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NJ Ethiopian Restaurants Crowned Among Best In U.S.

Traditional fare from Walia Ethiopian Restaurant. Photo Credit: Walia Ethiopian Restaurant
The vegetable sampler from Ada's Gojjo Photo Credit: njbornandfed Instagram

A pair of New Jersey Ethiopian restaurants were named two of the best in America.

Yelp's 100-restaurant rundown includes Ada’s Gojjo in Asbury Park and Walia Ethiopian Restaurant in South Orange.

The unique dining experience is colorful and fosters friendship. Just be sure to wash your hands before ripping off a piece of the bread and using it as a utensil to scoop up the sauces and stews.

Ada's came in at No. 27 and Walia at No. 35.

Ada's combines Dominican and Ethiopian flavors, and offers an array of classic dishes including daily specials. The chef, Adanech Asghedom, "is driven by her passion for good food, though she became a cook quite unintentionally as a young girl in Addis Ababa," the website says. 

"Legend has it that one weekend, when it was her family’s turn to prepare the communal meal shared amongst neighbors, Ada’s mother became ill, and was unable to do the cooking. Ada was summoned by her father, who looked at her, said, 'You do it, Ada,' ... and she did."

That was when Ada was only 14 years old. Years later, "the fire still burns," the restaurant's website says.

Walia is a family-owned restaurant that opened in 2013, and is named after an endangered species of the ibex family, found only in Ethiopia, its website explains.

The menu includes traditional items such as Misr Watt, a mild sauce that is available either simmered and seasoned with turmeric and herbs (Misr Alicha Watt), and Doro Watt, chicken leg stewed in berbere sauce flavored with seasoned butter and served with a hard-boiled egg. 

"These varied and colorful sauces come, of course, meticulously spread out on the traditional Ethiopian bread, the Injera," the website says.

Yelp identified businesses in the Ethiopian category, then ranked them according to total volume or ratings and review between Jan. 1 2015 and July 20, 2020. All businesses on the list have a passing health score as of last July when available, the website said.

  • Ada's is located at 1301 Memorial Dr., Asbury Park
  • Walia's is located at 11 Village Plaza, South Orange

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