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Walia Ethiopean Cuisine
Ranked #217 of 2,169 Restaurants in San Jose
Cuisines: Ethiopian
Restaurant details
Santa Cruz, California
Level Contributor
76 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
Reviewed June 12, 2014

When Ethiopian food is good, it's very, very good. And when it's wonderful, it's Walia!

We knew we had a winner the moment we walked in. For one thing, the place smelled amazing. Our daughter, who had never eaten Ethiopian food before, took one long breath and said "I'm excited! I can't wait to try it! It smells wonderful!" For another, when we looked around, we realized that we were one of only two parties there who were not Ethiopian...always a good sign!

The restaurant is very nice inside...clean, bright, and attractively decorated. It's located in a small shopping center off Stevens Creek Boulevard...easy to find, with plenty of parking. There is a bar in the shopping center that's kind of sketchy -- lots of rough-looking people hanging around -- but they didn't bother us and we didn't bother them, so it was all good!

My husband and I are vegetarians (our daughter isn't, but since she was unfamiliar with the cuisine, she decided to just follow our lead for this first visit), so after perusing the menu and talking with the very nice young waiter, we decided to order two vegetarian combos, served on one platter "family style."

Oh man...not only did they have my two favorites (Misir Wot and Alicha Wot), they were about the best versions I've ever had! Soooo rich and flavorful! The Gomen (collard greens) was fantastic as well! Even the salad in the middle of the platter (which in most places is a little "meh") was lovely, showcasing fresh California greens and a nice vinaigrette.

To drink, the daughter and I had Ethiopian beer (dark-style...basically a sweet stout), and hubby had iced tea. The beer was new to me, and quite good...a bit on the sweet side (I think I'll try the light beer next time), but a nice complement to the food.

Service was excellent...prompt, friendly, and informative.

As a long-time fan of Ethiopian cuisine, I have to say that this is one of the best Ethiopian meals I've ever had. We will most definitely be back!

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank RedwolfCalifornia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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28 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Santa Cruz, California
Level Contributor
30 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Surprisingly wonderful”
Reviewed March 23, 2014

Hubby and I love trying new foods, and Ethiopian food was a first for us. We ordered the vegetarian combo and a meat combo dish. The food was beautifully presented and served with injera. Joseph informed us that the food is traditionally eaten with your hands, using the injera to scoop the food, similarly like a tortilla. He did provide forks, in case we needed it. We had the Ethiopian coffee, which was served with rue, an herb used in Ethiopian cuisine. Again, it was beautifully presented. Everything we tried was delicious. We will be sure to return!

The only reason I give it a 4 star rating is because though the atmosphere inside the restaurant was cozy, the neighborhood surrounding the restaurant seemed a bit run-down. We were there in the early evening while it there was light out. I probably would not go there late at night.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Christine R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
272 reviews
146 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
“Different food option for vegetarians”
Reviewed December 3, 2013

We went to this place with our cousins who live in SF and were happy to see vegetarian options. The food is like alright with a lot of emphasis on lentils. In terms of Comparison the food was like samosa with a filling of lentils and the main dish was like dosa or childa (Indian pancakes with different batters) with veggies. The batter dough was a little sour but to each his own taste. The service was alright and the place was busy. We will definitely recommend this to people to try out a different cuisine.

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank babla75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
73 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Delicious intro to Ethiopian cuisine with a great service and value”
Reviewed August 10, 2013 via mobile

Good sign that we walked into a packed restaurant around 9pm.

The Sambussas (appetizer) were delicious. But be very careful with the red sauce dip. Even a speck of the dip is extremely hot spicy, even by Mexican or Thai standards. Also had lamb stew, veggie combo and chicken doro tibs. Light Ethiopian beer.

Clean place with delicious food and attentive service. And it's affordable too. Under $20 dinner per person, including tips and taxes.

Visited August 2013
Thank A4TA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pune India
Level Contributor
22 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“First experience of Ethiopian food”
Reviewed August 10, 2013

This was my first experience of having Ethiopian food and I was pleasently surprised by the quality and the service. On my request, Joseph was kind enough to list out all the delicious variety of dishes that was served with the Injera.
Each dish had a taste of its own and the Injera was the melting in the mouth type.
Liked the ambience and the drawings that are hung on the wall.
Will visit this place again when I am in San Jose again.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Haddock54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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