Asmara: A restaurant where it’s OK to eat with your hands

I joined some friends for a meal at Asmara Restaurant in Cambridge’s Central Square the other night. I thought the restaurant was Ethiopian, but upon conducting some research I learned it’s Eritrean. In 1992, following 30 years of war with Ethiopia, Etritrea became an independent country. Though the two countries have the same cuisine and culinary traditions, this restaurant has ties with Etritrea. Asmara is actually the capital of Etritrea.

We all had mango juice to drink. It was so tasty and refreshing! And it went well with some of the spicy dishes we sampled. We actually ordered a large platter with numerous meat and veggie dishes.  The “meat combination” was called Sega Bebaynetu and included:

  • boneless chicken
  • spicy lamb
  • sautéed beef
  • mild vegetable stew
  • mild lentils
  • a house special salad

The “vegetable combination” was called Ahimilti Bebaynetu and included:

  • cabbage
  • yellow split peas
  • spinach
  • chick peas
  • lentils
  • tomato salad

It was awesome to have such a variety of foods at our disposal. You eat everything with your fingers with bread called Injera (made out of rice flour). It’s just like a sponge, soaking up sauces and flavors.

For dessert my friend Katie and I had some Etritrean coffee (it was similar to Turkish coffee– very strong with coffee grounds you’re not supposed to drink at the bottom). Here’s a picture of Katie enjoying her beverage:

The mango juice, food, and coffee cost me about $35 with tax and tip. Kind of expensive, but everything was very good.

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2 Comments on “Asmara: A restaurant where it’s OK to eat with your hands”

  1. katielady123 Says:

    Yum! I want to go again now after reading this!

  2. Christine Laubenstein Says:

    :-)!!! The girl in the photo looks content, huh?


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