Don't Pass This One Up!!. Happening upon this restaurant was a serendipitous event for me and my wife. We were driving from Phoenix to El Paso on a Sunday and decided to stop in Tucson for lunch. I did a quick Yellow Pages search on my iPhone and chose to go to a pizza place that had a high rating and was not to far from the freeway. When we arrived the place was closed, so I did a search for something close that had a good rating. Zemam's was listed and it turned out to be less than a block away. I had never had Ethiopian food before but I always like something new. Boy was I surprised! The food was fabulous! The restaurant is in a converted house with beautiful representative artwork hanging on the walls. The seating isn't fancy, but that just adds to the comfortable ambiance. We ordered one of the samplers made up of portions from 3 items from the menu along with a full order of a spicy lamb dish. It was all served on a large round plater that had a giant piece of their signature flat bread, the thickness of a tortilla but in no way like a tortilla, with each of the four portions placed upon it. On a side dish were more pieces of the bread. The meal is eaten with your hands. You take a piece of the bread and use it to scoop up the food. Fun and delicious. If you find yourself in Tucson, and want to try something new, treat yourself to the wonderful food and atmosphere at Zemam's.
great ethiopian. this is one of my favorite restaurants in town. i love how when you walk in it's like you are walking into a family member or friend's home, very warm and friendly. i always get the zemam's plate, it is 3 samples of your choice of dishes and with the bread it comes on, it's more than enough to fill your belly! the food is always so tasty and perfectly cooked, and it's very well priced; only $8 for lunch and i think maybe $12 or less for dinner. i highly recommend it - go there!
Best Ethiopian I've had!. I was skeptical about this place since most restaurants in Tucson haven't been worth my money. However, this is now one of my favorite lunch spots. The service is consistently good. They are friendly, quick with water and anything else you might need but they don't hover, which I like. They also remember their customers--even if you've only been there a couple of times. The food is consistently amazing. Order Zemam's plate (choice of three dishes) and definitely try the red lentils! Dinner can be a bit crowded and loud, so if it's your first time I recommend trying lunch there first. Plus, the lunch menu is cheaper.
Spicy food from a hot climate. This Ethiopian restaurant fits Tucson's desert surroundings..
The walls of the three dining rooms in this small house are covered with African arts and crafts. Enticing aromas drift in from the spacious and spotless kitchen into the plain-Jane dining rooms. Owner, Amanuel Gebremariam, jokes that if you can name all the African countries represented by flags on display, you get a free meal.
Meat or vegetable dishes, cooked as purees, dry stews or braised drumsticks, are served atop injera, a spongy bread that serves as both utensils and plate. If you're a novice, order the number one, Zemam's plate to pick the three most appealing entrees. Generally, the complex vegetarian dishes, like gomen alicha with carrots, cabbage and potatoes, are less spicy. The ground beef in mincheta bish soaks up the flavorful cardamom, cloves and berbere. Split pea soup fans will love kik wat--a thick soup without the ham. Doro wat presents a tender and flavorful chicken drumstick.
Love Zemam's also. Have eaten here more than at any other Tucson restaurant because it is so good and so consistent. I have never been disapponted
with the food at Zemam's. We order it to go several times a month and the service is great.
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