Large platter with tibs firfir, kitfo, tikkil gomen, kik alicha, gomen, and yemesir wot on injera.

Philadelphia: Kaffa Crossing Restaurant & Cafe

Kaffa Crossing Restaurant & Cafe
4423 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
(215) 386-0504
http://www.kaffacrossing.com

Monday – Saturday: 10:00 A.M. – 2:00 A.M.
Sunday: 10:00 A.M. – 12:00 A.M.

I visited Kaffa Crossing on a Saturday in April in the middle of the spring allergy season, so pollen everywhere. Kaffa is easy to find on its street, and sits beside a few halal/falafel places. In April, they kept both front doors open for a breath of fresh air (and fresh pollen, I guess). The location is convenient for University of Pennsylvania students (and I’m guessing for Drexel students too, but not sure about anywhere else in the city). I know it’s not far from a SEPTA subway station, but SEPTA is 0/10 do not recommend as far as I’m concerned.

I went with Xeno Washburne, one of the folks from the University of Pennsylvania hosting me for a talk. They ordered kitfo ($13, not spicy and medium instead of rare) and I ordered tibs firfir ($13, spicy, please), which was technically not on the menu (quanta firfir and tibs are on the menu separately).

Our food arrived on one large oval plate with the kitfo in a little iron-cast looking bowl and the tibs firfir directly on the platter. We had four sides — tikkil gomen, kik alicha, gomen, and yemesir wot.

Large platter with tibs firfir, kitfo, tikkil gomen, kik alicha, gomen, and yemesir wot on injera.

Photo: Large platter with tibs firfir, kitfo, tikkil gomen, kik alicha, gomen, and yemesir wot on injera.

Overall  verdict: YESSSSSSSSSS SUPER DELICIOUS.

Injera (I’d rate it 6/10) could have been a little thicker/softer, but was overall solidly good injera. They provided four pieces of injera (not whole large pieces, seemed like half of a full-size piece, so two total pieces) on a side plate for us to share. They didn’t provide more injera during the meal, but we also had some left by the time we were full, so we didn’t exactly run out either.

Plate with several pieces of neatly folded injera.

Photo: Plate with several pieces of neatly folded injera.

Kitfo (I’d rate it 9/10) was INCREDIBLE. Delicately spiced, soft, amazing in my mouth. The top of the kitfo seemed much more rare than the request for “medium” seemed to have indicated, but the bottom of the kitfo (not pictured) was browner. There was a tiny little dish with mitmita and a tiny spoon to scoop it. I tried some of the mitmita with my tibs firfir and was not disappointed in my trusty holyshitspicypowder.

Little bowl on top of the platter with a heaping mound of kitfo.

Photo: Little bowl on top of the platter with a heaping mound of kitfo.

Tibs fifir (I’d rate it 8.5/10) were also quite good. Portions definitely large, including of the four sides. The onions were a great touch, not everywhere does that. Very, very flavorful.

We both had plenty to take home.

Large somewhat flat and spread out pile of tibs firfir with bits of jalapeño in it.

Photo: Large somewhat flat and spread out pile of tibs firfir with bits of jalapeño in it.

They did not, sadly, have either tej or any of the Ethiopian beers. (We discovered that when Xeno tried asking for tej.) What Kaffa Crossing did have, instead, was a full-service cafe with all sorts of coffee drinks available (smoothies also featured). I ordered mango juice with my meal ($2), which they provided in the bottle, and was delicious.

Their menu is available on their website.

I’d definitely come again if I’m back to Philly!


UPDATE:

I went back to Philadelphia in September 2016, and made a point of going back to Kaffa Crossing, this time with a different friend. It was again delicious. 🙂

One person ordered tibs (pretty sure it wasn’t Kaffa tibs, but I could be wrong!), which came with kik alicha and tikkil gomen on the side. I ordered kitfo, and had tikkil gomen and gomen on the side. The third person ordered yemesir wot. All very, very good.

 

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