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Feb 9, 2008 09:43 PM

February is "Black History" month- African Restaurant Suggestions?


I would like to improve my Afro-culinary knowledge this month with a visit or three to an authentic Afican restaurant which I believe would be 'apropos' considering.
Past experiences include dining with 'INJURA' at an Eithiopian spot and 'HKATENKWAN' (GROUNDNUT STEW) served with FuFu, or dumpling at a Ghanaian eatery at Jane and Wilson (South east strip plaza- downstairs) Rallying spot for the Ghanaian world soccer team fans of Toronto 2 years ago.
Of course, like many Chowhounds, I have dined extensively on many Caribbean delicacies such as 'JERK', 'ROTI', 'CORN SOUP','RICE and PEAS', 'PLANTAIN' etc.
and at the Underground Railway Soulfood Restaurant when it existed.

Please provide me with your top recommendations so that I can celebrate Black History Month in the best Chowhound way.


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  1. Simba Grill (375 Donlands) for Tanzanian.
    Teranga (159 Augusta) for Senegalese.

    9 Replies
    1. re: hungry_pangolin

      Could you please help this novice out hungry pangolin ?
      What would you suggest I try from the menu?
      I will probably get to Simba Grill before Teranga.

      1. re: fruglescot

        For an introduction to African food, I suggest you pick up a copy of Marcus Samuelsson's spectacular The Soul of a New Cuisine. I've had Senegalese in New York. Great stews. I have no idea what was in them.

        1. re: fruglescot

          Here's a good previous thread on Simba with menu suggestions and I'm sure a search of the board would pull up more for you -

          Simba Grill
          375 Donlands Ave, Toronto, ON M4J3S2, CA

          1. re: hungry_pangolin

            Would you consider Simba Grill authentic Tanzanian food? Quite a few people of Indian origin moved to Tanzania and Uganda, and I bet that the owners are from India. I'd consider it a stretch to go there for "Black History" month. The menu looks very similar to what you would find in some Indian restaurants.

            1. re: foodyDudey

              Well, the owners are definitely not "African-Canadian", but the food is somewhat authentic. Unfortunately, they are afraid to put any heat into the food that is supposed to be spicy. We had a mixed experience there, but Simba is definitely worth a try. Definitely have the ugali beef curry.

              1. re: embee

                What is authentic Tanzanian food? Is it the food the native Tanzanians eat or is it what the immigrants from other countries cook? I'd think it's the former. Otherwise, the food that the Chinese in India cook could be called Indian cuisine, which it isn't.

                Here is what I found is Tanzanian cuisine:

                And here is another useful link:

                Note this one paragraph from the above link:

                City Food
                When we were in the cities, and not involved with our safari expeditions, we had to fend for ourselves. Breakfast was typically very Indian. Most places served chipatis (Indian pancakes) and samosas to go with your chai (tea). Alternatively, we found these delicious sweet rices balls that seemed to be deep-fried. They reminded me of a rice donut.

                Lunch was usually very small and quick. I indulged in 2 or 3 samosas from a street vendor at 150 shillings ($0.20) per samosa, whereas Liz would buy a grilled cassava root for 200 shillings.

                Dinner was quite a treat. Tanzania has a large Indian population, and we ate a lot of Indian food here. We rarely spent more than $15 on dinner for the two of us. This included lots of naan bread, some dal, some palak paneer and a curry dish. When we weren’t eating Indian, we were sitting at a bar, eating nyama choma for 2000 shillings per kilo (~ $1.20 per pound) and pounding Kilimanjaro Lagers.

                F.D. (I know Indian food when I see it, I was born there)

                1. re: embee

                  I read your review in the other thread. I have been meaning to post my own review and also point out that most of that food is traditionally not served spicy so you essentially got what you asked for.

                  Even the "spicy" foods like piri piri chicken and zanzibari coconut curry are not very spicy by Western spicy food standards. Actually, much of the food is quite bland by our standards.

              2. re: hungry_pangolin

                Simba's is closed at this time. Apparently for a long renovation.
                Do you believe that?

              3. Two more suggestions:

                Harlem Restaurant on Richmond near Church is finally starting to get the recognition and rave reviews it deserves. It's a small joint specializing in mainly soul food and Caribbean food, often with a bit of a creative twist. Unfortunately, their website seems to have gone down sometime in the last few weeks...

                Ethiopian House on Irwin just north of the Yonge & Wellesley subway stop is another popular Ethiopian restaurant. It's small, casual, and cheap, and the food is very tasty. The service can be a bit brisk, though.

                Ethiopian House
                4 Irwin Ave, Toronto, ON M4Y1K9, CA

                67 Richmond St E, Toronto, ON M5C1N9, CA

                2 Replies
                1. re: Gary

                  Thanks for that inforrmation Gary. I do get your point, however, since Simba's Grill reviewed so well and I have made plans already for this upcoming Wednesday, I believe I'll be dining there first. As I said in my post,...'quote

                  ..........." I would like to improve my Afro-culinary knowledge this month with a visit or three ' ...........................
                  I'm planning three or more restaurant visits for BHM. So perhaps one of your fine selections will make my list next or, if not, perhaps sometime after BHM February.Thanks again

                  1. re: fruglescot

                    I don't know if The Blue Bay Cafe is still in business but it has 'food' appropriate for Black History Month...The cuisine is from the island of "Mauritius"...a very interesting island with several cultural and cuisine influences from Africa to Europe.
                    Perhaps you can check it out Fruglescot if not now (February) keep it on a list for later......haven't been there for years but did enjoy it the few times we went for dinner.

                2. Many Ethopian choices. I can recommend Dukem and Lalibela. Ethopian House is more upscale and Addis Ababa more esthetically pleasing. There are probably two dozen more. But you know that food already.

                  There are a few Somalian choices, but I don't have any personal experiences to share.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: embee

                    Jeez, I forgot Somali! New Bilan, south side of Dundas E., just east of Jarvis, was very good, very simple, very friendly, very inexpensive. I haven't been there in a while. Also, Hamdi at Carlton and Ontario, was recommended to me by a cab driver recently, but I've yet to try it. Name of the place escapes me, but north side of Dundas E between Church and Jarvis looks good, as well.

                  2. has anyone been to teranga or blue bay cafe recently?
                    I'm thinking of suggesting one of them for my restaurant club pick.