Named after a town in Ethiopia, this Oakland restaurant at Broadway and 25th is one of the nicer Ethiopian venues I’ve been to. Shashamane is easy to miss from the front but has a clean, nice interior with hundreds of flags from around the world circling the rim of the large, open dining room and connected bar. I have to admit, these flags provide a lot of entertainment and trivia; I can identify far fewer world flags than I would have imagined.
Their menu seemed typical to me, though I really don’t know what most of the dishes are from place to place. And it doesn’t matter, all you need is the Combo (the Beatles were wrong, incidentally, about the Love thing). The Veggie Combo for me, or the Meat Combo if you’re the carnivorous type.
Friend #1 ordered some veggie sambusas to start and we shared a veggie combo for our main meal. Sambusas are like samosas at an Indian restaurant—miscellaneous spiced mush inside a crunchy, deep fried, flaky dough shell. You really can’t go wrong. I thought these were ok; for some reason I didn’t love the mix of lentils and spices inside, but they were still pretty good. My friend loved them.
The combo was pretty standard and included all colors of mush, as expected. Nothing was terribly spicy on our plate, and the salad was good. The quantity was also good; we were nice and full at the end.
Friend #2 ordered a tibs dish; spiced meat with some veggies. It’s a bit like Ethiopian stir fry but heavy on the meat. He wanted it extra spicy and was apparently satisfied with the side of flaming hot sauce provided. Despite his initial hesitation at Ethiopian cuisine (this was his first try), he appeared satisfied.
This place isn’t quite as cheap as some other Ethiopian places, but that’s probably because it’s a bit nicer. All the pages were present in my menu, for example, and there’s a price to pay for that. Still, it was priced well for the quantity of food we received and for how impossible it would be for me to make this at home (I find that to be a factor—Ex: when I pay $6 for a grilled cheese I don’t find it to be as great of value as when I pay $6 for Indian food).
I hope to see you again, Shashamane, though I hope no one ever asks me to pronounce your name out loud.