Judging Restaurants – Chez Aunty Libe

6115 Georgia Avenue, NW

Looks like Chez Billy isn’t the only Chez on Georgia Ave. Chez Aunty Libe is located a bit further north at 6115 Georgia Ave, NW. Their Web site says:

Explore the tastes of the African continent with a visit to Chez Aunty Libe of Washington, DC. Our West African restaurant specializes in spicy Senegalese food and dishes inspired by Cote d’Ivoire (The Ivory Coast). We have dishes made from beef, chicken, and seafood that burst with flavors and aromas that transport you by senses to another continent. Catering service is available when you want to serve your guests food that’s different from the typical special-event menu. Spice up your evening out with Senegalese food from our West African restaurant in Washington, DC.

Owner Liberte Ehemba has 20 years of experience catering for individuals and embassies. As she began to develop her menu, she decided to open Chez Aunty Libe to provide patrons in the greater Washington, DC, area with traditional West African food. Our restaurant is one of only a few similar ones in the area, and we serve a diverse menu that features a broad range of different ethnic foods from West Africa. Liberte even works with the Smithsonian Institution to showcase different kinds of food and explain where you can find them. Because we want our customers to understand the food and culture of this region, you receive an educational adventure when you come to our restaurant.

Sounds awesome. Anyone ever check them out?

30 Comment

  • The pictures on the website look fantastic. I believe I am going to check this place out!

  • Sounds wonderful. The French influence on that part of Africa really brings its culinary traditions together.

    • LOL at “influence.” I guess that’s one way to put it.

    • Glad to see that’s what you think of when you think of the French “influence” on Africa, wouldn’t want to burden you with thoughts of slavery, colonialism, imperialism or any other unpleasant things…

      And for the record, while yes, the baked goods in patisseries are fabulous there, the local food traditions without French influence are superb!

      • Just goes to show that some of us are proud to celebrate the more positive aspects of our culture, rather than dwelling on the negatives. But to each his/her own. Boycott this restaurant if you find the French influences in the cuisine there offensive.

        • I’m not being snarky, but I honestly don’t understand your point. I enjoy learning about the culture &history of both France and Senegal, as well as their impacts on each other. With an eye to this historical context, I did find your original comment offensive because it implied that “the French influence” on “that part of Africa” (you mean West Africa, right?) validated local culinary traditions, implying that anything African/Senegalese/Wolof etc. wasn’t perhaps good enough until France brought the region’s culinary traditions together…. when in fact the region had it’s own culinary tradition that France encountered via trade and colonization. But that’s just my own observation and reaction.

          Just out of curiosity, when you say “our” culture, what do you mean? Also, I’m not merely “dwelling on the negatives,” I’m just questioning your view and how it might be shaped by history.

          But no worries, hopefully I’ll run into you at Chez Aunty Libe one day and we can discuss this over some delicious food 🙂

      • Just wait until Spike Mendelsohn opens his slave ship-themed cocktail bar, The Middle Passenger.

  • That place is a dump!!!! No value to the community…

    • Do you have any particular reason for your comment? What makes it lack value in your opinion? I went there with some friends and had a great time!

  • sounds great. stupid question i know, but any vegetarian options?

    • My sister and I are vegetarians and were stuffed with delicious food when we were there. My sister said it reminded her of the food her host mom in Senegal used to cook.

  • Chez Aunty Libe is great. My understanding is that when Senegalese dignitaries come to DC, they get her food. I’ve lived in Senegal and around West Africa. Her food is really good, and the folks there are very nice. The piment is strongstrongstrong, so be aware. Maffe (peanut sauce on chicken) is excellent, thiep bu djen (fish and rice) is good, but I’m not a big fish fan, and the leaf sauces are excellent. I thought they’d closed, but I am happy to see that if they did, they’ve reopened. Senegalese is really the best West African food, so much better than Ghanain or Nigerian, etc.

    • saf

      She did close for health reasons a few years ago, and there was another group running a restaurant out of there very briefly. But she came back, and it’s good again!

  • They had food last year at the celebration on the mall that brought food and culture from around the world (it’s annual, but i can’t remember the name). they served thieboudienne and yassa poulet. i had thieboudienne, but it wasn’t as good as some that i had in senegal. not sure how the yassa is, but i’d like to go to the actual restaurant to see what it’s like.

    and regarding veggie options, i don’t know the full menu, but if you’re a pescatarian, you can eat thieboudienne (prounounced tcheb-uh-jen)

    • I had their food at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and thought it was pretty good. My guess is the food in the restaurant ends up a bit different than the food mass-produced in the Smithsonian tents.

  • I also had their food last year at the Smithsonian’s Folklife Fest on the National Mall – the food was terrible. I have eaten at a bunch of the Senegalese restaurants in NYC on 116th St. in Harlem – delicious & satisfying. I very much appreciate West African cuisine but I was very disappointed, especially since I was eager to try their food because when I walk past their restaurant it never seems to be open.

  • True story:many years ago my boyfriend (now husband) and I found cheap tickets to Senegal and decided to go for a 2 week holiday.

    He had never been to West Africa so we decided to go eat at Chez Auntie Libe for a taste of what was to come. We told Auntie Libe of our plans to visit Senegal and before we left the restaurant she had phoned her family in Dakar. In exchange for bringing two suitcases of gifts for her family, she arranged to have them meet us at the airport and bring us to their home. We stayed with them for 4 nights and they were excellent hosts and tour guides. Our trip would have been much less interesting without some Senegalais folks our age to show us around, and we remain in touch with them to this day (thank you, facebook).

    Long story short: Auntie Libe is a very sweet woman. The food at her restaurant is pretty great too, the yassa is my favorite. There might be better Senegalese food somewhere in the world, but there certainly isn’t any in DC.

    • What a great story, thanks for sharing.

    • tonyr

      “In exchange for bringing two suitcases of gifts for her family …..” I don’t want to be a downer, but I really wouldn’t rcommend doing this. I did it once, and, well, 25 years in a Thai prison changes a person.

      • Well, fortunately we’re not stupid. We had discussed with her that we’d need to know what was in the bags for customs purposes, and when we picked them up we opened them and went through everything. Just used clothes. Not that the Senegalese authorities opened any of them to find out. At the time West Africa was not the drug transit hot spot it is today.

        Besides she was going to let us stay with her family even if we said no taking the bags, so there wasn’t a whole lot of trickery involved.

        We also brought back a huge box of dried hibiscus flowers (to make bissap) for her restaurant. Quelle horreur. Even declared it to customs at JFK without issue.

  • I studied abroad in Senegal a few years ago but have never really lived anywhere with any Senegalese restaurants, so I was excited to find Chez Aunty Libby when my friend came to town (her Senegalese friend who lives in Virginia recommended it and joined us). The service was not exactly the terranga I expected but the woman serving us was actually from Cote d’Ivoire and filling in for someone else. But the food was great! We had yassa poulet and tie bou dienne rouge, with a little piment (which had a kick, be warned! but it’s soooo worth it!).

    So I imagine if you don’t speak French it might be tricky but then again I’m not sure what the owner is like. Also, we went on a Saturday afternoon so maybe that’s a good time to check it out if it’s open irregularly; the lady there said the owner also does a lot of catering.

  • Chez Aunty Libe is a highly rewarding restaurant with seriously good food.

    The yassa chicken (mustard onion sauce), maffe (lamb in peanut sauce), manioc, and the whole fish are excellent. Manioc (cassave leaf stew) is an acquired taste, but one worth acquiring. If you call in advance, Libe (that is short for Liberte), can prepare some thiackry, which is a sublime dessert made from fromage blanc, millet, orange blossom water, and vanilla sugar. All in all, it’s hard to eat better in DC.

  • I lived just north of Senegal in Mauritania for 2ish years and this place is legit. Just like cooks along the Sengalese river — you can either make a mean maffe or an excellent thieboudienne but rarely both. Chez Auntie Libe makes a killer maffe.

  • My brother, who lived in Senegal for awhile, took me here claiming that it was the most authentic west african joint in the city. It did not disappoint. By far the best i’ve had around these parts.

  • Visited with a group of friends who like to visit restaurants off the usual downtown beaten path – make sure you go in the evening on a hot day in the summer. It adds to the vibe. Very fun.

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