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Restaurants & Bars

Abyssinia - An Ethiopian Gem in Oakland

Kathleen Mikulis | Aug 20, 200302:49 PM     8

I tried out Abyssinia last night in Oakland (Telegraph &52nd at Claremont) in my attempt to eat at every Ethiopian restaurant on Telegraph. (This is separate from the Chowhound attempt with all due respect for those Chowhounders.) It's been open a little less than a year I think, so their "World Famous Vegetarian Dishes" claim amuses me.

Anyway, Abyssinia was the best of the Ethiopian we've tried so far. Family style dinners come with spicy red lentils (yum-my!) and collared greens (which I'm not a big fan of so I feel unqualified to judge), in addition to injera. The revelation though was the doro wat ($7.50) - huge chunks of chicken mixed with onions and tomatoes. I've had this dish at other restaurants but this is the best by far - the chicken was simply really good white meat chicken (not always the case elsewhere) and very tasty. Ye doro tibs ($8.95) - beef served in a red pepper sauce - was good but slightly one dimensional, and was just as good as what I've had in other restaurants.

I've noticed that at Ethiopian restaurants the servers (always female) invariable talk at such a low volume it's nearly impossible to hear them. Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon? Well, Abyssinia continued in this tradition. The proprietor/cook seemed very friendly and excited that we liked the food. Oh yeah - did I mention - we were the only ones there.

There's also a vegetarian lunch buffet in case I want to add another dimension to my Indian lunch buffet fetish.

Current ranking of East Bay Ethiopian:
1) Abysinnia
2) Cafe Colucci
3) Ethiopia
4) Red Sea

I'm keeping Blue Nile and Asmara off the list for now until I reassess them.

Best Ethiopian? Still Zeni in San Jose. Best Ethiopian ever!

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