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African Restaurants


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Hi...

Does anyone know of some good Ethopian or Moroccan restaurants in London, or any other African restaurants for that matter? I'm after ones that are as "authentic" as possible - no pandering to middle class English tastebuds (nothing bland or fusiony!!). Just tasty doro wat etc.

Thanks.

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There was an unimpressive Ethopian down in Bayswater - near where Little has his deli. But there was one I always wanted to try up in King's Cross - what's that road parallel to York Way with the prison on - Pentonville? My brain's gone. Anyway, they looked like they did whole deal, but I never managed to get there. (Sorry for pitiful lack of detail)

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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Cafe Mandola is an authentic Sudanese restaurant on Westborne Grove. Only been once - with my wife's Sudanese family - but I have good memories of the food.

Mandola has closed down recently. Shame really as I quite liked it too and it was BYO...

Opening up in its place is a Taqueria being run by the Cool Chile Co. (Sometime in April I believe). There is a thread on this somewhere else in the forums..

However, there are a number of Ethiopian and Moroccan restaurants in London. Momo is the most famous Moroccan. Highly stylised in decor and price. If you want something more down to Earth, I've heard good things about the Cous-Cous cafe in Bayswater (off Queensway)

Rgds

Rick

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Mandola is fine, and it's a nice place to go to. Prices have gone up a lot recently but it is BYO and hence quite fun and rowdy.

There are a couple of Ethiopian restaurants around Kings Cross: the one MobyP referred to is on Caledonian road, half way between Kings Cross and Caledonian Road tubes on the West side. There is supposed to be another one around there too, I think.

There is another one in Kentish Toen called Lalibela, which I haven't been to but which is supposed to be quite good; it's on Fortess Road.

There used to be somewhere in Stoke Newington (I think) which made you pay an extra £3 to have your dish served in a hot iron pot. Dunno if it's still there.

I stumbled into a new Ethiopian/ Sudanese/ Eritrean place right up at the top of Green Lanes (beyond the Northernmost snooker hall, on the left-hand side). It was opening the day I went in so things were mixed.

There was a meat and okra dish which was disappointing (isn't it West African anyway?) but a bean dish and a lentil dish were excellent and there were myriad ground chilli sauces/ condiments (one with over 50 spices so they said...)

Anyway, I liked it: the owners were lovely and the food was good, if not great.

Otherwise you could try the Calabash in the Africa Centre which is a facsimile of the Air Kenya Transit Lounge in Nairobi Airport.

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Asmara is an unpretentious Eritrean restaurant on Coldharbour Lane in Brixton at the Dog Star end. It's run by a lovely couple and the food is fine but the service can be a bit slow.

I think there's another one on the Brixton Rd up at Angell Town but I've never tried it.

Edited by Winot (log)
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I quite like Mahgreb on Upper Street for Moroccan but I would strongly suggest sticking with the couscous and tagines. Haven't been for a while. but this place seems quite popular.

I think there has been some movement in the Ethiopians on Caledonian Road. The large one that occupied the really big corner spot (Merkato?) seems to have moved into smaller premises across the street. I've never had Ethiopian food so I think I will pop over for lunch today and report back.

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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And so it came to pass. Suzi has her first Ethiopian meal. I was right, Merkato has moved from its large premises on Caledonian Road and been replaced with Marathon Restaurant. Having two choices so close together was tough but I based my decision on the fact that Merkato has an outside terrace and I wanted to sit in the sun.

I didn't really know what to choose so I asked my waitress for some help. After a few questions she pointed me towards a spicy lamb dish, the name of which I didn't write down and I think she wrote down the wrong dish for me as having checked I definitely ate lamb and not "awaze tibs" which is a beef dish. The food came served with the traditional Injera bread and having spooned my salad and the lamb onto the Injera my waitress was off with a quick "hope you're ready to eat with your hands". All food tastes better when eaten with your fingers and when you're sitting in the sun even the Caledonian Road was a beautiful place to be. The lamb was served in a thin spicy sauce with lots of onion and green peppers. The sauce has a much thinner consistency than Indian sauces and the spicing was much more pungent and peppery. The flavour was less layered and complex than Indian food, but very enjoyable none the less. It was served with a fresh salad spiced up with diced green chili scattered across the top. The Injera was the revelation for me. Made out of Tef it was sour and doughy, a little yeasty and served cold. It was an excellent foil to the thin sauce and the salad.

I will go back in a heartbeat, even though the lamb wasn't the highest quality, and next time with a group so I can taste a wider variety of dishes.

Merkato Restaurant

196 Caledonian Road

020 7713 8952

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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  • 1 month later...

Aaaaargh, I can't remember the name of the Ethiopian I went to on the Caledonian Rd. a few weeks. Very large inside and really lovely food. I absolutely adore ethiopian I have to admit. There are a couple of others in Kentish town, one large 2 level one I haven't been to and a small one I also can't remember the name or exact location of that was excellent. Noty being musch use here. The Guardian Guide also adoring wrote up this place last week - Tobia, 1st flr 2a Lithos Rd. NW3...

Need to try more of them here and will report back when I do, with actual names and locations...

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I think it was probably Marathon I went to. The Kitfo - very rare minced beef - was very good, as was the Gored Gored (another beef dish, with cubes of sauteed meat). I think we had a very nice spinach dish and something aubergine based as well. In the US I've had Kitfo basically raw, a heavily seasoned steak tartare effectively, but so far all the places I've been to in London cook it more. It's an excellent dish though, and makes a lovely contrast to the more stew like things. I'm rather ridiculously writing a piece of music that's based on the idea of Injera at the moment, so I've been thinking about this kind of food quite a lot.....

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I tried Zigni House last night having read the Time Out review.

We stuck to the buffet (£8) since we were told dishes ordered from the menu would take half an hour and we were starving!

There were a range of meat and vegetarian dishes on offer with rice and cous cous available as alternatives to injera. The injera was not at all what I expected - like a light, sour pancake rolled up into a spiral and serve cold. Everything we tried was very tasty and the staff were friendly and helpful and took time to explain the food to us.

Will definitely be back to try the menu - lots of interesting looking dishes.

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  • 1 month later...

I went to Tobia - 2 Lithos Rd, in an ethiopian community center off Finchley Rd - last night, overall definitely the best Ethiopian I've had in London. Lamb stew (I think Yebeg Watt is the proper name) and Gored Gored again, this time rare verging on raw, which is the way it should be. I also found the seasonings more differentiated than at any of the other London places I've been to. Relaxed and very friendly service, as has been the way at every Ethiopian restaurant I've ever been to... I had a nice meal at Zigni a couple of weeks ago but I'd put Tobia a way ahead of it or the Caledonian Rd and Kentish town places.

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I am also a big fan of Tobia. It fulfils the essential test for any London Ethiopian restaurant: the food must be much better than in Ethiopia. Tobia does this: the food retained enough authenticity to remind me of Addis, but used much better meat than I found in Ethiopia.

When I last went, we were the only table. This is a disgrace, as the food was excellent, the service extremely friendly and the bill marvellously low. Could the restaurant reviewers amongst you stop reviewing the bloody Ledbury and encourage people to dine at Tobia?

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erm, ahem...

Informative stuff from Marina O'Loughlin in her review of Zigni.  I'm not too geared up on Eritrean food, but now I think I want to be.  Tobia also gets the thumbs up from Marina.  Was this a deliberately East African tour, and if so, where are you going next? :)

...from uk media thread.

registration required, i believe. but it's free...

x

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Hi,

Angies is a Nigerian restaurant in Maida Vaile on 381 Harrow Road. Its billed as "African" but I was taken there with a group of Nigerian friends from univeristy, and we had a very fun evening. I reccommend the Suya, Jollof rice and Pepper soup, dishes which my Nigerian friends talk about all day when we're sat in the hospital canteens eating s*&t for lunch every day.

Mango Room in Camden was also a fun place for dinner, with very decent cooking, and a slightly more upmarket feel than Angies.

I think you can find the details for both of them on Squaremeal.

Hope that helps...dont know about specifically Eritrean restaurants tho!

Raj

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  • 5 months later...

Have been eating my way through some of London's Ethiopian restaurants recently. They all seem to be pretty good, but the standout for me at the moment is the Peacock on the Uxbridge Road, five minutes up the road from Shepherd's Bush Hammersmith and City line station. The other two I've tried are Merkato and the Queen of Sheba (in Kentish Town).

The Peacock wins out because the food is tastier and hotter (misir wat is my favourite dish), the portions are larger, and it's cheaper. Along with Merkato, they offer a vegetarian sampler dish, which offers a good route to working your way through the menu. Service is charming.

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