- Oliver Parini
- Somali beef with noodles at Kismayo Kitchen
Kismayo Kitchen, a restaurant that specializes in Somali food and also serves American fare, opened in late June at 505 Riverside Avenue in Burlington's Old North End.
The restaurant, in the building previously occupied by the Little Red Kitchen, is owned and operated by Ahmed Omar, 32, of Burlington. His restaurant experience includes consulting and planning the menu at Juba Restaurant and Café, his family's Somali restaurant in suburban Seattle. His mother was a chef in Kismayo, a city in southern Somalia.
"We have multicultural food," said Omar, a 2006 graduate of Burlington High School. "You can come here and have Italian food — pasta with sauce — or Somali chicken stew."
Somali dishes such as chicken and vegetables with rice or pasta are flavored with cilantro, basil, cumin and cardamom. Samosas, filled with ground beef and diced red onion, are garlicky and peppery. Caesar salad is served with optional stir-fried chicken on the side, a method that keeps the lettuce cool and crunchy.
Omar, who is also a personal trainer, said he will accommodate diners with special diets. "If you want fresh, clean food, I will make it for you right away," he said.
The menu at Kismayo Kitchen includes sandwiches, salads and panini. Customers order at the counter, and food is delivered to their table; meals are available to go, as well. The restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.