We were kind of wondering where "the restaurant" part was of Awash Market and Restaurant during a recent visit. I looked up toward the back of the market and saw the doorway. We decided to return a couple of days later to try out the food.
The dining area is bright red, quite clean, and on one of our visits, pretty darn quiet.
On our first visit however, the place was hopping. It was the European Soccer Championships and there all the tables except one was full of guys watching the game....lot's of laughter and good natured ribbing going on. Even though the conversations weren't in English, there are things that are universal.
The conversations that we couldn't understand made us feel like we were on holiday again, which was strangely comforting to us.
The guys working here are very friendly and once they saw us, menus were delivered to our table. All dishes are described quite well.
Not really knowing what the specialty here was, we both decided to order combinations plates which are $9.99. I went with the meat combo.
Of course injera, the yeasty-spongy bread made of teff flour, made inhouse, was provided in fairly large quantities. It was quite interesting for me to watch the Missus as She's never really taken to injera, which I jokingly call "carpet padding". To my surprise She loves the version here, which I think is a bit less sour and a bit firmer in texture than others we've had. I also think the Missus's tastes have expanded.......
She did enjoy Her vegetarian combination.
She particularly loved the red lentil and stewed kale and pretty much finished everything off.
Meanwhile, I found my plate to be quite filling and had enough for another meal. Needless to say, we returned a couple of weeks later. The missus again went with the vegetarian combination, but I decided on the item I enjoyed the most the last time, Yebeg Siga Wot ($9.99), basically lamb stewed in berbere, the classic Ethiopian spice mix.
The lamb was nice and gamey, the spices came through nicely but didn't take over the dish, and heat level wasn't very high overall. It was a rather heavy dish. I managed to put away only about a third of it. When we asked the young man walking through for a box, he looked at me and said, "but you haven't eaten!" The leftovers, including the injera was enough for two more meals.
I ended my meal with a nice cup of espresso...the beans are roasted in the shop, you can see it at the front counter.
The drill for eating here is simple....you have a seat in the dining room, I just go ahead and grab our menus when we arrive. One of the guys working there will see you and take your order. When you're done, you go up front to pay...... Funny thing, it's almost like we're on the honor system. You tell the cashier what you had and they ring it up. If you need more injera, they do a brisk business of selling that stuff in the market as well.
The Missus enjoys this place the most of the Ethiopian Restaurant's we've been to in San Diego; Awash, Asmara, Harar, Bayu's, and Red Sea, so I think we'll be going back again soon. There are two types of Kitfo on the menu, and I'm interested in trying them out.
Awash Market and Restaurant
2884 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104
Mon 830 am - midnight
Tue-Sun 830 am - 1am