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Some hidden gems are known in certain food circles, and others are more like the Somali eatery Waamo Restaurant: more truly hidden. Marked by a loud green-and-white sign, Waamo buzzes, nevertheless. Inside its yellow-lighted, yellow-painted dining room, there’s multilingual conversation, regulars cradling hot coffee, and often a takeout logjam. A mango smoothie and chapati wrap cost just $10 and change. The smoothie is simple and on target, perfectly tropical and refreshing. Waamo does other drinks well, too, including a sweet black tea warmly spiced and scented with lemon. The wrap goes big — about a foot long and stretched with filling, walls thick, hot, and doughy. They are the puffy flatbread chapati, also known as roti. Potatoes, chopped juicy chicken, and green peppers make for a simple, stellar filler. A seedy, fruity hot sauce comes on the side. Waamo’s food travels from East Africa to across the Mediterranean. It does best, though, when sticking to Somalia. The specialty is Somali-style halal goat, richly satisfying, plenty of muted gaminess left intact. Waamo also deep-fries beef sambusas, a Somali pastry. There is a slapdash flow to a meal at Waamo, a little chaotic yet endearing. Basheir Elmi’s restaurant is warm and comforting, even if it’s off the radar of the Phoenix foodie crowd.

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