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Spanning countries like Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal, the West African region offers an array of cultural cuisine that has inspired Caribbean and American soul food dishes today. Platters usually contain a foundation of starches — fluffy jollof rice, acheke, couscous or fufu — alongside stews, soups and whole grilled fish.
In Philadelphia, West African immigrants have established neighborhood blocks full of cafes, take-out spots and grocery stores. Read on for the best places for authentic West African eats in Philly.
Pro tip: Be sure to bring cash, as many of the restaurants below don’t accept credit cards.
West African cuisine fills the menu at this intimate spot, where dibi dishes (roasted meat — usually lamb or chicken — chopped in small pieces and thoroughly spiced), grilled fish, fried plantains and more satisfy customers. It’s the first restaurant in the city to specialize in Senegalese foods.
Where: Kilimandjaro, 4317 Chestnut Street
Customers love this Malian spot’s fresh ingredients and affordable prices. Look for menu items like grilled fish, delicious lamb dibi and acheke (a side dish made from shaved cassava), chicken dishes, kebobs and more.
Where: Bintou African & American Restaurant, 6515 Elmwood Avenue
This stretch of Woodland Avenue could fairly be called Little Africa. Multiple take-out spots, restaurants and stores carrying African grocery staples are located throughout this Southwest Philly neighborhood. African Small Pot is one example, owned by Abdarahmane Diop from Mauritania. Diop is a trained gourmet chef and serves a mix of West African and other African-inspired seafood and kebabs.
Where: African Small Pot, 6505 Woodland Avenue
The menu at Le Mandingue reflects the diversity of its chefs, who come from all over West Africa, including Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire. Specials are offered every day, and vegetarian substitutes are available for the entire menu. Attieke with meat, jollof rice and salad with fish are only a few of the select dishes, and there’s often live music at the venue.
Where: Le Mandingue African Restaurant, 6620 Woodland Avenue
Wazobia serves authentic Naija (Nigerian) food, as evidenced by the Nigerian weddings and events the restaurant caters throughout the region. Amala (a mashed paste of yam) and fufu (another paste made of cassava and plantain flour) are both available here, along with jollof rice, vegetable stews and soups.
Where: Wazobia Nigerian Restaurant, 616 N. 11th Street
The busy counter window at this intimate neighborhood spot serves up a full menu of West African and Caribbean platters, like fufa and soup, attieke with fish and chicken with plantain. The restaurant also offers a different special daily.
Where: Emma Liberian Kitchen, 7201 Woodland Avenue
At Angie’s Liberian Kitchen, patrons enjoy a daily menu of Liberian specialties, including sweet and moist plantains, flavorful rice and fresh fish. The portions are generous, so be sure to arrive ready to eat.
Where: Angie's Liberian Kitchen, 618 S. 52nd Street
Kings and Queens Liberian Cuisine offers a mix of traditional Ghanaian, Liberian and Nigerian platters and even features a vegan dish of palm oil potato greens. The restaurant’s most popular orders? Cassava leaf, jollof rice and red snapper.
Where: Kings and Queens Liberian Cuisine, 107 Fairfield Avenue, Upper Darby
This family-owned Malian restaurant is also a big part of the West African community in Philadelphia, catering special events and cooking African, African American and Caribbean foods.
Where: Le Nile African Restaurant, 6735 Elmwood Avenue
Goree proudly offers halal food, made fresh and cooked to order. The large menu contains different varieties of fish, chicken and lamb platters, several types of attieke and more.
Where: Goree Halal African Restaurant, 5514 Rising Sun Avenue
Le Baobab specializes in cuisine from Burkina Faso, Mali and Cote D’Ivoire. Stop by to enjoy dishes like thiebou jeun, yassa poulet and lamb dibi.
Where: Le Baobab Restaurant, 5353 Woodland Avenue
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