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A plate of jollof rice from Appioo African Bar & Grill
A plate of jollof rice from Appioo African Bar & Grill
Appioo [official]

Where to Find Jollof Rice Around D.C.

Eight essential versions of the West African specialty

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A plate of jollof rice from Appioo African Bar & Grill
| Appioo [official]

The topic of jollof rice inspires lively debates among natives of West African countries — and admirers of their food culture. The one-pot dish, which gets color and spice from tomatoes and chiles, is a staple in the region’s cuisine. Every family swears to have a specific method of preparing it. Nigerians and Ghanaians in particular are known to swear by certain grains of rice, meats, and spices that give their favorite jollof rice a unique taste.

This map includes versions that draw influences from Ghana (Appioo, Bukom), Nigeria (Jodeem, Kith/Kin) and Gambia (Mansa Kunda).

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Jodeem African Cuisine

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6000 Greenbelt Rd
Greenbelt, MD 20770
(301) 345-2674

Some of the best Nigerian food can be found just outside the District in suburban Maryland, where there’s a a healthy population of African residents. Jodeem cooks its jollof with long grain parboiled rice, which results in a less starchy consistency. Save room for an extra serving of fried plantains.

2. Mansa Kunda Restaurant

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8000 Flower Ave
Takoma Park, MD 20912
(301) 589-8222
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This addition to Takoma Park is ideal for diners looking to enjoy brunch or dinner in peace (without the sudden movement of tables to make way for a band). The food is a healthy mix of Gambian, Senegalese and influences from other western states. A more high-end approach brings an extravagant version of jollof, called benachin or chep bu jain. In this version, proteins (tofu/paneer cheese, beef, or fish) are cooked with the rice to lend more flavor.

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Benachin/ Jollof Rice is ready.

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3. Bukom Cafe

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2442 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 265-4600
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This Ghanaian hideaway in one of the city’s bar-heavy neighborhoods encourages patrons to eat their jollof rice with oxtail stew or on a vegetarian plate that includes black eyed peas, greens, and plantains. A live reggae band often adds to the atmosphere.

4. Zion Kitchen Lounge & Cafe

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1805 Montana Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 636-9097
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This Northeast spot is revered for its variety. In addition to jollof rice, one best-seller is a peanut stew that’s a favorite among Cameroonians. Zion also offers catering for large gatherings.

5. Appioo African Bar & Grill

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1924 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 588-7366
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Located by Ninth Street’s slice of Little Ethiopia, Appioo prides itself on preparing some of the best Ghanian food in Washington. Customers can order jollof rice with a choice of croaker fish, goat, beef, oxtail or chicken. After a meal, it’s a smart idea to stick around. The restaurant transforms into a nightclub on Fridays and Saturdays with traditional Afrobeats from DJ Swing pumping until 2:30 a.m. 

A plate of jollof rice from Appioo African Bar & Grill
A plate of jollof rice from Appioo African Bar & Grill
Appioo [official]

6. Kith/Kin

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801 Wharf St SW
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 878-8566
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At his Afro-Caribbean restaurant in the InterContinental hotel, chef Kwame Onwuachi’s uses Nigerian red sauce as the base of several dishes. His jollof rice is served with crab and trout, making it pescatarian friendly.

An early version of Kith/Kin’s jollof rice with mackerel and carrot jam
An early version of Kith/Kin’s jollof rice with mackerel and carrot jam
Bill Addison/Eater

7. Open Crumb

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1243 Good Hope Rd SE
Washington, DC 20020
(202) 610-9979

This family restaurant in Anacostia is run by a mother and her three sons. A chalkboard menu deviates from Southern dishes on a printed version with a special for exceptional jollof rice. Don’t miss the shrimp and grits, either. Lead cook Peter Opare makes everything, including loaves of bread.

8. Naija Cafe

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8319 Old Branch Ave
Clinton, MD 20735
(240) 348-7091
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Naija boasts some of the best jollof in the area, but that’s not all. The Clinton, Maryland, destination claims spicy grilled goat asun as a specialty dish that’s ubiquitous in Nigerian home cooking. Getting jollof and asun on the same plate offers a nostalgic taste of a grandmother’s cooking.

1. Jodeem African Cuisine

6000 Greenbelt Rd, Greenbelt, MD 20770

Some of the best Nigerian food can be found just outside the District in suburban Maryland, where there’s a a healthy population of African residents. Jodeem cooks its jollof with long grain parboiled rice, which results in a less starchy consistency. Save room for an extra serving of fried plantains.

6000 Greenbelt Rd
Greenbelt, MD 20770

2. Mansa Kunda Restaurant

8000 Flower Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912

This addition to Takoma Park is ideal for diners looking to enjoy brunch or dinner in peace (without the sudden movement of tables to make way for a band). The food is a healthy mix of Gambian, Senegalese and influences from other western states. A more high-end approach brings an extravagant version of jollof, called benachin or chep bu jain. In this version, proteins (tofu/paneer cheese, beef, or fish) are cooked with the rice to lend more flavor.

8000 Flower Ave
Takoma Park, MD 20912

3. Bukom Cafe

2442 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

This Ghanaian hideaway in one of the city’s bar-heavy neighborhoods encourages patrons to eat their jollof rice with oxtail stew or on a vegetarian plate that includes black eyed peas, greens, and plantains. A live reggae band often adds to the atmosphere.

2442 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

4. Zion Kitchen Lounge & Cafe

1805 Montana Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

This Northeast spot is revered for its variety. In addition to jollof rice, one best-seller is a peanut stew that’s a favorite among Cameroonians. Zion also offers catering for large gatherings.

1805 Montana Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002

5. Appioo African Bar & Grill

1924 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
A plate of jollof rice from Appioo African Bar & Grill
A plate of jollof rice from Appioo African Bar & Grill
Appioo [official]

Located by Ninth Street’s slice of Little Ethiopia, Appioo prides itself on preparing some of the best Ghanian food in Washington. Customers can order jollof rice with a choice of croaker fish, goat, beef, oxtail or chicken. After a meal, it’s a smart idea to stick around. The restaurant transforms into a nightclub on Fridays and Saturdays with traditional Afrobeats from DJ Swing pumping until 2:30 a.m. 

1924 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

6. Kith/Kin

801 Wharf St SW, Washington, DC 20024
An early version of Kith/Kin’s jollof rice with mackerel and carrot jam
An early version of Kith/Kin’s jollof rice with mackerel and carrot jam
Bill Addison/Eater

At his Afro-Caribbean restaurant in the InterContinental hotel, chef Kwame Onwuachi’s uses Nigerian red sauce as the base of several dishes. His jollof rice is served with crab and trout, making it pescatarian friendly.

801 Wharf St SW
Washington, DC 20024

7. Open Crumb

1243 Good Hope Rd SE, Washington, DC 20020

This family restaurant in Anacostia is run by a mother and her three sons. A chalkboard menu deviates from Southern dishes on a printed version with a special for exceptional jollof rice. Don’t miss the shrimp and grits, either. Lead cook Peter Opare makes everything, including loaves of bread.

1243 Good Hope Rd SE
Washington, DC 20020

8. Naija Cafe

8319 Old Branch Ave, Clinton, MD 20735

Naija boasts some of the best jollof in the area, but that’s not all. The Clinton, Maryland, destination claims spicy grilled goat asun as a specialty dish that’s ubiquitous in Nigerian home cooking. Getting jollof and asun on the same plate offers a nostalgic taste of a grandmother’s cooking.

8319 Old Branch Ave
Clinton, MD 20735

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