during the West Africa country’s second civil war. After finishing college in Portland and Seattle, she opened her Portland restaurant Akadi in 2018. Local eaters loved her traditional dishes like peanut butter stew and fermented cassava, and Ouattara made her restaurant a welcoming gathering place for the entire African diaspora by featuring regional dishes from across the continent. Live music, grilled meats, and cold beer provided a little taste of home, and Portland diners lined up in droves.
She closed the restaurant for more than two years during the pandemic, and turned her energy to developing a bottled version of the rich tomato-based sauces used at the restaurant as condiments, marinades, and the base for complex stews (we’re currently BEGGING her to bottle Akadi’s addictive, mustard-based yassa sauce). Inspired by her childhood time cooking with her grandmother while in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, the traditional recipes have been modified to incorporate local ingredients, and now we can all have a taste of Akadi, which means tasty in Ouattara’s native Bambara, in our own homes.
In 2022, Ouattara returned to restaurant life and reopened Akadi in SE Portland. Bigger and better in every way, the new Akadi features an expanded menu of dishes from across Africa, and turns into a vibrant, popping nightclub on Friday and Saturday nights. And while the menu highlights mostly traditional precolonial flavors, Ouattara is exploring food, beverages, and dessert that honor Africa’s historical cuisine while creatively looking to the future.
All photos are via Akadipdx.com and @akadipdx
Earthy, complex, and nuanced, Akadi's sauces can be used as a marinade, dipping sauce, condiment or even as part of salad dressing. We particularly love it with fried fish, but we'll be using this on everything from roasted veggies to hearty soups and grilled meats, and everywhere in between. Vegan and Gluten Free.