A Culinary Ascent to the Land of Tsion | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

A Culinary Ascent to the Land of Tsion

A Culinary Ascent to the Land of Tsion

Tsion Cafe. Courtesy Tsion Cafe

An Israeli-Ethiopian Restaurant Flourishes in Harlem

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At Tsion Cafe in Harlem, diners have menu options ranging from Ful, a fava bean dish from Egypt, to Firfir, an Ethiopian onion stew. Chef Beejy Barhany was born in Ethiopia, grew up in Israel, and settled in Manhattan with Padmore John, her Dominican-born husband. Together they opened Tsion Cafe in 2014 in the Sugar Hill area of Harlem, serving a blend of Ethiopian and Israeli food. The name is the transliterated pronunciation of the Hebrew word for Zion. 

Berhany learned to "respect ingredients in their natural state" after spending four years working on a kibbutz according to an article about the restaurant in The New York Times. Tsion Cafe's menu is heavily vegetarian with smatterings of (non-kosher) meat. A guest could order challah French toast, the Tel Aviv Quinoa Salad, or the Malawach (Yemenite pancakes) just as easily as she could order an Ethiopian combo plate or Tibs, meat sautéed with tomatoes, shallots, garlic, and jalapenos on injera. 

The eatery, which features a dining room as well as a a garden, regularly hosts music and art events. 

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