Aug 14, 2023 - Food and Drink

New restaurant brings the taste of Nigeria to Old City

Stephen Oyelakin and Aisha Wahab

The sister-brother duo chef Aisha Wahab and Stephen Oyelakin. Photo courtesy of Mike Prince

A new Nigerian restaurant has brought the flavors of the West African nation to Old City.

Why it matters: Southwest and West Philly are home to most of the city's African restaurants, but Eatwell African Restaurant & Lounge aims to bring African food to this historic enclave in the city.

State of play: The brother-sister duo Stephen Oyelakin and chef Aisha Wahab opened their restaurant in late July.

  • The two-level, 65-seat restaurant is the pair's first in Philly after opening a Nigerian eatery in Irvington, New Jersey, in 2015.
  • Both Wahab and Oyelakin immigrated to the U.S. in the mid-1990s.

Details: Wahab is cooking up recipes she learned working in her family's restaurant in Nigeria.

  • The menu includes an assortment of stews — like efo-elegusi (spinach and ground melon seed), ogbono, and okra — which you can order with meat or fish.
  • You'll also find other Nigerian staples, including jollof rice and fried rice, as well as starters like asun (grilled goat meat) and peppered snails.

Plus: African snacks, like meat pie, scotch egg and chin-chin.

I recently stopped by the restaurant to get my first taste of Nigerian food.

Gbegiri and ewedu stew at Eatwell Philly
This gbegiri and ewedu stew at Eatwell Philly serves as an introduction to Nigerian food. Photo: Mike D'Onofrio/Axios

What I ordered: Gbegiri and ewedu stew, which is blended black eyed peas with jute leaves in red sauce, with meat along with iyan or pounded yam. ($25)

  • The iyan was sticky, yummy goodness and reminded me of mashed potatoes.
  • The sauce was satisfyingly spicy and flavorful, which paired well with the meat.

Of note: The restaurant encourages you to eat with your hands.

  • Swallows, dough made with pounded yam and yam flour, are used to sop up stews. Yes, you're supposed to swallow them whole.

If you go: 106 Chestnut St.

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 9pm; Friday and Saturday, noon to 11pm; Sunday, 1-7pm.


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