Alafia West African Cuisine closed, seeking new owner

The restaurant has no plans to reopen.

Alafia West African Cuisine announced it has closed indefinitely after four years in business.

The restaurant posted on its Facebook page on November 10:

Dear Alafia Customers, we regret to inform you that we are looking to sell the restaurant and due to unforeseen time constraints will NOT be opening back up in the mean time. We are sorry to let you down, and want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your patronage these past few years.

Shortly after fans responded, Alafia followed up with a comment:

Thank you for your kind words. We are working hard to find someone to keep it West African food. It hurts us to have to sell but we realized we just couldn’t give this restaurant the love and attention it deserves. It was, for the most part, a one man show… and that man is exhausted. We are eternally grateful for all the love and support of the food and culture we tried our best to represent here in our beloved city of Tucson!

Benin native Ismael Lawani opened the restaurant in early 2015. The goat, okra, and fish were our favorite dishes there.

African grilled tilapia at Alafia West African Cuisine (Credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

African grilled tilapia at Alafia West African Cuisine (Credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

The only other African restaurants we’re aware of in Tucson are:

  • Zemam’s
  • Zemam’s Too
  • Cafe Desta
  • Queen Sheba
  • Nur Market

Those restaurants cover the Horn of Africa, which only covers a fraction of the African continent; we hope to see additional African cuisine represented in Tucson soon.

Read our March 2017 article Rustic Charm, Bold Flavors & Authentic Dishes at Alafia West African Cuisine.

Alafia West African Cuisine is located at 1070 N. Swan Rd. Keep up with Alafia West African Cuisine on Facebook.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.