Ethiopian cuisine at Walia in San Jose, CA

Finally a new restaurant to review. We made a trip to Walia Ethiopian restaurant right before our long vacation and I didnt have a chance to write it up. We made a second trip this past weekend and the memory is fresh enough to write a review of the place. Walia is one of the many good Ethiopian restaurants in the South Bay. In the past we have visited Gojo (our personal favorite) and Zeni and Walia is a new entrant (2 years old) to the area.

Walia is located at the intersection of San Carlos Avenue and Bascom close to aBank of the West branch. The location is less than stellar especially on quiet weekends but let that not deter you from visiting the restaurant. The restaurant is relatively small like most other Ethiopian places. Its menu is simple offering multiple vegetarian options alongside the often chosen veggie combo. We ordered a veggie combo, a bowl of shiro and a cup of Ethiopian spiced tea.

If you have never been to an Ethiopian restaurant (what are you waiting for?)  you should know that it is a veggie paradise. They cook with multiple lentils and lots of vegetables. Coupled with their native bread, the injera, it offers a complete and wholesome meal for the vegetarian palate. It is well spiced that serves the spice lover in you. As my wife remarked, Walia (and other Ethiopian restaurants in the area) will soon, if not already, compete with the likes of Saravana Bhavan in the minds of the South Bay Indian population. Food takes a while to arrive in most if not all Ethiopian places and make sure you factor that into your dining plans.

The veggie combo arrived relatively quickly by Ethiopian restaurant standards and was very good. Spice was good but not too much. My 5 year old loves to dip into the veggie combo and he was not complaining until his final bite. If any, the only nitpick was that my wife’s favorite Atikilt wot did not have very many potatoes. The Shiro was fantastic too. The injera was not too sour which is a common complaint for many. Overall, the food was as good as any Ethiopian I have eaten and none of us would ever mind going to Walia again. If you havent been to this place, you should definitely stop by sometime. It is a 3-5 minute drive from Santana Row/Valley Fair mall area on Steven’s Creek Blvd.

Rating:

Ambiance: 7.5/10. A template based Ethiopian restaurant ambiance. Ethiopian art, wooden baskets and the works. Not a big fan of the location of the restaurant.

Service: 8.5/10. Service was good and relatively quick by Ethiopian restaurant standards.

Food: 9/10. Food was great. Loved every bit of it. No complaints at all. OK, more potatoes next time on my atikilt wot. But thats minor by minor complaint standards.

Price: 8.25/10. It is not cheap but a veggie combo feeds an adult and a kid. By most standards, that is a bargain.

Restroom: 7.75/10. Sits outside the main restaurant. It is usable. Nothing more, nothing less.

Overall: 8.5/10. Loved the food. If I was rating only the food, this restaurant would score over 9. If you love Ethiopian food or havent tried it, give this place a shot. You will not come away unhappy.