Calle Cabestreros 1
Metro Lavapiés/Tirso de Molina
I wish I could introduce you to Senegalese food, the differences between the dishes, the subtle changes in flavors, its origins…. but I am afraid you will have to find out yourself and also during various visits: Senegalese restaurant Baobab in Lavapíes comes with a manual (but DO try it!).
The location is original, the terrace very inviting during summer, the public is an interesting mixture of cultures and personalities and Senegalese food is definitely worth trying. However, please keep in mind that this is not a normal restaurant. The menu will reflect 7 or 8 of the country’s national dishes, but do not expect them to be actually there: it is better to ask the waiter what is available (‘Well, we have ceebu jen and we have something with okra. But I do not recommend the okra. I think you are going to like the ceebu jen. Better not choose okra. Shall I bring you the ceebu jen?’) and what is there to drink (‘I’ll bring you something Senegalese, all right?’). Do not hold your breath for dessert, either: waiters need to eat as well and you cannot wait tables and eat at the same time, period.
Still, do visit Baobab. The food is very simple, but prepared in a way you have not eaten before. Ceebu jen is a dish of cooked fish, rice and vegetables, but the rice is cooked with a mixture of spices you have never tried before, the vegetables are prepared to perfection and yet completely different from what you are used to (I mean, how many ways are there to cook a carrot, anyway?). With a glass of cool bissap on the side, you will also finally discover how hibiscus flowers taste and that you can actually make a drink out of them. It makes you wonder how the other dishes taste. Well, maybe more luck next time.