Portland’s Must-Try Pan-African Restaurants | Portland Monthly




Although the influence of African cuisine has been making waves around the world for centuries, black chefs often don’t get the credit or profit they deserve. Now, however, food media, including Stephen Satterfield’s Netflix show High on the pork and the book of the same name of Jessica B. Harris who inspired it, chef Bryant Terry’s cookbook-meet-stories-and-art-book black food, and Michael Twitter The kitchen geneas good as the Portland-filmed season of Excellent chef, all highlight how the African diaspora – from West Africa, in particular – has influenced everything from oxtails and Jamaican goat stew to fish, greens, kidney beans and southern rice. While you read and watch shows about black food, take the opportunity to support these Pan-African restaurants, which are just a handful of many in Portland.

East Africa

Bete-Lukas

Tucked away just off Division is this second-floor space with tablecloths, silky napkins, and wines, Oregon or European, by the glass. But it’s not just about looks; the food delivers, too, especially the weekend specials, including chicken and spinach cooked in garlic and copious amounts of fresh ginger. Lamb dishes and vegetable dishes also deliver, and pescatarians can indulge in Berber-tinged fish goulash. 2504 SE 50th Ave #D —Katherine Chew Hamilton

Mira’s East African and Mediterranean cuisine




If you’re looking for a new kitchen to add to your weekly takeaway rotation, look no further than this new Montavilla trolley specializing in Somali cuisine. Samira Mohamed makes lamb curry loaded with cauliflower, wax and green beans, potatoes and carrots; a buttery flaky flatbread called subaayad to soak up all that curry; a turmeric-laden rice and meat dish called suqar; and crispy ground beef and potato sambosas. And it all has the portion size and fun spirit of a backyard diner. 8220 NE Davis Street —KCH

Queen of Saba

This Ethiopian restaurant is one of the oldest in Portland, and it’s particularly known for its chickpea cracker stew, a dish rarely seen elsewhere that’s soaked in gravy with a hint of crunch. It comes by default on the Veggie Combo for Two, a $26 treat that fills two entire takeout containers. Don’t miss the restaurant’s spiced tea, which combines the usual suspects of cinnamon and cardamom with a refreshing hibiscus punch. 2413 NE Blvd. Martin Luther King Jr. —KCH

Ethiopian Restaurant Sengatera

What sets the veggie combo apart from this cheerful, no-frills spot: chunky chunks of boiled beets, which add color and sweetness that provide a nice contrast to the rest of the vegetable dishes. The injera here is very hot and sour, but it balances well with the seasoning of stews. 3833 NE Boulevard Martin Luther King Jr. —KCH

Sisters Ethiopian Restaurant

When you walk into Sisters to pick up a takeout order, you are immediately struck by the scent of herbs, spices and aromatics, and greeted with a warm welcome. The menu is short and to the point, and it’s a long way from downtown Portland, but definitely worth the stop. These dishes pack a serious punch of flavor, chunks of juicy beef and al dente bitter green cabbage topped with cheeky slices of fresh, fiery green pepper in the butter-dipped shiro gomen besiga (chickpea powder) to the combo platter of vegetables . 1720 SE 122nd Ave —KCH

West Africa

black star grill




Ghanaian take-out food is the name of the game here, where smoky, tomato jollof rice makes a base for some of the tastiest lunch bowls on the West Side. Top it with grilled beef, fried shrimp, steamed vegetables, hard-boiled eggs and the must-have black-eyed pea and plantain stew. 1902 NW 24th Avenue —KCH

Kabba’s Kitchen




We declare Kabba’s Kitchen, on a quiet stretch just off Williams, one of the best carts in town. Come for a mixed Senegalese and Gambia dish, including fried cassava, black-eyed peas, whole fried tilapia and dibi, a grilled lamb dish with tangy mustard and sweet caramelized onions. (Oh yes, and the included fries are surprisingly good.) 4631 N avenue Albina —KCH

Diaspora cuisines

Erica’s soul food

Atlanta-born Erica Montgomery proudly represents the South at her cart, from rarely seen (in Portland), wonderfully seasoned and tender boiled peanuts (the “Southern caviar,” as she calls it) to her shrimp and grits to her family. recipes for salmon croquettes and meatloaf, served with sweet cornbread muffins and sides including greens, squash and black-eyed peas. Plus, its ATL-style wings blending buffalo sauce and lemon pepper are some of the best in town. Don’t miss his family recipe desserts, from pound cake to generously glazed red velvet. 120 Russell Street NE —KCH

Jamaica House

It’s a tour de force to walk past this house-turned-restaurant in St. Johns without being drawn in by the scent of jerk chicken and grilled fish on the barbecue in the front yard. Adding to the extravagance: buttered and boneless oxtail stew, sweet and crispy fried plantains, coconut beans and rice. 8307 N, rue Ivanhoe —KCH

Kee’s #loaded kitchen




Cart owner Kiauna Nelson isn’t messing around when she says her plates are #loaded: every order of crackfish (fried catfish sprinkled with a mysteriously delicious seasoning), ribs, wings, brisket, or any other dish Main course she makes that day comes in massive portions, and if you order the “everything” plate, you get a portion of each. Meals come default with sides including his famous Mac ‘n’ Kees (made with Tillamook cheddar), greens and cornbread. They are topped off with a drink – often a huge lemonade topped with passion fruit or strawberries – and homemade cake or banana pudding. 5020 NE, boul. Martin Luther King Jr. —KCH

Belizean Love




If a restaurant has a very small number of items on its menu, it’s probably safe to say that it does those items very well. And that’s exactly the case for Love Belizean, in downtown Portland, within walking distance of PSU. The Belizean Chicken, a tender thigh perfectly seasoned with just the right amount of char and spices, is the star of the show. Get it a la carte or as a starter served with coconut rice, beans and salad. If you’re looking to up your spiciness level, choose from one of 11 hot sauces. Play it safe with milder options like prickly pear, or go all out with choices like “no wimps allowed” or the ominously named “watch out.” The velvety yellow coconut curry soup is a must, whether you eat it with your meal or save it for later. 1503 SW Broadway Delilah Brent


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