Popular

9 African Restaurants You Need To Try In Atlanta

The Atlanta metropolitan areas has a massive number of African restaurants. Here are 9 to check out.

After Washington, DC and New York, the Atlanta Metropolitan area has the third largest population of African immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa. This is reflected in the massive number of African restaurants in the metropolitan area—Yelp lists more than 50 restaurants that serve African cuisine in Atlanta—an impressive number even if it doesn't compare to the hundreds of African restaurants in the D.C. and New York area.

READ: 8 African Restaurants You Need to Visit in Sâo Paulo

African cuisine in this black metropolis spans the usual gamut—Senegalese, Nigerian and Ethiopian. Although Ethiopian restaurants have long dominated the African dining scene (there are at least 7 Ethiopian restaurants in the area), new West African restaurants are starting to attract curious diners as well. As a bonus, there are also several restaurants dedicated to South African cuisine. Restauranteur Justine Anthony launched his first South African restaurant—10 Degrees South—more than 10 years ago and today he has five restaurants focusing on everything from South African beef jerky to sandwiches.

Check out 9 of the best African restaurants in Atlanta below.


DESTA

LOCATION: 3086 Briarcliff Rd NE

There are four Ethiopian restaurants at the intersection of Clairmont Road and Briarcliff Road, making the area Atlanta's own "Little Ethiopia". But Desta is by far the most popular and established of the lot. It's the most popular African restaurant in Atlanta. Period. Desta combines Ethiopian flavors with modern American dining expectations—individual plates, bar-like atmosphere, and bold colors. It's a formula that works, even though Ethiopian food purists might be put off. Signature entrees include Lamb and Tibs (sautéed meat and vegetables), Filet Mignon, Fish Tibs, Biret Mitad Tib, Ribeye Tibs, Chicken Tibs, among others. Their lamb is the best. For people with limited time, the restaurant even has a drive through.


Bahel

LOCATION: 3125 Briarcliff Rd NE Ste C

Desta may be more popular, but those who really know their Ethiopian cuisine swear that Bahel is better and more authentic. Since opening across the street from Desta in 2010, Bahel has been grateful for the overflow of business. The food here is made for Ethiopians and people who know Ethiopian food so communal eating rules.


10 Degrees South

LOCATION: 4183 Roswell Rd NE

When a knee injury sidelined South African soccer player Justin Anthony, he looked to the restaurant business to reinvent himself. The South African opened America's first restaurant serving South African cuisine twenty years ago. The menu features Peri Peri Chicken (a Portuguese- spiced chicken that South Africans love), boerewors (farmer's sausage), malva pudding and South Africa sparkling grape juice. Diners love the back bar and patio area.


Biltong Bar

LOCATION: 675 Ponce de Leon Ave NE

In 2015 the owner of 10 Degrees South launched Biltong Bar, a cocktail restaurant dedicated to South African dried meat. Biltong is like beef jerky but much smoother and not as tough. People come for the beef jerky but they stay for the craft cocktails.


Café Songhai

LOCATION: 3380 Holcomb Bridge Rd

The Songhai Empire was a state that dominated the western Sahel in the 15th and 16th century. At its peak, it was one of the largest states in African history. Café Songhai is well on its way to becoming the most frequented West African restaurant in Atlanta. This strip mall African restaurant serves a mixture of Nigerian and Ghanaian food—Jollof rice, light Goat soup, okra soup, egusi soup with pounded yam. In recent months the restaurant started offering entertainment on the weekends - everything from music to comedy.


Bamba Cuisine

LOCATION: 3700 Campbellton Rd

It's crazy to know that before the mid-2010s, Atlanta didn't have a proper Senegalese restaurant. Bamba offers a broad selection of Senegalese cuisine - Theibs, Yassa, Mafé and even Dibi (Senegalese Barbecue). The $12 takeaway plates can feed two people. They even serve Fattayah—a beef & lamb patty in a crispy flour tortilla.


Imperial Fez

LOCATION: 2285 Peachtree Rd NE

Imperial FEZ is not your run in for a quick meal type of restaurant. People go there for the Moroccan food and a 2.5-hour experience that

typically includes belly dancing, a five-course meal of lentil soup, salad, Bastilla pastry appetizer, mixed roasted and rice course, dessert, and tea.


AfroDish

LOCATION: 209 Edgewood Ave SE

This popular lunch restaurant serves up African and Caribbean staples like Jerk chicken and jollof rice. Most African restaurants are located on the edge of the city, so it's nice to have one right downtown that caters to lunchtime customers.


Yebo Beach Haus

LOCATION: 111 W Paces Ferry Rd NW

In the summer it's a beach house and in the winter it's a ski lodge. It's a tapas style restaurant that serves South African and American dishes. So alongside a charcuterie board are ostrich sliders.

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

Keep reading... Show less
Style
Image: David Omigie, creative director of Daltimore, wears a contrast-panel, overlap leather jacket from Daltimore

How Nigerian Streetwear Brand, Daltimore, is Rising To Celebrity Status

We spoke with founder and creative director David Omigie about expression through clothing and that #BBNaija pic.

Backstage at her first live performance at the Big Brother Naija eviction show in July, Mavin's music starlet Ayra Starr posed for Instagram wearing a custom, ivory two-piece outfit. The 19-year-old posed wearing a slinky bandeau crop top with a metallic accent, and high waist baggy pants paired with opera fingerless gloves. The outfit is reminiscent of the same chic, carnal athleticism seen in Ayra's video for Bad Samaritan, where she wears both a custom fur coat and a monochromatic red leather outfit. Both looks are the work of Nigerian streetwear brand Daltimore.

These moments of fashion aren't happening in isolation. Streetwear has a stronghold on Nigerian youth culture, especially in Lagos, often troping around the resurgence of Y2K aesthetics that have begun to influence the buzzing profiles of Gen Z artists, fashion influencers, and entertainers. Bucket hats, crop tops, baguette bags, baggy jeans, mini skirts, and so on. Enter Daltimore, seizing the moment by signposting how these cultural pulses are intersecting. At first, the brand didn't eschew streetwear's disruptive tendencies when founded by its creative director David Omigie in 2015. The brand name is significant for David, to immortalize his late brother. Baltimore was his nickname back in high school.

This isn't the only familial death David has experienced to inspire the Daltimore footprint. The debut collection embraced simple, conservative tailoring, dashiki tunics, and shift dresses that stayed slightly loose on the body. Blending in casual touches like jeans and sneakers to keep it modern, the collection in hindsight appeared to be foreshadowing possibilities in streetwear. With a wave of terrorist attacks in Northern Nigeria and the unfair stereotyping of the region as violent and hostile, Daltimore shifted focus to the region's culture and iconography to dispel media narratives for its 2018 collection.

Translating the aridity of the North into invigorating brown close to the shade of pecan, Daltimore's 2018 collection featured clothes columned into long skirts, sleeveless kaftans with large white patch pockets, and head wraps. In finding its own design language, the brand has created a tension that sits between tradition and modernity. To that end, cowries on a zip-up leather jacket illustrate this intermingling or basketweave embellishment on a tote bag. Embracing the broader, aggressive aspects of streetwear was only a matter of time. Look at a Daltimore ensemble and there would typically be a harness looping around the wearer, vests and bomber jackets in neon colors, bags with sling chains, and velcro straps. And lots of leather.

From 2Baba, Blaqbonez, Joeboy, Fireboy DML, Dremo, Lady Donli to Toke Makinwa, Dare Art-Alade, Ric Hassani, Oxlade, Daltimore has accrued an impressive list of celebrity fans in a relatively short time. In this OkayAfrica interview, David shares his motivation for going into fashion, how he's been navigating the industry, and defines streetwear from his vantage point.

Keep reading... Show less
Photos courtesy of Damilola and Odunayo

Damilola Odufuwa and Odunayo Eweniyi Are Bringing African Discovery To the World

We spoke with the Nigerian tech gurus about their app Backdrop and how to make it on the continent and sell to the world.

Have you ever wished you had the resources to easily find picture-perfect, photo-worthy spots in any and every new city you visit? If you said, 'No', you're lying. If you said 'Yes', then, welcome.

A rather nice problem that many travel lovers run into is not knowing where to take beautiful pictures and most importantly, what to do with them if you're not a fan of photo-sharing apps that already exist. With the world opening back up for travel and adventure, the eagerness to go out and experience and capture something different is palpable.

Well, while some have spent their time creating Pinterest boards of #vacationgoals, Timi Ajiboye, Damilola Odufuwa, and Odunayo Eweniyi were using their resources to create new ways for us to enjoy beautiful things, namely their new app Backdrop.

The Nigerian crypto, tech, and digital media successes banded together to create Backdrop; a photo-sharing social media app dedicated to travel, discovery, and creating memories through photography. It can't be denied that social media has changed the way in which we connect and share our lives with the world around us. Aesthetically pleasing and conversation-provoking images and videos are how we take part in the global village and allows us to witness the creativity and world experiences from millions across the world - all from the comfort of our smartphones.

The app focuses on discovering new places - abroad or in your own home city - and merges tech, social media, and travel to do so. Above and beyond the desire to get users to romanticize their lives and escapades, the app gives space to local restaurants, store-fronts, and attractions and their abilities to create buzz around themselves through positive user experiences and intentionally picturesque establishments. The app is free, easy, and solely focused on travel, making it a go-to travel companion.

Through their love for travel, education, real-world experiences, and expertise in their respective fields, the 3 long-time friends have curated a space eager to find a country's coolest photo spots, and your own hometown may surprise you.

We spoke to 2 out of the 3 minds behind the app about being African women in tech, their new app development, and how they plan to use Backdrop to serve a specific niche in the market.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Blood & Water is Khosi Ngema's Moment - and She’s Enjoying It

We spoke with the South African actress about her hit TV show and being Gabrielle Union's #WCW.