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Restaurants & Bars 3

Harar Ethiopian in S.D. (long)

e.d. | Feb 15, 200211:13 AM

Having read the reports about Granger's Ethiopian on the boards here, I went to find the place on my last trip into the city. From the posts, I was expecting a small hamburger stand that also served some Ethiopian. When I found the place (on El Cajon between Texas and Arizona), there was no mention of Grangers; all the signage called the place the Harar. Nor was the space tiny. There were 10 small 2 person tables inside and maybe four or six larger tables in a covered semi-outdoor area in the back. The menu was a complete Ethiopian menu with hamburgers listed only on the back.
Overall, I was very pleased with the food. I had a meat and veggie combination ($10) which had a number of vegetarian dishes (yellow peas, lentils of two kinds, a nice romaine and tomato salad with chili strips, potatoes and cabbage) plus the standard beef, chicken, and lamb stews. All was well prepared and tasty, and the service was fine. When I asked for berberi, they brought out powder, paste, and fresh chilies. My only problem with Ethiopian food in San Diego in general is that so much of it tastes the same, no matter which restaurant I'm in. I don't understand why every kim-chee I've ever had in a Korean restaurant in town is different from every other I've ever eaten, but every Ethiopian chicken stew is almost a carbon copy of every other one I've had. But I did like the Harar, and they did have many dishes on the menu that I did not get a chance to try as I was there by myself.
One other Ethiopian note: while I was there I was talking with the owner/cook/waitperson, and she told me that the Cafe Legar (sp?) was still open. I haven't eaten there in years, but it got its name from the train station in Addis Ababba (built by the French, hence Le Gare) in which was found the best restaurant in all of Ethiopia. When I ate there, it seemed to have a different style of cuisine from Asmara and Red Sea (both of which may really be Eritrean, if their names are any indication). Has anybody else out there discovered Legar? I don't even remember where it was located, though I am sure it is/was on El Cajon or University not too far from Asmara and Red Sea.

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