Restaurant Review: Walia Ethiopian Cuisine

Let me start by saying that Ethiopian food is the bomb dot com!  The dishes are loaded with bold spices and you eat with your hands, using tangy injera bread to scoop up your food. When I lived in the East Bay, I frequently BARTed to Oakland to stuff my face at Addis.  After moving down to San Jose, I discovered the culinary gem that is Walia Ethiopian Cuisine.

Walia is a cozy restaurant with top-notch service.  The Man and I go there for dinner about once a month and have the same waiter every time (I really need to ask him his name) who  recognizes us as soon as we walk in the door and simply asks if we’re having our usual order as we’re being seated.  My ‘usual’ is the vegetarian combination, which is brought to the table about 10 minutes later along with an extra plate of injera.

Nerd alert!

Each Ethiopian has their own variation of the veggie combo, here’s what Walia has to offer (pictured above):

  • Miser wot (left): Red lentils simmered in berbere sauce
  • Alicha wot (bottom): Split peas prepared mild in turmeric and light sauce
  • Gomen (right): Stewed collard greens
  • Atkilt wot (top): Cabbage, carrots, potatoes simmered in mild sauce
  • Shiro (center): Pureed chickpeas in berbere sauce

All five dishes taste great, but I think the miser wot is my favorite because it is the spiciest.  The combo plate can easily feed two normal people but I eat it all on my own.  I always wear loose clothing and bring a crane when I eat at Walia because all that food you see in the picture above quickly finds its way to my belly.  I walk out of the restaurant feeling like Violet Beauregarde in full-on blueberry mode, but it is so worth it!   (Bonus points if you can name that movie reference)

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