“There really is something in the theory that the best food in Los Angeles is in horrid suburban-looking strip malls,” comments Das Ubergeek after a very successful recon mission to check out Tana Ethiopian Restaurant and Market. Located in a seedy west Anaheim strip mall and lighted by six-foot fluorescent bulbs, Tana makes it completely unnecessary for any OC resident to drive to Little Ethiopia in Los Angeles.
The menu is short: a half dozen meat dishes (mostly tibs, or sautéed meat), including kitfo, raw chopped beef blended with spiced butter; a vegetarian platter; and shiro (spicy lentils). There’s also doro wot in the guise of “chicken stew.”
Getting the veg platter plus shiro is redundant, since the platter comes with plenty of the lentil stew. There are three kinds of lentils, actually; cabbage and potato stew; green beans; two kinds of salad with tomatoes and chiles; and a salad made of injera, the slightly sour, pancakelike Ethiopian bread, torn into pieces and tossed with tomatoes, spiced butter, and chiles.
“Standouts were the green beans, cooked with onions until they were very nearly singed—these were so good that my wife ate green beans willingly for the first time in two decades; the collards had something in them (crumbly cheese?) that made it very savoury. The red lentils in the centre of the platter had a smoky, rich, almost mole-like quality to them that just drove me wild.”
The shiro is fantastic, but it has a helluva lot of spiced butter, which makes it very hard to scoop up (Ethiopian food is eaten with the hands, using injera to fold around the morsels).
Service is quick and gracious; injera is refilled automatically. They do Ethiopian coffee service, and even the regular coffee is shockingly strong and hot.
Vegetarian platter is $10; shiro is $7.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Closed Monday.
Tana Ethiopian Restaurant and Market [Orange County]
2622 W. La Palma Avenue, Anaheim
Board Link: REVIEW: Tana Ethiopian Restaurant, Anaheim