Somali Sublime

They've got your goat

I should mention that a large part of the menu is made up of Middle Eastern fare: kebabs, baba ghanouj, and so forth. All of it above average. The owners explained to me that, as they cater mostly to Somalis, they wanted to expand their patrons' options. The Somali food remains more exotic and enticing, though.

Juba's insides have been gutted and redone by its trio of owners to a pleasant color scheme of taupe, brown and gray. I especially like the Moorish arches of one dining room, and its beaded curtain, which allows me to fantasize about being an international fat man of mystery. All I need is a white suit and a fez!

Juba-lation: The Juba team, from left, standing: Mike Eldeleymi, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean chef; Abdulahi Hussein, co-owner; Mohamed Ali, co-owner; Musa Warsame, Somalian chef. Seated: Ayan Mohamed, waitress (left), and Aracely Aispuro, kitchen assistant.
Jackie Mercandetti
Juba-lation: The Juba team, from left, standing: Mike Eldeleymi, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean chef; Abdulahi Hussein, co-owner; Mohamed Ali, co-owner; Musa Warsame, Somalian chef. Seated: Ayan Mohamed, waitress (left), and Aracely Aispuro, kitchen assistant.

Location Info

Map

Juba Restaurant

5050 E. McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85008

Category: Restaurant > African

Region: East Phoenix

Details

Somali-style “sanbusa”: $4.50
Chicken kebab: $8.85
Bariis and hillib: $7.50
Sukhaar: $6.50

602-244-1206.
Hours: daily, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

5050 East McDowell Road

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Servers wear dress shirts with the Juba logo, the name taken from one of Somalia's two great rivers. The owners are pleasant gents, with ready smiles and excellent English. And the strip mall in which Juba is located is smack-dab in the heart of Phoenix's Somali community, many of whom have fled the troubles in their homeland for a new start here in America. Considering the Somali café and cafeteria in the same complex, perhaps we should dub the block "Little Mogadishu," or "Little Somalia." With places like Juba around, is it any wonder that a jaded foodie such as I finds contentment therein?

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