Club Zion – Ethiopian Food and Coffee

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A Shining Restaurant at the Foot of a Hill

I think I must have passed Club Zion dozens if not hundreds of times due solely to it’s name. I’m not a club person and could probably count the number of times I’ve been to a club on one hand, so it never crossed my mind to pop in.

Ah, but thanks to the power of the internet, I found out that this was much more a bar and restaurant than anything I would associate with a club. And while it is at the foot of ‘hooker hill’ in Itaewon, it wasn’t *that* sort of establishment. Well, at least not on the surface.

I went with three friends, three of us blatantly American and the fourth an older Korean friend of ours. We call him “Uncle Paul”. Because he asked us to. Since the establishment was new to us, we were initially a little hesitant, but we ducked inside and picked out a table. It was initially awkward as the restaurant was filled only with Africans who – for a brief moment – all seemed to look at us, as if surprised by our decision. I’m actually used to this with more backwater Korean establishments, but these folks lost interest pretty quickly and went back to their conversations and playing pool.

Oh, there’s a pool table there.

The menu is concise, which makes it great for those not knowing what they’re getting.

All the dishes here revolve around Injera – the Ethiopian flatbread. It’s spongy and soft to the touch and soaks up the sauces and juices really well. Fred initially thought it would be really light, but it soaks up the juices and fat really well. Turned out to be quite filling. Out of the four of us, I was the only one to finish their piece of bread! We had the following dishes:

Beye Ayenet

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Beye Ayenet is the main vegetarian dish, providing a variety of things to eat. Some of which were identifiable! Some chick peas, cabbage, maybe some beets or egg plant. Oh! And some potatoes and carrots.

 

Awaze Tibs
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Lamb sautéed with onions, green peppers, and other goodies. The injera really soaked up the sauce on this one.

 

Qey Wot

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Almost a soup, it was a tad salty, but quite delicious. Similar spices to the Awaze Tibs, but unfortunately seemed to lack the onions and peppers. It’s served in a bowl rather than dumped on the bread like the other dishes. To end the meal, we enjoyed some…

 

Ethiopian Coffee

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The cups are really tiny – like espresso. It’s strong, but smooth. But if you don’t like it bitter, you can always add some sugar. They conveniently serve the coffee with a comparatively large dish of sugar. For each cup ordered. I think there was as much sugar in the sugar dishes as coffee in the cups. I added a tiny spoon full of sugar, leaving me to wonder what they do with the rest of that sugar. Perhaps best not think about it too much.

They had some sort of advertisement for the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, which looked interesting. They even had a table on display that looked like it was for that purpose, though why I didn’t take a photo of it is beyond me.

Getting There

*EDIT* – Club Zion only serves dinner on the weekends! Weekdays they are just a bar I guess.

Zion Club served some delicious dishes, so I’ll probably want to go back some time to try the others out! If you want to try out their Ethiopian cuisine, it’s easy to find the place. Take exit 3 from Itaewon station and hook a right at the first light. It’s on the left side of the road on the very first intersection. You can’t miss it!

Or you could punch any of these coordinates into your handy-dandy map app!

(traditional)
Yongsan-gu, Itaewon-dong 126-16

(new)
Usadan-ro 14 gil 3

Or in Korean:

용산구 이태원동 126-16

*or*

우사단로 14길 3

Enjoy! I know I’ll be back.

5 thoughts on “Club Zion – Ethiopian Food and Coffee

      1. I guess the rice is a way they cut it to make it more affordable. Apparantly there’s lots more teff growing in Ethiopia these days because of a growing international market. You have reminded me just how much I love this cuisine and must learn to make a few dishes to satisfy a craving. Plus, it’s just so fun to eat around communal plates. Must give my children that experience.

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