Shalla Restaurant & Bar Is One of Tom Sietsema’s “7 Favorite Places to Eat Right Now”

The quality and diversity of the area’s restaurant scene continue to earn attention and accolades from local and national food media.

Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema has named Shalla Restaurant & Bar in downtown Silver Spring one of his 7 Favorite Places to Eat Right Now, giving high marks to the restaurant’s shint tibs and kitfo, ground tilapia with jalapeños, vegetable combination platter, and coffee ceremony:

Clouds of incense, part of Shalla’s coffee ceremony, greeted me on my first visit to the restaurant that once housed the groovy Jackie’s and where I splurged on an upgraded version of kitfo, Ethiopia’s steak tartare. The surface of the minced raw beef, glossed with butter infused with cardamom, mitmita and other spices, was sculpted into little red ripples. Similarly wavy scoops of housemade cottage cheese — one green with collards, another orange with cayenne — helped fill out the platter. Wedges of kocho, made with the grated and fermented root of the enset plant, a member of the banana family, accompanied the raw beef and served as a starchy alternate to the scrolls of injera.

Shalla Restaurant & Bar opened last year at 8081 Georgia Ave., the former location of Balagger Lounge and, prior to that, Jackie’s Restaurant. The principals are Belete Weletaw, Mekonnen Eshete, both of Washington, D.C., and Temesgen Gebeyehu, who lives in the Hillandale neighborhood of Silver Spring. Sietsema noted that Shalla takes its name from Lake Shala in south-central Ethiopia, where Gebeyehu previously worked as a surveyor.

Graphic: Shalla Restaurant & Bar / Facebook

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