African restaurants to visit during the US-Africa Leaders Summit

By Nina Oduro, Co-Founder & CEO of Dine Diaspora
Posted on Monday, 12 December 2022 10:07, updated on Tuesday, 13 December 2022 18:14

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends an event with African diaspora youth and Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs exchange alumni at a restaurant in Washington, DC, U.S. August 15, 2022. Mandel Ngan / Pool via REUTERS

With the US-Africa Leaders Summit due to open on Tuesday in Washington, DC, the convening of African governments, civil society, and diaspora communities happens against the backdrop of the city’s vibrant African food scene. Here's a top list of where to eat while in town.

For decades, African immigrants in DC have brought their culture to the city through food and building restaurants that celebrate diverse African cuisines.

In between events and meetings during the summit, these African restaurants are perfect for networking, unwinding, or even taking calls.

The Consulate Swahili Village 

When you enter this Kenyan restaurant, you’re met with beautiful decor and African artwork in dim lighting that is ideal for private meetings and conversations.

This stylish space is filled with seating options and friendly staff and customers, which will make you feel comfortable if you’re alone.

Once seated, the food is the ultimate delight, from Kenyan staple foods like nyama choma, a seasoned steak, to vegetarian-friendly dishes like maharagwe, a spiced red bean in coconut stew.

The side dishes have a hint of West Africa sprinkled, from jollof rice to fried sweet plantains.

Always start with the samosas, the shining star among the appetisers. They have the perfect crunch and seasoning to make you take some home.

If you’re in need of a more private space to dine with colleagues, The Consulate’s private dining room is the answer.

Moi Moi

Make your way to Moi Moi if you’re looking for a sleek space with bright lighting, decorated with eye-catching art.

The white-tablecloth restaurant is ideal for relaxation after a long day of meetings.

The fusion restaurant presents a menu of notable West African, Southern America, and Caribbean dishes – demonstrating the richness and linkages in African diaspora cuisines.

This restaurant is your pick for big or small gatherings with groups that can appreciate a menu with a Caribbean jerk chicken, a West African suya, or spiced steak, next to a lamb chop spiced with Ethiopian Berbere.

The Southern American sides shine, with options like the unforgettable mac and cheese, candied yams, and collard greens.

Bukom 

The 30-year-old West African restaurant and bar is a DC institution that is your go-to for food, music, and drinks.

This space offers live music which transports you to places across West Africa where food is complemented by performances.

After a stressful work day, Bukom is the spot to arrive alone or with a group ready to eat, drink, and even shimmy to live reggae or afrobeat music.

The joy in this menu is the list of drinks creatively named with African inspiration.

Forget Moscow, here you’ll find an African mule, and you enjoy delicious ingredients like mango in a mango lane cocktail.

Mélange 

Every now and then a burger is necessary, and Mélange is the African-inspired answer to the American burger.

This fast-casual restaurant is ideal for a quick bite with colleagues or space to eat while taking calls or working alone.

You’ll want to try Ethiopian-inspired options like the doro wat style chicken burger which comes with a fried egg and is drenched in the perfect mix of sauces.

Add berebere fries and park yourself in a seat, to indulge without interruption.

Don’t stop there, grab a milkshake and of course get some work done before heading back to the meetings and Summit events.

Appioo African Bar and Grill 

Hop over to Appioo to satisfy your stomach with Ghanaian dishes and tasty drinks.

This no-frills restaurant is great for kicking back during stories and laughs.

This is the spot to reunite with old friends and colleagues and enjoy food with a backdrop of the current afrobeat tunes.

While catching up, you’ll want to order the exquisitely seasoned tilapia with banku, a fermented mixture of corn and cassava dough.

Add some kelewele or seasoned fried plantains on the side and pair it with a drink.

This combination is a recipe for great conversation and even better laughs with friends.

Chercher 

You can’t say you’ve been to  DC without having authentic Ethiopian cuisine.

With the highest population of Ethiopians outside of Ethiopia, the city is rich with restaurants like Chercher that give people a taste of Ethiopia.

The cozy space is where you roll up your sleeves with old friends and colleagues and enjoy injera with meaty and vegetarian stews. Have your pick of Ethiopian beers and cheers to making connections at the summit.

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