Delicious African Experience.
I was visiting San Fran recently, and wanted to check out an authentic African restaurant in the city. I came across menu pages, and found Bissap Baobab (a restaurant of Senegalese cuisine in the Mission district). I took the subway over from my hotel on a Thursday evening early last month (April 2007) and was greeted by a cool and relaxed atmosphere with a very personable host. I decided to order my food to go and sat at the bar, where I was greeted by a equally pleasant bartender (who even helped me with selecting my order). I settled on the Seafood Coconut dish (w/ tilapia & w/ couscous as my options, as I could have also chosen chicken or rice, etc.). It came with veggies in a wonderful tamarind paprika coconut sauce. I also decided to order a dessert to go, and I chose the Thiakry (a milk & yogurt blend with raisins, strawberries, nutmeg, and vanilla--a yummy and light, but perfectly sweet way to end the meal!
Two more things I liked about Bissap Baobab--on the very night that I visited them, a portion of everyone's meal price was going towards an organization of awareness re: women's sexual assault. I was pleased about that. And lastly, if I had more time, I would have gone out the door and just turned the corner to the restaurant's dance club--Little Baobab--where they invited all their patrons to come over for dancing to world music after their meals at Bissap Baobab. Next time Little Baobab, next time! :)
Inconsistent service. I adore the drinks at this place but I've had a couple of bad experiences here with the service. However, I liked the lanb stew so much that I'm going to give it another shot and chalk it up to a couple of off nights....
Fun Dining Experience. This is a hidden gem. Fantastic food, interesting drinks, relaxed atmospher - all in all a great evening. The lamb dishes are out of this world, especially JOALIENNE -(Senegalese Paella). This dish made my mouth very happy. The PASTELLES appetizers were a treat as well. I would recommend everyone try this place.
good unique food. You have to read these reviews carefully. This is a smallish restaurant. If you come with a party of 8 on a Saturday night, you aren't going to have a good experience. It's also a scene later on and can get very crowded. Go early or on a week night and you will have great food and good service. The fried plantains were amazing and I loved my seafood entree. The drinks were tasty, but small and I thought a little pricey. The food was relatively inexpensive so I guess it all came out even in the end.
Delicious food and drinks, cool and fun atmosphere. We just tried out Bissap Baobab last night and it was very yummy! There was absolutely no wait, the servers were very friendly and the food was delicious! Also, the food came out from the kitchen very quickly. Try the chicken mafe and the chocolate souffle--very recommended. And the ginger hibiscus beverage is amazingly original and tasty. Also, the prices are very reasonable according to city standards. The international vibe is so accepting and friendly and there is a very warm feeling about the place. It sounds like some people have had to wait on Satuday nights for a table, but in case they haven't noticed, that is true with every good restaurant in the City on Saturday nights. If so many people are trying to eat there, the restaurant must be doing something right, yes? Overall, I highly recommend this restaurant.
Waste of time for San Francisco. I lived in the city for years, and have been to many of restaurants, including cheap and expensive. I thought it would be great to go to a different style of restaurant, and my friend loves going there, so we went for his birthday. We waited almost 2 hours for a table. It was crowded, shoulder to shoulder. We must have been told 20 times our table was ready. They didn't seat us in the beginning because a few people were not there. That can be expected...but not to wait so long after. Finally they got us the bar table. So we had to eat leaning over really low, and I just put my plate on my lap because I was in the corner seat. The wait staff was always complaining as if they didn't want anyone there. And as far as the food...no way. You could make this food at home for cheaper. The drinks had more culture, but were too expensive...$7. The only cool person was Jordan, the bar tender. But he left early, and the girl at the bar (latin with tatoos on her arms) over charged me for drinks. She said she threw the receipt away, and then asked me if I wanted one. She would not refund my money. Terrible service for a restaurant and bar. Just beware there are better restaurants in the city with better food and service. Don't let the cultural image get you.
Get there early on weekends. This is one of my favorite restaurants and everyone that I take here loves it! The food is great and the service is on point. You must have the chocolate soulffle for desert no matter what. The infused rums are out of this world. I don't think they take reservations and I don't feel you should dine with a large group. This restaurant is somewhat compact. I've only had bad service once out of the twenty or so times that I have been there.Oh, and not child friendly.
OK, but not recommended (don't believe the hype).
Had a few problems with this place:
1. Tried to make a reservation for a large party (12) and had to call *several* times before someone finally bothered to call me back to confirm.
2. When most of our party had arrived, they still refused to seat us (even though the restaurant was mostly empty because it was a Sunday night)! I can understand not seating us when the restaurant is full, but when it's only 50% occupied, there's no excuse.
3. When we were finally seated, they crammed us into a table that was too small, even though there was ample space elsewhere for us.
4. The waitstaff seemed very annoyed that we were there - impatiently took our orders, didn't remember who ordered what drinks (even though there ended up being only 10 of us - how difficult is it to remember?), gave us empty glasses with pitchers of water - so we had to serve ourselves, which is generally OK - and then they were annoyed when we asked them to refill the pitchers of water. They seemed in a huge hurry to get us out of there even though there was no one waiting for our table and our party was very mellow and not high maintenance at all.
Food was good and tasty, but honestly there are 100s of other restaurants in the city to choose from that are equally good and even better...so they need to step it up in the service department if they want to compete. I think the place is over-rated and I won't go back again. Don't believe the hype.
Interesting and unique dishes. The second time I've been here was as good as the first. We went on a Sunday night and seating and service was not a problem. Not as popular as next door's Cha Cha Cha's but I'd much prefer this place anyway over trendy people getting sloshed downing margeritas. We ordered plantains and got them- real plantains, not bananas like some places give you (because some don't really know what plantains are!), fried perfectly and served with a side of this tangy tamarind sauce. Interesting flavor combination! I ordered the Tofu Mafe and was happy with the selection. The tofu sauce is not the overwhelmingly peanut-buttery flavored sauce you get at a Thai restaurant, albeit I like that sauce too. It was a deeper color, just as rich but without the heaviness of coconut cream- more like a stew, with just a hint of peanut and an earthy flavor. beneath it were many slabs of grilled tofu (I think I counted eight!), a tasty chunk of potato, carrots, and some other vegetable that were stewed to make it difficult to recognize. I ordered the rice and it was just fine. My dining partner had the seafood coconut with tilapia and it was equally delicious. Tender, moist fillet chunks of tilapia were skewered and grilled, then doused with a lightly spicy tamarind coconut sauce and scattered veggies. it was apparent that the protein was cooked separately from the sauce, so if you're looking for that stewed in flavor, forget it but i you like fresh grilled meat or tofu bathing in a delicious sauce, this is it! too full to try an authentic dessert ,all I had room for was my hot ginger. I don't know what they make it with, but it was great. I detected some sort of sweet fruit-juciness, or perhaps hibiscus, in addition to the ginger's spicy flavor, but my mouth wasn't quite sure what it was. At any rate it was calming, soothing, and perfect for a nearly overstuffed belly (as ginger is great for digestion)! We will be back to try their other dishes- the lamb or Thuebou Djen both sounded yummy!
Yummy and fun. I've never had Senegalese food before, but this place was really yummy. The drinks were also fun (I think we had a pitcher each of ginger margarita and a hibiscus one). It's a good place to go with friends since it's pretty chill and low-key, but also fun/different. I had the paella (with seafood and lamb)--interesting combo but yummy!
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