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African restaurants in NYC

I love to eat at African restaurants so I thought I’d tell you about a couple of my New York favorites.

Madiba (195 Dekalb Ave; 718.855.9190) in Fort Greene is a longstanding favorite, a convivial South African spot with wooden benches, colorful paintings and quirky folk art. I’ve been going there since it first opened in the late 1990s in a tiny front room that now houses the bar. The owner has since moved to Miami and opened a South Beach branch of Madiba. More recently, the Brooklyn flagship updated its menu. Apart from curry and stew mainstays, offbeat food options include ostrich carpaccio and prawns peri-peri. If entrails are your thing, don’t skip their spicy chicken livers. I was at Madiba the night before the inauguration and the party was on, with live music and lots of people celebrating.

A couple of months ago, I fell in love with A Bistro (154 Carlton Ave, 718.855.9455; closed Mondays), an intimate Senegalese spot where the ambiance is down-home and communal and the food a real pleasure to your taste buds. The actual menu is small but the daily specials are extensive and include a lot of great fish options and mouthwatering desserts (don’t skip their banana shortcake!). The portions are on the small side but the interesting flavors make up for that. The only thing is: the restaurant is BYOB so make sure you pick up a bottle of wine or some beer along the way. They do have great and quite unusual juices, served warm or cold.

When I have a craving for Ethiopian, I usually head to the downtown branch of Awash in the East Village (338 East 6th Street; 212.982.9589). The food served here is great for sharing – the combo dishes are best, all served with the spongy injera bread. The decor is nothing to write home about but the atmosphere is low-key and unpretentious. And it’s so much fun to eat with your hands! Plus I really like the sweet Ethiopian honey wine they serve. The uptown branch (947 Amsterdam Avenue; 212.961.1416) is apparently worth trying too, if you’re in that neck of the woods.

Blog Comments

Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Moroccoan, and Italian cooking are some of my favorites. I can’t believe I haven’t even tasted African yet – have a lot of catching up to do! I will pay a visit to the second place you recommended the next time I’m in NYC.

I subscribe to it all. Great food experiences in all three places. In Madiba I love the ribeye steak (great piece of meat, indeed), the malva pudding as dessert and the music. At A-Bistro I just loved everything, including the music. This one night, a customer gave us an outstanding live dance show. And those juices are the bomb! The tamarind one is my favorite, whether hot or cold.

I love the idea of African food, but in Sydney there’s not really too many African eateries (except a few in the funky inner-west suburb of Newtown). I’m living in Vietnam now and again there’s not much in the way of African food – might have to wait til I next visit NYC to indulge!

I haven’t yet had (sub-saharan) African food even though there are plenty of these restaurants here in Toronto — Senegalese, Angolan, Ethiopian, to name a few. Will definitely make an effort to try them all!

These sound like some more place I have to visit on my next NYC visit. I love Senegalese and went to several but not A-Bistro. Tej honey wine is also a favorite!

If you are looking for African restaurants in other States, you should check out http://www.africanbizbyzip.com (AfricanBizByZip)… it’s an online local African business directory. I don’t think there are NY African businesses listed yet, but I am sure it will be soon!

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