Salaama Restaurant doesn’t bill itself as a fast-food restaurant — but it should.
We rolled in for lunch on a recent afternoon and, within five minutes of ordering, found our table ringed with bananas, pitchers of guava and mango juice, salad, and steaming plates of tender grilled chicken, roasted goat and aromatic basmati rice.
The bill was about what you’d expect at a teriyaki joint.
Tucked between two hotels on Tukwila International Boulevard, the Somali eatery caters to East African clients and English-speaking travelers with equal hospitality.
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The menu: Breakfast offerings (all priced at $7) consist of sautéed meats — chicken, liver or beef — or pinto beans, served with a choice of injera (a spongy sourdough pancake), pita bread or mufo, a Somali cornbread. Lunch/dinner choices include suqaar, chicken or beef sautéed with onion, parsley, tomatoes, cumin and garlic ($8); chicken or beef teriyaki ($8); roasted goat ($8); and chicken, beef or fish shawarma (each $6). Entrees are served with cumin-seasoned rice and a small green salad. Pastas include tuna Alfredo ($8) and pasta saldatta, grilled meat served atop lightly sauced spaghetti ($8). Sodas are 99 cents and coffees, including lattes and cappuccinos, are $1.99.
What to write home about: The roasted goat was perfectly tender. If you like fire in your food, toss on some of the tangy green curry sauce from the bottle on the table. Have some tea, too. It’s as good as dessert.
What to skip: The tomato sauce on the pasta saldatta was bland.
The setting: A clean, cheerful space with seating for about 52. The restaurant provides a separate entrance for Muslim women who want to eat apart from male customers, but women are welcome to sit wherever they want. We sat in the main dining area among mixed company, and no one batted an eye.
Summing up: Chicken suqaar, pasta saldatta and roasted goat served with side salads and pitchers of guava and mango juice came to $29, including tax and tip.
Susan Kelleher: 206-464-2508 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On twitter: @SusanKelleher