Summer travel is revving up, and Europe will be a popular destination for summer vacations. A trip to Europe can take you back in time. Admiring the timeless Rome Collsuseum or have you marveling at the richest collection of art in the world from the Louvre. Yet beyond the glamour of the Eiffel tower, Europe offers travelers a unique culinary experience.
Visiting places like London or Italy prompts you to indulge in staple foods such as fish and chips or pasta. But what if you could visit Europe and please your taste buds with the unique flavors of West African and Soul food? Yes, you might be skeptical, but over the years, there’s been an influx of Black restaurants across popular destinations.
If Europe is on your summer list, here are some Black/African restaurants you must try.
Paris has a thriving Black culture scene. From an array of Black tours to a nightlife filled with Afro-beats DJs, Black culture is alive and well in the city of romance. So, of course, food has become an integral part of the scene.
BMK-Paris is a well-known Afro-chic restaurant in Paris. As well as Jah-Jah an Afro vegan restaurant that caters to your taste buds with spices and seasonings from different parts of Africa. But if you’re looking for some good ol’ American Southern flavor, you can find it at Gumbo Yaya.
Gumbo Yaya was founded in 2015 by Lionel Chauvel-Maga. He got his inspiration for the restaurant during his various trips visiting his aunts in Georgia. Growing up with a mixture of French culture from his dad and American culture from his mom, his menu options reflect the blending of two cultures. Soul food mixed with French cuisine.
“A thing or person that can not be shut out by darkness” is what is represented by the restaurant “Irawo” meaning star in the Yoruba language. This Afro-fusion restaurant blends flavors and spices from both Irish and African cultures. Sending your taste buds on a journey of African bean dishes and signature Irish meat and vegetables.
This French-Caribbean restaurant, owned by Buumba Mweetw, brings you mouth-watering salt and fresh water meals. The menu has a variety of Caribbean favorites such as Jerk chicken, almond and coconut fish, and, of course, fried plantains. French decadents such as Traditional French cassoulet with Toulouse sausage and a Blue Cheese Salad are also on the menu.
For a different dining experience with appetizing Kenyan food, Knight’s Kitchen has a lot to offer. Their mainly plant-based menu offers home-cooked soul food derived from traditional Kenyan meals. This family-run business operates as a pick-up-only restaurant. You can order the food in advance and pick it up during your stroll in Edinburgh.
The pizza and the pasta are two very good stand-alone reasons to visit Italy. Amongst the carbonara and the pizza, Black culture influences Italy’s unmatched culinary scene.
One way is through IBRIS, a Black-owned pizzeria. The owner, an Italian immigrant Ibrahim Songne came from Burkina Faso and went through a drastic cultural shift. This included overcoming cultural shock, a speech impediment, and the objections of a Black man owning a pizza restaurant. Despite it all, Songne has achieved culinary success. He created pizzas by using locally sourced products with bold flavors such as potato cream, saffron, and chickpeas.
Once you get your pizza fix, you can check out Corey’s Soul Chicken. This well-known restaurant is currently between locations but was previously a popular place. Corey, from Kentucky, keeps the tradition of southern fried chicken alive with a family recipe of all-American ingredients. If you’re wondering if they’ll re-open by your next trip, you can follow their Facebook page where Corey stays active with restaurant updates.
The capital of Spain has two Ethiopian restaurants. Restaurante Etíope Gonder and Restaurante Etíope Nuria. These restaurants offer authentic Ethiopian cuisine with injera (Ethiopian flatbread) and an array of colorful vegan and vegetarian dishes.
Spice BCN blends cultures using local produce from Spain and herbs and spices from Africa and the Caribbean. It opened its doors in November of 2016 and has fulfilled its mission of making customers feel at home. They aim to help South Africans living or traveling abroad feel at home and make non-South Africans want to visit.
Djairsound is a restaurant with a taste of Cape-Verdean paired with Lusophone music. With a 4.5 star rating on Tripadvisor, guests from across Europe have appreciated their authentic African food and its welcoming atmosphere.
Gingolé Restaurant has the motto: “it’s the flavor that unites us.” It’s the flavors of Angola and Portuguese that have made this restaurant a must-try when in Lisbon. A signature dish to try is the calulu de peixe, an Angolan fish and vegetable stew.
African kitchen is a restaurant that offers a house specialty of Nigerian entrees. Along with offering a mixture of West African and international cuisine. This restaurant serves more than food but offers a genuine hospitable African experience. Some of the specialties include rice and fish dishes, along with fufu. A stable West African food comprised of dough made from boiled and pounded starchy foods such as pounded plantains, cassava, or malanga.
In addition to preserving Black culture, these restaurants help break the barriers between cultures. Inviting natives, travelers, and tourists to experience and taste aspects of Black and African culture.
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Kiersten is a freelance writer and coach. As a writer, she has written for Travel Noire, Passion Passport, BAUCE mag, and various travel and lifestyle blogs. As a writer, her goal is to write content that inspires others to take action. As a coach, her goal is to empower women to be their most authentic selves. In her free time, you can find her dancing to any song any where.