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Jul 23, 2012 10:35 PM

Walia (Ethiopian) in San Jose

I visited Walia in San Jose over this week-end and I was very impressed. We tried all Ethiopian around and this one is an outlier
my review... (reviewed it for big Y)

This is definitely the best Ethiopian restaurant that I have been to. While my previous experience at a different establishment proved to be, while interesting, undeniably sub-par, THIS place thoroughly impressed me. Upon entrance we were greeted by a calm and charismatic employee who managed to distribute his attention throughout all the tables. He gave us a brisk walk through the menu and left us to ponder on what we were going to order. The staff had their timing nailed, because our order was taken in a few moments after its conception. Our first course, the sambusas, was cooked perfectly. The outside crust was crispy ands little chewy, but not brittle and oily. The fillings were flavorful and pleasantly spicy. The two main courses, a wonderful lamb stew and a dish with the name Mojo Zilzil Tibs, were no less magnificent than the appetizers. The lamb was soft flavorful and spicy. The second dish was strips of beef cooked with sautéed onions and green chiles. The beef was superb, the onions had a nice smoky flavor to them. I was most surprised about the chile, which was subtly sweet instead of the expected mouth-blisteringly hot. The injera on which all of this was served was not dense and heavy, but airy, soft, and with its own flavor. Color me impressed.

Could you recommend other North African places in the South Bay/Peninsula?

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  1. Ghion, 1015 Park Ave. in San Jose.

    This place has the biggest flavors of the Ethiopian restaurants I've been to, but still balanced. The injera is EXTREMELY tangy. The doro wot (chicken) is spicy but wraps around and meshes with the injera.

    The only downside is, the wait is extremely long--probably because they make everything fresh, including the injera. There really isn't any ambiance either, but I don't consider that a downside.

    3 Replies
      1. re: alopatenko

        Zeni is my favorite so far, but there are so many others I haven't tried in the area.


        1. re: mdg

          I've tried both Ghion and Wahlia and thought they didn't hold a candle to Cafe Rehoboth on North 6th Street in San Jose. Their owner was out of town but now she has returned and the food now is easily the best in the bay area. They use all organic ingredients which I haven't found in Ethiopian restaurants much. I always get the kitfo and vegetarian combo but everything is delicious here.
          I like Zeni too but not as much as Cafe Rehoboth.