If the restaurant looks like a banquet hall-fake roses in vases,
bright-red mantles, napkins folded like fans and carefully placed inside
glass cups, business cards handed out just as you sit down—because
owner Habiba Abdi has a catering business of the same name, and old habits
die hard. Abdi's suqaars—sautéed chicken or beef on beds of cardamom-spiked
rice—are the type of food that makes you eat so much that you're likely to
stretch something inside that shouldn't be stretched. The sambusas are
really samosas, but bigger, flakier and accompanied by a fragrant
green-pepper chutney that scalds. Baked in-house is the bur, Somali fry
bread as sweet as pan dulce and as savory as a French roll—tear it open to
stuff in whatever's in front of you, or use it for sopping.
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While Orange County has always hosted an embarrassingly small African-American community, actual Africans are beginning to arrive on our shores in waves. Most of them find comfort in Anaheim: You can dine on Ethiopian at Tana,...