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Need a new Ethiopian Restaurant

  • chefj Aug 15, 2009 05:43 PM
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I am looking for a good Ethiopian Restaurant in Oakland.
We used to go to Asmara but their food food was always lackluster for me. None of the flavors really stood out and the spicing was always too light or muddled. A friend claimed it was because they owners are Eritrean and their cooking style used more tomato and different spicing.
Cafe Coluci solved that problem but now it has gotten so loud and tight that is is just not pleasant to eat there any more.
Does anyone have any good suggestions for a replacement??

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  1. I think Cafe Colucci has the most sophisticated spicing, but you might want to try Ethiopia, which is very quiet and cozy, or Addis which I remember having very assertive spicing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      I was very unimpressed with the spicing, portions and service at Ethiopia recently, wished I had gone somewhere else.

    2. Thanks for the suggestions. We went to Addis last night. It fit filled the bill almost perfectly.
      We had a St. George Beer, very similar to H'arar a little less malty, slight honeyed flavor and perfectly bittered.
      For dinner we had Kitfo, Gomen and Messer Wat.
      The Injeera was fresh and made with plenty of Teff, dark and tangy.
      Kitfo was very good. Very herbal flavor front with the cardamom and chili rounding it out. served with the traditional Mitma and a little pile of Berbere.
      We ordered the vegetable combo and asked for just the Gomen and Messer Wat. Both were very good Gomen had a nice acidic tang and the Messer Wat was richly spiced.
      I thought that the portions on the vegetables were a bit small. They still put Alicha and more of it the the Gomen and Wat. That said we did not leave hungry by any stretch of the Imagination.
      I think I found my new haunt.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chefj

        link

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        Addis
        6100 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

      2. I like the Red Sea at the foot of Claremont:
        http://www.redsearestaurantbar.com/

        If you are going later, bring your flashlight. Seriously!
        Last visit fortunately an LED keychain was available to view the menu in the Very Dark room.

        1. have tried many ethiopan places in that part of oakland but always go back to colucci, despite the issues with crowds and service, due to lackluster spicing issue at the others. crowd level not bad if you're an early bird diner...

          1. Ennssaro in Oakland on Grand Ave. is our go-to place. We tried all the Ethiopian restaurants in Berkeley and Oakland before settling on Enssaro (spelled differently in different places, but on the 300 block of Grand). Run by a mother-daughter team, the spicing is wwaaay better than the other lackluster options and even kicks Colucci out of the water. Typical Ethiopian touch-n-go service (sometimes fast, sometimes slow), but not brightly lit or over crowded. Enjoy!

            3 Replies
            1. re: cheerful

              I want to second the recommendation for Enssaro. The people are so sweet, the service has always been wonderful (a bit slow when busy, but always attentive), the space is so intimate, and the food... oh, the food! I always loved Colucci, but this place stole my heart.

              1. re: cheerful

                Link

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                Enssaro
                366 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA

                1. re: cheerful

                  Just wanted to third Enssaro. By far the best Ethiopian in Oakland IMO.

                2. I'd say Addis or Finfine.

                  Of course if you're in the South Bay definitely check out Zeni. When I lived in the East Bay I was on a mission to try every East Bay Ethiopian restaurant. I tried about 7 or 8, went to Zeni (which yes, was outside the geographical boundary), and then stopped my quest because I'd found my grail.

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                  Zeni Ethiopian Restaurant
                  1320 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

                  Finfine
                  2556 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704