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5 great Bay Area African restaurants, from Somali to Senegalese

Fataya. Egusi. Suqaar. Popular dishes from three different African countries. While they may not be as familiar or as widely available in the Bay Area as Moroccan tagine or Ethiopian doro wat, with a bit of exploration you can find these Senegalese, Nigerian and Somali dishes and others from the massive, multicultural continent. Here are five restaurants from San Jose to Pleasant Hill to get you started.

Golden Safari, Hayward

This West African restaurant has been serving up Nigerian specialties to the East Bay since 2017. Helmed by a second-generation restaurateur from Lagos, Golden Safari specializes in traditional soups ($16), including egusi and ogbono, made with ground African mango seed, peppers and palm oil, as well as spicy jollof rice with beans ($12) and crowd-pleasing chargrilled chicken sean ($12). Don’t forget the puff puff, sweet and soft yeasted dough balls. Details: 22431 Foothill Blvd., Hayward; https://goldensafari.net

Barcote co-owner Mulu Reda, left, sautees a dish in the kitchen of the Temescal neighborhood restaurant on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group)

Barcote Ethiopian Restaurant, Oakland

Combo plates are the star at this family-owned restaurant, which sits in the middle of the East Bay’s Ethiopian cuisine corridor that stretches from Uptown Oakland to Berkeley. Standouts include Siga Alicha ($13.95), tender beef cooked with onions, garlic and ginger in a tangy turmeric sauce, and Doro Wot ($15.95), chicken on the bone, cooked with berbere sauce — spicy with chili powder, says our critic — and served with hard-boiled egg. Don’t miss veggie options and two types of Ethiopian honey wine. Details: 6430 Telegraph Ave., Oakland; http://barcote.com

Jubba Restaurant, San Jose

The Bay Area’s only Somali restaurant, Jubba is tucked behind the VTA light rail parking lot in San Jose’s Blossom Valley neighborhood. Known for its generous “sports plates” for two ($35), Jubba is a popular spot to get your fix of juicy chicken suqaar ($18) with onions, veggies and spices, and roasted goat cutlet with basmati rice. Don’t miss the No. 1 selling sambusas or the Jubba wraps — marinated and grilled chicken, beef or tilapia with veggies wrapped in fresh-baked chapatti ($11-$12) — which are great on the go. Details: 5330 Terner Way, Suite 40, San Jose.

El Morocco, Pleasant Hill

Open since 1977, this family-owned Moroccan restaurant claims to be one of the first in California. We can’t confirm, but we can say the menu is legit. A full dinner with entree — say, braised chicken tagine with preserved lemon — will run you $45 and comes with lentil soup, Maghreb salad and bastille, a North African meat pie. Oh, mint tea and baklava are included in that stellar deal. El Morocco has Moroccan wines and lagers, too. Details: 2203 Morello Ave., Pleasant Hill; www.elmoroccorestaurant.com

The Damel in Oakland offers more than 16 handmade empanadas, including the Carne, pictured here, and the Fataya, based on the popular street food of his native Dakar, Senegal. (Courtesy The Damel)

The Damel, Richmond

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