Okay, so we are going to take a moment here and talk about the new addition to Calgary’s food scene… Mama Africa! The pop-up restaurant & bar that set up shop on 17th Ave at the end of Jan this year has been creating a hell lot of buzz. And for good reason!
Mama Africa is not your run-of-the-mill pop-up restaurant. And it most certainly is not your usual region-specific African cuisine. What gives this beautiful resto-bar an edge over others is that it’s a complete experience that takes you on a culinary tour, an African Safari for your palate if you will. And it does so with the setting and vibe as much as with the food.
The African-themed décor by itself is pretty gram-worthy, the plant mural at the entrance, in particular. To match this setting is the daily entertainment by local African DJs, musicians, dancers, comedians and more. The overall vibe of the resto-bar is a prelude to the wild flavours you are about to experience.
As we mentioned, the cuisine is not region-specific like most other places in town. Instead, it brings together the rich diversity of African flavours, heritage and culture by way of their carefully curated menu. From Kenyan Beef Curry (strongly recommend this) to Cape Town lamp chops to Ghanian waakye bowl, there’ve covered all ground.
While the entrees certainly are the “main” affair, no doubt, the appetizers are not to be taken lightly either. Especially the Suya Tacos, Peri Peri Shrimp and Grilled African Wings.
And no, they did not forget about the vegans and vegetarians among us. Mama Africa is one of those rare African restaurants that has a surprisingly big selection of vegan and veg ops. So, there are your shareable like the Plantain and Cassava Chips. Then there’re Seasonal Veggies, Fried Yam and even Vegan Jollof Rice. But the two that made to our list of faves were the African Chickpea Salad and Chakalaka Relish.
Given their high quality and impressive flavours, it is no surprise that everything here is house-made with fresh ingredients – from sauces to spice mixes to, of course, the dishes themselves.
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Now here’s something that’ll make you fall in love with the place- the same quality and diversity are also extended to their drinks menu. Sue, you will find popular beers and cans. But you’ll find a whole range of African spirits, wines and cocktails to keep your gastronomical African tour going. Our recco: Hakuna Matata with a fruity, coconutty profile and Ama-Lekkerlicious with a citrusy kick.
Long story short, Mama Africa is the kind of delightful, multi-sensory, culinary experience, you absolutely must not miss!