Given Austin’s emerging reputation as a food lover’s paradise, with its dazzling array of restaurants, food trailers, and specialty markets, it is little wonder that the town hosts a small number of excellent eateries focusing on the cuisine of Africa. A quick summary of these surprising places will whet your appetite for some adventuresome dining.
First up is Aster Kassaye, who has lived and cooked in Austin since 1985. She is the owner of Aster’s Ethiopian Restaurant, centrally located near the University of Texas campus and IH-35. They serve meat and vegetable dishes as well as offering an excellent lunch buffet. Be sure to try the plentiful Fasolia Wott Platter, a mix of collard greens, lentils, and stewed potatoes served on the Ethiopian fermented bread called injera. You tear the injera into small pieces and use it to scoop the delicious food into your mouth.
Information: 2804 N. IH-35 / http://www.astersethiopian.com / 512-469-5966.
Tucked in the back of the CTC Garden on East Cesar Chavez Street sits the inviting lunch-oriented Cazamance Café, serving Senegalese food, sometimes with a Moroccan touch! Owner Iba Thiam opened his cafe in 2010 and it’s already a hit, being picked by renowned chef Paul Qui as one of the best in Austin. Try the Lamb Burger, served in a hollowed-out baguette and topped with tomato relist, cucumbers, and brie.
Information: 1102 E Cesar Chavez St. / http://www.cazamance.com / 512-487-7222.
Another recent addition to the African food scene is Habesha Ethiopian Restaurant, located near 290 and N. IH-35. Their Ethiopian specialties include the delectable sambusa: fried pastries filled with seasoned beef and served with a tangy green sauce. Delicious!
Information: 6019 N. IH-35 / http://www.habesha-austin.com / 512-358-6839.
If Nigerian cuisine is what you are after then Wasota African Cuisine is your place. Owned by the same folks who ran the much loved World Beat Cafe, Wasota menu includes meat dishes and a surprising array vegan options. Fried plantains, black-eyed peas, and sautéed spinach in spicy tomato sauce is a favorite.
Information: 1209 South First St. / http://www.wasotaafricancuisine.com / 512-565-3864.
At first mention, African food may seem unusual, but try one of the above places out and discover the rich and flavorful traditions.
Source: Austin 360