For years, Asheville’s culinary enthusiasts complained of the city’s complete lack of Ethiopian cuisine. In 2014, that niche was finally filled by Addissae, which brings delightful flavors to Commerce Street. While the tucked away location may not indicate a culinary gem, this restaurant is definitely worth a visit if you are intent on expanding your palate.
Addissae’s menu is split into two main categories: family-style meals and standard entrees. The family-style dishes are priced per person, so they’re not necessarily a better deal than a typical entree. However, they provide access to a wider range of flavors, not to mention, the friendly feel of a shared meal.
The entree portion of the menu is further divided into sections for meat and veggie-based meals. Vegetarians and vegans should find plenty of options at Addissae. Meat eaters can feel satisfied knowing that their meals are locally-sourced and hormone-free. In general, the restaurant maintains a farm-to-table approach in which local ingredients are combined with international recipes to create a subtle twist on Ethiopian culinary tradition.
Eating can be messy at Addissae; most traditional dishes are either eaten with your hands or with a small piece of injera bread. Silverware is available for fussy visitors, but you’re encouraged to embrace an authentic experience and risk getting messy.
Feel free to order a craft beer or glass of wine with your meal. In need of a caffeine boost? Addissae serves American-style coffee by the cup or Ethiopian-style coffee for up to four. You’ll also find hot or iced Ethiopian black tea steeped in special spices.
A few of our favorite menu items include:
One of Addissae’s famed group meals, the meat messob includes a diverse sampling of the restaurant’s many meat and vegetable entrees, served together on a large platter. Like many meals at Addissae, the meat messob is served with injera bread. This shared meal is a great option for dining groups with a sense of adventure.
Like many of the meat entrees served at Addissae, this meal is cooked to order. The recipe boasts the restaurant’s leanest beef, which is blended with a unique herb butter known as kibe and a berbere spice mix. The entree is served alongside alicha vegetables and addicting injera bread.
The only lamb option on the Addissae menu, this dish features lean cubes of choice lamb sauteed with ginger, garlic, and green pepper. Enjoy with a mild sauce or with a spicier version for an extra kick. The lamb is served alongside collard greens (referred to at Addissae as ‘gomen’), injera bread, and alicha vegetables.
One of several vegetarian dishes at Addissae, this Ethiopian staple prominently features chili-based berbere sauce, which is used to simmer the dish’s powdered chickpeas. The resulting stew pairs perfectly with injera.
If you’ve never tried Ehiopian cuisine, don’t worry too much about whether you’ll like the fare at Addissae; just ask your server for suggestions. Worst case scenario, you’ll come away obsessed with injera bread. While Addissae’s menu is a bit limited compared to Ethiopian establishments in other metropolitan areas, there’s still plenty to love about this charming restaurant.
On special occasions such as Mother’s Day, Addissae offers each visitor 21 or older a complimentary glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage, depending on the event. Additionally, the restaurant sometimes hosts special celebrations for Ethiopian holidays such as Genna (Ethiopian Christmas) on January 7th. Keep an eye on Addissae’s official Facebook page for updates on special events.