Hearty West African cuisine in Lynnwood

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You won’t always get the same dish at Bantaba — they sometimes sell out intermittently, and quickly — but I can almost guarantee whatever you order will be great.

And really, you should try their entire menu.

The Lynnwood counter-service eatery serves up West African dishes. Many appear vibrant red and orange from an exuberant use of tomato, chili, curry powder and other spices. These flavors soak into the meat, the rice, the meltingly-tender vegetables like cabbage and eggplant.

All menu items are rib-sticking meals: Even their best-selling black eye pea slaw can be a satisfying lunch with its green and red peppers, carrots, red cabbage and cilantro, all mixed with a juicy, lightly spiced vinaigrette.

If you’re not Hulkishly hungry, you’ll likely have leftovers.

Even if you’ve never tried West African food, Bantaba’s dishes will make you feel right at home. The portions, especially the benachin, are enough to make you feel like grandma plopped seconds on your plate, then thirds.

The second time I ordered from Bantaba, they were out of fish so I tried the benachin with chicken and could taste how deeply the marinade had permeated the meat. They had the black eye pea slaw this time too. After my takeout feast, I sat in my chair, feet up, convincing myself that I was much too full for one more bite of slaw.

Other popular dishes include a peanut stew with beef ($11), deep fried tilapia ($14) and their vegetarian plate ($11).

Bantaba has a small dining area, though they were still takeout-only the last time I was in. The counter servers are happy to help with recommendations and questions.

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