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Afrikando Afrikando

A splash of Senegal in Hillman City

By Kathryn Robinson April 24, 2009

Remember Afrikando in Belltown?

From 1997 to 2005 Senegalese expat Jacques Saar made that neighborhood global with his peanut stews and spicy fish balls. As Belltown steadily gentrified into a parody of itself, Afrikando remained a welcome oasis of real-world earthiness. When it closed, Belltown was lesser for it.

Last November Saar resurfaced, in a color-splashed little storefront in Hillman City. Go out the back door toward the restroom and you’ll pass by the back door of an African grocery—complete with African guys just hanging—but that’s not the only touchstone of authenticity in this little gem of a joint.

In the space of a one-and-a-half-hour dinner (most of which was spent waiting for our food, truth be told), we heard Arabic and French and something unidentifiably African bubbling amid the English. We were enchanted by the ebullient Saar, who could teach many restaurateurs a thing or two about working a room.

And we sampled black-eyed pea fritters known as accara with a wahoo habanero-tomato sauce that knocked our socks, and pretty much everything else, right off.

Man, they were good.

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