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Eating out in Kampala: Pardis restaurant

About a week ago I had the pleasure of visiting Kampala to attend a two day workshop that had participants from about 10 different countries in Africa and maybe one or two from Europe. The trip was one of the few annual international trips I usually look forward to because unlike workshops that limit you to eating at the same location each night, the organizers are usually creative enough to allow us sample the delicacies of our host cities with a different restaurant each night.

After missing dinner on the first night because I arrived late (I missed my flight from Kisumu to Nairobi and could not get to connect to my Entebe flight in time so I decided to take the road), I joined the gang for day two dinner at Pardis Restaurant in the heart of the tranquil district of Kololo.

Pardis is actually  Persian  for ‘Paradise’ and just like the name would suggest, the atmosphere of the establishment from the moment you walk or drive past the gate is totally “out of this world”


The traditional Arab seats above and the lantern lamps that adorn the garden take you on an imaginary trip to the Middle East or on a time travel back 300 years in history. Quite relaxing on an evening – especially on this day when the Kampala sun was very unforgiving.

I have never been to a Persian restaurant so I had my expectations all up there, trying to imagine what the food would be like.

The restaurant serves traditional Arab cuisine and on this particular evening the menu had about six different items to choose from.  I settled for Shawarma – a traditional Arab/Israeli meat or assortment of meats (lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, buffalo meat) and served with vegetables and some bread (or french fries).

Before that there were a couple of starters that I did not take quite enough time to know what they are called but enjoyed myself so much that I almost got full on starters.

Pardis Shawarma
Pardis Shawarma

Coincidentally we were about 12 participants on one table and with a setting resembling a traditional Arab/Israeli setup some of my colleagues christened our dinner “the last supper” in reference to the final meal Jesus had with his 12 disciples in the bible. We just did not agree on who Jesus was in the group.

PHOTO: Ann Marie Befoune

Other than the amazing food and the Middle-Eastern setup the restaurant offers an array of drinks. You can indulge in your favorite brands of wine, beer and fresh fruit juice.

One of my colleagues says “whenever you visit a new city, make sure you taste their food, beer and women.” While I left not knowing how their women taste, the food and the Ugandan beer brands were super awesome and my experience at Pardis left quite a mark on my short trip.

PS: When visiting Kampala try out Bell beer – tastes awesome when chilled.



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