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Best African Restaurant San Francisco 2002 - Cafe Eritrea D'Afrique

Sometimes the restaurants with the most memorable food are the ones you are least likely to walk into off the streets. Cafe Eritrea is a perfect example. The atmosphere here -- from the obviously plastic flowers to the crowd of boisterous regulars who never seem to be there to actually eat -- makes clear that no one on staff has given any thought to the word "ambience." But you'll soon realize it's all a part of the cafe's charm -- and, believe us, it has gobs of loud, genuine, unapologetic charm. That said, is the food any good? Damn straight it is! We recommend the collard greens, made without meat (unlike soul food) but with a spicy seasoning that will have you craving the recipe. Another winner is the sample platter, featuring baby bites of lamb served with an assortment of vegetable delights, including hummus and sweet baby carrots. And let's not forget the injera, a spongy, pancakelike bread used to scoop up food in place of a fork. Cafe Eritrea serves culinary wonders that are both educational and just plain platter-licking good!

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