By Kim Westerman |

The Ethiopian/Eritrean community in the Easy Bay is largely concentrated along Telegraph Avenue from uptown Oakland to south Berkeley. The most visible sign of this thriving sub-culture is its restaurants and cafés which are mostly located along the main drag. While all of these places are casual, they vary widely in terms of service and wait times for food. But they’re all friendly, with the staff (often the owners) eager to share their cuisine. Everything’s scooped up with injera, a spongy flatbread made from sourdough teff or some combination of wheat, barley, corn, and rice. And they’re welcoming to kids — after all, you eat with your hands! I tried the vegetarian and meat combos at each spot, as well as the honey wine, the traditional beverage pairing, whenever a brand was recommended by the server. (Be aware that many local Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurants have bars separate from their dining spaces, but all serve alcohol at the tables and in the bar.) And a final disclaimer: Though coffee is an Ethiopian tradition, I didn’t find any spots that stood out for great coffee preparation or service.

Abesha Ethiopian Cuisine

One of the best on this list for food, service, and all-around experience is the spare, sunlit space that is Abesha, in an otherwise nondescript block that is technically in Temescal. One of the big advantages to ordering combo platters here is that you get to choose your own items. My favorite among the veggie choices are the timatim fifit, sort of like a bread salad, with tomatoes, onions and jalapeños mixed with injera and the gomen, chopped collard greens in berbere sauce. All the meat dishes I sampled were tender and flavorful, especially the beef wot, simmered in a mild red pepper sauce. Servers are gracious and happy to answer questions.

Abesha Ethiopian Cuisine
4929 Shattuck Ave. [Map]
Oakland, CA 94609
Ph: (510) 653-8383
Hours: Daily 11am-10pm
Facebook: Abesha Ethiopian Restaurant
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

Addis Ethiopian Restaurant

Addis is one of the more upscale spots on this list with white tablecloths and slightly more formal service than the others. The food is also more muted, with milder flavors across the board and injera that is less sour than average. Alicha denich, potatoes and carrots stewed in a turmeric-laden spice blend with onions and garlic, was among my favorite vegetarian dishes, second only to shiro wot, split peas in a mild berbere sauce and butter. The standout among meat dishes was the yedoro wot, chicken legs stewed in a berbere sauce and served traditionally with a boiled egg. Service is efficient and prompt, which is not necessarily the norm, and should be considered if you have time constraints.

Addis Ethiopian Restaurant
6100 Telegraph Avenue [Map]
Berkeley, CA 94609
Ph: (510) 563-3456
Hours: Daily 11:30am-10pm
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

Asmara Restaurant

In the heart of Temescal’s hipster-ville, Asmara is a welcome change of pace from the overpriced food of the neighborhood. Servers are super-friendly and will gladly chat with you about the menu. The injera here is particularly sour, a style I like a lot, and I’d recommend this place on that basis alone. The menu also describes each dish in detail, including spice level, which is a useful feature. The winner on the vegetarian combo plate was kik alicha, yellow split peas and onions (mild) and the best meat dish we tried was ye-beg alicha, chunks of lamb stewed in a mild curry sauce.

Asmara Restaurant
5020 Telegraph Avenue [Map]
Oakland, CA 94609
Ph: (510) 547-5100
Hours: Tue-Sun 11:30am-11pm
Facebook: Asmara Restaurant
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

Barcote Ethiopian Restaurant

Barcote, located directly across the street from the more popular, but less inviting Café Colucci, is a personal favorite of mine because it operates in an almost timeless zone that is whimsical and sometimes even ad hoc. There are four dining spaces: a few tables on the street, two small dining rooms on either side of the kitchen and a wonderful patio out back that I never knew existed until recently. Service is exceedingly slow, but utterly delightful, and each dish is prepared thoughtfully and lovingly, not by rote. The spice profiles are vibrant, in primary colors, not muted in an attempt to satisfy more sensitive or “refined” palates. All the food was excellent, and in the home-style “comfort” category. Standouts include atakilt wat, stewed cabbage with potatoes and doro tibs, boneless chicken with garlic, onions and jalapeños.

Barcote Ethiopian Restaurant
6430 Telegraph Avenue [Map]
Berkeley, CA 94609
Ph: (510) 923-6181
Hours: Daily 11am-10pm
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

Bole Ethiopian Restaurant

Bole is where I tried Enat, my favorite honey wine. It’s a widely available brand but served properly here (cold and in a wine stem). There are two choices: dry and sweet. The sweet version is downright syrupy, what regular wine drinkers in the U.S. would consider a dessert wine. The “dry” wine has residual sugar, too, but goes well as a table wine with the food, especially the spicier dishes, which Bole excels at. Order the quanta firfir, a staple in the Eritrean tradition: dried beef stewed in a spicy tomato sauce. Mitten shiro, chickpeas stewed with onions and herbs, is a great veggie option. Servers are welcoming, but there’s only one cook in the kitchen. Their dishes — while carefully prepared and presented — can arrive slowly.

Bole Ethiopian Restaurant
2805 Telegraph Avenue [Map]
Oakland, CA 94609
Ph: (510) 645-1111
Hours: Wed-Fri and Mon 11am-3pm and 5-10pm; Sat 12-10pm; Sun 12-9pm; Closed Tue
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

Café Colucci

While Café Colucci is arguably the most popular Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurant in the East Bay, and the food it serves is solid, the service is often slapdash, especially a peak times. Still, it’s worth a visit for the house-ground spice blends and careful cooking. Destination dishes include ayeb, homemade buttermilk cheese; awaze, beef with Ethiopian mustard in a mild berbere sauce; and eggplant tibs with onions and turmeric. This is also a great place to try a flax-seed smoothie, a nutty, fiber-laden drink that pairs well with all the food. Just be forewarned that you might have to get up to track your server down.

Café Colucci
6427 Telegraph Avenue [Map]
Berkeley, CA 94609
Ph: (510) 601-7999
Hours: Daily 8am-10pm
Facebook: Café Colucci
Twitter: @EthiopianSpices
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

Red Sea Restaurant

Red Sea is among the oldest spots on this list, and it remains a contender for its presentation of classic dishes. The best among them are bamiya, stewed okra and potatoes, and gored, cubed beef sautéed in spiced butter and lemon juice and cooked to medium. Servers are knowledgeable and accommodating and the kitchen turns out food fairly quickly. The injera here is particularly light and spongy, really nice for soaking up the juicier sauces.

Red Sea Restaurant
5200 Claremont Avenue [Map]
Oakland, CA 94618
Ph: (510) 655-3757
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-10pm; Sat-Sun Noon-10pm
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

Source: KQED Food | Bay Area Bites


Download Sodere app and watch new full movies for free  የሶደሬ አፕልኬሽንን በማውረድ አዳዲስ ፊልሞች  በነፃ  ተመልከቱ 

Choose your platform iPhone   Android   Roku   Apple TV

                  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.