Ethiopian Restaurant Lucy Exceeds Expectations


Heaven Woldai

One of Lucy’s dishes includes salad, gomen, alicha, birsen, shiro, all on top of injera.

Heaven Woldai, Entertainment Writer

A newly opened black-owned restaurant named Lucy is now located in City Heights, San Diego. The restaurant has great hospitality and great food. The restaurant has various Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine options consisting of veggie to full meat platters.

In both Ethiopia and Eritrea, a common food would  consist of injera, a sort of sourdough flatbread; there are different sauce-like options to place on top of the injera. Typical vegetarian options include Shiro, a type of chickpea puree, or Birsen, spiced-up lentils. A common seasoning ingredient among all Ethiopian and Eritrean food is Berebere and Mitmita, Mitmita being more prominent in Ethiopian cuisine. A controversial meat option named kitfo is typically minced raw beef with Berbere and Mitmita and eaten with injera. When referring to Ethiopian and Eritrean food, it is common to categorize it as Habesha food. There are multiple Habesha cuisine options satisfying people of all diets, and Lucy was able to satisfy them well. 

Entering the restaurant, I was immediately greeted and given a place to sit quickly. The restaurant was decorated with cultural attributes towards both Ethiopia and Eritrea, as they both share similar aspects, though the restaurant specifically focuses on Ethiopia. There were areas where customers could sit if they wanted to experience how it would be to typically eat in Ethiopia, it ultimately felt very comfortable and homelike. A server retrieved me a menu and it was very easy to understand even if you didn’t speak Amharic, Ethiopia’s most common language, and what was presented on the menu along with English. 

I ordered Awaze Tibs, Zilzil Tibs, and Alicha with salad on the side. The food was made in a timely manner and presented on a big platter. In Habesha culture you’re supposed to eat on big platters to share with other people which can include friends, family, and more. Awaze Tibs is cubed beef with onions, tomatoes, and berbere mixed along with other ingredients. Zilzil Tibs is a striped steak with spices and other cultural seasonings. Alicha is a curry-like sauce with potatoes and other vegetables. 

All of the ordered foods go on top of the injera, the injera is used to grab the food and you eat it all with your hands. The meat-based cuisine that I ordered, the Awaze and Zilzil tibs, were all cooked perfectly. The tibs weren’t hard to chew and were at a high spice level . The sauce piece of the Awaze Tibs was not too watery nor was it chunky;  it was perfectly done.. The Alicha’s potatoes were not hard but soft, the sauce was full of flavor bringing spice, a taste similar to curry, and pungent. Lucy’s food was culturally accurate and exceeded my expectations. 

Overall, I highly recommend Lucy’s Restaurant because of its great food, and it allows customers to be more culturally aware. Being able to experience Habesha food from where it originated in both Ethiopia and Eritrea, Lucy was able to fulfill the standard of Ethiopian cuisine.