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The Chicago Traveler

Say “Yassa!” to African Cuisine

by Matt B on May 20th, 2007

If you’ve never had Senegalese cuisine before, you’re in for a treat. Senegalese food has been described as a mix between West African, which features a lot of seafood and grains, and Central African, marked by lamb and heavy sauces. Yassa’s menu offers choices like black pepper, cumin, and clove-crusted lamb chops; chicken yassa—lemon, onion, and spice-marinated chicken that’s charcoal-grilled and served with mustard; fataya—a sort of fish empanada; and theibu djen—grouper or red snapper stewed with eggplant, carrots, and cabbage served over jollof rice. Whole tilapia are marinated for hours and then thrown on the coals to be blackened to perfection. The skin turns out crunchy and sweet while the flesh stays tender and juicy.


The best suggestions on what to eat though will probably come from the staff themselves. Feel free to ask questions; they’ll be more than happy to help. The wait might be long, but it will be worth it. You’ll be rewarded with giant (cheap!) platters of extraordinary food. More than likely, you’ll have leftovers for days.

Yassa is a great slice of Senegalese culture. You can get a sample of the warmth of the people and the great cuisine. The restaurant manages to maintain a great atmosphere even without expensive décor. You’ll feel like a guest in someone’s home.

Yassa ($): 716 E 79th St; 773-488-5599
Sun - Sat: 11:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Street parking available
Public Trans: Bus # 4, X4, 79 or Metra train (79th/Chatham)

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POSTED IN: Restaurants

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