Africa is the second largest and second most populous continent in the world, and yet the cuisines from its 54 countries can sometimes be difficult to find in Los Angeles with the exception of Ethiopian, which has a thriving scene along Fairfax Avenue. From Tunisian couscous to Nigerian fufu, African food is incredibly varied due to a wide range of climates and colonial influences. Here’s a guide on where to find African cuisines in Los Angeles.Read More
12 Places to Find Flavor-Packed African Cuisines in Los Angeles
From Egypt to South Africa, these restaurants are exemplars of African food less common in Los Angeles
Uganda: Jaliz Cuisine of East Africa
Jaliz Cuisine mostly operates as a catering business. Diners choose from three proteins: goat, chicken, or fish. The protein is served as a soup next to a plate of matooke (mashed green plantains) topped with peanut sauce, jollof rice with fried goat meat, chapati bread (an Indian flatbread), and collard greens.
South Africa: Springbok Bar & Grill
Springbok in Van Nuys may seem like a regular sports bar, but look closer to find South African staples like chicken liver peri peri or prawns in pili pili sauce. There’s also a daily Durban curry special made from tomatoes and spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves.
Kenya: Flavors from Afar
Eritrean cuisine is similar to its neighbor Ethiopia, but it isn’t as widely available in LA. Enter Flavors from Afar in Little Ethiopia, a cafe extension of the nonprofit Tiyya Foundation. The cafe rotates menus from different refugee chefs, including one from Eritrea. The Eritrean menu only pops up every few months and includes a vegetarian hash with curry powder (alicha) and a braised lamb shank stew with tomatoes and spices. Flavors from Afar also rotates menus from Somalia, Egypt, and soon, Kenya.
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Ethiopia: Meals By Genet
All of the restaurant’s dishes, meat and vegetable stews called wot and stir-fried dishes called tibs, are centered around injera (a spongy and subtly sour flatbread made of fermented teff flour) and a spice mixture called berbere. Don’t come to Meals by Genet without ordering chef Genet Agonafer’s doro wot (chicken stew), which takes three days to make.
Tunisia: Harissa Restaurant
Alain Cohen shares a bit of his French-Tunisian heritage at Harissa, which is located next door to his better-known Got Kosher Deli & Bakery. Try the brick à l’oeuf au thon, a crispy crepe stuffed with tuna, capers, and eggs. The chebtiya, Tunisian meatballs served over couscous with a tomato-based broth on the side, is also worth a taste.
Aduke African Cuisine
Aduke African Cuisine on Pico Boulevard serves hard-to-find Nigerian dishes. On the menu is fufu, a dumpling made of mashed cassava, as well as its cousin amala, which is made of dried yam flour. Served alongside is ewedu, a soup made of jute leaves and meat or seafood. The most approachable dish is suya, grilled meat skewers seasoned with chili pepper, spices, and peanut powder. For the adventurous, Aduke serves igbin alata, sautéed snails in a spicy tomato sauce.
Somalia: Banadir Somali Restaurant
Banadir in Inglewood, the only Somali restaurant in LA, is a hub for the area’s Somali community. For breakfast, there’s anjera, a fermented sorghum flour pancake similar to Ethiopian injera. The anjera is served with chicken suqar, a type of stir-fry. For lunch and dinner, find large rice platters with choice of meat (goat, chicken, or fish). Both rice and spaghetti meals are served with bananas meant to be eaten with the meal.
Cameroon: African Chop Food Truck
African Chop, which is owned by two Cameroonians, serves typical West African and Cameroonian fare. The wild mackerel, a specialty from co-owner Hector Tantoh’s hometown of Douala, is served with plantains and Cameroonian hot pepper sauce. The puff puff, a fried dough snack similar to a beignet, is a popular street food in Cameroon. Order it with beans like the locals do.
Ghana: Airport Royal Cuisine
Airport Royal Cuisine serves traditional foods from across Ghana. Try waakye, a mixture of rice and beans, which are served with garri (grated cassava) and spaghetti with a choice of goat or fish. Another popular item is red-red, beans cooked with plantains and palm oil—the reddish palm oil gives the dish its name. The red-red here is served with eggs and fish.
It’s rare to find Egyptian street snacks in Los Angeles, and rarer still to find the food hiding inside a San Fernando Valley garage. But that’s exactly where the Original Hawowshi shines, selling underground griddled bread and other delights by direct message or at pop-ups all over the city. For a unique taste of Cairo culture, there’s nothing like these layered, hand-tossed snacks.
Longtime Westwood Moroccan restaurant Koutoubia serves b’stia au poulet, tagines, and brochettes des crevettes royales — herbed-and-grilled shrimp served atop couscous, to adoring locals, who appreciate the fabric-laden space. Warm service, music, and even belly dancing adds to the visual and auditory pleasures of a meal that transports one to Morocco.
One of Little Ethiopia’s enduring restaurants, the traditional Ethiopian restaurant opened from Fekere Gebre-Mariam in 1989 serving satisfying samplers laid out beautifully on injera bread featuring doro wat, plantains, and other favorites meant to be shared.