>> Emma Habesha Restaurant | Eat the World Los Angeles

Wednesday 28 July 2021

Emma Habesha Restaurant


COVID-19 UPDATE: The small dining room is open. The outdoor spaces that were used in the past year have been dismantled.

One of the few highlights of 2020 and the constant stream of takeout that was required, was the beautiful preparations of foods given by the Ethiopian restaurants of Los Angeles. Presentation is always a key component of any Ethiopian meal, and this was translated into the to-go boxes. Injera bases and rolls placed strategically around the vegetable and meat dishes they would eventually be used to grab.

Regardless, it is lovely to be back inside places full of hospitality like Emma Habesha in Inglewood. Things may move a bit too slowly for city folks at times, but settle into the seats and the time frame and you are bound to be satisfied. The matriarch who does most of the cooking might also come to your table for ordering during weekday lunches when things are slower. Either way, it is a family affair through and through and it shows.

When you order, usually the components are combined on one large plate to eat communally. When the plate above arrived, mostly full of the parts that make up the vegan combo ($13.99), a few other parts cooked to order separately were brought out in bowls and scooped into free areas.

Ethiopian vegetables are full of spices like berbere and teff and never a step down from meats. This popular plate contains two lentil dishes prepared in very different ways, cabbage and salad, as well as collard greens. Every portion is laid over a sheet of injera, the delicious and sour flatbread that is also the utensil of the cuisine. Extra rolls are laid around the perimeter, but if you were to eat it all you could pull up the bottom or even ask for more.

In the center of the plate was one meat option, the excellent ye beg alicha ($14.99, above), a stew of lamb full of garlic, ginger, and turmeric. When you see "alicha" on the end of a dish, it refers to the mild nature, so the peppers are not diced and mixed in on this, letting you level the heat up yourself. For more spice in your life, choose dishes with "wot" at the end.

If you are not in the mood to drink any alcohol, the restaurant does a great Ethiopian coffee service, available for two or more. If you are, they have a selection of beer ($5) from the country and tej ($5, not shown), a honey wine much different to the mead you might find around these parts.

On this occasion early on a weekday afternoon, the tej was not yet in the restaurant's refrigerator so the son of the proprietor got sent home to fetch it for an order.

A meal here is full of instances such as this that make you feel like the guest in someone's home.

๐Ÿ“ 726 N. La Brea Avenue, Inglewood, South Bay


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