By Linda Bladholm
It’s one of those wonderfully incongruous Miami stories: Ethiopian siblings come to town and open a cafe with a California feel. It makes more sense when you know that Abebe and Hirut Tedla emigrated with their family from Addis Ababa to San Francisco when they were teenagers.
The brother and sister took over the Midtown space that Uva had vacated when it moved to the Upper East Side, and named their spot Kafa, the Ethiopian word for coffee.
The signature dish is the Kafa potato platter: griddled potatoes (like chunky, mashed hash browns) with bits of ham, bacon, diced bell pepper and onion and melting Cheddar cheese, served with eggs any way, fresh fruit and toast or an English muffin. The same platter can be had vegetarian with spinach, mushrooms, tomato and Jack cheese. The California potato platter adds marinated sliced chicken sauteed with onion, peppers, zucchini, tomato, Cheddar and Jack. Crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, the potatoes are cooked in two stages — boiled, refrigerated overnight, then shredded and cooked on the grill with the seasonings.
Other eye openers include puffy omelets folded around various fillings (chorizo makes for a spicy bite), eggs Benedict or Florentine (with spinach and tomato replacing the Canadian bacon), French toast, oatmeal and buttermilk pancakes.
Lunch is also served, with juicy burgers topped with avocado slices on sourdough rolls. There’s also a roster of California-centric sandwiches, including melts on grilled focaccia, and a selection of salads and dressings.
Breakfast and lunch have not been reinvented here, but are generous and fresh, served with a smile.
3535 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-438-0114; hours: 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat., Sun; prices: breakfast $4.50-$6.95, lunch $5.75-$7.99, sides $1.75-$3.25, coffee $1.25-$2.25.