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ISO African Restaurants...Ethiopian, South African, Rwandan anything...

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I have to admit that other than seeing African food on TV, I haven't a clue to the cuisine of the continent. Please help me find authentic representations of any of the countries of Africa, and any recommended foods to order. I'll drive to any SoCal locations, San Diego to Santa Barbara. Thanks Chowhounds!

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  1. Little mentioned on this board is Awash. I first discovered this place when an Ethiopian friend brought me there several years ago. Went back recently with a friend, and although the B rating kept us from getting the Ethiopian steak tartare (kitfo), they do an awesome special meat dish - zilzil? Juicy, tender strips of beef, I think cooked in a pan. My friend usually prefers Rosalind (and swears by their kitfo), but their tibs (beef strips, comes on a sizzling platter) is tough.

    Awash
    5990 1/2 W Pico Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90035
    (323) 939-3233

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cicely

      Cicely, a B ratings won't be a deterent for any dining adventure for me. I too would stay away from the tartare though.

    2. You're in luck with Ethiopian food, there's a whole Little Ethiopia on Fairfax, just south of Olympic. The best food, in my humbler-than-thou opinion, is to be found at Meals by Genet. Go with another person and get the lamb stew and the vegetable combination.

      Ethopians are mostly Orthodox Christians who follow a stringent dietary code (fasting days, prohibitions of certain foods on certain days) that is a cross between old-line Catholicism and kashrut. No seafood and no pork are allowed. The result is that they make some of the best vegetarian stews ever, and they're actually vegetarian (no chicken stock or nonsense like that).

      Also in the are are Nyala, Messob and Rosalind's, all of which are about the same to me. The injera (sourdough "pancake bread" that serves as both plate and silverware, eat with your right hand only) is better at Messob, the decor's better at Nyala, and it's cheapest at Rosalind's.

      On the Westside is one place called Fassica, on Washington and Motor directly across from Sony. It's not as good as the Little Ethiopia places but it's not bad, and it's an easier drive to the Westside.

      For South African, the only place I know is Springbok on Victory west of Woodley (next to Vallarta Supermarket) in Van Nuys.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        Das Ubergeek, Thanks for the Ethiopian cultural culinary lowdown and the recs.

      2. I've dined at Ngoma and have really enjoyed my meal there. A link to the restaurant is below:

        http://www.ngomarestaurant.com/

        Enjoy!

        1 Reply
        1. re: pleasurepalate

          Ngoma was probably the worst dining experience I've ever had in my life. I ordered what I thought was a seafood stew. It turned out to be goat stew with dried seafood in it. Nowhere on the menu did it mention it was goat. Also, slow service and bad desserts.

        2. Merhaba Eritrean/Ethiopian Restaurant on Ball and Dale in Anaheim. Never been but it definitely looks interesting.

          2 Replies
          1. re: SouthOCHound

            It's not as good as the places on Fairfax but it's cheaper, and it's in OC which saves some folks a big drive up to LA.

            1. re: SouthOCHound

              SouthOCHound, Ahhh, something in my neck of the woods. I'll probably hit this place first.

            2. i'll second the recommendations for awash, and meals by genet.

              and, while you're at it, check out india sweet house next door to awash.

              1. I prefer Rahel in Little Ehtiopia for Veggie...I just want to mention that most Ethiopian places serve a good number of delicious meat and fish dishes. Fish tibs are wonderful, and I like the tripe at Messob. You can get beef, chicken, lamb and fish as well as the vegetarian dishes. Get several wots (stews) and some tibs (meat dishes) and load up the injera!

                There's Springbok in the SFV. I forget what African Country is the focus there, but I hear it's not bad.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Diana

                  imho, the injera at rahel is head and shoulders above all the rest as is their shiro.
                  be sure to order awazay on the side.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    I agree!

                  2. re: Diana

                    Springbok is South African

                  3. also, there is an ethiopian place called ibex on la brea north of manchester south of slauson (inglewood) that serves a well-priced very servicable vegetarian platter. they do have a 'B' rating if that bothers you.

                    1. African Cuisine in Los Angeles:

                      North Africa
                      -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Moroccan (West N.A.)
                      Tagine - WLA (there are at least 10 to choose from)
                      http://www.taginecuisine.com
                      http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLand...

                      Tunisian (Central N.A.
                      )Magic Carpet (Middle Eastern ) - WLA (has at least 4 Tunisian dishes you could make a complete meal from)
                      8566 W. Pico Blvd. (310) 652-8507

                      Egyptian - (East N.A.)
                      Cafe Dahab - WLA
                      http://www.cafedahab.com

                      Central Africa
                      -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Ethiopian - Several already mentioned above

                      Ngoma - Mid-Wilshire
                      Main Dishes: East C.A. = 8; West C.A. = 7
                      http://www.ngomarestaurant.com

                      South Africa
                      -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Republic of South Africa
                      Springbok - Van Nuys & Long Beach
                      http://www.springbokbar.com

                      Mozambique (Portuguese influenced
                      )Mozambique - Laguna Beach
                      http://www.mozambiqueoc.com
                      http://feastinginphoenix.com/?p=128

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: JBC

                        JBC -

                        Have you tried Mozambique? I've been wondering if it's any good.

                        1. re: PlonkMan

                          No, not yet. I haven't made it down to Laguna Beach for several years; however, you can read and view the review from "Feasting in Phoenix" (which I linked above) who has.

                        2. re: JBC

                          JBC, Wow, thanks for the rundown.

                        3. Sorry, but Springbok isn't very good if you know S. African food (husband is Afrikaans and we lived there briefly). We drove down from Santa Barbara once a few years back to try it and were not impressed. However, south of LA is the African Hut if you need a S. African food hit. They are only an import store but they do make their own biltong and droerwors that isn't half bad (I like mine more wet and pink than they make).

                          We've never been disappointed with any place in Little Ethiopia though they are all a little different and certainly each does some dishes better than others.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: orgidie

                            orgidie, Thanks for the reminder, I have a friend from South Africa that I can ask too.

                          2. I liked the food better at Rosalind's (Ethiopian) over Nyala's but Nyala's has better decor. Both have slow service though Nyala seems to be improving.

                            1. I think that Meals by Genet is the best Ethiopian restaurant in the United States, and I have eaten at a lot of them.

                              The quality of the ingredients, the absolute consistency, the variety of dishes, the authenticity, the care--you just cannot get this quality outside of a home. In the old days, an Ethiopian woman could not get married unless she could make doro wat (the chicken and egg dish) because it was so important. It's also really complicated, it takes three days to make properly. Genet is the only restaurant owner I know who takes three days to make this dish. Her restaurant is also the only Ethiopian restaurant where I have seen Ethiopians actually ordering the dish, most avoid it in restaurants because it is just too difficult to make. It just doesn't get better than this. The yebeg alicha is in a class of its own.

                              I can understand vegetarians loving Rahel's, though, it is also excellent. Interesting that the two best Ethiopian restaurants in Los Angeles are owned and managed by women.

                              Also, there is Saari's in Inglewood, if you are into West African (Nigerian) food. Long waits but worth it.