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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Daily 11:00am–9:00pm

Features Kid-friendly
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


Gaithersburg, MD
312 E. Diamond Ave.
Gaithersburg, MD
(301) 947-0099
Rainbow Restaurant
Ghanaian goat that’s some of the best around

The cuisine of Ghana is little known to most Americans, but some of the elements—fufu (that irresistible potato starch), jollof rice, goat meat, peanut-butter soup—are shared with other West African cuisines. But there’s something totally unique about the Rainbow Restaurant, the cuisine’s foremost practitioner in the DC area. Maybe it’s the atmosphere, which is several notches more festive than you’d expect in a blank-walled, white-tiled, office-ceilinged room; there’s live Ghanaian music, for instance.

Or maybe it’s Rainbow’s singular proficiency in marketing. These folks seem uniquely well connected to the who’s-who of Ghanaian culture, be it Embassy events or catering events for visiting dignitaries from back home, so you’ll often see an array of Rainbow’s steam-table buffet dishes showing up within the District.

There are many good goat dishes in the DC suburbs, but several at the Rainbow Restaurant are among the best anywhere, including goat-and-pepper soup, bright orange in color and gentle in flavor; a stew of meltingly tender goat with eba (a smooth boiled starch made from cassava flour), spinach, and egusi (ground melon seeds); or omotuo (steamed rice balls in a goat soup made from palm-nut butter, spinach, and egusi).

The kitchen has a way with spinach, and with collard greens too; it would be irresponsible to complete a meal here without a leafy-green stew of some sort. There’s a version of jerk chicken, subtler and less spicy (this is not necesarily a good thing) than the Jamaican version. Oxtail, rich and fatty, is another overlap with Jamaica—the West Indies are not so far away—but the “Ghanaian style,” stewed with tomato, is more unusual than the curried Jamaican version. Both are good, though, and both require a willingness to gnaw.

Some shrimp and fish mains can come fairly dried out; accompanying them with rice and fufu certainly doesn’t help cure the dryness. Tilapia filet is unimpressively cooked—forming a relatively tough skin around the flesh—and the taste is not the freshest. Other weaknesses include useless salads of iceberg lettuce and underripe tomato. When will the suburban ethnic restaurants realize that it’s not necessary to serve iceberg-lettuce salads to make people happy?

We’re happy, nonetheless, once you set us up with some spinach and egusi.

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