While some people are just impossible to please, it’s worth asking: Does Addissae’s food stand up to its more metropolitan cousins?

By Matthew DeRobertis (Citizen-Times) |

Year after year, when Asheville diners were surveyed about what’s lacking in local cuisine, the majority said Ethiopian. The dream was finally realized when Addissae, Asheville’s first Ethiopian restaurant, opened downtown in 2014.

In the time the restaurant has been open, it has created some strong reactions. Some are ecstatic to have Ethiopian available at all. Others just seem to want to tell you how it falls short of Ethiopian restaurants in larger cities. While some people are just impossible to please, it’s worth asking: Does Addissae’s food stand up to its more metropolitan cousins?

If this is the first time you’re hearing of Addissae, it could be the location. The restaurant, tucked away on Commerce Street, has an out-of-the-way entrance. But the inside is impeccably clean, newly remodeled in muted earth tones, with artwork livening up the walls and a hanging sign whimsically listing Ethiopian translations of phrases like “thank you” and “I would like a beer.”

ALSO READ A Story of Three Ethiopian Women: Left Their Home Country for Different Reasons, Open “Taste of Ethiopia”

The menu is small but well-rounded. The beverage list includes a few local draft beers, a small selection of wine, three cocktails and some Ethiopian coffee and teas.

I opted to start off with Sierra Nevada’s Summerfest, whose crisp profile paired well with the spicy nature of the cuisine. My wife chose the mango margarita with a turmeric-sugared rim. The drink was refreshing, but the tequila was sparse.

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