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Restaurants & Bars 1

Karibu Cafe - Good, homey East African and Caribbean food in Albuquerque

ninrn | Feb 25, 2016 12:00 PM

Karibu Cafe, on Eubank just north of Candelaria, is a really nice little restaurant serving simple, homey East African food, with a few Caribbean dishes thrown in for good measure.

We went there for lunch a couple of days ago. I had the goat curry, which was very good--more Indian in flavor than Caribbean goat curry, probably because it's the East African version. I thought it was better--fresher, deeper, and with a more knowledgeable use of spices--than the meat curries prepared in any of the Indian restaurants in town. My friend had the lentil and black bean combination plate. The split yellow lentils were very good, too (lots of pure ghee flavor, but not at all greasy). The black beans were just meh. Everything on the lunch menu is served with beautifully made coconut basmati rice. (I'm trying to figure out how to replicate it at home.)

The owner seems to be a lovely guy. He's from Tanzania. He started Karibu as a food truck in Rio Rancho, and just opened the brick-and-mortar version less than six months ago.

We haven't tried many things on the menu yet, and we haven't had dinner (when the menu offers more Caribbean fare and several additional African dishes), but, from this first impression, I'd say Karibu is a notch or two below Jambo Cafe in Santa Fe for overall food quality. It's not quite as polished, some dishes still seem to be works in progress, and there is an almost complete absence of vegetables at lunchtime (several legume-based vegetarian options, but nothing green). Still, in some ways, it tastes more authentic and less restaurantish than Jambo. All in all, it's a wonderful addition to the Albuquerque dining scene, and a great place to stop in for a well-made African-style curry.

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