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But Ethiopia’s tantalizing flavors are never ordinary in America, and this is a charming place to explore them. ■

Bayu’s Authentic Ethiopian Cuisine

★★ 1/2 (Good to Very Good)

530 University Avenue, Hillcrest, 619-269-6142; no dedicated website

HOURS: Daily 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., 5:00–10:00 p.m.

PRICES: Weekday lunch buffet $10; dinner appetizers about $6; entrées average $12. Several combination plates available (e.g., “vegetarian delight,” $17.25 for one, could serve two with appetizers or additional entrée.)

CUISINE & BEVERAGES: Typical Ethiopian menu. Several unusual Ethiopian wines, reds, whites, and tej (honey wine) by the glass, plus Ethiopian beers and spiced tea.

PICK HITS: Best deals are combo plates, both meat and veg. Also azifa (spicy lentil salad); meat sambosa; kitfo (specify raw to get it fairly rare); ye-beg tibs (lamb). Awash Crystal white wine; honey wine.

NEED TO KNOW: Reservations and credit cards accepted. Warm hospitality. Request hot sauce if not provided. Vegan heaven.

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Comments

Posse_Dave May 25, 2011 @ 4:02 p.m.

Sounds fascinating.....how does Bayu stack up against Muzita on Park Blvd.?

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clemens May 25, 2011 @ 11:02 p.m.

From someone who grew up in DC and who also is into the sustainable and fresh ingredients, I was really impressed with Muzita (not sure what Muzita means, I should ask). You could really taste how fresh the ingredients are. The manager told me that he can tell me exactly where each of the ingredients come from. So I put him to the test. Beef: They use sustainable natural beef from Cedar River Farms. You get the idea. And to top it off…if you are lucky to meet the mom (the manger tells me she doesn’t like too much attention) she will cook you some other tradition dishes. As you can tell I am a fan of Muzita. Don’t forget the servers. They are a bunch of fun people. I tried Bayou’s about a month and half ago. No comment. I wish them well.

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Naomi Wise May 26, 2011 @ 8:34 p.m.

I found Bayu perhaps a hair more authentic than Muzita. They're both very worthy additions to our eateries. Asmara is still perhaps the king for both authenticity and flavor, if not for creature comforts.

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cocopuffs May 27, 2011 @ 10:37 p.m.

Bayu has a nice buffet for lunch. The sauces are delicious. The location is excellent right next to the little flower shop near 5th on University (their signage is subdued). Reem is very personable and makes you feel welcome. Her mother is the cook and she knows how to deliver just the right blend of spices. Of course, Asmara is the best restaurant for Ethiopian food but Bayu does a very good job as well and is my second favorite now in San Diego. Muzita is good but just doesn't have the right vibe for me. I like the ethnic feel because it enhances the experience. I'm pretty picky about my Ethiopian food and I intend to come back regularly to Bayu's. Try this place out. It's worth it.

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