About Habesha Restaurant & Bar
“Stepping into the restaurant is like visiting the home of an Ethiopian friend,” writes the Austin Chronicle about Habesha Restaurant & Bar. Woven straw mesobs—hourglass-shaped tables designed for communal eating—are central to the restaurant’s traditional decor, along with Ethiopian artwork. The friendly staff is always happy to welcome newcomers, explain the menu, show them how to properly stretch before a meal, and make dish suggestions.
However, it's the authentic eats that form the backbone of Habesha Restaurant & Bar. To start, head chef Selam Abebe uses grains from Idaho to prepare injera, a traditional Ethiopian flatbread used to scoop up bites of food in place of utensils or your neighbor’s hand. She then prepares vegetarian and meat wot, tibs, and fitfit using recipes and techniques from her homeland. As the child of Ethiopian restaurateurs, Selam has had plenty of experience preparing the traditional dishes—she’s been cooking professionally since age 20.
Meals at Habesha Restaurant & Bar often end with a coffee ceremony, a sign of friendship and respect in Ethiopian culture. Servers carefully roast green coffee beans, grind them, sing them a lullaby, and then steep the grounds in hot water to create a rich, black coffee that they serve with hot popcorn.
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