March 14th, 2009
This recently remodeled Eritrean restaurant in Crystal City was a frequent haunt of my boyfriend and his brother when he lived in the area. The building itself (and the general area) are sort of bad, but the owner has put a lot of effort into this place, and it shows through. The whole place looks nice and polished, in a worn way. It is entirely decked out in wood, and there are small authentic pieces of Eritrean artwork spread throughout the place. The restaurant plays traditional music and caters to an Eritrean clientele, but is a local favorite (especially at night). The owner is nice and will stop by your table to chat and maybe offer a few beers or some food on the house. Even though the restaurant is sparsely decorated, there are small pieces of wood on the wall that you can write little messages on.
From their website (which is currently down)
Enjera opened in May, 2007 and is located on restaurant row in Crystal City, Arlington with both indoor and outdoor (terrace) seating and parking in the back.
The name, “Enjera” is taken from the traditional Eritrean and Ethiopian bread that accompanies nearly every meal in these two Horn of Africa countries. In English we say, “let’s grab a bite” in Eritrea it is said, “Enjera do` Nblae” or let’s eat Enjera.
Eritrean cuisine puts more emphasis on vegetarian dishes which is reflected in Enjera’s menu. In addition to the various vegetarian delights such as spiced lentils, spinach, or potatoes and carrots in gravy, Enjera offers beef and mutton dishes such as Kitfo (beef tartar), Gored Gored, and ZilZil.
Enjera also hosts Traditional Eritrean classic or live piano music every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon on the Terrace from 2:00pm featuring classical and Eritrean music.
For customers who can only stop in for a short time, or after a delicious meal, Enjera serves award-winning Shimba Hills premiere African coffee including espresso, cappuccinos, and lattes – and the wireless internet is free.
We had the Vegetarian Special with lamb added to it. It was more than enough food for two people. The flavors were delicious, but once you were finished eating all the little entrees with the enjera bread, the remaining bread was too soggy to eat by itself. Don’t worry, not that much enjera went to waste!