It’s not often that a West African restaurant shows up on the Portland foodie scene. East African fare catering to the Somalian/Ethiopian community is certainly more available. So it’s pretty exciting to have a relative newcomer hit the market with Cuisine of Africa brought to us by a lovely engaged couple from two West African nations.
We were greeted warmly and led to a seat, easy to find as it was mostly empty on the weeknight during which we visited with our two families who have lived and loved all things African. I was happy to see an attached shop carried African wear and general items appealing to pan African culture.
The venue can be found at 3601 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd and offers plenty of room for small to medium-sized groups, including an outdoor area in the back that could be quite nice during the warmer times of year.
The menu included a number of tasty treats that got our family excited: goat, cassava and samosas as well as regional drinks that nicely mixes either ginger or hibiscus with lemonade. Crossing out a few menu items was a nice touch so we wouldn’t be tempted to order something only to learn much later that it is out of stock (that happened to us all the time living and traveling in Africa).
The food really was amazing! Everything that appeared was perfectly prepared (pics below include goat with rice, alloco–fried sweet plantains, brochette chicken and yellow rice). While not the cheapest of dining options, we certainly felt that the time and effort spent in preparing a very rare culinary experience straight from West Africa was worth the $10-14 entree prices. When you visit (not if), be sure to tell them you read about Cuisine of Africa on NewPortlanders.net. –reviewed by Tim Cowley