Best Ethiopian/Eritrean 

Café Colucci

It's been said that Ethiopian and Eritrean food is so good, you can eat it with your hands. In fact, that's exactly what you're supposed to do with this sumptuous, flavorful cuisine. The fresh herbs, tantalizing spices, mouth-watering meats, and tasty vegetables might just explain why King Solomon fell in love with Queen Makeda back in Biblical times. True, you don't have to be the King of Kings or Queen of Queens to enjoy East African specialties like doro tibs (boneless marinated chicken sautéed with onions, peppers, and garlic), mitten-shuro (seasoned chickpea powder), or kitfo (lean, minced beef, flavored with cardamom and zesty butter). Still, you might feel like a conquering lion or lioness after washing down the above with a carafe of tej (sweet honey wine) or a glass of harar (Ethiopian ale). Nutritious, healthy, and quite filling, these traditional meals have changed little in sixteen centuries -- the most pronounced difference between Ethiopian and Eritrean dishes might be that the latter tends to use more tomatoes (owing to the influence of Italian colonialists). The Bay Area has an abundance of fine Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants, especially in the East Bay, and while each has its high points, Colucci gets top marks for its authentically tangy teff injera, the pancake-like bread that's a staple of the Amharic diet. Best of all, at the Brundo Market next door, you can bring home rolls of injera, as well as peppery seasonings like berbere (hot) or mitmita (super-hot) to spice up your own meals.

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