ATXReview

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant image
8.3

Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant

Ethiopian

CampusCentral Austin

$$$$Perfect For:LunchCasual Weeknight Dinner
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If you’ve driven on I-35 at any point in the past 15-20 years, you’ve probably noticed a small, bright blue building on the frontage road near Dean Keeton. That’s Aster’s, an Ethiopian restaurant that’s become almost as much of the campus-area landscape as the LBJ library up the street.

Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

There are a couple different ways to experience Aster’s, that mostly come down to the time of day. At dinner, you’ll choose from a variety of meat dishes as a base, then load up with some side orders of stewed vegetables. Everything arrives on a giant platter covered in a few sheets of slightly spongy, tangy injera, plus a few extra rolls of it on the side—no forks or spoons necessary. Mix and match a little with each bite, or just rotate the platter and eat it like a tasty little clock. During lunch you’ll have access to the full menu plus the buffet—you will likely be surrounded by a roomful of students packing in as many calories as they can between classes. There are also Ethiopian beers and a wine list that feels like it hasn’t changed its prices since the day it opened (all bottles are around $20). 

Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant image
Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant image
Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant image

No matter when you show up, you’ll be in the same space—a cozy room surrounded by little colorful sunroom extensions that make the whole place feel bigger than it is. Clear sheets of plastic keep the sun and the wind out while adding a homey touch. And there’s a big metal shelf selling coffee, spices, and some ingredients that may be harder to find in Austin. Grab a few if you want to try recreating your favorite bites later (but really, you should probably just plan another visit). This family-owned restaurant is just as great for a relaxing weeknight dinner as it is for filling up between classes. The service is warm and friendly, both to the regulars who look like they’re here every day, to the first-timers who just couldn’t resist checking out the bright blue building on the side of the road. 

Food Rundown

Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Doro Wott

If you’re relatively new to the cuisine, it feels almost obligatory to order the national dish of Ethiopia. And if you’re familiar, then you’ve probably already made it part of your order. This comes with a few pieces of spicy, slow-simmered chicken with a hard boiled egg.

Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Keyi Siga

Little cubes of beef get beautifully spiced and stewed in berbere sauce until peak tenderness has been reached. The end result is a pile of rich, spicy meat that pairs perfectly with the tangy injera.

Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Gomen

We love collard greens in general, but we’re especially into the collard greens at Aster’s. Here, the collards get cooked down with onion and garlic until they’re nice and soft, with just a hint of bitterness that pairs especially well with tender meat.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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