Sawá Restaurant #2
1625 Divisadero St. (between Sutter & Post Sts),
Tues-Sun 10am-10:3pm, Mon 10am-5:30pm.
SAWA #1 on 531 Divisadero will be closed and possibly used for cooking lessons.
This is a simple, clean place with 30+ seats, an open kitchen, and interesting native artifacts on the walls.
Sawá features Eritrean & Ethiopian cuisine, with a large choice of appetizers, salads, pastas, seafood, and native sautés and stews simmered with Eritrean spices. Also, large choice of Vegetarian and Vegan dishes. Eritrean soft bread, designed to replace the fork for eating, is served with all meals. (But forks are also available).
Service is friendly and prompt. Prices are very moderate, servings are ample.
Large family-style dinners, featuring an artistic display of salad accompaniment described below are spectacular and worth a visit in themselves.
The owner, Tsegai Reda, a renowned cook of his native cuisine had opened two other similar restaurants, one on Haight St (Massawa) and one on Irving St (New Eritrean) which he kept for a number of years before settling on Sawá. A number of the dishes are his original creations, especially the Vegan ones. He wrote a cookbook of his own native dishes which is now out of print.
Appetizers include several sambusas, deep-fried eggroll shells with various stuffings, e.g., vegetables, beef, chicken, $2.00 & $2.50.
Salads, served with lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers, include garlic chicken ($5.95), cubes of ham tipped with cheddar cheese ($5.95), green salad or house tuna salad ($4.50).
Pastas, served with a sauce made of fresh tomatoes , onion, garlic, & herbs, include vegetarian ($6.50), sautéed beef ($6.75), meat lasagna ($6.75), vegetable lasagna ($6.50), garlic prawn ($10.50).
Seafood curry garlic prawns, fried in a curry sauce with tomatoes, onions, & spices ($10.50), sautéed salmon simmered in tomato-based sauce with garlic, green beans, capers, & spices, served over rice ($10.50).
Sautés and stews all entrees are served either over a bed of rice or over Eritrean soft bread, and some salad. The meat dishes also include a side dish of lentils or spinach diners choice all on the plate.
The main dish is sautéed or stewed with tomatoes, onions, garlic, green peppers, and native spices e.g., chopped lean beef ($7.75), chicken ($7.75), lamb ($8.25), mushrooms ($7.00), tofu ($7.50), zucchini ($7.25), fresh spinach (($7.00), mixed vegetables ($7.25), lentils ($7.25)
A combination of smaller portions of any three of the above items is $8.95, and is served over a choice of rice or soft bread.
Vegan. The stews of mushrooms, tofu, zucchini, vegetables, spinach, and lentils are Vegan.
Family-style lunches & dinners. When two or more entrees of sautés or stews are ordered, they are served on a large platter with the entrees in the center, surrounded by an artistic arrangement of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots. The dinner for four persons is spectacular.
Desserts include cheese cake $3.00, chocolate cake $3.00, baklava $1.00 piece.
Beverages. Quality beers from South Africa & Ethiopia are $3.00 & $3.25. The stout is especially recommended. Excellent South African wine is $20 bottle, California wine $13 bottle or $3.50 glass, guava or mango juice $1.50, Eritrean coffee $1.75.
Sawá reviewed 10/15/03 by Louis Madison