Somali Food in Denver at Mandeeq’s East African Restaurant

Thunder Queen and I dipped into this East African restaurant at the corner of Havana and Florida a couple of weeks ago for lunch. We wanted something different, so we got ourselves something different. That’s what bosses do.

Let’s go back to that word: different. Mandeeq’s was definitely different. Its decor was Chinese, from the walls to the plates. The menu had little in the way of any descriptions other than the types of meats you could order and the sides available.

But there was something familiar in that difference. Rather than being a strange spread of bizarre and unrecognizable foods, this was a mixture of many things recognizable, so don’t be scurred.

In fact, the pleasant surprise we found in this place was that in incorporates the flavors of diverse regions, from the Mediterranean Near East, to Ethiopia, to India. In short, one finds ingredients from all points along the spice routes connecting the East and West.

We found the soup we were served to be particularly succulent. It smacked of warm Indian spices and probably was based in a lamb bone broth. The meat was delicious. The leg of lamb I had tasted like it came right out of someone’s crock pot. I like that. I like that a lot. The vegetables reminded us of the kind you find heaped onto injeera in your favorite Abyssinian restaurant.*

I believe the bill was approximately $13.00-$15.00 each. I mention this because there were no prices on the menu. It was plenty of food, more than plenty, and it was well cooked and healthy tasting.

In short, don’t go for the decor (does anyone, really?). Go for the food. Catch a soccer game on one of the small televisions, and relax. The people are friendly and they know how to cook. Go hang out with them.

*I occasionally use outdated geographic terms. You should get used to it, because it’s not going to change, Burma.

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