Published On: Mon, Jun 4th, 2012

Luxury dining on Mogadishu beachfront signals continued evolution toward peace

MOGADISHU — Beachfront dining, fresh lobster, and a European clientele: Somalia’s restaurant scene is quickly changing for the better.

Somali businessman Ahmed Jama recently returned to Somalia from London to open two Western-style restaurants in two hotels he owns, one on the beachfront and the other downtown Mogadishu. His beachfront property boasts stylish beach beds and flat-screen TVs.

It has quickly become Mogadishu’s version of South Beach or the French Riviera.
“I returned to my country with hope of bringing a new concept,” Jama said at one of his lavish restaurants, called The Village. “I trained many people with cooking skills and they are working in the country now. I am so happy.”

Farah Abdi Warsameh - In this photo taken Tuesday May, 22, 2012 Ahmed Ahmed Jama Mohamed speaks during an interview with the Associated Press at one of his restaurants in Mogadishu, Somalia. When Ahmed Jama returned to Mogadishu after decades of war, he knew his years of business experience would help the war-ravaged city rebuild and flourish. Jama has recently opened two western-style restaurants in two hotels he owns, one on the beachfront, and the other in the downtown of the capital (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

Mogadishu — the war-torn capital of Somalia — has suffered from decades of war and insecurity. But it has blossomed in recent months in a way few could imagine even a year ago. It was only last August that African Union troops kicked al-Shabab militants out of the city. Since then, sports, arts and good food have returned.
“This is the place of choice. Everyone recognizes it,” said one of Jama’s customers, as he sipped coffee and watched TV.

Shirtless male swimmers reclined on lounge chairs nearby. Women in full-body bathing suits splashed in the ocean. Ice cream, seafood and hookah pipes are on the menu, though alcohol is not served since it is outlawed by the government.

This wind-swept area in eastern of Mogadishu was long considered unusable, but Jama’s hotel is thriving. His beachfront restaurant and hotel is the go-to place on Fridays for many residents.

This is still Mogadishu, though, scene of insurgent suicide attacks and roadside bombs. Customers here must go through two security sweeps. The grounds are protected by armed guards.

Jama wouldn’t talk about the profitability of his businesses, but indicated they are doing well. Looking over a world map while back in London, he decided Mogadishu was the right place to open a new business.

“I have been to Djibouti, Nairobi and Dubai, but found that Mogadishu offers the best business hope,” he said while wearing black jeans, a black shirt and sunglasses.
Government officials are frequent guests at Jama’s restaurants. Even their presence is a sign of Mogadishu’s improved fortunes. In the past, officials — who are favorite targets of al-Shabab assassins — were rarely seen at restaurants.

Jama’s culinary success comes alongside a general revival in Mogadishu. Turkey has reopened its embassy, the U.N. has moved in new staff here, and Turkey’s national airline now makes regular flights to Mogadishu.

Most of Jama’s diners are European — frequently from Turkey — or from Somalia’s diaspora. The prices are not exorbitant but most Somalis can’t afford to dine here. The lobster dish costs $20, but steak goes for about $7 and pasta for $3. Don’t ask for French preparation.

“We don’t serve foreign dishes. It’s only Somali food. Our country has the best recipes,” he said.

The Associated Press

June 4, 2012

Displaying 74 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Amal says:

    Mash Allah, Mogadishu is surely coming back. It's also located in ideal place next to the beach (best for tourist) with excellent scenery.

  2. Kayse says:

    I am glade to hear and see that life is returning to normal in Mogadishu. Those people have suffered a lot but they never complain. I admire that.

    If I may comment on the restaurant its nothing special to be honest, I have been to better ones in Hargeisa such as Summer Time, Impartial and The Shiraaqle.

    I am surprised that a lobster costs $20. Maybe I should open a lobster bar in Mogadishu's beach front.

    Steak of camel meat aka Hilib Geel is about $10 in Hargeisa and I used to go to Gollis and Caraale restaurant just opposite The Buuba building and the lorries deport. I know some of you doubt that I am Hargeisawi, I know the town inside out and walked more than most of you.

    I have family in Mogadishu and this week we started reconstructing our home there. Like I said I am for Somalia but I am only comfortable with Hargeisa and Mogadishu and dont have any plans to visit any of the other villages. Just being honest. Im going to fly over them between Hargeisa and Hamar Cadey. I might visit Afgoye just to see if I can farm some livestock there that I can send to north.

    I am very excited about this peace in Mogadishu, lets hope it lasts. Hargeisa I'm coming and I hope to see the place free of the Garadag warlords otherwise I am going to request the UN to dispatch AU troops to my hometown.

    • Ibrahim J. Ismail says:

      Hope they stop killing women and children. I hope they feed those Somalis who refugees all over the world especially in east Africa.

      • biixi says:

        i use to feed a lot of s/land region refugees,i was incharge small camp.

        • Burcawii says:

          The difference is, the SL refugees were caused by south somalis supporting Siyad Afwene war against innocent civilians. However, the southern refugees are not caused by SL poeple but by the southern killing each other.

          • jama says:

            it’s not up dated what are you saying,still There’s refugees in s/land region not from south put haud & other parts north.

    • Madar says:

      Last time i checked there is no hotel by the name of Impartial but i know there is a hotel named imperial, just a correction.

      Your hatred for the noble tribes of HA & HJ is becoming tiresome and overplayed, for your information HA have been making money and been centre of commercial trade in the horn region for centuries. You see a country is viable only by the viabilty of its people and we have proven to be viable people, so stop with xaasidnimo and just give respect where its due.

  3. osman5 says:

    My hopes are not too high on Mogadishu but I wish all Somalis for the best..

    Osman Qaal

  4. Kayse says:

    This restaurant will make more money than Summer Time even though Summer Time is far better because Mogadishu has more population and its location is ideal. If tourists return to Somalia, this man will get lucky big time.

    My advise for Hargeisawis is stop complaining, stop niicda, stop going on about Afweyne who died 25 years ago. Do you see any Europeans crying about WW2 even after ten years when it ended? Most of them formed a union and are taking on the rest of the world, look at the EU currency and look at your shilling.

    Somaliland has to learn to negotiate rather than protest. Remember Kayse's quote "negotiate not protest".

    The road to justice and equality isn't always isolation and protesting. The route to power sharing and funds which Hargeisa desperately is through compromise and negotiation and not protest and recognition as Garadag likes to preach.

    If you negotiate and make state your demands with international observers and member nations present you will go forward. You dont have to lock yourself up, you can demand autonomous rule where you even keep your own armed forces and in the first ten years of such union, there should be foreign military along the border; that you can get more out of it than your current protest.

    Just remember: Negotiate (activism) rather than protest (isolation).

    • Ms Justice says:

      Why don't you stay in Mogadishu if you love it so much, and the thought of Rep of Somaliland doing well is killing you this much? I don't get people like this guy, who, in every opportunity, compare two seperate countries. Somaliland, and Somalia for that matter, don't need your two cent opinions. Stuff it in wherever, but not public domains that don't need or appriciate it.
      True Somalilanders wish Somalia and all Somali nations and regions well. We are proud of our brothers and sisters in Jabouti, and in Ethiopia’s 5th region. We wish Somalia to heal and have bright future, too.
      There are hundrends of Somalilanders, who have millions of US$ worthy properties in Somalia, and few, desperate ones, think the only way to maintain the ownership of these properties is ti suck up to the TFG and whatever other G is there, today. My family have plenty of properties in Mogadishu, and we neither fear EVER that to lose what is ours nor lick a.r.s.e.s to get them back. We are Somalianders and will, one way or the other, get what belongs to us, always.

  5. mohamed cheers says:

    Hargeisa is ruled by garadag president Silaanyo.Who will be the next Mogadiscio president after
    Sh. Achmed or is he getting re-elected after August 20 2012, for another 3 more years..2015,
    under the new roadmap caretaker administrations? Rumours has it that the strong SPLF UIC
    leader Sh. Hasan Dahir Aways defected from Alshabab to join the TFG with his fighters?
    How far true is this? Is there any opportunity SH. Aways might become the next president of
    Somalia replacing SH. Ahmed after August 20. Certainly all the current TFG top brass are considered
    rubber stamps stooges for the stakeholders and Somalia would be needing a new nationalistic
    president to take matters into his hand.

  6. salaxley boy says:

    Wowwww Mogadishu my beautiful birthplace

    Xamar Cadey I miss you and inshallah I will come back to visit very soon. Inshallah next summer

  7. Omer Hussein Dualeh says:

    If I know Mogadishu, this place was originally owned by UN and the surroundings were for heavyweight Somaliland elite at the time. It's KU QABSO, KU QADIMAYSIDE, because I can see the face of the guy and he is one of those who reside WARDHEEGLAY [you dig what I mean?].

    Mogadishu is grabbed by those who came from Mudug and Majeertenia, and the actual people who own are either killed and run away. Tomorrow they will claim, and then, it will all start again.

  8. Nasir says:

    You are riding the wrong train that peolple before you failed to disembark, the likes of Bubaa, Kalun, Jama Yare, and many more just beacuse they were defeated and humiliated politically by a man like their caliber. Instead of accepting the defeat like a men they ran to Mogdisho and again humiliated by a man who was not even in their caliber ( Shiekh Sharif) and left Jama yare and the rest of the Gang in a refugee camps in Eritrea, Kenya, and Uganda. So you are no different of those looser who have no hope, easily give up and can not compete with Garadag and Gabiley people in Somaliland free market and political play ground…I say be a man and have a guts to compete inside Somaliland and stop chasing your tail.

  9. AhmedY says:


    You are all hiding your heads in the sand. As soon as foreign troops leave Mogadishu will go back in to the hand of Al Shabaab. Forgot about the Ehtiopian invasion? As soon as they left the weak Somali army was overrun by AL Shabaab. So, don't hold your breath yet.

    It is not over till the fat lady sings.

    Alla ha u sahlo Somailia

    Nabad gelyo

  10. Omer Hussein Dualeh says:

    Nasir, the guy [Kayse is just BARARAFLEH] and doest not have the guts to go to Mogadishu, but. wuxuu saydhinayaa……..

    Saca faarso tegay soddon maalintuu qado, sanduluu ku soo noqon.

  11. Kayse says:

    You guys (members of the two subclans) have nothing but hate and animosity for Somalia and the Somali capital just because Morgan slapped you around few times which has nothing to do with Somalia or the residents of Mogadishu. In fact, if it wasn't for Mogadishu residents, many of you would not be reading this today. But you are ungrateful and you don't your foes from your friends. You still running to Addis while it arms all rebels against you from every corner but due to your insecurities, naivety you like to deny it and turn a blind eye.

    Mogadishu is my city as much as Hargeisa and two subclans can't hold the Somali aspirations hostage. You sent al shabab and Ina Godane and they are on their last leg. No more telling the world "Mogadishu chaos…our village good good..recognize us." That game is over. You had twenty years but when the idea is driven by crazy two subclans, it will never go far.

    Sifir is a warlord just like Silanyo and Osman Kalun but I respect Ismail Bubba because he is an intellectual who loves Somalia with all of his heart. Sifir, Kalun, Silanyo are old opportunist gangsters who only want to rob the innocent and fund their pockets.

    Game is over guys…Somaliland was always temporary till Somalia recovered. Somali dream never dies nor can anyone deny it. The family is disrupted no doubt but love always brings them together and they will find the right formula. No time for Villageism and isolation like the Garadag gang.

    Somalia is maturing Garadag villagers. The time for “tribal” differences or age-old feuds is slowly fading away.

    Northern Somalis will not wait another twenty years for employment, for basic healthcare, roads and infrastructure nor will they wait for their God give right to have access to basic livelihood. They will seek opportunities and there is nothing Garadag gang can do to stop them. This is not North Korea its North Somalia.

    • Kayse says:

      * you don't know your foes from your friends

    • Ali says:

      Kayse, I love how you speak the truth. Personally it takes me by surprise every time when I see such die hard Somalilanders who dont stop to reason sometimes. Half my family is from Burco and they are like you, they wait for a united and peaceful Somalia. Some of them are pro secession but even them, most are willing to settle for a proper Somali republic as soon as peace returns to the South. A lot happened in the civil war, like all civil wars but people forgive and move on. I also cannot see why Somalilanders are so in love with Ethiopia. those people hate all Somalis, how hard is it to see that? Hell they even hate other Ethiopians and you expect them to do good for a Somali? Cmon brothers…enough with the old stories. Btw…the old regime was not only screwing northerners you know, communities other than Isaaq were devastated as well. Do you ever see a Hawiye or Raxanweyn complaining about the old regime????

  12. Madar says:

    Ahmed Jama is some one i know personally from my time with him in london and is a shrewd business person and restaurateur. I genuinely wish him the best of luck in his new adventure.

  13. Allemagan says:

    Hate like fire consumes the dry and the wet. Some of the folks who are writing some of the hateful comments here will at the the same breath tell you that other Somalis hate. Let's think and behave once like decent human beings and not like apes. I hope every corner of Somalia recovers from the mayhem we have seen for the last twenty years.

  14. shini says:

    THIS IS not news Mogadishu has been recovering since last august. the biggest news papers in the have been covering this progress including NY times guardian the economist and many more.
    the unisom will not leave until somali army reaches 70000 and a arms embargo is lifted. lets see then if a tribe or terroris group can disrupt somali nationhood.

    • Ayanle says:

      @shini i agree with you bro' this is not new but its hard for them to write about good stuff in somalia.
      im sure they felt weird while doing the writing :p
      On a more serious topic i'm pretty sure that anisom will not leave until they build a professional somali national army. The west is not that stupid trust me !
      it's the cheapest war they have been since a long time (less than 1 billion a year compare to the thousand trillion dollar of irak war), plus let's not forget that they don't give a damn about the life of nigga soldier from uganda. They will pay for that cannon fodder until they get what they want !!

      • mohamed omar says:

        both of you have good point,i Think it This was preplan from The west somalis have to blame Them self’s,west have all sorts of agenda in somalia put Aslong as turkey stays on foot Than There’s good chance somalis will keep Their religion culture.
        It would be better if This troops from muslim countries.

        • shini says:

          m omar the west's plan was to make Somalia Kurdistan or Palestine but that back fired when pirates and al qaeda came along now they dont mind if we are strong nation with good army as long we keep pirates and al qaeda at bay, make no mistake and we somalis will play this game to become a nation again and we will do their bidding as long as they are doing our bidding this is a chance we can afford to wast. remember how they block the abdulqassim government of carta Djibouti? now they changed their plan which is more favorable to us.

  15. Abdi Noor says:

    Wishfull thinking, the people in this mystical somali army will not be members of a tribe ? Will not be trained by Ethiopians,Kenyans, etc who have their own agenda for Somalia.

    While I wish for the long suffering people of Somalia to have peace, there are to many relics from the warlord era waiting in the wings like vultures.

  16. Abdi Noor says:

    Kayse Kayse, so much hate….. It is easy to proclaim your love for this and that, but the reality is that your comments do not convey any sense. Due to your basic education and dubious morals, you are all over the place, no logic to your arguments or structure.

  17. Ayanle says:


  18. Amal says:

    Mogadishu and Hargeisa will hopefully have good ties as two Somali capital cities and with open borders inshaAllah with booming business.

    I would love to tour around xamar after peace but I guess I have to tour around Somaliland first especially that amazing breath taking daalo mountains of sanaag and other lovely places like gacan libaax, Sheikh,Awdal Gabiley etc. Somalis have beautiful land wallah time for every Somali to wake up and make Somaliland and Somalia the envy of Africa.

    • Somaliland says:

      Amal, I admire your dreams about Mogadishu. The reality is, though, once they get their power back and army etc.. their goal is to destroy Somaliland. I am not being a Somali hater or anything but that's a fact. We will always be an enemy to them. How sad.

      • Amal says:

        lol Somaliland is not in a position to be attacked. They are against us now because they claim us and got some issues but once the two are officially separate they will have their boundaries and relationship will improve like two fighting sibling who always argue and fight and when you separate their bedroom, no longer fight. The only thing they can do is put their house in order, and then talk to Somaliland; if Somaliland refuses their wish of union they have no choice then to let go and nothing anyone can do about it. Somaliland is in the hands of its people who will decide their fate. Somaliland-Somalia share kinship and they will both benefit if they work together as great allies with economic ties.

  19. Somaliaqueen says:

    Heeeey why did they delete my comment? All i wrote is i wish the same as amal does. And mark my word somalia will regonice somaliland in time. Give me one good reason why on earth will somalia attack somaliland?

  20. ibrahim ali says:

    Garbage not making real sense & no one is buying This kind of jarooka.
    next time ask your web designer designe for you better website, becuase This looks makeshift backyard website as your comment also.

  21. misslovely says:

    waa sidaa aad sheegtay inadeer reer somalia horumarkenay ka naxaan dhibatadenay ku farxaan reer somaliland laakiin horumar koodayku faraxnaan xumaan doodana way ka naxnaan wana muran madoon

  22. Amal says:

    Lets not generalize people. Mogadishu got warlords and crooked leaders but they have innocent people who just want nothing but peace. They are tired of 21 years chaos and we Somalilanders always wish them peace. Peace in Somalia will contribute to the stability of the horn as wide. Mogadishu and hargeisa will inshAllah become friends and work together as brotherly countries. Then you can visit hamar while they come and visit Somaliland coast's hehe

  23. Ayanle says:

    HI HATER WE DOING WELL !! You will see.
    @amal and @somaliland you need to kill yourself

  24. Nasir says:

    Keep your Ixsan and Allah will reciprocate for you. our Ixsan was the main catalyst for the union of Somaliland and Somalia, supporting our brothers in Djabuti, K5 and the rest of somalia and what we got in return, the rebirth of Somaliland and the demise of Somaliweyn…Allah is Just.

  25. Ayanle says:


  26. timbaro says:

    i have more intelligent to discuss tribalism further with you my friend but m4jert33n ran away from Mogadishu 1991 and they still have nightmares and have built their desert in the north ( see bosaaso)
    saying they did bililiqo in Mogadishu is absurd to say the least that is what i was responding to.
    on another note farole is there and puntland is there to catch the train i think because Somalia will never be the same again if you dont take part in the politics now puntland is scared to be massacred in the name of government like in waqooye galbeed. lets hope the somalilanders have better plan than isolationism this time

  27. mohamed cheers says:

    Somalia is in difficult transformation experimental stages of between success and failure.
    The forecast is unpredictable. A failed TFG could be recycled to become the awaited messiah
    is too much to bear, without allowing the SPLF(Alshabab) fighters inclusive in the roadmap after
    August 2012. and absorbing in the all inclusive new Somalia power sharing process. Without the
    SPLF(Alshabab) fighters, the chances of the roadmap succeeding through 2015 looks bleak
    in my poor view. Specially the old UIC wing spearheaded bythe hardliner steadfast
    SH. Hasan Dahir Aways…a highly expert in both religious and secular educated knowledges
    and who's a close ally of the Egyptian Islamic brotherhood and has nothing to do with Alqaida
    extremism psychopaths.

  28. Reer aw Xasan says:

    Maaaaaaasha Allah, I'm so glad to hear that our beautiful capital Xamar are doing well. May Allah shower his raxma on Somalia & Somaliland. I'm glad to represent both Somalia and Somaliland.

  29. khaatumo citizen says:

    good for u guys and all somalis its time u rebuild this ghost city..

  30. Reer aw Xasan says:

    @ Tarzan
    You are an !di@t. We are not a lower class sheekhal people. Reer aw Xasan is not part of sheekhal, its commen myth to include aw Xasan to sheekhaal, but the thruth is, we neither h@wiy'e nor d@ar@d.
    We are ash@raf and Ahlul bayt (People of the house – the family of the prophet). Reer aw Xasan (Aala Hasan) are descendants of Yusuf Alkowneyn and Ali ibn Abi Talib, so dont ever say we are lower class people. We brought Islam to Somalia and produced the greatest somali scholer Sheikh Omar Faruuq (AUN). <a href="” target=”_blank”>…” target=”_blank”>

  31. maisa says:

    This article is a bit inaccurate – The village restaurant is nowhere near the beach – it’s next to the airport. and the restaurant near the beach isn’t built yet.

  32. Samuela Fanning says:

    I plan to go there soon. I am hoping I could actually get a broadbeach accommodation. Any thoughts? Thanks!

  33. Amelle says:

    I’m sure he has a restaurant which literally sits on the beach. I’m not sure if its this one bough..

  34. Amelle says:

    Do you know what, I am soooooo sick of somalilanders constantly bashing somalia an Hawiye people. Get the F Off their back. Subhanallah I’ve never met such bitter, foul people ever!! I’m not a qabilist will literally bring out your worse side. Everyone knows a united somalia will never be… The somali Kenyans think they’re actually Kenyan even though they suffer. The Ethiopian Somalis think they’re Ethiopian or whatever crying for the pug looking guy meles, Djibouti think they are better than Somalis (right), and somalilanders you guys literally act like a queen with your noses up thinking you’re royalty but then have that same nose up the arse if Ethiopia. One of the guys above literally hit the nail on the head; Ethiopians hate all Somalis including – maybe especially your lot – seeing as your allowing yourselves to be the dogs of Ethiopia, seriously Ethiopia? Out of all the countries you’d want to ally with. Oh 1 more think, someone said somalilanders own so much land in mogadishu looool when I read that I cried.. Before the war you guys were gaajo, after the war and you claimed independence, you are still gaajo. Come with correct facts Hun. Anyways that’s my rant over. I love you Mogadishu!!! I can’t wait to be finally reunited with you and eat Ahmed’s… I missed this dudeee food. Village London is kinda different.

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