Madiba Restaurant

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195 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Madiba Restaurant Brooklyn Reviews

Transitory Transito…
63 reviews
South African eats May 13, 2009
This restaurant is a few long blocks walk from the nearest train station, approx 6 blocks. It's on the side of a semi-quiet street, quiet for NYC standards, across from a large park.

The ambiance of the restaurant is cool and laid back. There's picnic table style seating outdoors with umbrellas. Upon entering inside, there's a bar and some tables, then to the left, an adjoining dining area.

Madiba is decorated in the bohemian, flea-market, thrown together, homey way. There are candlelit wooden tables, slightly worn with an organic lived in feel to it, relatively comfy seats, exposed brick walls, and random pieces hanging on said exposed brick. The dinnerware included glass jam jars from a Southerner's-nostalgic youth, which served as cups.

The couple times I've been there I tried a few things on the menu: Ostrich Carpaccio, Samosas, Fish Parcel, Breyani, and Durban Bunny Chow.

The Ostrich Carpaccio was odd to my palette. It sort of reminded me of eating tuna sashimi that has been hammered down with some peppers on top. It's the sort of dish for a purist palette I suppose, raw, and singular flavors. It didn't suit me but it might suit those of you with more sophisticated palettes :)

The Samosas were yummy but not spicy. The Fish Parcel was tasty but not extraordinary, and the portion sizes were standard. My favorite dish was the South African Breyani, which has infusions of Indian flavoring but has this sweetness from raisins which I enjoyed immensely. The Durban Bunny Chow I don't remember how it tasted as I picked it off my friend's plate. He enjoyed it though and only let me have the one I guess it's recommendable :)

The ambiance of the restaurant is akin to having dinner at a friend's place. The waitress came over occasionally with cheery smiles to inquire if we enjoyed the food (but wasn't intrusive), or to refill our water or wine. The candlelight was flickering, and everyone was laughing, joking and enjoying each others conversation.

Madiba has a casual vibe, no attitude or high pretensions. It's a place with interesting, fairly tasty food, and great company. The owner will even sit down with you for conversation about how he started up the place as a remembrance to celebrate his homeland.

I always end with my absolute favorite dessert ever, the Malva Pudding. It's a very moist cake, hot and fresh from the oven, served with a scoop of ice cream. If I lived closer to the neighborhood, I'd probably stop over every afternoon for the pudding and a glass of South African wine.
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