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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.