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Compass Rose
Compass Rose
R. Lopez

Nine Places To Explore Cuisines from the African Continent

Yes, including Ethiopian

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Compass Rose
| R. Lopez

Africa is a big continent, not a country. That means "African cuisine" is actually a giant category that doesn't really do justice to the hundreds of different cultures coexisting there.

Back in January, Eater touched on just one African cuisine – Moroccan. Now it's time to dive deeper and explore other types like Mozambican, Senegalese, Eritrean, Nigerian, Ghanian. Of course there's representation from Ethiopian, arguably the city's most famous African cuisine.

Dishes like fufu, ugali, and nsima are guaranteed to make an appearance. They're different names for essentially the same thing – a food made with maize or cassava that's a vehicle for proteins and vegetables. It's a staple in Central, East, and Southern Africa. Jollof rice is a West African dish of rice, tomato sauce, and spices. Egusi is a melon seed used to make a famous West African soup.

With this primer on dishes from across the continent, enjoy these nine places to taste just a small sample of the many African cuisines out there.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Appioo African Bar & Grill

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1924 9th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 588-7366
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For those craving some Ghanian dishes, this Shaw restaurant has some of the staples on its menu like pepper soup, fufu, egusi, and jollof rice (rice cooked with tomato sauce and spices).

2. Bukom Cafe

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2442 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 265-4600
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A favorite for fans of West African cuisine, Bukom Cafe is named after a famous square in Accra, Ghana and has a wide variety of West African dishes on the menu. The egusi is goat meat cooked with melon seeds — that's the namesake for the dish. It's popular in Nigeria.

3. Compass Rose

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1346 T St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 506-4765
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The restaurant where diners can take a trip around the world occasionally offers a dish or two from the African continent. On the menu is gambas Mozambique which is literally "Mozambican shrimp". Because Mozambique was colonized by Portugal, the cuisines of the two countries are very much intertwined.

4. ECCC Restaurant

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600 L St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
ECCC is very much understated. While there are indeed Ethiopian dishes on the menu, this restaurant focuses on its Eritrean roots.

5. Habesha Market and Carry-out

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1919 9th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 232-1919
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Located on 9th St NW amongst many other Ethiopian joints, Habesha is not only a restaurant but also a market. Shoppers can pop in to buy injera to take home and make their own Ethiopian meals.

6. Keren Restaurant

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1780 Florida Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 265-5764
This Eritrean/Ethiopian restaurant has many cross-cultural dishes on the menu, including its well-loved Eritrean breakfast bowl of fuul, which is seasoned beans topped with vegetables, greens, and scrambled eggs.

7. Mama Ayesha's

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1967 Calvert St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 232-5431
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The pan-Middle Eastern restaurant is famous not only for its mural but also for dishes from Egypt like mujadarah (also popular in Lebananon) – a mixture of lentils, rice, onions, and yogurt.

8. Marrakech Restaurant DC

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2147 P St NW
Washington, D.C. 20037
Moroccan cuisine is one of the more famous cuisines to come from Africa, and Marrakech Restaurant serves up many traditional dishes and has live belly dancing on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

9. Sumah's West African Restaurant

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1727 7th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 462-2516
Sumach's goes for many of the West African regional dishes. And this restaurant may be the only place to find krain krain – the Sierre Leone stew made from leaves and traditionally eaten with fufu or rice.

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1. Appioo African Bar & Grill

1924 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
For those craving some Ghanian dishes, this Shaw restaurant has some of the staples on its menu like pepper soup, fufu, egusi, and jollof rice (rice cooked with tomato sauce and spices).
1924 9th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

2. Bukom Cafe

2442 18th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
A favorite for fans of West African cuisine, Bukom Cafe is named after a famous square in Accra, Ghana and has a wide variety of West African dishes on the menu. The egusi is goat meat cooked with melon seeds — that's the namesake for the dish. It's popular in Nigeria.
2442 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

3. Compass Rose

1346 T St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
The restaurant where diners can take a trip around the world occasionally offers a dish or two from the African continent. On the menu is gambas Mozambique which is literally "Mozambican shrimp". Because Mozambique was colonized by Portugal, the cuisines of the two countries are very much intertwined.
1346 T St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

4. ECCC Restaurant

600 L St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
ECCC is very much understated. While there are indeed Ethiopian dishes on the menu, this restaurant focuses on its Eritrean roots.
600 L St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

5. Habesha Market and Carry-out

1919 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Located on 9th St NW amongst many other Ethiopian joints, Habesha is not only a restaurant but also a market. Shoppers can pop in to buy injera to take home and make their own Ethiopian meals.
1919 9th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

6. Keren Restaurant

1780 Florida Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
This Eritrean/Ethiopian restaurant has many cross-cultural dishes on the menu, including its well-loved Eritrean breakfast bowl of fuul, which is seasoned beans topped with vegetables, greens, and scrambled eggs.
1780 Florida Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

7. Mama Ayesha's

1967 Calvert St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
The pan-Middle Eastern restaurant is famous not only for its mural but also for dishes from Egypt like mujadarah (also popular in Lebananon) – a mixture of lentils, rice, onions, and yogurt.
1967 Calvert St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

8. Marrakech Restaurant DC

2147 P St NW, Washington, D.C. 20037
Moroccan cuisine is one of the more famous cuisines to come from Africa, and Marrakech Restaurant serves up many traditional dishes and has live belly dancing on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
2147 P St NW
Washington, D.C. 20037

9. Sumah's West African Restaurant

1727 7th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Sumach's goes for many of the West African regional dishes. And this restaurant may be the only place to find krain krain – the Sierre Leone stew made from leaves and traditionally eaten with fufu or rice.
1727 7th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

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