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Taste of Afrika; Nacho Mama's

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Although nothing could replace Winnie's Caribbean Cafe, the site's new occupant, Taste of Afrika does retain some of the friendly atmosphere and down-to-earth ethnic cuisine that made Winnie's so distinctive and popular.

Though its menu offers conventional American crowd-pleasers like sub sandwiches and burgers ($2.50 to $5.50), the restaurant's centerpiece is in Senegalese specialties like Chicken Yassa ($7.99), a famous mustard-marinated chicken-and-vegetables dish served over rice, and West African-influenced dishes like St. Louis Red Snapper ($12.99), which is cooked with tomatoes, garlic, onions and vegetables and served over rice. There is nothing subtle or delicate about this food — the flavors are bold and spicy, the helpings are large and the presentations are without fuss.

Diners looking for a unique dessert will appreciate the bean pie. It involves a sweet and creamy white bean paste baked in a pie shell and topped with sweet crumbles, resulting in a nice dessert that's well worth a try. — B. Ifan Rhys

Taste of Afrika
200 E. Main Street
Monday-Saturday 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
Closed Sunday

Nacho Mama's serves it up without a lot of fire or spice. It offers a fair range of familiar Mexican-American dishes with a twist — including items such as Mama's Mexican pizza appetizer ($5.95) and a trendy, portobello-mushroom wrap ($7.25). The complementary tortilla chips come accompanied by a salsa whose pureed ingredients lack zest.

The carnitas cubanas — tender chunks of pork marinated in Cuban spices — were pleasant. Served with rice, black beans and a very mild salsa verde. The Cuban-style marinade was indistinct, but the pork was juicy and flavorful. The vegetarian burrito was unimpressive; it seemed to lack flavor and the rice that accompanied it was dry. The grilled vegetables wrapped in the burrito also lacked texture, adding to the general mediocrity of the meal.

Still, there's an impressive selection of margaritas. In fact, Mama's ultimate margarita ($7) with Cuervo 1800 and Grand Marnier, may be the best in Richmond. — Aer Stephens

Nacho Mama's
3449 W. Cary St.
Lunch and dinner served Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-
10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-11 p.m.Brunch Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

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