The Crematata Restaurant

The Sheraton Gambia Hotel Resort and Spa sits on the cliffs above the beach at Brufut Heights. A beautifully designed hotel, with unique architecture offers a serene getaway while being close to both the airport and the Gambia's main tourist attractions. Offering everything from weddings to business conferences to luxury holidays, the hotel meets all the usual standards expected of this world renowned chain. A fairly new complex (opened in March 2007} it was built as a result of a boom in tourists to the area. The area still maintains, despite the continued growth of more up-market hotels and homes, a link with traditions of the area. Local fishermen still use parts of the beach to unload the day's catch and the sacred holy shrine of Sanmentering is tucked away on a cliff edge. This small mosque is where Muslims from across the country would come and pray in time of crisis. Inland is the Brufut Woods Community project where nature lovers can see plenty of local wildlife.

Guests staying in the one hundred and ninety five rooms at the Sheraton have the choice of two restaurants serving food all day, one offering international cuisine which is called The Crematata.

The Crematata offers a choice of inside dining in cool air-conditioned surroundings or outside dining with views of the beach and sea below. Offering breakfast, lunch and evening meals, the Crematata is a relaxed and friendly place to take a meal. Eating in Gambia carries a few local customs and traditions and although you may not encounter these in a hotel restaurant they are useful to understand.

When dinner is ready, the traditional call is is "Key Len Nu Rear." and you will hear the blessing "Bismillah" before you eat, this is an idiom for the name of Allah. Remember this is a Muslim country so dress should be respectful, especially when in public places away from the beaches and pools. Traditional Gambian families will, as do many Muslim cultures, only use the right hand for eating. This practice is not so strictly adhered to in a restaurant but you may see Gambians eating only with their right hand even here. Sitting at the table while others eat is considered bad manners as well; you should take yourself away and sit in another area. Praising the food is always good, but the constant chat accepted in other cultures is frowned upon here, also belching is seen as a sign of appreciation (quietly don't overdo it!). After you have finished your meal it is customary to leave the table even if others have finished and wash your hands. The Gambians also have no problem if you leave the table before the children have finished eating. Tipping is discretionary here, as a ten percent service charge will already have been added to your bill in all restaurants and hotels. Bear in mind that not a lot of that percentage will make its way back to the person actually serving you, so a small tip will be well received.

A traditional breakfast in Gambia will consist of breads, butter and jams. Dishes include "Chura Gerte", boiled rice and peanuts with added yoghurt or tinned milk. Lunch is normally considered the man meal of the day.

Whatever your culinary preferences, the Crematata will not disappoint in quality of food or service. Furnished to the high standards found everywhere else in this quality hotel, the Crematata theme of chunky dark wood furniture and pastel coloured char backs blends the modern with the colours and textures of the African landscape. Combine this with the spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the cooling breeze that stirs the surrounding palms, there is no better place to take a meal.

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