"The prices were slightly above average... but the service considerably made up for it."
Le Bistro is located on the top floor of a hotel (of the same name), overlooking Lake Kivu in Gisenyi. It is about a 15 minute walk from the beach.
My friend and I decided to go there after reading about it in a guide book. It took us a while to get there because, interestingly, most of the locals did not seem to know it.
After picking up lots of clues about its relative location, we finally stumbled upon it at around noon, just in time for lunch. We were greeted by a minimalistic, yet elegant décor inside the restaurant, with wooden panels, large comfortable wooden chairs, and an antique vibe (which is not surprising because Gisenyi is has been around since the time of the colonialists
so you can find a lot of old European-styled houses). The view from the restaurant was simply gorgeous, so we decided to take a table right overlooking it.
The waitress greeted us with a small smile and asked to take our orders. After looking at the menu, we were a little disappointed by the limited options, however, there seemed to be other dishes that were only made by special order. We finally placed our orders for Hawaiian Pizza, Napolitane Pizza and sodas.
The waitress kindly and diligently answered our questions about the menu, quickly wrote our orders and quoted a time frame of 20 minutes to get them.
While waiting, we noticed that she was the only waitress in the entire restaurant, in-charge of about 3-4 groups of people. Slightly stressed, she was still efficient and attentive to all of us.
The bar was tastefully (no pun intended!) decorated and well stocked with a range of wines, whiskies, rums and gins. The bathrooms, on the other hand, were a little substandard. They were clean and well designed but there was no running water in the taps or flush. The restaurant was also a smoking zone.
Our orders commendably arrived on time. The toppings on our pizza were good (pineapples…yum!) but the crust was extremely thin and slightly charred so we found it hard to cut it with the blunt knife provided. So we decided to just dig in with our hands.
The waitress was not always available so we had to wait a while to ask for extra plates.
But when she finally came to our table, she responded to our requests immediately. She even gracefully obliged to take photographs of us – at my request (Hey, the view was simply too lovely to pass up - see for yourself!).
We then ate to our fill and asked for the bill. The prices were slightly above average and not expected of the food here but I guess the service considerably made up for it.
If you’re in Gisenyi, you must be looking for a good time and some relaxation from the hustling and bustling of life. After sunbathing and/or playing beach volleyball on the shores of Lake Kivu, if you are looking for a place to wind down and at the same time satisfy your tummy, you may want to consider this serene little (and little known) restaurant on the shores of the lake.
Overall, I would give my experience there an above average 2.8/5. The entire place had an incredible vibe – calm, serene and peaceful. However, food-wise, it is a bet we must all be prepared to individually take, as it varies from taste to taste, platter to platter. For non-smokers and anyone who wants to use the restroom, this place is probably not your nirvana. But apart from that, it’s definitely a great place for those who come for a long weekend and just want to relax and get a moment of solitude. It just invariably put you in a good mood!