Going out for Ethiopian cuisine can be just as much of a childish regression as it is a meal. The amusement of dipping your hands into spiced meats, grains, and vegetables offers rewards both tactile and gastronomical. Café Colucci dishes out these wonders with every dish. The dining area is quaint and quiet, tastefully decorated with Ethiopian folk art, but the food is the big draw. Colucci’s owners import the restaurant’s staple spices directly from Africa. Break off a piece of injera (a savory pancake made from the grain teff) and dig in. Vegetarians have lots of tasty options, though newcomers are advised to try the messer-wot (spicy lentils in a red chili sauce). Colucci’s meat dishes are just as good, including the kitfo (minced raw beef flavored with fresh cardamom), the banatu (mouth-watering beef slices in a tangy cardamom sauce), or the doro tibs (boneless, sautéed chicken pieces cooked with garlic, onions, and peppers).
The Blue Nile
2525 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley, 510-540-6777