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“Jarra's tops Ethiopian fare”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Jarra's Ethiopian Restaurant - CLOSED

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Jarra's Ethiopian Restaurant
Price range: $15 - $15
Cuisines: African, Ethiopian
Dining options: Dinner, Seating
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Seating
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
26 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Jarra's tops Ethiopian fare”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 10, 2013

Jarra's flavour and quality control have been consistently excellent for the 30 years that I've been a repeat customer. When I was in Ethiopia, I was hard pressed to find Berbere Lamb or lentils that tasted as good as that at Jarra's. Order more Injira when you think you're running short...it is a delicious 50/50 mix of Teff and white flour. My favorite dish on the menu in Yebueng Wat (spicy leg of lamb) with Vegetables Two. Be patient if service is a bit slow...it'll be worth the wait!

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank PortlandJeanette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

15 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    7
    4
    1
    1
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Stevens, PA
Level Contributor
16 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Delicious!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 27, 2012

On a recent trip to Portland, our friends took us to Jarra’s in celebration of their wedding anniversary. They are native to Portland and spoke very highly of Jarra’s. According to them, Jarra’s has the best Ethiopian food in Portland. They weren’t lying! The food was delicious! The owners were pleasant and accommodating. We had an awesome time! The small crowd was a bit disheartening. The hard economic times are impacting this establishment. It was a very enjoyable evening and I would definitely return.

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Gherkin3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salem, Oregon
Level Contributor
108 reviews
68 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“The Finest Ethiopian Food is at Jarra's”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 8, 2012

I have been a Jarra's regular for nearly 25 years and the quality of Ina's cooking is remarkable. I've tried Ethiopian food all over the world - and my daughter and I recently returned from a trip to New York City where we ate at one of Trip Advisor's highly rated Ethiopian restaurants in Manhattan. It was terrible! We are so spoiled by the quality of the food at Jarra's that we had to stop immediately after we returned home to Oregon to get our fix. Jarra's Doro Wat is perfectly spiced and the chicken falls off the bone. My favorite, the miser alecha, is a dish of mild lentils pooled on a thick piece of injerra. The subtle flavors are mesmerizing. If you know you're going and want a truly unique treat, call a few days ahead and order the kitfo, or steak tartare. It's magnificent, and hard to find in Portland. Don't expect a fancy restaurant when you arrive. The building, which used to be a strip club, has seen better days and could use a fresh coat of paint, some carpet and some minor upgrading. Oftentimes the owners' daughter is watching TV in the lobby or doing her homework, which gives it a homey feeling; But really, if you can ignore the surroundings, go for the food and don't expect much in the way of ambience or quick service. Ask for extra injerra when you order so you don't run out, then enjoy the experience knowing you are eating some of the finest Ethiopian food outside of Ethiopia. If I lived in Portland, I would eat at Jarra's every week - it's just that good. Peak your head in the kitchen when you leave and say hello to Aina, the chef-owner, and her husband Petros, who most likely will have served you. They're a lovely couple and will greet you warmly, remembering you each time you return.

  • Visited June 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank LegacyPlanner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
342 reviews
272 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Best Ethiopian food in town”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 25, 2011

I have been going to Jarra's for years. Almost from day one. At one point we were there once a week to get our "fix". The owners are the sweetest people and run the place pretty much on their own. Yes, service is on the slow side.......but the food is so worth the wait.
Fall off the bone lamb, chicken and beef. Spicy, oh yea.....but the mild version is full of flavor too. The collards are great......and if you are lucky, you may get the green beans.
I have tried other places, I always come back here. Really at this point I am not going to bother with any others. They don't measure up to Jarra's!!!!!

  • Visited July 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank shewholovestoeat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Naguabo, Puerto Rico
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Stingera”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 29, 2009

Let me start by saying that my wife and I absolutely LOVE Ethiopian food. I'm talking last-meal-before-execution love it. I drove the 120 miles home to (Ethiopian food-free) Eugene from Jarra, ready to write on TripAdvisor that perhaps the recent hard times for restaurants had resulted in the absolute scarcity of injera at Jarra. Now I see that a reviewer had the same complaint about this place three years ago, when times were considerably better, and I'm absolutely mystified as to why such a fundamental and simple aspect of everyone's meal would be skimped on.

For four entrees, our table was given six, half-rounds (small ones, too) of injera with the order. I've eaten in 20-30 Ethiopian restaurants around the country, and the standard injera portion with an entree is always one entire injera round per person, plus the serving dish round, and you can have as much more as you want. Needless to say, we cruised through what the kitchen sent out. When I requested more injera , the waitress gave me a dirty look, and brought out two halves of a small injera round. So up until that point, these people had given us approximately half the amount of injera that is customarily provided with such a meal. When I asked for more still, the owner told me that they could give me no more. Halfway through his explanation, I realized that I'd overheard him giving the exact same schpiel to the people at the next table over, not two minutes earlier.

I was left with a quarter of a plate of unaccompanied (substandard) stew to slog through in the sloppiest possible way, without any bread to mop it up with. Worse still, even when asked for injera to go with the leftovers of our party, the owner again declined. Again, I'm mystified; if they were using authentic teff imported from Ethiopia, I could MAYBE understand, but they're using all-purpose flour; the injera is white, for crying out loud, and not the least bit sour.

As for the rest of the meal, the doro wat was wayyyy too salty, the tebs and lentils were passable, and the potato and carrot dish was pretty good. The tomato salad was mostly lettuce, and had no hot peppers whatsoever.

Next time I think we're driving all the way to Seattle to find Ethiopian rather than give another dime to the stingy hucksters at Jarra.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank IslandInnkeeper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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