Welcome to the Northern Virginia Restaurant Blog.

Restaurant reviews in Tyson's and surrounding area... mostly

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Karamara Ethiopian Restaurant, Arlington, VA

3205 Columbia Pike
Arlington, VA 22204

Next to the Panda Express Chinese restaurant, this place looks much smaller than it is. We came to Karamara for a "linner," so besides us there was only one other table occupied. Walking in, it seems like a tiny carry out, but the upstairs opens up to a large dining room. The feel of the place is dark and dingy. Railing along the stairs is broken exposing dried gummy glue. There was only one waitress, who was very nice, but clearly more preoccupied with getting the kitchen ready for dinner than with the diners in the restaurant.

We ordered a vegetable sampler of 5 items, including spicy lentils, a pico-de-gallo type of side mixed in with pieces of injera called "fit fit", a mixture of boiled cabbage, potato and carrots and chick peas. As opposed to most other Ethiopian restaurants, like Meaza or Merkamo or Lalibella, the flavors here were definitely toned down and not great. We ordered 2 types of tibs, which is the typical Ethiopian dish consisting of pieces of steak grilled with jalapenos. We ordered the house specialty tips, the Karamara Tibs, and the regular Beef Tibs. The Karamara tips were dry and flavorful. However the Beef Tibs came in a oily sauce that even as a fan of stews, I found very oily and runny, coupled with the fact that there was a very weird and unsavory flavor to them. It was like a mixture of being "gamey" and... just weird, not in a good way.

We tried this place because we had a Specialicous coupon and love Ethiopian food. Washington DC metro area is very lucky to have so many wonderful Ethiopian restaurants, so we have tried most of them. Unfortunately, Karamara is not a restaurant worthy of a second trip.

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