Kola, which derived its name from Africa’s Kola Nut, is a full service restaurant and lounge, providing authentic West African and Caribbean Cuisine with live entertainment, particularly jazz, reggae, neo-soul, poetry, and comedy.
We enjoyed authentically prepared Nigerian Cuisine at Buka New York, an authentic Nigerian Restaurant at 946 Fulton Street in the Clinton Hills area of Brooklyn, New York, which opened in 2010.
Owner, Lookman Mashood, said Buka’s menu is comprised of the best dishes from three regions in Nigeria.
“The food you eat here is the same food you’re going to eat in Logos, Nigeria,” he said.
Mashood grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, the country’s most populous city of nearly 8 million people. He came to the United States in 1986.
Buka offers Nigeria’s most popular dishes, including spicy, tomato-based stews with goat, beef, chicken, tilapia, red snapper, panla (dried Norwegian stock fish), and Igbin (large West African land snails). Plates include Asaro, Suya steak, grilled Tiger Shrimp, grilled Red Snapper, grilled Tilapia, Oha soup, bitter leaf soup, yam and eggs, Buka sauce and Tuwo.
Buka also offers dozens of Gluten-free, vegetarian dishes on its menu, including Fufu made from fresh white yam, fermented ground cassava or dried yam flour. Sauces include Efo, Okra, Egusi, Palava, Ogbono and Gbegiri.
The warm and cozy restaurant features a full bar with seven stools, a dinning room with 55 seats, stylish brick walls decorated with eye-catching oil paintings, and tall book shelves packed with books concerning African culture.
Buka is handicapped assessable and features live jazz and Afro-pop on the first Saturday of each month.
For more information about Buka, visit the restaurant’s website at Buka New York or call (347) 763-0619.
We enjoyed delicious and authentic Liberian cuisine at Zoewee’s Restaurant, 4112 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, North Carolina.
Zoewee’s menu, which consists of Liberia’s most popular dishes, includes Bitter Leaf, Collard Greens, Torgborgee, Cassava Leaf, Palaver Sauce, Fried Okra, and Okra Sauce.
Other well-liked dishes served include Fufu, Pepper Soup, Rice & Beans, Fried Plantain, Corn Beef Rice, Fried Fish (Croaker), and Jolluf Rice with Smoked Turkey/Chicken.
We tasted yummy Potato Greens/Leaf with Red Oil and Smoked Chicken served with Rice, along with a tall glass of cold Ginger Beer. Zoewee’s original hot sauce, made of the world’s hottest chili pepper, Ghost Pepper aka Naga Jolokia, was invigorating.
Established seven years ago, Zoewee’s, which is tucked within the Tryon Plaza strip mall, serves Liberian cuisine Mondays through Saturdays, 12:00 noon to 10:00pm.
The restaurant, which seats up to 68 people, offers take-out services, an $8.00 early bird special on Mondays and Tuesdays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, and it serves wine and imported and domestic beers.
Co-owner and manager, Ernest Harmon, said Zoewee’s derived its name from his original restaurant in Liberia that was named after its manager, Zoe. The restaurant was obliterated during Liberia’s 11-year civil war that ended in 2002.
For more information about Zoewee’s, call 704 509-5947.
We visited Azama Grill, an Egyptian/Middle Eastern Restaurant at 54 Harvard Avenue, in Allston, Massachusettsn where the small restaurant’s unique Halal Cuisine is derived from nearly 100 years of secret family recipes.
We ordered and devoured Azama Grill’s Mix Grill Plate with Three (Beef, Lamb, and Chicken) Skewers all made from the Azama family’s secret recipes: The lean beef was prepared with chopped onions, bulgur wheat, parsley and skewer charbroiled; the lean lamb cubes were marinated, seasoned, and skewer charbroiled with onions and green peppers; and the chicken breast cubes were skewer charbroiled with onions, tomatoes, and green peppers.
The superb meal was served with Rice Pilaf, Tahini Sauce, and Egyptian Salad.
For beverage, we sipped on hot Egyptian Tea, which was a delicious unique blend of Darjeeling Assam, Ceylon Teas and fresh mint.
For dessert, we consumed Azama Grill’s mouthwatering Cashew Fingers (flaky phillo dough rolled around crushed cashews, baked to a golden brown, and topped with honey).
The restaurant’s owner and chef, Osama El Naggar, launched the restaurant five years ago at the urging of friends familiar with his love of the food industry.
Naggar, whose family owns five restaurants in Cairo, Egypt, is the founder and manager of a successful Syrian bread company in Worcester, Massachusetts that services most of the Middle Eastern restaurants in New England. He has also owned three stores in Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall.
Azama Grill presents nine Shawarma and Kabob plates, seven Shawarma and Kabob Rollups, seven Vegetarian Plates, and six Vegetarian Rollups.
The restaurant also offers five desserts, all made from secret family recipes, including their famous Cashew Fingers.
Azama Grill is open nightly until 2:00 a.m. and offers free delivery. Call 617 779-0003 or 617 779-0006.
We experienced the authentic flavors of Morocco during a visit to Tangierino Restaurant & Casbah Lounge at 83 Main Street in Charlestown, Massachusetts.
Once seated, our courteous and attentive waiter, Nick, methodically explained Tangierino’s menu, which includes six old world Moroccan dishes, six new world dishes, a chophouse selection of mouthwatering lamb and chops dishes, tasty prime aged beef dishes, a dozen appetizers, soups and salads, and more.
We enjoyed a delicious side dish of Couscous Royal – braised lamb shank, spiced merquez over seven vegetables.
We also enjoyed two appetizers: Calamari Tagra – crispy calamari, parmesan cheese, harissa aloli and Moroccan marinated olives; and the Moroccan Fisherman Stew – shrimp, squid, white fish, and harissa-olives in a light tomato cilantro broth.
We sipped on sparkling water and yummy Moroccan mint tea.
The restaurant’s owner and executive chef, Samad Naamad, described Tangierino as more than just a restaurant.
“It’s an experience,” he said, citing the restaurant’s beautiful atmosphere and cultural diversity among staff and customers.
Naamad described the many obstacles he encountered when he first launched the restaurant more than 12 years ago. Conquering those obstacles, he said, bestowed upon him the self-confidence he needed to pursue his life-long passion of acting and producing movies.
Naamad’s first independent film, Welcome to Hollywood, was produced in 2005, and his second film and directorial debut, Demon Shadow, was produced in 2010.
Naamad, who is originally from Casablanca and Tangiers, Morocco, said he was preparing to open a second restaurant in Rhode Island, and eventually to pursue his movie production career full-time.
“Pursue what you believe in,” he said.
A belly-dancer named Anastasia provided entertainment. Belly dancers perform twice nightly and are available for private shows, events, and dancing lessons.
After dinner, our waiter provided us with an extensive tour of the award-winning restaurant’s hookah salon, and walk-in cigar humidor that offers 50-plus top brand cigars. The restaurant’s air filtering system creates a nearly smokeless environment.
The restaurant features several flat screen televisions, exquisite imported Moroccan furniture, and an attractive mahogany bar furnished with wine, draft beers, and an extensive assortment of liquor.
Tangierino, which is located just blocks away from the historic Bunker Hill monument and the U.S.S. Constitution, has received top awards from Zagot, Boston Globe, City Search, Where Magazine, Phantom Gourmet, Boston Magazine, AOL City Guide, and Improper Bostonian.
For more information about Tangierino Restaurant & Casbah Lounge, visit their website at Tangierino or call 617 242-6009.
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