Dining Out

Verdure Kitchen

Vibrant African Fusion in Atlanta

By: Lia Picard
Interior of Verdure Kitchen and Cocktails

Jean-Louis Sangare long dreamt of serving African dishes. An Ivory Coast native, Sangare points out that Africa comprises 64 countries, each with their own distinct culinary styles. “Knowing that, and seeing in the world that we are not represented, makes me feel that as a chef I’m not able to represent my culture,” says Sangare. That changed, however, when he opened Verdure Kitchen & Cocktails, along with restaurateurs Aïda Lemma and Jacob Ilkner, in July 2024 in Atlanta’s Midtown.

Octopus at Verdure Kitchen

After nearly two decades of working at Le Bilboquet (in both New York and Atlanta), the French-trained chef brought his culinary passion to Verdure, where he pays homage to Nigeria, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Ghana. For example, roasted egusi (a West African melon seed) blends with sesame oil, African spices, garlic, and lemon juice for a play on hummus, while crispy octopus sits atop corn puree (a tribute to corn’s prominent use in Africa, says Sangare). Other standout menu items include pan-seared branzino stuffed with warmly spiced heirloom tomatoes, onions, kalamata olives, and thyme, and charred okra served with a dollop of Ethiopian berbere aïoli.

In addition to Sangare’s exciting dishes is the wow factor that comes with dining at Verdure. Located on the ground floor of an apartment building within view of Piedmont Park, the restaurant winks at its location with lush design details found in botanical-print wallpaper, and plants (both real and artificial) fill the lofty space. Even the cocktails are presented in stunning fashion thanks to Betty Tesfaye, who designed the bar program from Lake Bishoftu Resort in Ethiopia. The concoctions spotlight fresh ingredients like kiwi and liqueurs like Amarula and “harmonize perfectly with the lush aesthetics,” says Tesfaye.

Now that his dream of opening an African-influenced restaurant has been realized, Sangare feels content. He wants his guests to enjoy their experience at Verdure, from the aesthetics to the flavors he presents on the plate to the feeling of joy that stays with them after a meal. “When you come to the restaurant, we have to be able also to feed you where you can feel good in your body,” says Sangare. “I don’t cook just to cook. I cook to make people happy.”

Can’t Miss at Verdure Kitchen

hibiscus cocktail at Verdure Kitchen and Cocktails

Cody’s Farro Salad

Farro combined with shallots, parmesan, dates, and candied pecans, topped with roasted beets and a dressing of blueberry vinaigrette. Baobab whipped cream adds a unique, creamy element.

Summer Roasted Root Burrata

One of Sangare’s personal favorites, burrata sits on a nest of roasted carrots, beets, and parsnips. A green balsamic glaze adds a nice tanginess.

Zesty Pineapple Glazed Prawns

Sangare spices jumbo shrimp with chile flakes and uses pineapple juice for fruity sweetness. The shrimp are served with avocado and tomatoes along with a sweet pineapple glaze.

Creamy Coconut Hibiscus Margarita

This fruity, light twist on the margarita blends coconut cream, hibiscus juice, tequila, and orange liqueur.

about this restaurant

  • Chef

    Jean-Louis Sangare

  • Address

    560 Dutch Valley Road North East
    Suite 100
    Atlanta, Georgia

    • African

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