You can't miss Nefertari's. At least, not once you're inside.
While the locale on Tallahassee's Macomb Street can be tricky to track down (GPS steered me wrong), once you make your way through the front door of this Egyptian-inspired eatery you're greeted by a cornucopia of color, pattern and glitz. The opulent decor is fitting for the eatery's tagline: "A royal experience."
Think of it as a pharaoh's palace in downtown Tallahassee. And those pharaoh's knew how to eat.
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From the stuffed tiger at the entryway to bejeweled chandeliers and plush couches, the reception area alone induces sensory overload. Get a little further in, and the walls are decked in hues of ochre, eggplant and mauve. Ancient Egyptians march across wall hangings and wide-eyed faces peer down from tribal masks. Chairs are upholstered in zebra and leopard.
It's a feast for the senses, long before you touch the food.
But the food -- oh the food. The menu is a refreshing conglomoration of African-inspired entrees and other ethnic favorites. From honey stewed eggplant to vegan lasagna to Ethiopian stew (complete with injera, the requisite spongy bread), it's a menu like no other and tailored to please vegetarians, vegans and omnivores alike.
If you're a first-timer, they'll start you off with sips of their brilliantly unique homemade ginger brew and Caribbean sorrel drink (made from a flower).
From there, try the crispy Thai spring rolls ($7). Packed with carrots, cabbage and tofu and paired with a sweet chili sauce, they're a satisfying starter. Or go for samosas, hummus or Isis nachos.
For your main dish, try the tofu pad thai, a massive, filling plate of rice noodles, tofu, bean sprouts and crushed peanutty goodness. Or for omnivores, sample the curry coconut chicken ($16), pan-seared and slightly sweet with a mild amount of spice. If you're into experimentation, they've got vegan chitterlings (made with wheat gluten instead of pig parts), a "brenner" entree (breakfast for dinner -- potatoes and tofu scramble) and Ethiopian stew.
Desserts change on the regular, but always include a vegan option. And they know their way around a chocolate cake.
There's no question that Nefertari's is a one-of-a-kind dining experience. In Tallahassee, or anywhere else. So put on your best brightly colored dinner-wear and make a night of it.
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