Restaurant Review: Bolat African Restaurant

Last night I checked out Bolat African Restaurant in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. I didn't know what I wanted to eat last night, but I knew I wanted to hear some live music and being at this restaurant was definitely a treat. My boyfriend and I arrived around 10:15pm although one of the employees stated they stopped serving food at 10:30pm. The bar is open until 3am, so it wasn't a big issue to come in to dine, plus there were other people still eating as well.

The modern styled interior of this restaurant looks amazing. The restaurant has a dining area and a bar area, an overall very laid back, lounge-like atmosphere, especially with the two cream loveseats in the front and African music jamming in the background.What I liked best is the black and white mural painted against the wall near the kitchen. That certainly tickled my artistic fancy. Definitely a great contrast against the burgundy colored wall and overall warm, red-toned ambiance. 

Bolat African Restaurant is owned by Beatrice Hardnick and her son Emmanuel Abidemi. The family owned business  mainly serves the duo's native Nigerian cuisine but also dishes from Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and other countries from Africa. 

Now y'all know I LOVE my plantains! So of course I had to get a plate of grilled plantains for an appetizer. I usually get fried or baked plantains, but these were pretty good. They came with a small cup of spicy peanut sauce which was delicious and flavored just right. Like rice, yams, and cassava, peanut is a staple food in many West African dishes. You're bound to find this in many plates and I love it because I'm a huge fan of peanuts. The flavor ratio of spiciness to peanut taste in the sauce was absolutely perfect and something new to eat with one of my favorite dishes.

Nigerian curry goat served with rice

What I had for my main course was "The Lagosian", named after the capital city of Nigeria, which is Lagos. The "Lagosian" dish included tilapia fish covered in pepper sauce, vegetables, and served with rice. If you've ever had Nigerian food before, you should know it's spicy and this dish was absolutely drenched in spices. Although it wasn't a large dish, I got full, got the "itis" and had to stop eating for a while. Nonetheless it was delicious. Everything was seasoned well, the fish was tender, and the presentation was well created. I absolutely love the minimalistic, cut-out dishes that were used. 

Dessert for me was bissap sorbet, a sweet treat from Senegal, without the whipped cream since it has dairy in it. This iced sorbet consisted of hibiscus leaf and came in a minimalistic bowl, sprinkled with what appeared to be brown sugar. Again, the presentation at this restaurant is everything. The bowl of dessert may have seemed "small" to some, but it appears to be a proper proportion size. 

I enjoyed my time at this restaurant. The staff was very friendly and didn't mind that there were people dining in late. As a matter of fact, as I mentioned previously about the "live music" aspect, a group of diners sat across the room and sang Nigerian tunes in celebration of the 56th Nigerian Independence Day. The patrons used the tables as drums, clinged utensils against glasses, and sang joyful songs. I had never experienced anything like this at a restaurant, but I was so here for it. So much that I wanted to run over and bust a move, I felt that in my spirit!

Bolat African Restaurant is located at 3346 N. Clark St. open daily from 5pm-9pm Monday-Thursday 5pm-10pm Friday and Saturday 773-885-1100



  1. This place sounds delicous! I will be making a trip to the north to check it out. Have you tried Yassa in Bronzeville on 35th and King Drive? It's a Senegalese restaurant. Their Yassa fish,jollof rice and sorrel are amazing!

    1. It definitely was! And YES I LOVE Yassa's! I've been there a few times, I did a review on that restaurant as well. Thanks for reading, love1