Bissap Baobab’s Oakland outpost is small and lively, drawing a diverse crowd of attractive tattoo-wearers; African expat families; and solo office workers. Even if you’re a novice when it comes to Senegalese food, there’s no need to be daunted by the menu — the mix-and-match format isn’t so different from what you’d find at, say, your neighborhood Thai restaurant: Pick a sauce, a protein, and either rice or couscous. The yassa, for instance, is a Dijon mustard-based caramelized-onion sauce that’s great with chicken or grilled fish. The mafe, a savory peanut sauce, pairs nicely with African-style “tofu” (made with black-eyed peas). To cater to the downtown lunch crowd, the restaurant’s main innovation is something called an “Afro wrap” — served piping hot, it’s basically West Africa’s answer to the burrito.
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.