4903 Rainier Ave S, Seattle (Rainier Valley)
Seattle, WA 98118
Seattle wants not for Ethiopian or Eritrean food, and it even boasts a few Somalian restaurants, a South African teahouse, and a couple Egyptian cafes. But only La Teranga serves Senegalese food. Once half of a pair of Senegalese restaurateurs in the neighborhood, owner Mamadou Diakhate alone now represents the West African nation. Like, really alone: he greets customers, cooks, and serves everyone in the tiny sliver of a space. His signature dish—and Senegal’s national dish—thiebou djeun, features fish swimming in tomato sauce, served over rice and with vegetables. The lamb mafe, with its chunks of root vegetables afloat in a peanut gravy, emits some sort of universal comfort food pheromone, encouraging anyone and everyone to claim this tastes like home and grandma and safety. Washing it down with kinkeliba tea, pepper-spiked coffee, or a spicy ginger juice, though, firmly reminds diners that in Seattle, there’s only one place for this. NAOMI TOMKY
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