When most people think of Ethiopian in Oakland, they think of North Oakland, or more specifically, Telegraph Avenue. But downtown Oakland is now home to two Ethiopian restaurants that I recommend checking out.
Shashamane is not just the place where Mix It Up East Bay is held every month – it’s also an excellent Ethiopian restaurant. If you just want a drink and a snack, Shashamane is the place to go after work. During their 5-7 happy hour, beer is $2.50. Have a couple of those, get an order of sambusas for $5, and you can get out of there for $10, feeling very satisfied. If you’ve never had sambusas, I highly recommend them. They’re similar to samosas, except that they’re filled with lentils or beef. Shashamane also has a full Ethiopian menu – I’ve only tried a few of the dishes, but they’ve all been delicious and the portions are generous. Though I’ve never made it there on a weekend, they have djs or live music on weekend evenings.
Damera is brand new, opening just over a month ago. Sadly, Dazz Thai, which I really liked, closed down just a few months after opening and after the space sat vacant for several months, Damera opened. I’ve only been there once, in the evening, but I enjoyed my meal. The place was basically empty and the service was a bit slow, but the food was very tasty. I ordered the vegetarian platter and had too much food to possibly finish. Though the service wasn’t as quick as it could have been, our server was very nice, and hopefully the service will improve over time. If anybody else has been here, I’d love to hear about your experience.
You might have noticed that it’s been a long time since I’ve done a rediscovering downtown Oakland post, and that’s partly because I feel like I’ve run out of categories to write about. So if you have any requests for topics to be covered, please share them in the comments below.