Dining Out

Dakar NOLA

A Senegalese Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana

exterior of Dakar NOLA
Written by Beth D’annono

Chef Serigne Mbaye could have opened his restaurant anywhere. After circumnavigating the globe on a culinary quest, stopping along the way at kitchens including Michelin-starred restaurants L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in New York and Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, the classically trained chef planted his roots in New Orleans, opening Dakar NOLA in November 2022.

Situated in an Uptown cottage, the 30-seat restaurant is spare and warmly elegant, rich with African art and artifacts. Dakar NOLA’s debut was two years in the making, following a series of pop-ups and chef partnerships that solidified Mbaye’s New Orleans roots.

“New Orleans is the closest American city to Dakar,” says the 29-year-old chef, who was recently nominated as a semifinalist for Emerging Chef by the James Beard Foundation. Growing up, he went to school in his home country of Senegal and also spent time with his mom, a caterer with a business in Harlem. “My idea is to show how much West African and specifically Senegalese cultures have inspired Creole cuisine. There’s no other city that understands that like here.” 

Although that connection usually includes a mention of the enslaved Africans who were forcibly brought to New Orleans, carrying their culinary heritage and culture with them, Mbaye frames the conversation differently at his new restaurant in Louisiana. 

The exterior of Dakar Nola, one of the new restaurants in Louisiana. Olive green building with white columns and gold decor.

“When I think of my ancestors, I think of royal kings and queens. That’s who they were,” he says. Growing up around his mother’s restaurant business, he took it for granted that Senegalese cuisine was well-known everywhere. “West African cuisine is as evolved, as complex, as French, Japanese, Italian cuisine,” he says. With the help of his business partner, Effie Richardson, his dream of showcasing that truth at his own restaurant is now a reality.

Dakar NOLA’s seasonal chef’s tasting menu, priced at $150, features seven courses, a mix of elevated Senegalese dishes using local ingredients and Gulf seafood. Every Wednesday, a three-course $55 chef’s menu brings added value to the table. The crossover between Creole and African cultures is clear in dishes like jollof, the country’s staple rice dish and a kissing cousin to jambalaya, and soupa konja, a Senegalese precursor to the New Orleans version of seafood okra gumbo. “My goal is to illuminate and strengthen the connection between our two cultures,” Mbaye says.

Can’t Miss at Dakar NOLA

The chef’s menu rotates seasonally, but these sample dishes give you a taste of what to expect. 

Walnut tart with mint ice cream on a bright green plate served at Dakar NOLA.


Large, head-on Gulf shrimp are grilled and lined up in a row, perched atop a smear of tamarind syrup. Locals will feel a tug of recognition as if New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp were treated with a dose of the tropics. 

Fonio Salad

Fonio is an essential West African staple, a cousin to quinoa with a nutty, toasty flavor. Here, the tiny grains are crispy and golden, delivered over greens that pop with tart citrus. 

Jollof rice served at Dakar NOLA


Fluffy and aromatic, this homestyle comfort food renders the flavor of tomato down into its grains. 

Ataya: Tea Service

The Senegalese custom of sharing a tea-drinking experience, known as ataya in Wolof, closes out each meal. Bittersweet gunpowder green tea with mint and sugar is served hot—it’s best enjoyed while lingering.

about this restaurant

  • Chef

    Serigne Mbaye

  • Address

    3814 Magazine Street
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    • West African

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