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African or Middle Eastern Food in Austin?

  • s

Hi, I just moved to Austin from Santa Barbara, CA, and I love African food (especially Ethiopian) and Middle Eastern food. However, I can't seem to find much of either here. Can anyone help?


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  1. Steer clear of One World Cafe on MLK. I ate there about 2-3 weeks ago and it wasn't good at all. Maybe they're just settling in and need to have a few months to really get it down. I'll probably try again in October. BTW, glad to have another Chowhound in town, welcome aboard!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Greg Spence
      David "Zeb" Cook

      Isn't that World Beat? Maybe it was on off night. I've been there a few times and found it good and it met the approval of my Nigerian friend, (maybe because they had drinks he hadn't had for 13 years).

      1. re: David "Zeb" Cook

        You're right, it was World Beat and I had Ethiopian at lunch. Do you have any ordering recommendations?

        1. re: Greg Spence
          David "Zeb" Cook

          The egusi with fufu was pretty good. I haven't tried the jollof rice but I'm told it's good.

    2. d
      David "zeb" Cook

      World Beat Cafe -- Nigerian, I think, and Ethiopian food. MLK just west of UT. Fufu, injera, etc.

      Ararat -- Middle eastern, North Loop

      Phoenicia Bakery -- Mid east grocery and lunnch food, felafel, etc. One on Burnet, another on South Lamar.

      1. I do not like Ararat. Phoenicia Bakery has some excellent food (shwarmas!), but it's just for lunch. You missed out on Aster's. It was a good Ethiopian restaurant, but it's been closed for some years now. Good luck.


        2 Replies
        1. re: Jim Washburn

          Jim, thanks for the tip on Ararat. my friends have been pushing me for some time to eat there. but there is something about the combo platter of belly dancing and food that just never seemed a fit for me.

          1. re: Jim Washburn

            Aster Kassaye, who formerly ran Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant in the early 90's, closed it when her husband was transferred from Austin. They came back to Austin in 2003, but she wasn't ready for the grind of running a restaurant full time, so she's been selling her food as "Aster's Ethiopian Catering" at several stores (including Wheatsville) and at the Austin and (at one time) Sunset Valley Farmer's Markets:


            She's got the restaurant bug again, but hasn't found the right location. Visit her at the Farmer's Market and encourage her to take the plunge and reopen! She's currently our only chance for an Ethio restaurant in Austin.

          2. I've been hunting for good African food in town. There really isn't any unfortunately. I'm not a big fan of World Beat, I'm surprised it's still open though - I thought that it closed a while back.

            1. What about Afia Cafe, on 6929 Airport Blvd?

              I ran across this in tiny print in the Austin Chronicle. Their description:

              "Not for the gastronomically timid, this restaurant makes few concessions to American tastes. Ogbono, moi-moi, and egusi are among the authentic West African culinary jewels."

              2 Replies
              1. re: jwynne2000

                Heck yeah! Thanks for the recommendation. Now can you conjure up an Eastern and North African joint?

                1. re: jwynne2000

                  i ate at afia several years ago. it was awful. it may be because i'm not used to african food, but the dishes we tried (jerk chicken, several stews and fu fu were not appetizing and the entire restaurant had an odd odor.

                2. My friends and I have quite liked Karibu Ethiopian on E. 7th Street. I was not familiar with Ethiopian food at all prior to going here, and I can't compare it to others, but I like the food enough that I've gone back a few times.

                  Karibu Ethiopian Restaurant
                  1209 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rajat

                    Second for Karibu. I especially like the lamb (yebeg tibbs), red and yellow lentils, and the collard greens. We've been there a handful of times and it's always good, with friendly service. They also serve wine & beer & maybe even have a full bar.

                  2. My favorite Ethiopian place by far in the Austin area is Taste of Ethiopia on Grand Avenue in Pflugerville. The food is the best I have ever had and the owner is wonderful. Try it !!

                    Contact Information
                    Phone :
                    Address :
                    1466 Grand Avenue Pkwy

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: judiftx1

                      +1 on Taste of Ethiopia in Pflugerville. Good stuff.

                      - Mark

                      Taste of Ethiopia
                      1466 Grand Avenue Pkwy, Pflugerville, TX 78660

                      1. re: judiftx1

                        Hey dinaofdoom, You mentioned looking for Ethiopian in a different thread, so I thought I'd reply to you in this thread to bump the broader topic, and specifically to mention my favorite Ethiopian place so far...

                        Definitely find a reason to be near Pflugerville and try Taste of Ethiopia.

                        It is a family-run business, so the service can take a while if they are prime-time busy. I completely enjoyed the dorowat and tibs. I inhaled an all-vegetable appetizer. I never had Injira before (the spongy bread you use like an eating utensil). Can't say I loved it, but I've never had anything like it, and I'd try it again.

                        Plus, the large poster of a picture of the owner (Winnie)'s husband on horseback in Ethiopia is mesmerizing. I remember staring at it for 5 minutes thinking about everything that could have been happening when that photo was taken.

                        (kind of like the white house photo the night Bin Laden was killed)

                        I loved the food, but I would like to go back just to look at that photo again.

                        Taste of Ethiopia
                        1466 Grand Avenue Pkwy, Pflugerville, TX 78660

                        1. re: sweet100s

                          thanks for the thread bump and the info on taste of ethiopia.
                          maybe i should venture into pville for a try.
                          the menu looks delish!

                      2. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7177...

                        Inspired by the above thread, I am wondering about African restos we have have in Austin. I think Aster's for Ethiopian...anything else? Are the West African restos mentioned in this old thread still around?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: luckyfatima

                          Cazamance...a trailer next to G'Raj Mahal on Rainey. It's Senegalese. It's really good but most items have a strong American influence.

                          1. re: luckyfatima

                            hrm other than ethiopian, the only other african place i can think of is cazamance.

                            1. re: luckyfatima

                              There are three open Ethiopian places I know of, all of which are pretty good:


                              Yelp lists a fourth one in Pflugerville, but I have no idea if it's still open:


                              Sadly, AFAIK we have no West African restaurants in Austin right now. I think it's because the flavors and textures are fairly alien to the US palate, and they have trouble staying open catering primarily to the relatively small West African community here.

                              That said, you can easily get West African ingredients to prepare your own. Best bets include Fiesta on 38th, or Afriqmart in Pflugerville:


                            2. Peace Bakery and Deli just opened and it has tasty, authentic food. It's also affordable and the people behind the counter are so nice! A Palestinian family. Iraqi influences in the dishes, too. It's at Braker and Lamar and my new fave Middle Eastern food spot in town!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: lunaportland

                                bumping this thread only served as a reminder of how much i miss the lamb mansaf at the ole ararat.