Zemam's

Tucson, Arizona

Reviews


rating star

Original review, Feb 3 07: First of all, Zemam's is deserving of a much higher rating than the 7.6 it has now. If you look at the five ratings it was given, it's all nines and tens -- except for someone who registered under the name "Anonymous" and rated Zemam's a one. I wish people who gave low ratings would write reviews to explain what's so wrong.

I went here tonight for the second time. There is a good variety of vegetarian/vegan dishes to choose from, and everything is excellent. Some things are extremely spicy, though, such as the chickpeas and spinach/potato dish. You should probably ask your server which dishes to avoid if your palate can't quite handle the heat.

My favorites are the cabbage, lentils, and split peas. All mildly spiced, flavorful dishes.

My only complaint is that the "sampler" is priced with the assumption that you'll be ordering higher-priced meat items. You're not getting as much value if you order all vegetarian dishes. I sort of wish they had a separate price for vegetarian samplers.

Updated review: This is currently my favorite restaurant in Tucson. For two people, I like to get a vegetarian sampler (which is now a menu option that is lower in price than a meat sampler) and a full, heaping serving of the split peas. I don't know how they make those split peas so good, but I could eat them every day. It's also possible that I've trained my palate in recent years, but these days the spicier items haven't been bugging me. I love the cabbage/carrot/potato and red lentils, too.


rating star

This place doesn't look like much from the outside (or the inside, for that matter), but the food makes up for that. It seemed like all but one of the vegetable dishes was vegan (the other contains cheese), and our waitress had a very clear idea of what vegan meant. In the end, we just asked her to bring enough vegan food for three people, and we were more than happy with the selection that turned up. Their injera bread is good (and ours was certainly fresh), but isn't quite as sour as ones I've had elsewhere. That may mean it's not quite as authentic, but it certainly tasted nice.


rating star

Tasty and unique! Well, unique in this country. :)
If you want to try something new and different, this place is for you. The staff are friendly and can give you advice on what to order. One thing though: if you are dining with non-veg companions, ask for your order to be seperate or at least have a nice border between the others. My chickpeas were nestled up next to someone else's food and that made me a little sad.
In any case, the food is amazing and not too expensive ($9-13). Give it a try!


rating star

When we moved from Chicago, we were so happy that Tucson has an Ethiopian restaurant since we are big fans of Ethiopian food. But when we finally tried it out, it was such a disappointment. We are vegans and I, particularly, do not appreciate the menu mixing meat and vege dishes that we have to sift through. The injera didn't taste right and had a dry/old texture. Maybe we were just unlucky to get the old ones. But the injera calls the show in Ethiopian food. The vege portions were small, the vege under-spiced. An overall disappointment. We left with me almost in tears.

We had similar experience with Lalibela in Tempe the first time we went. But when we went again months later, either they have improved tremendously or we were just bummed out again the first time. Our second trial was very satisfying and now we would make the trip to Tempe just to eat there. The last time we went to Zemam's was three years ago. Maybe they have improved? But we are not prepared for another disappointment.


rating star

Not a lot of vegan options, but the ones they have are excellent! I tried the chickpea dish and the cabbage, potato and carrot dish and they threw in samples of the lentils and collard greens. Every bit of it was amazing!


rating star

The food is really great.. Good, nourishing, homestyle food with no processed stuff. I love the bread! The problem is if you have a big appetite you might find yourself asking for more bread. Me and my boyfriend ordered three dishes per person (I think) and ended up needing more bread. But maybe we're just little piggies, I don't know..


rating star

Ah, Zemam's is my favorite restaurant in Tucson, and one of my overall favorites anywhere. I've had all the vegetarian items on the menu, and they are superb (though the lentil dishes are a bit on the bland side, for my personal taste). Try the chickpea dish, the cabbage dish, and the spinach dish; heaven! The wait staff are so lovely and friendly, I always feel happy being there. I've taken many of my omnivorous friends to Zemam's, and everyone always loves it. This little place gets very crowded on Friday and Saturday nights, so plan ahead.


rating star

Delicious vegetarian food; inexpensive and unique; agree with previous reviewer, decor's very tired. Overall still a place I recommend!


rating star

I tried this restaurant for the first time last night and was pleased. There are plenty of vegetarian options. The food was tasty, which was served in the traditional Ethiopian way using flat bread as a serving utensil instead of a fork or chopsticks. You can also bring your own wine, since there is no wine menu available. The reason I gave this restaurant a 9, instead of a 10 is because of the ambiance. It appeared to be slightly run down. Maybe some wall painting would help.


rating star

Zemam's is fantastic. They offer a large selection of vegan dishes, which are served with a traditional flatbread. You use the flatbread to scoop up your food--no knives or forks here (though you could probably ask for them). I recommend getting a sampler plate, where you can try three different dishes for around nine dollars.

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