Washington, D.C. has long been home to one of the largest African communities in the U.S. Whether from Ghana or Nigeria, Ethiopia or Kenya, Africans contribute to D.C.'s rich diversity in many ways, especially through food. If you've explored the city's vibrant restaurant scene, take advantage of the many African restaurants dotting D.C. and nearby Maryland and Virginia.
Here are our favourite picks!
Located in Adams Morgan, one of D.C.'s most lively neighborhoods, Bukom is a local institution. Celebrities like Janet Jackson and Serena Williams have previously dined at this well-known home of African cuisine. With owner Justice Matey identifying as both Ghanaian and Nigerian, the restaurant serves up tasty fare typical to both cultures.
Here you can enjoy a generous serving of egusi and pounded yam or banku and tilapia. The menu is reason enough to visit, but the restaurant's great cocktails may keep you there. Try the "Bukom Cooler" or "African Connection" while dancing to the Afrobeats, reggae, or soca music on rotation.
Takoma Park is home to Mansa Kunda, one of the newest African restaurants in the D.C. area. If you're looking for a place to eat in D.C., stop by this up-and-coming Gambian restaurant founded by Hatib Joof.
The menu features some of the greatest hits of Gambian cuisine—domoda, plassas and benechin, the local take on West Africa's famous jollof rice. While you can enjoy savory dishes including beef, lamb, and chicken, the restaurant is vegetarian-friendly, and over 90% of its menu can be made vegetarian.
Since 2000, Swahili Village has been a "home away from home" for D.C.'s Kenyan diaspora community. After nearly a decade in its original Beltsville location, the restaurant has relocated to Rhode Island Avenue. So, more D.C. residents, tourists, and visiting dignitaries can take advantage of the nation's finest Kenyan cuisine now.
While the menu is heavy on meat and fish, vegetarian-friendly masala dishes are also available. Snack on samosas and bhaji while you wait for chef and owner Kevin Onyoma to serve up some nyama choma and ugali, one of Kenya's most popular dishes.
With nearly 1 in 5 African-born DC residents identifying as Ethiopian, the city is dotted with many African restaurants from the East African nation. Ethiopic, a family-run restaurant on H Street, is one of the most popular options for people craving signature dishes like tibs, a marinated lamb dish, or gomen, a delicious helping of greens made with purified spiced butter. The brightly-decorated restaurant is great for groups as orders are served up on a sharing platter over a generous serving of injera. Make sure you don't leave without tasting the rich Ethiopian coffee.
Appioo Bar and Restaurant
Are you looking for a taste of Ghana in D.C.? Look no further than Appioo African Bar and Grill in historic U Street. Chef Prince Matey is from a family of restauranteurs—brother Justin Matey owns West African hotspot Bukom in nearby Adams Morgan. But with Appioo, Chef Prince is focusing exclusively on Ghanaian cuisine.
If you're in search of an authentic experience, sample some kenkey—fermented corn and cassava dough—alongside some fish. If you can handle the heat, you may enjoy some pepper soup with your choice of fish, chicken, or goat.
If you're celebrating a special occasion, stop by award-winning Chef Kwame Onwuachi's celebrated restaurant Kith/Kin. This restaurant draw inspirations inspiration from the first generation Nigerian-Jamaican chef's heritage with a creative approach to traditional sauces and spices like suya and shito.
Sample the braised oxtails, red snapper, and don't leave without sampling the crab jollof rice.
Are you stopping by for dinner? Book around sunset to enjoy beautiful views of the D.C. Wharf while enjoying the restaurant's great cocktails.
In the north-east DC, nearby the National Arboretum, Oyindamola Akinkugbe's Zion Kitchen has been serving up some of Nigeria's classic dishes to homesick Nigerian-Americans and hungry patrons eager to sample the country's cuisine.
Enjoy a hearty serving moi moi, a popular steamed bean pudding or delicacies like efo-riro, a greens-heavy stew rooted in Southern Nigeria.
Are there any restaurants we should add to this list? What are the dishes you miss most from home? Let us know in the comments.