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Jarra's Ethiopian Restaurant - 38 Reviews - 1435 Se Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR - Local Favorite Reviews - Phone (503) 230-8990

Jarra's Ethiopian Restaurant

1435 Se Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 230-8990
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Jarra's Ethiopian Restaurant - Portland, OR


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I have been going to this restaurant for over 20 years. They are consistent with good service and good food. It is a different experience, probably like being in Ethopia. It is...


First, the very chatty server gets tiresome. The food certainly is good, but all turns to one big much because of the way the different dishes are arranged. Don't request that t...

Best Ethiopian in Town 2/26/2011

Hands down the best Ethiopian food in town! My husband and I have been eating at Jarra's for years. As soon as you get out of your car your mouth starts watering from the smell of spices coming from the restaurant. more

Excellent food and wonderful people 9/11/2010

I have been going to this restaurant for over 20 years. They are consistent with good service and good food. It is a different experience, probably like being in Ethopia. It is not a fast food place and I love being there with friends to eat over a nice long meal. It is hot and authentic. more

The pros, and cons 8/27/2010

Jarra's food has been consistently good for the 10 years I've gone. The lamb is just incredible, a full shank and favorite. Never had watery food or thin inerja. Tried everything there, used to go weekly, been to dozens of other ethopian places throughout the US, it's the best hands down. Texture, flavor, portions... yum. The owner is a chatty fellow. Petro's works round the clock there, is server, cashier. His wife is most often the cook. And the children can often be found, unobtrusively, well behaved, in the lobby entrance between the dining room and kitchen. It's a family place. Yes, the bathroom *is* OLD. It won't impress anyone. The owner does sometimes say some very blunt things. If you are thin skinned, blow it off, spare yourself an undue reaction. He's said things that ruffled my feathers a few times, but they were honest and true. He is expressing an opinion. I do not hold waitstaff to not being allowed to have an opinion though, and find his bluntness, even when not in my favor, refreshing. His chattines is a desire to get to know people and his community. If you want to leave with hickeys all over your toosh, wrong business. If you want a better insight to a culture, community, family, food, and person, make conversation - it's great. His big grin always seems authentically joyful to be exchanging with folks. He does very much enjoy people. Suggestions: Order water, and a drink. You can ask for a pitcher of water, recommended if he is busy. Ask for utensils and extra napkins. Plan at a minimum an hour, if the place is slow. When you are ready for the check, walk up to the counter to pay, and you'll be attended to promptly. If you need something, ask for it. He is very accommodating. The food is *great*. It's a terrific place, family, and place to sit back, chat with friends, chat with Petros, and get your hands dirty. (it's tradition to eat with the inerja, not utensils, have fun and dig in). The cons are the perceptions and expectations people go in with. Instant gratification and pretense are not served. Old school home-style cooking, friendliness, and relaxed pace there will make you happy, if you enjoy such things. Get your play, finger food, and food/spice (mild and hot offered) enjoyment on. more

Good food, but... 8/8/2009

I've been to Jarra's several times. I always get the vegetarian combination and it's always good which is what keeps me coming back. I've heard the meat dishes are very good but very rich. You definitely need to be prepared to spend a long time there though. The owner is the only waiter and is in no rush to serve anyone. He can be very talkative which is sometimes interesting and sometimes offensive or excessive. Because there is often not enough injera and there's only so much bread I want to eat in one sitting, I often ask for a fork (i know, i know...) and extra napkins and they're reluctant to get me either. Pros: the food Cons: the service more

Highly recommend with a caviat 1/18/2009

Ethiopian is not for everyone. It is spicey, exotic and often gruel-like and meant to be eaten without utensils. With that said, this is one of my family's favorite restaurants. Our 9 year old loves the mild lentils and chicken, while the rest of us like it as hot as possible. We have enjoyed Jarra's since before their present location on Hawthorne. Over the years the food has been consistant and delicious. It has been a small, family run business since the beginning. If you are looking for fancy surroundings, efficient, speedy service, this is not the place for you. If you can slow down enough to appreciate the food as it should be appreciated, you will not be disappointed. Many of the things said in other postings do not fit our experience there (shortage of napkins, injera, rudeness from the owner or charging exhorbitantly). Ethiopian food requires much preparation and the prices they charge seem very fair for the dinners they serve. In our opinion, Jarra's is the best Ethiopian in Portland and we often leave the restaurant feeling like we ate the food of the gods. Pros: The food is superb. Cons: Service is akin to the caribbean; slow, but sure. more

insulting! 1/14/2009

Really insulting and worst service ever! The owner/server came up to our table to take our order and basically said my friend and I had big noses, which was really a dig on our ethnicity. He then tried to guess where our families were from -- all with a smile. I thought it was rude, and I don't believe he was asking purely out of curiosity. I should have left, but stayed and really regret that because the food was luke warm and watery. I've had ethiopian food tons of times and I thought the bread was thin and tasteless. Pros: insuling Cons: near my house more

love! 12/2/2008

OMG!! I love this place and the owner are so sweet. This was the first place I ever had ethiopian food and I was instantly intrigued. I recommend going for lunch and keep in mind they are closed btw lunch and dinner which something like 3-5 i think. check it out. Pros: yum! more

amazing food 7/20/2008

This restaurant made me fall in love with Ethiopian food. To this day, it is the best Ethiopian food I have had. My job requires that I move every few months, and I have yet to find another place I love as much as this one in any other city. The portions are generous, the food flavorful and spicy. more

Enjoy like your in Ethiopia! 7/11/2008

Wow, we had never had Ethiopian food before and had a great experience. Though it was a quiet place, the waiter and proprietor, Petros, and his wife and children were great hosts. We felt like guests in their home. Fully enjoyed the meal (prepare to get a bit messy, -get over it clean freaks) and the stories about Ethiopian culture, traditions, government, and history from Petros. Ask him a few questions, and you will feel like you were transported to his native country. Pros: Food, Easy Parking, Very interesting and friendly waiter (owner) Cons: Ambience more

Food not so great but the lounge is way cool 5/21/2008

This is a secret little gem of Portland. Hardly anyone seems to go to the lounge underneath Jarra's. It's like a little cave with nice, soft lighting, and comfortable seating. It'd be a great place to go alone to read or to go with friends and not have to shout at each other. Every time I go there I just want to hang out longer. Pros: Best secret underground lounge in Portland! Don't go there! I like it being my secret hideaway! Cons: Food, eh. more

There is better Ethiopian food in Portland 5/1/2008

I've been eating Ethiopian food for years, and have been to many different restaurants around the country that serve this kind of food. I would highly recommend checking out other Ethiopian restaurants if you live in Portland. There are so many others here to choose from, and they are ALL better than Jarra's. The service was good enough, and they seemed to be very attentive and happy to have us there. The problem I had was strictly with the food. Wow, was this stuff ever overpriced!! Over $13 for a vegetarian platter that was the size of a small dinner plate. It had, literally, 1 tablespoon of collards, and the rest was a messy, run-together mess of watery lentils and peas. To top it all off, the injera is not even made with teff flour!! 100% self-rising, white flour here. I couldn't believe it. If you want sub-par, watered-down, small portions go to Jarra's. If you want a filling, satisfying, well-prepared meal, go somewhere else. Pros: Nice, friendly service Cons: Watery, bland food, injera not made from teff more

Bad experience, bad service, unsatisfied customer.... 4/12/2008

I see some good reviews here but my comment concurs with many others here. The service was terrible. We were served our food with 3 pieces of bread (3 people), when we asked for more, the waitress looked at our plates as to say what did you use your bread for.... When she came back she brought only one piece of bread for all 3 of us. We were very disappointed. she didn't even come back for more water or to ask if we needed anything else. No hospitality, seems like the owners want to make a quick buck. Overpriced food. Pros: Location Cons: Bad service, rude owners, way overpriced, rationed food more

Amazing 3/10/2008

I have been coming to Jarra's since I was in my mom's belly. Pros: EVERYTHINNG! Cons: the WEEL WORTH IT wait. more

Quite tasty food, but the service requires immense patience (and review your bill!) 4/9/2007

I've been coming here for ages and I have always enjoyed the food. They make a great doro wat platter for $10 and it's plenty to eat. Good spices, a bit on the oily side but nothing I couldn't deal with. The service is another matter altogether. Our meal took 2.5 hours, one diner never got her food (we were promised it was coming several times, until it was simply too late), we got charged for nonexistent meals and mis-poured drinks. The owner came out multiple times to re-count the plates on table, disputing our claim that we were being charged for at least one dinner we never got. They only had one person working a room of at least 40 people, and he was waiting and bussing tables, and mixing all of the drinks. Needless to say service was glacial. I think I'll go elsewhere from now on, as will most of our party. Pros: seasonings, stewed meats Cons: service, overcharging more

Great experience! 3/29/2007

I had never eaten Ethiopian food before, and was very pleased. The owners were extremely kind and helpful. When our food was served, they gave us tips on how to eat it, as Ethiopian dining is a different experience. The food was wonderful, the drinks were wonderful, and the service was wonderful. I would definitely return. It was refreshing to see a successful, family owned business. The spicy was definitely spicy, but the mild was very tasty for those that don't care for spicy. I highly recommend Jarra's. more

Other places are more worthy of your business 3/17/2007

The spices are good. But I strongly recomend that you find a different Ethiopian restaurant in Portland. I have inside knowledge. The owners are really cheap. They get offended, and sometimes refuse, when customers ask for more bread, although the food is already overpriced. A strange policy considering that the bread is only worth cents, and has led to them loosing $$$ worth of business. One of the owners even didn't want me to give customers more napkins, even more bizarre, and causing an awkward situation. more

Always a treat ...always Impressed! 2/7/2007

As I write this my stomach is growling for this food. I cant say it enough try it for yourself, otherwise you will miss out on an amazing culinary experience. Pros: Amazing food, Amazing Owners, Good for large groups Cons: Food takes a while to prepare but you will see why!..Tasty!! more

Very bad service & not very good food either 2/6/2007

Service was very slow, and rude, despite an empty restaurant. The chicken was very greasy, and the bread too soft. Throw that in with the bland decor and chipped glasses and you have a dining experperiance not worth repeating. more

Food is fine but the owner... 9/17/2006

I hate writing this review, and ""The Burtons"" to the contrary, I'm NOT a rival Ethiopian restaurant owner, just an individual who's been a big fan of the food since I first had it 20 years ago in Los Angeles. But I feel like I should speak up here. I've been to Jarra's twice and liked the food pretty well. The injera's not the best, but the lamb was excellent, and I found the spices strong and satisfying. more
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Menu for Jarra's Ethiopian Restaurant

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  • In Short
    For decades the corner of Hawthorne and 14th has been the bastion of P-town's spice scene. Exotic flavors and textures beckon loyal locals and curious neophytes, tired of the...

  • 2/21/2007 Provided by Citysearch

Additional information

  • Payments:

    Visa, Master Card, American Express
  • Neighborhoods:

    Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program, Buckman