Yelp.com Reviews ...
This place is amazing. My boyfriend and I have never had Ethiopian food before and were incredibly thrilled by this establishment. It was awesome to be able to eat with our hands. The staff was great, the waitress was super excited to teach us about Ethiopian culture and customs. Absolutely breath taking experience. Reasonable prices with good portions. I got the veggie combo and was full of eating half. I highly recommend the garbonzo beans. I would come back here and happily give them my money, hands down!
Also, very clean place. I sneaked a peek into the kitchen and was stoked to see such a beautiful and well kept kitchen.
As an ethiopiophile, I have some exacting standards for cuisine from the Horn of Africa. I pride myself in having tried just about every such restaurant in the central Bay Area...and with plenty of places to compare this to I say it's not really worth going to.
To start with, the injera was not at all fresh --- it had dry flakes all around the edges of the rolls --- and wasn't as dark and flavorful as it should be.
Their rendition of Alicha hadn't nearly enough turmeric; the yemmesir was decent with the tang of berbere in lentils that were not cooked completely beyond recognition. What really did the place in was the bland Shuro, which had almost no berbere as far as I can tell and was lacking any defining flavor (other than the background of chickpea powder).
If you want good Ethiopian, jog over to Telegraph and go a few blocks further down to Addis, don't waste your palette on Abesha.
Abesha is outstanding -- to the extent that I signed up for a Yelp account solely to let people know how good this place is.
I have enjoyed Ethiopian food for about fifteen years, and I've tried all the Ethiopian restaurants up and down the Telegraph corridor, as well as Ensarro at Lake Merritt. Abesha is hands-down my favorite. If you like raw beef, the kitfo (steak tartare) is simple yet exquisite. The gored-gored has the best flavor of any that I've tried, and is especially killer if you order it nearly raw. (I make no guarantees if you insist on ordering the meat well-done. That's your loss.) Other favorites are the lamb wot and the vegetarian dishes. The shiro (garbanzo beans) and kik alicha are particularly tasty, and are always the first to be finished whenever we order the vegetarian sampler. I'm not as fond of the tibs dishes, but I find that to be true anywhere I go.
The portions are generous, the service is good, and the place is clean and well-maintained. All in all, the best Ethiopian dining experience I've found.
I thought the food was OK. I do not think this place is as good as the other two top ethiopian restaurants on yelp in oakland. In particular, the bread tastes a little off to me, perhaps not fresh? I would eat here again as the service is friendly and the place is clean.
Nice service and good food. Something of a hidden gem. The mushrooms were great, as were the lentils. It was really slow when when stopped in so we got good service; could probably get good service other times though too. Worth going back.
I am not familiar with Ethiopian foods but love flavorful food - this place did not disappoint. I always say ...."when in Rome " ... so I had lots of different vegetarian dishes and all were bursting with flavor.
Great textures and I felt very satisfied -
Also the Restaurant is Spotlessly clean and the service sincere and friendly.
In short, I am now a fan of Ethiopian food.
This place is wonderful-- always great, friendly service and most importantly delicious food. Get the veggie combo.
I have eaten at a large sample of Oakland/Berkeley Ethiopian restaurants and Abesha blows them all out of the water. I'm of Ethiopian descent, and have also spent significant time eating Ethiopian food at home, both in Ethiopia and in the US. The food I had tonight at Abesha rivals the best food my family has ever cooked (don't tell them!). You should run, not walk, to this restaurant if you are an Ethiopian food fan!
I was roaming around the Temescal area looking for a late lunch. Nothing was open.
Parked in the Walgreens lot, almost got run over by a guy who ran a stop sign at the Salami Co., so I decided it was a sign, no sando for me today.
I passed Round Table and Peet's, finally ambling my way over to Abesha, discouraged and frantic for a meal.
I was welcomed into a friendly sanctuary. Seriously, it's calming and clean. I even got work done after my meal.
The veggie combo was delicious and priced at $10 for 5 items of my choice. I love when I can customize my meal. Gives me a sense of ownership. The only item I didn't like out of the lentil, collard greens, chickpeas, mushrooms, was the cold tomato/injera.
I packed half to go and it's a mini meal for later.
Small place, but the food is really great. The menu is simple enough that you can order quickly.
The price is pretty reasonable. I usually get the veggie combo. My favorite is the mushroom and the red lentil. Okay actually everything is my favorite on the veggie menu except the carrots and cabbage, which is good but not my fav. The Enjera here is very fluffy and good, not to sour. Perfect
I really have no complaints. I would definitely recommend. I come here at least once a week!
Good things-- it's beautiful and clean. New floors, paint, nice tables, etc. The people are so very nice!
Unfortunately, I felt the food wasn't what I had hoped it would be. I ordered a salad. I got chopped lettuce and a few pieces of tomato and that was it. I had to request the cheese and it was clumpier than what I am used to from other Ethiopian places. The injura seemed different too. Thicker maybe? Saltier? I'm not sure what it was, but I just didn't like it.
I think parking is going to be an issue for these folks too.
They are such nice people. I feel bad for getting on here and telling the truth. But honestly, we were the only people there for dinner. That's not good.
Firstly, my partner has been turned off to Ethiopian food because of the sour taste of the bread, which is why it was amazing that he decided to give this place a chance on the spur of the moment.
Secondly, it was early for dinner, but even so, there was virtually nobody in the restaurant, except one East African family.
In spite of that, the place was extremely clean, and the prices on the menu were perfectly reasonable, so we decided to stay and try them out.
The food was amazing. We ordered two servings of the the vegetarian combo, which included a lentil dish, cabbage and potatoes, a chick-pea dish, collards, and a mushroom dish. Everything tasted phenomenal. The chickpea dish was very spicy and the mushrooms were moderately spicy. And there was no sour taste to the bread whatsoever, which really cinched it for us.
The hostess mentioned to us, when we were offering our compliments, it's entirely family owned and run, and they like to make sure everything is absolutely clean.
There are a ton of Ethiopian restaurants in Oakland, but this is by far the best in my book.
The first time I came here was a couple months ago with a friend who's been to Ethiopia and is a part time food critic.
The first couple bites off our meat and veggie combo dishes and he said that it was as authentic as he's found it in this area. The party of four all enjoyed the food.
I would recommend getting the cabbage potatoes, collard greens, split peas, mushroom or chicken wot. We are meat eaters too so everything meat on the menu has been really good. I think there is only one dish we haven't tried here in the past five times we've been here.
We love the prices and the amount of food that they give. Usually there's an inverse relationship between those two, but this is one of those rare places that bucks the trend.
The decor is clean and has a dimly lit ambiance at night. It's off the Telegraph strip so a little hidden, but I'm sure it won't be long before more and more people discover this place.
Very reasonable, you can get a good portion of food with a side for around 10 bucks - a little more with tip etc. The people working are very nice and the place is SO clean that it makes me very comfortable about the quality of their food.
Their Berbere sauce is excellent as are their lentils. I've gotten CHicken and it is always cooked perfectly.
a hidden gem!
this place just opened in june, so not too many people know about it yet. my ethiopian coworker recommended it, so i went with my homie..... moms. haha. since it's brand new, the restaurant is very clean and the interior is simple and clean. there are pictures on the wall and nice lighting, and they played some instrumental music in the background.
we wanted to try a little bit of everything, so we ordered the meat combination and the veggie combination. the meat comes with lamb, ye doro wot, and a spicy beef. for our veggie plate we opted for the mushroom wot, cabbage and potatoes, collard greens, garbanzo beans, and split peas.
everything was delicious. the meat is tender and the veggies are bursting with flavor. the lamb had enough spice and flavor to take away the game-y flavor, but it wasn't overpowered either. my favorite dish is still the cabbage and potatoes, and my mom's is still the collard greens haha. the garbanzo beans were also really yummy.
we were so stuffed we couldn't even touch the injera on the bottom of all the food, and our meal + a beer came out to roughly $30. not shabby at all. if you feel like being adventurous, or if you just want some good food, head over there soon!
Like Claudius, we stumbled into Abesha on our way to Asmara when we were looking for parking in Temescal.
It looked clean and new, if somewhat stark. We had trepidations that there was only one other party in there but it was only 7 pm on the Sunday before Labor Day so we sat down. (By the time we left, about seven other tables had been seated.)
I've tried quite a few different kinds of food, but Ethiopian/Eritrean is one I haven't. So comparison shoppers, take note; I mean this review for other E/E newbies. Our friend John is pretty familiar so he took the lead in ordering. Likewise, spicehunters won't be helped much here - we ordered medium spicey. I prefer tasting ingredients to extreme heat.
We ordered three entrees and began ordering three veggie sides. The waitperson suggested that we get the five-veggie combo as we'd try more variety at a lower price. She earned a first star for the place just for that. We also ordered a bottle of honey wine to cool the heat some.
We didn't wait very long before she returned with a platter with a huge disc of injera with generous dollops of red lentils, collard greens, shiro (ground peas with a berbere sauce), mushroom wot (stew is the closest definition I could give), and timatim fitfit. (I'll admit here I first wanted to order it because it sounded like a Star Wars character's name. It reminded me of a Tuscan bread-tomato salad called panzanella or panmolle, depending on the region.)
She ladled on gored gored (barely seared beef with onions) and yebeg tibs (lamb strips, also with onion), but ran out of room before she could serve the doro wot, another stew with a fall-off-the-bone chicken thigh and hard-boiled egg. Yeah, three people ordered a LOT of food.
All three entrees were outstanding to my unrefined tongue. We cook collards pretty often, and I thought these were rather pedestrian. However, I enjoyed the other sides a lot. Everything was yummy, so kudos to the kitchen. And to the secret ingredient. Butter.
Butter was used in many, if not most, of the sauces because, why else, it's delicious. But if you're not used to that much butter in your diet, you will love the cuisine but not necessarily the night that follows. I'll be back but I'll be popping a pre-antacid first.
One more note to the neat freaks. You probably are already aware that you don't use utensils with Ethiopian food. You use the injera (including the big one on the platter soaking up all the buttery goodness) to pick up your food. For those of you who suffer from containment issues in the kitchen and at the table like I do, choose not to be embarrassed by having the most stains in front of you. That's why they use butcher paper.
A second star for good and friendly service, a third for the food, a fourth star for butter. I'll be trying other Ethiopian restaurants, but I'll go back to Abesha.
My wife loves Ethiopian food and has tried almost every spot in Oakland. This new restaurant is by far her favorite for the delicious and flavorful cuisine. The vegetarian combo and meat combo are excellent. Better than Asmara, which has been a longstanding family favorite. Another great addition to the Temescal gourmet ghetto. Try it out now before it gets "discovered" and you have to wait to get a seat.
We were at peets coffee and saw this new ethio restaurant. 3 of us split one beyaynetu (veggie combo) and we were extremely pleased. Its clean, the people are friendly, and the food is delicious. My husband is ethiopian and I lived in ethiopia for a year.. our main focus is injera quality at a restaurant, usually. We left this new place feeling satisfied!
I fell into Abesha on my quest for the East Bay's best Shiro.
Shiro, shero, shurro, or shouro, to the uninitiated, is one of the best things you might ever consider putting in your mouth. And so I was headed for lunch at Asmara. Parking was gnarly, and I ended up on Shattuck where I noticed a neon OPEN sign in the window of a store front that said Abesha Ethiopian Cuisine.
Well, if I ate there I'd only have to cross the street instead of walking all the way across the parking lot at 51st & Shattuck and then walking across Telegraph and then up a block. Which is how I ended up at Abesha. Sometimes laziness has its rewards.
I poked my head in and asked if they had shiro on their menu. The waitress assured me they did, so in I waltzed and plonked down at a brand new table. Without even looking at the menu, I ordered the shiro and some of that blessedly delicious spiced black tea. Without much of a wait at all I had: a basket of injera, an earthen crock of golden shiro stew, and a platter with a half moon of injera on which was mounded not just the typical salad of lettuce, tomato, and onion lightly dressed with lemon juice and oil, but also a small side portion of collard greens.
Unfortunately, Abesha will not be winning my award for best Shiro. It was salty, but otherwise underspiced, and it had a bitter aspect to the flavor that just didn't appeal to me. It did however, come with a side of greens. Those collards were revelatory. I don't like greens much, and I have little love lost on collards, but these were great. Not watery, not slimy. Perfectly spiced. I learned to love life a little more eating those greens.
Seeing as how they've only been open about a week, and it was the middle of the afternoon, they weren't particularly busy. Yet I didn't any of the long mysterious waits that often accompany a visit to other Ethiopian restaurants. Wonder of wonders, the waitress also offered to bring more water for the hot tea. That was another first, and a nice one too.
The interior of the restaurant lacks much of the folk-arty knick-knacks that are used for decor in other places. That's okay. There are pictures on the walls, fresh flowers on the tables, and everything is clean clean clean.
In the interest of celiacs everywhere, I asked about the bread dough. No wheat flour, but alas, they mix the teff with barley. Sorry Celies.
I'll definitely be back. Prices are equal or better than other places, parking is less of a hassle, and I want to try the other split pea dish and some of the meaty dishes.
Until then, the quest for the East Bay's best shiro will continue...
Google.com reviews ...
Decor is a bit sterile, not too "Ethiopian" other than the small paintings but in the end -- great food, friendly service!
Liked: Food, Service, Value