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The Best West African Food in Philadelphia

A guide to the flavors of West African cuisine throughout Philly

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Kilimandjaro Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia
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Spanning countries like Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal, the West African region has an array of cultural cuisine that has inspired Caribbean and American soul food today. Platters contain a foundation of starches — fluffy jollof rice, acheke, couscous, or fufu — alongside stews, soups and whole grilled fish.

In Philadelphia, West African immigrants have established neighborhood blocks full of cafes, take-out spots and grocery stores. Journey through our guide of West African dining, below.

Tip: Be sure to bring cash, as many of the restaurants don’t accept credit cards.

01

Kilimandjaro

— Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Probably the most popular and widely known West African restaurant in the city, this Senegalese spot is best known for its Dibi dishes (roasted meat, usually lamb or chicken chopped in small pieces and thoroughly spiced), grilled fish, and fresh hibiscus ginger juice. Large portions will satisfy big eaters and happy sharers.

Where: Kilimandjaro, 4317 Chestnut Street

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02

Youma African Cuisine

— Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Phialdelphia

Hearty lamb dishes, vegetarian yassa vegetables and fresh ginger juices are only some of the offerings at this sister restaurant of Kilimandjaro’s. The atmosphere is casual, almost as if you’re part of the extended family sitting down to eat in one of the restaurant’s multiple armchairs and catching up with the staff on other customers’ lives.

Where: Youma African Cuisine, 4519 Baltimore Avenue

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03

Bintou

Grilled fish with sauce is a favorite with regulars here, as well as the delicious lamb dibi and bigger portions of acheke (a side dish made from shaved cassava). Customers love this Malian menu’s fresh ingredients and affordable prices.

Where: Bintou, 6515 Elmwood Avenue

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04

African Small Pot

— Photo courtesy African Small Pot

The 6000 blocks of Woodland Avenue could fairly be called Little Africa. Multiple take-out spots, restaurants and stores carrying African grocery staples are located throughout this Southwest neighborhood. African Small Pot is one example, owned by Abdarahmane Diop from Mauritania. Diop is a trained gourmet chef and serves a mix of West African- and other African-inspired seafood and kebabs.

Where: African Small Pot, 6505 Woodland Avenue

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05

Le Mandingue

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Le Mandingue has been serving the community for over 12 years, and its menu reflects the diversity of their chefs who come from all over West Africa, including Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea, and the Ivory Coast. Their specials are offered every day, and there are vegetarian substitutes for their entire menu. Their lamb and attieke, salad, and jollof rice are only a few of their select dishes, and there’s always live music at the venue. They were even featured in an episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern on Food Network.

Where: Le Mandingue, 6620 Woodland Avenue

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06

Wazobia

Wazobia serves authentic Naija (Nigerian) food, as evidenced by the Nigerian
weddings and events they cater throughout the region. Amala (a mashed paste of yam) and fufu (another paste made of cassava and plantain flour) are both available here, ready to scoop with your hand and eat with vegetable stews, tomatoes and okra and other varieties of soups.

Where: Wazobia, 616 N. 11th Street

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07

Memdee's

This small Liberian restaurant in West Philadelphia was profiled in the Philadelphia Inquirer many years ago, and still has a reputation for its African cuisine.

Where: Memdee's, 6761 Guyer Avenue

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08

Emma's Liberian Kitchen

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Emma runs the counter window in this intimate neighborhood spot, with a full menu of West African and Caribbean platters. Emma’s wedding announcement is
displayed in the takeout window and customers exchange banter while waiting for takeout or dining in with the local news. A dish like tender meat in spicy cassava red gravy is only one of their menu’s highlights.

Where: Emma's Liberian Kitchen, 7201 Woodland Avenue

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09

Angie's Kitchen

Within the orange walls of Angie’s Kitchen is upbeat music and a daily menu of Liberian specialities including sweet and moist plantains, flavorful rice, and whole fried fish browned beautifully. The portions are generous and there are daily specials. Angie has passed away but her family still runs the restaurant.

Where: Angie's Kitchen, 618 S. 52nd Street

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10

Kings and Queens African Cuisine

— Photo courtesy Kings and Queens African Cuisine

Kings and Queens offers a mix of traditional Ghanaian, Liberian and Nigerian
platters, and even has a vegan dish of palm oil potato greens. Their most popular orders? Whole tilapia and jollof rice.

Where: Kings and Queens African Cuisine, 4830 Woodland Avenue

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11

Le Nile

This family-owned Malian restaurant is also a big part of the West African community in Philadelphia, catering special events and cooking African, African-American and Caribbean foods.

Where: Le Nile, 6735 Elmwood Avenue

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12

Goree

Mafe (a dish of tender pieces of lamb in a peanut butter sauce) is one of Goree’s
signature dishes. The restaurant proudly offers Halal food, made fresh and cooked to order. The large menu also contains soul food dishes and plenty of fresh juices.

Where: Goree, 5514 Rising Sun Avenue

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Kilimandjaro
Youma African Cuisine
Bintou
African Small Pot
Le Mandingue
Wazobia
Memdee's
Emma's Liberian Kitchen
Angie's Kitchen
Kings and Queens African Cuisine
Le Nile
Goree
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