streets and markets."
At the back end of the shop, there's a patio-like area with five long tables surrounded by shelves built of wooden boxes, filled with African treasures. The sales counter is covered with jars and baskets full of sweets and fruit
The salesperson has thick, long braids tied up together and such a lovely smile and eyes full of excitement. She looks like she loves to work here. The lady takes me peacefully around the shop introducing the artworks and explaining how some of the artists produce their goods on their home kitchen tables. Fruit spirits by Dézé, natural cosmetics by Kaeme, Essie spices, wooden Ofori bow ties and Wild Moon jewelry with Adinkra symbols, just to name a few interesting things to be found here.
Right when I'm about to leave, a young man walks in, brings a small purse out of his backpack and empties a batch of cute little guys made of recycled glass beads on one of the tables. He explained to the salesperson how those key holder guys came into being, and left one sample for the lady before leaving. Seems like it ended up well as I came across those same key holders in the shop a few weeks after, when I also took a batch of citronella mosquito repellent bottles - a project by us (Go beyond Ghana) in co-operation with a few school kids from Busua, Western Region - to be sold there as well (will write about this little project later on in this blog..)
The Shop ACCRA by Eyetsa's product prices range from 10Ghc up to few hundreds of cedis. This place is so cute! Please visit!
2. Tea Baa – Bohemian Mini Restaurant & Tea Bar
Color therapy! Turquoise window shutters, bright yellow walls, African prints, board games and such a delicious menu with not-so-common vegetarian dishes too. When I walked in, the girls working there were in the middle of blending tea mixtures for the day. Get yourself here to spend peaceful afternoon tea time or have some dinner with friends.
3. Woodin – African Prints and Fashion
Woodin is a brand under Dutch fashion fabric company Vlisco Group that designs and produces print fabrics inspired by African cultures and arts mainly for the Central and Western African markets. Additionally to Woodin, Vlisco Group consists of other three popular fabric brands; Vlisco, Uniwax and GTP. These brands are all very commonly available in local fabric stores around Ghana.
Most of Woodin's prints are quite restrained in color and patterns when compared to those most common, traditionally colorful, vivid prints that can be seen in every street view in the country. There are also some beautiful pieces of clothing by Woodin sold in the stores but I personally prefer selecting my favorite fabrics, design the dress style and walking to a local dressmaker with my drawings, trying to explain what I'd actually want (NB! I'm definitely not a fashion designer! But it's so much fun to get creative! Plus the dressmakers have even more fun looking at my artistic mess.)
There are Woodin stores in all the big cities in Ghana. In Accra, you can find them for example along Oxford Street in Osu, in Accra Mall and West Hills Mall.
4. Little Havana – Authentic Cuban Restaurant & Bar
Little Havana got opened in the end of last year close to Ako-Adjei park (and very close to The Shop ACCRA by Eyetsa) along Oshe Road. I saw on social media a lot of friends recommending the place and posting great photos of the food, drinks and the Cuban style deco. We decided to also give a try one Saturday with a few friends.
We had some challenges in finding the place as there was a power outage in the area and everywhere was dark.. and obviously the new restaurant didn't have power either! "What!? No Havana tonight?" The owner of the place, Marcus walked to us wearing a casual sleeveless dress shirt, looking charismatic, excited and jolly despite the shitty situation. He told us the evening program at Little Havana had been cancelled as the power outage had been going on since morning. And right after he had finished his talk - BLINK - all the lights got switched on. We were all just looking at each other smiling until Marcus announced happily:
”Ladies, you brought the light here!
Come get some cocktails! It's on the house!”
And so we did! The spot came to life quickly. Different shades of blue. Velvet red. Rum cocktails. Afro-Cuban salsa and jazz. Sombreros hanging on the walls. Atmospheric lights. The bartenders were on a good mood. People started pouring in. Marcus told us that Little Havana had been literally booked out since its opening and we wouldn't have probably even got a table if not because of the power outage.
There were empanadas', tortillas, salads, platters with meat, chicken and fish served with rice and deep fried plantain etc. The food was fresh and good, but the speciality of this place is definitely its atmosphere!
5. Chez Clarisse – Ivorian Restaurant with Insanely TASTY Food!
Sympathetic and authentic eatery in the middle of nowhere! Well, it's located in Osu, but in the end of a dark, narrow road, not surrounded by any notable land marks. The walls are covered with batik fabrics, the furniture is made of black painted iron and dark wood and there's Ivorian music playing in the background.
The menu is spectacular. I've tried various dishes here and each time everything has tasted simply divine, yet my favorites are grilled tilapia fish topped with marinaded vegetables, served with both red and green pepper sauce and deep fried plantain or atcheke (tiny cassava granules), and Chicken Nyassa with rice. You wont leave this restaurant with an empty belly! And great value for money as well.
Next week, in the third and last part of Accra's Hidden Gems, I'll introduce my friend's top tips for Accra! She's lived in the city for some years and knows what's up. Additionally, there will be an interesting give-away opportunity for urban travel enthusiasts! Stay tuned..