Travel: A Dining experience I will never forget:Eritrean Cuisine at Asmara Restaurant (Cambridge, MA)

Yesterday afternoon,  I took a visit to an Eritrean restaurant in Central Square called "Asmara". On the smaller side, located in the heart of Cambridge; the restaurant was established in 1986, and has hosted several Bostonian's, New Englander's, and Foreigners with Eritrean cuisine.

What seemed like a small, quiet, family owned eatery; exceeded my expectations,satisfied my hunger and love of culture; in a big way. It was definitely an experience that I would recommend to any culture lover, or foodie. I will definitely visit again.

As I walked into the restaurant, the environment felt  very homey, and comfortable. Beautiful paintings of the country in East Africa adorned the walls, Eritran artifacts filled the shelves, and the smell of a wide array of herbs filled my nose. A beautiful young woman with a humble spirit, Saba, greeted us; and asked us if we preferred traditional, or regular seating.

Not too sure with what the traditional seating was, I thought to myself " I do not want to sit on the floor with this cute wool dress on. I do not want to pick up any lint, that is not cute at all". How ignorant I was for assuming, as within the traditional seating; there were chairs provided as well. My best friend and I sat in two very comfortable chairs with arm rests, and butt pillows; around what looked to be a deep wicker basket stand , shaped in the size of a humongous bowl called a "Mesob". As we waited for two others to accompany us, I sat in anticipation, anxious to experience what would happen next.

While in the restaurant, there was only one other family, who also sat within the traditional seating area. I tried to be nosey to see what they were eating, but my eyes couldn't reach over the young man in front of the table.

Our two friends showed up about 10 minutes later, and I kindly ask the waiter for a cup of coffee. Apparently my friends also needed a cup of Joe, and we ended up ordering a round of coffees for the table. I asked the waitress for light cream, and a little sugar; and she informed me that the coffee was very strong, and was a "Ginger coffee" to be exact. She would bring out sugar; but the coffee was normally sipped regularly, as the taste was unique on it's own.

  Out comes the coffee, along with a small silver pot for refilling; and the taste is none other like I had before. I could not taste the ginger, but the brew had a unique taste of it's own with a hint of cinnamon, and reminded me of  a good quality brew from Paris. As I slowly sipped the coffee, taking in the experience; my friends were already deciding what we were going to eat. Due to the fact that this was my first visit, and I was not really familiar with the food;I went along with was recommended. And boy, was that a great idea.:)

We ordered the Meat Combo for four, plus two-veggie combo. The food brought out to us was piping hot, and came out on a huge round plate that fit into table which resembled a deep wicker basket called  "Mesob". There was a large rounded flat piece of bread called "Injera" ( a sourdough-risen flat bread with a spongy texture) laid flat out on the plate, and on top of the bread was several kinds of stewed meat, and proteins; curried lentils, collard greens, lamb, beef, chicken,stewed cabbage, carrots, and potatoes; and a house salad in the middle. Another  small plate of folded up "Injera",was  brought out on the side to eat from. We ate with our hands; picking, and talking, and sampling everything on the plate. It was a delightful experience.

What I enjoyed most about about this place, was the dining experience. I loved the idea of the traditional seating; where families and friends sat around the table, and ate together. The sharing, and passing of the food reminded me of "back in the day", where families would sit together (without their phones), and really appreciate the idea of family time, and togetherness. If you are looking to experience something new, and like or never had Eritrean food; I would highly suggest this place. For more information visit