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89th And Broke

I'm a young professional living in Astoria (formerly of Williamsburg, the UES and Murray Hill - I move a lot!). I'm always looking for something fun to do or the best place to grab a drink and dinner at an affordable price around the city. Have a suggestion? Email me at Laura AT 89thandbroke DOT com.

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A Taste of South Africa in Brooklyn

I would have never thought of visiting a South African restaurant, but when my friend Steve decided we were heading to Brooklyn so he could relive some of his favorite cuisine from an abroad trip, I figured why not?

Madiba is located in Fort Greene and to be honest, I was a little nervous about trying South African food – I had heard it’s a lot of ostrich and as the rumors circulated in the car on the way over, I was nearly convinced I’d be eating lion.  The menu though had plenty of options –a lot of beef, lamb and chicken options – and there was a monkey glaze I noticed on the menu, but don’t worry – that’s just slang for a local sauce.


Madiba has both indoor and outdoor seating, and while they were able to fit our group of 7, it felt like we were at two separate tables, so you may want to keep your group to 4 people or so. I kicked off the meal with Tusker, a light beer from Kenya. It was the only African beer on the menu, so figured I’d give it a go and it was a standard beer.

As I looked over the menu, I saw a lot of Indian influences. Steve explained to me that there is a HUGE population of Indians in South Africa. I decided to try the Durban Bunny Chow ($18), which was a hunk of bread cut in half, hollowed-out, and filled with chicken curry. It was delicious, and they included a few different condiments with it, like coconut and milk, and cucumber mint and yogurt. Thank God I got those condiments – I needed it.  The curry was SUPER spicy but the condiments helped tone down the spice. It was a great comfort dish, and I would totally order it again, but would just ask that it be a little bit more on the mild side. As far as other recommended dishes, my boyfriend loved the Bobotie, which is curried ground beef with egg custard topping and crisped almonds, served with yellow rice.


Steve insisted we ordered sides and I’m glad we did – my favorite was the ground cornmeal with tomato gravy. It tasted a lot like polenta and it really picks up the flavor of whatever you put on it.

For dessert, we tried the malva pudding ($8).  I was expecting jello, but it was a warm cake that reminded me of corn bread with a caramelized top. It’s a staple of South Africa, so it’s worth a try. I loved that it was served with vanilla ice cream on the side.

If you are feeling adventurous, head to Fort Greene and give Madiba a try.  I figured I might not make it to South Africa, so I better give their cuisine a try here in BK! Oh and one more tip – if you go, remember to check in on Foursquare – you’ll save 10%!

 The Basics
Name: Madiba
Location: 195 Dekalb Street between Adelphi St and Carlton Ave in Fort Greene
Who to bring: Friends
Price: $$$ Entrees at least $15
Overall: 4 stars. Worth the experience. 

Madiba on Urbanspoon

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