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New Eritrean restaurant in Santa Rosa

j
jeanlass Nov 22, 2006 03:43 AM

Santa Rosa has a large Eritrean population but for years the only Eritrean food I've been able to find locally was at the Glendi festival... so when a friend told me about an Eritrean restaurant that had just opened, I was there like a shot. Cafe Santa Trata is at 711 Stony Point Rd, right next to Pho Vietnam. I've now eaten there twice-- after living with an unsatisfied injera craving for so long, it's difficult to stay away! They've obviously taken great care with the decor-- it's reminiscent of an upscale cafe (and, in fact, the only items listed on the menu on the wall are cafe items, as they didn't have their Eritrean menu printed when I was there). There was a platter of food near the register in place of a menu, so I'm afraid I can't tell you the names of what we've ordered. You can choose from two dinner options: a two item combination for $10.99 and a three item combination for $12.99. (It may have been $11.99-- at any rate, it seemed a bargain... enough for leftovers the next day.) Entrees included a spicy beef stew, a mild chicken dish that seemed to consist mostly of thigh meat and a mild lamb stew. Sides were mixed vegetables, yellow lentils, a spinach dish my husband adored and I think there may be one I've forgotten. Each combination comes with a small salad, and a folded wedge of injera along with the traditional "plate." We thought the injera was wonderful and especially enjoyed the beef stew, lentils and spinach. Would love to have some feedback about this place from interested Hounds!

  1. s
    Stephanie Sugars Jan 20, 2008 04:38 PM

    Well, I'm kicking myself for never making it to Santa Trata. Miles on waccoobb.net posted that the restaurant closed recently. He also mentioned the closure of Nhabee, which I'd visited & enjoyed. An Ethiopean restaurant is opening at the former Nhabee site on Fourth Street, so I'll get another chance to support a small, locally run endeavor. Injera :)

    On my soap box - we Sonoma County folks are fortunate to have talented cooks who take the risk to start their own businesses. It's up to us to support these folks - I'm thinking of Chloe's on Airway Drive and Mateo's food stand and our farmers markets and, and, and. So many good places have come and gone. If we frequent these endeavors, we can help them stay in business for all to enjoy. - Off my soapbox.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Stephanie Sugars
      wearybashful Jan 20, 2008 05:38 PM

      We went to Santa Trata a few weeks ago for dinner, and it was empty, while the Pho place next door was packed. Couldn't figure out why. I am bummed.

      1. re: Stephanie Sugars
        drmimi Jan 21, 2008 10:49 AM

        My son will be heartbroken. Santa Trata had the best Injera in the Bay Area. The owners are total sweethearts.
        Restuarants are a tough business- so many fail even if they have fabulous food like Santa Trata.

      2. wearybashful May 14, 2007 10:07 AM

        Are they still open? I called and got a mechanical message machine. It was a Sunday at dinnertime. Anybody know?

        2 Replies
        1. re: wearybashful
          j
          jeanlass Jan 22, 2008 08:47 PM

          Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this! What a shame. Great people and terrific food. When we went to Glendi last summer I felt so liberated-- every other year I've been compelled to concentrate on the Eritrean offerings. (I knew I'd have to wait a year to taste injera again!) That's good news about the place on Fourth, but Santa Trata was a real delight. I'm with you, wearybashful-- lets make an effort to keep these great restaurants in business.

          1. re: wearybashful
            j
            jeanlass Jan 22, 2008 08:50 PM

            Whoops-- I should have directed that last comment to Stephanie! I can't parse the threads on chowhound for some reason... sorry 'bout that.

          2. f
            flutterfli007 Jan 17, 2007 03:52 PM

            Tried this on Chowhounds' recommendation and it is delicious! Almost as good as Blue Nile in Berkeley.
            And the owners are very nice too.

            1. wearybashful Jan 3, 2007 08:51 PM

              We came back hungry from a trip, with nothing in the fridge. This was perfect. Spicy yet comfort food, somehow. A little too salty, but good. And we didn't have to dress up, travel far, or wait. Some of it was a challenge to eat without utensils, but give me enough napkins and I'm game.

              1. b
                Bodegadawg Dec 13, 2006 11:45 PM

                Well I too just came back from Santa Trata, wow. The lunch special was superb, zigne a kind of spicy beef stew, the best spinach I've ever had, shiro a sort of garbanzo stew and a salad served with absolutely delicious injera. Service was a bit slow but the warm smiles the waitress had more than made up for it. I'm pretty sure if they can get the bugs worked out they will do very well.

                1. drmimi Nov 26, 2006 01:26 AM

                  Oh my,

                  Just came back from Cafe Santa Trata! No need to drive down to SF, East Bay or San Jose for Eritrean food. The food is fabulous. It passed my nine year old Joshua test- the Injera is light, moist and tender. We tried the chicken, lentils, greens and salad. Taste sensations. I had my favorite comfort food, Phool, (pronounced fool), made of fava beans, red onion and serano chiles. My latte was made from excellent coffee (goodbye Starbucks and Peets). My son enjoyed his peach smoothie. We had plenty for left overs and left full.

                  Joshua wants to make Cafe Santa Trata our Saturday morning weekly place. Thank goodness it is open from 7 am to 9 pm 7 days a week. I will have to take my coworkers there for lunch sometime soon.

                  1. wearybashful Nov 23, 2006 06:58 AM

                    I wasn't surprised that there's an Eritrean community. I go to Glendi, and my son's school was west of the Charles Shulz museum on Steele Lane. You see older ladies wearing traditional clothing around there, so it's not hard to figure out where they're from.

                    1. wearybashful Nov 22, 2006 09:47 PM

                      What good news! Thanks, jeanlass, I'll have to try it. I'm a Glendi goer (and eater) too. Is that by Sebastopol Road in the big strip mall?

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