Five Great African Restaurants in Portland

Enjoy tasty dishes from Ethiopia, Morocco, Ivory Coast and beyond at these local eateries.


3 minute read

Although many of the sweetest spots are hidden in plain sight, Portland’s African food scene is alive and growing every day. From a 30-year-old Moroccan restaurant to up-and-coming West African eateries, these African eateries serve up some of the tastiest dishes in Portland.

Know before you go

The statewide mask mandate has been lifted. However, masks are still required in health care settings and are recommended on public transportation, including buses, trains, planes, and at airports.

Some businesses may continue to require masks and/or proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. Check with individual businesses before visiting and take a mask with you just in case.

Visit the Oregon Health Authority website for more information.

Akadi

In an eye-catching yellow building northeast of Portland, chef Fatou Ouattara prepares savory West African dishes she learned to cook as a child in Ivory Coast. Walls lined with murals and tables covered in Akadi kente fabric offer a warm welcome to Ouattara’s intimate restaurant.

If you are a meat eater, check out Akadi Beef suya or the true West African specialty of goat meat simmered in a spiced tomato stew. The vegan and vegetarian options are equally full of flavor (the tofu suya the plate includes grilled tofu marinated in a homemade sauce kankankan spice, with a sweet fried plantain that might have you ordering seconds after your first bite). Stews come with rice or crazya soft paste made from crushed yams (the crazy is the way to go).

black star grill

Named after the Ghana national football team, the Black Star Grill is one of the few places in Portland where you can find one of the greatest culinary gifts of West African cuisine: jolof rice. This spicy tomato and rice dish is a much-loved West African specialty, and it’s also the basis of Black Star’s signature dish: build-your-own bowls.

Add your choice of meat or vegetables, carrot coleslaw, black-eyed pea stew or sweet fried plantain to any dish. If spice isn’t your friend, start with the plain brown rice option and ramp up the flavor with additional toppings. This food cart is the perfect lunch stop while strolling the Portland State University campus downtown.

people line up in front of food carts
Black Star Grill’s Enoch Aggray serves Portland State University students. Photo by Ashley Anderson.

E’Njoni

Any night of the week, you can enjoy a delicious meal full of flavor at E’Njoni, a cozy Ethiopian spot in North Portland. For the full experience, visit E’Njoni’s all-day all-you-can-eat brunch buffet, only offered on weekends. Boasting a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian options – including their unrivaled moment (coral lentils with berber sauce) — this buffet is as satisfying as it is affordable. Plates are $15 for all the Ethiopian food you might want to eat on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Marrakesh

Opened in 1989, Marrakech is the go-to spot for a traditional Moroccan tagine in Portland. Tapestry-adorned walls and elaborate decor set the stage for a multi-course prix fixe menu. Start with the B’stilla Royale (puff pastry stuffed with beef or chicken, scrambled egg and crushed almonds), yellow lentil soup and fresh salad with homemade bread. Follow it with a savory tagine of your choice, such as lamb M’rouzia simmered with honey, nutmeg and toasted almonds.

Finish the meal with hot tea and a decadent dessert, such as homemade baklava, fresh fruit salad or milk pudding. If the five-course Marrakech Royal Feast dinner sounds like too much, you can also order a la carte. Try the tajine of chicken, honey and prunes or the spicy lamb with peas and roasted potatoes in a cumin-garlic tomato sauce.

A Portland chef hosts delicious pop-up dinners, brunches, and Black Feast events.

Enat

A few blocks east of E’Njoni, Enat Kitchen is an Ethiopian spot that stands out for its wide variety of meat, fish, vegetarian and vegan dishes. For those curious about flavours, the vegetable and meat combo platters offer a taste of everything. Veggie combos include crowd-pleasing favorites like the miser key wot (split peas cooked with onion, ginger and garlic in a Berber sauce) and buticha (ground chickpeas mixed with lemon juice, diced onions and jalapeño).

If you’re craving just one dish, try the Enat Special: a plate of ground beef with jalapeño, butter, Mitmita Spice up, ayib (cheese curd) and simmered green cabbage. Enat also offers a selection of Ethiopian beers, such as the famous Hakim Stout and the sweet and malty Bedele.

Connect with Portland’s black community at these businesses, cultural centers, clubs, restaurants and more. Black culture flows throughout the Pink City.


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Sandy A. Greer