Feast Your Eyes is a photo-driven introduction to an East Bay (California) restaurant that’s been open for at least one year. They recently featured Lemat Ethiopian Restaurant & Cafe

By Andria Lo (Berkeleyside)

BERKELEY, Cal.―The East Bay is home to many Ethiopian eateries — many of them clustered within a mile or two around the Berkeley-Oakland border. Lemat Ethiopian Restaurant & Cafe opened last summer in the middle of this hub, and after one and a half years, has carved out its own loyal following.

The restaurant is a family endeavor. Owner Gezu Mengistu runs Lemat with his wife Ejigayehu, and her sister Tigist Gelan is the head chef. Before cooking at Lemat, Tigist ran a business out of Oakland called Walia Catering, popular among the local Ethiopian community.

The family’s tried-and-true recipes are at the core of Lemat’s popularity. They pride themselves on serving traditional dishes and authentic flavors. Their homemade injera — the springy fermented bread that is a centerpiece of Ethiopian cuisine — is made, in accordance with tradition, entirely with teff, a grain native to Ethiopia that is naturally gluten-free.

The food is a reflection of generations-old recipes from Ethiopia’s Gurage region. Lemat imports its spices and serves regional dishes like kitfo, a marinated beef tartar. Kitfo is one of Gezu Mengistu’s favorite dishes, one that he “can’t live without.” At Lemat, kitfo is served with housemade Ethiopian cottage cheese and collard greens.

Lemat Ethiopian Restaurant & Cafe
3212 Adeline St
Berkeley, CA 94703
TEL.: (510) 430-2717

Another of Gezu’s favorites is shiro wot, a comfort food made from roasted and ground chickpeas simmered in a crockpot with garlic, onions and either hot spicy berbere or turmeric.

Continue reading this story at Berkeleyside
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