New York African Restaurant Week, founded by Akin Akinsaya in 2013, kicked off on the first day of October. Two weeks in, it’s still going strong. The festival lasts until Sunday, October 22. One of the main highlights has been A Taste Of Africa — also known as the Mega GastroAfrique Food Festival and Day Party — which was on October 8th in Industry City. Over 25 restaurants sold delicious wares from all over the diaspora, while other vendors offered a selection of clothes, artwork and other items. Meanwhile, live DJs provided the soundtrack.
African Restaurant Week also includes several chef demonstrations, competitions and other events. If you haven’t made it to any events so far, don’t fret! Some of the best parts of the festival are still to come, and participating restaurants will continue to offer discounted prix fixe menus for African Restaurant Week ticket-holders until the festival comes to a close on October 22. If you’re wondering which dishes to try, some especially popular African spots are participating and their dishes are not to be missed. At Ponty Bistro, a family-run establishment offering contemporary French-Senegalese cuisine, try the niokolokoba, a style of grilled sirloin. For East African cuisine, check out Massawa in West Harlem or Queen of Sheba in Midtown Manhattan. Each restaurant will offer a three-course prix fixe menu.
More chef demonstrations are also in the line-up, including two notable ones on Thursday, October 19. In a collaboration with City Harvest, Tokunbo Koiki will teach a class to community members at the Brooklyn Mobile Market. Chef Nadine Nelson will offer a quite different class on the same day, covering the diversity of West African and diasporic dishes in a private home setting. Another highlight of the festival is the business pitch competition, in which aspiring entrepreneurs will have the chance to pitch their restaurant ideas to venture capital firms at Microsoft New York. The live pitch competition will take place on Friday, October 20.
For tickets and more information, visit the New York African Restaurant Week website.