Safari Njema Restaurant

5041 Rainier Ave S (Rainier Valley)
Seattle, WA 98118

COVID-19 Services & Policies

Call-ahead Ordering
Upcoming Events
(Suhel B./Yelp)
Chef Jane Kagira runs Safari Njema, serving food from across the continent in Kenya. Kagira works magic with the Indian-influenced spices woven into Kenya’s culinary DNA, whether dressing up pan-fried goat meat or stewing chicken thighs. Tilapia comes whole, the length of a forearm, and fried stiff as a board, with a sunshine-yellow sauce to liven up the otherwise ordinary fish. Diners are invited to mix and match their own starch and vegetables, but, when pressed, the server will patiently help you match the chewy, char-speckled chapati (flatbread) to the bone-in, onion-laden goat. The ugali, she says of the dough-like cooked cornmeal starch with a texture like yesterday’s grits, goes well with the saucy chicken. But no matter if you pick matoke (green banana) or mukimo (verdant potatoes with split peas, corn, and greens), everything you order should get smothered under Kagira’s house-made hot sauce. Almost as orange as the walls, the bold, citrusy condiment hides inside innocuous-looking squeeze bottles. Released onto the mild foods of Kagira’s Kenyan kitchen, it burns with the fire and complexity of various peppers, muted not at all by the fragrant spices. This might be the only spot in Seattle to find Kenyan food, but it’s definitely the only place in the world you’ll find her hot sauce. NAOMI TOMKY

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