195 DeKalb Ave
|Cross street:||between Adelphi St and Carlton Ave|
|Opening hours:||Daily 10am–midnight|
|Transport:||Subway: C to Lafayette Ave, G to Clinton–Washington Aves|
|Price:||Average main course: $19. AmEx, Disc, MC, V|
Average User Rating
3 / 5
- 5 star:0
- 4 star:0
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
I have eaten at Madiba a slew of times over the years since I live in Fort Greene and always enjoy the experience - both the food and the ambiance.
The decor is quite unique and certainly an homage to the late Nelson Mandela, it is also bright, colorful and transporting. I think every time I have eaten here, the general manager (or perhaps he is one of the owners) has greeted me upon entry with a big smile and a comfortable yet enthusiastic vibe. Seating is a bit mixed depending on your party size, and most recently I was there with a friend and we sat near the windows on the brick walled side. In the summer, the place is bright and airy and boasts outdoor seating as well.
There were 2 or 3 birthdays being celebrated the night I was there - we wondered if perhaps that was a requirement of the evening! - one with a big party (maybe 12-15) down the center of the restaurant having quite a joyous time. That kind of celebratory energy seems perfect for this laid back South African outpost.
The food - I am a bit of a creature of habit here and always get the curries. I enjoy them and find them well spiced (I see this has been argued by some fellow reviewers) and definitely filling. You have a choice of veggie, chicken, lamb or seafood (ranging from $16-$22) and your choice of preparation (curry and rice, durban bunny chow, breyani or roti). I tend to get either veggie or lamb with the curry and rice. This time I had the lamb. I like this preparation because the curry is served in a separate bowl from the rice and you can mix it as you wish. Also, with every curry entree, you get their side selection of sambals (condiments) which are: mango chutney, something like a salsa fresca, cucumber with mint and yogurt, and a coconut banana and milk mixture. I am obsessed with the pickled mango in this condiment list and you can actually buy it from the restaurant - they have a small "store" at the entrance to the restaurant with some authentic South African food items not readily available in a grocery store - brilliant! Before our entrees, we shared the ostrich carpaccio appetizer (I had never tried ostrich before) and it was extremely tasty - topped with olive oil, salt, pepper, some mache and "farm cheese" wedges. We topped the meal off with a bottle of Noble Hill sauvingnon blanc which claimed to "explode with gooseberry" - it was pleasantly fruity without being sweet.