The interior of North-African restaurant, Nomad, in the East Village. Image courtesy Nomad.
Although New York City has its fair share of Ethiopian restaurants, new places featuring a broader range of African cuisines continue to open across the city. From the food of Ivory Coast to Senegal or the tastes of Morocco to South Africa, New York City restaurants aren’t shying away from the bold flavors of African cuisine.
Here are 10 must-visit New York City African restaurants that offer selections inspired by culture and locations from all across the African continent.
10. Nomad in the East Village: Mediterranean and North African
Image via Nomad
Located in the heart of the East Village, Nomad offers a dining experience with Mediterranean vibes and North African cuisine in a Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian-style setting. Nomad is owned and operated by chef Mehenni Zebentout, who was born in Theniet El Had, Algeria.
At Nomad, the food and ambiance both exude authenticity, but with a refreshing, refined quality that inspires dedicating an evening to sit-down dining. Mehenni’s wife, Salima Zebentout, can be found in the kitchen rolling the dough for Nomad’s cookies from her childhood memories of spending time in the kitchen of grandfather’s restaurant in the Alas Mounts of Algeria. Then, Zebentout set his sights on creating a traditionally Moroccan atmosphere that now features North African antiques and Moroccan-style murals. Even the front gates are welded together to create an authentic Moroccan feel.
However, beyond simply wanting to create authenticity to the region, Mehenni also says that the idea behind Nomad is to honor the tradition of a huge mixture of cultures that came through his homeland. “The influence is really though the centuries and centuries of trade with all the African countries” Mehenni says. “Everyone drops something there (Morocco), and food is truly a mixture.”
As a result of being such a trade hub, classic Moroccan dishes like lamb shank with prunes cinnamon and nutmeg as well as a chicken pastilla (an almost pot-pie type dish) can now be found on Nomad’s menu.
Address: 78 Second Ave. (Between E. 4th St. and E. 5th St.)
Address: 195 Dekalb Ave, Brooklyn NY