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Oct 11, 2006 02:07 AM

ethiopian suggestions

hi! i'm new here but have been lurking for while. such a great board! :-)

anyway, i've never had ethiopian food and i have a few restaurant suggestions (mostly from this board) but i don't know what to order. can anyone give me some favorite dishes, and maybe even a brief description? i'm open to trying anything. thanks!!

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  1. I usually end up at Ethiopian House, which is a decent choice for a first-timer.

    Lucky for you, they offer 'sampler' platters, that have small amounts of each of the dishes. These can either be vegetarian, meat, or a combination of the two. The menu is on the website, and the prices are very reasonable. My personal favourites are the veggie samplers, and the tibs (pan-fried beef).

    I've not been a fan of the salads and appetizers, so stick to the mains. They're served all together, so everyone shares from the same platter. You can request for this not to happen, in case someone is a strict vegetarian, or prefers to have their own dish.

    One tip, be sure to order the coffee. It's fantastic, and totally worth it. It takes about 30-45 minutes to prepare, so you have to order at the same time as you order the food.

    Have fun!

    2 Replies
    1. re: xtal

      I live just around the corner from Ethiopia house and have loved it every time I've been. They have a great lunch special.

      I am a huge coffee fan and always wanted to try the coffee "ceremony" but had never had time. A few weeks ago I did order it and, unfortunately, was very disappointed. I don't know what I was expecting, but the ceremonial part was relatively unremarkable. And the coffee tasted, as one friend put it, a lot like the Ethiopian blend at Starbucks. There were about 20 of us that time, so maybe that was a problem - extal, what did you like about the coffee?

      Again, I recommend Ethiopia house to everyone. Enjoy.

      1. re: markdsgraham

        I too have tried to Ethiopian House and highly recommend it.

        I was the one vegetarian in the group that we went with, but was quite satisfied. I suggest getting a few sampler platters as well. We ate with our hands using the bread as 'scoops' as the Ethiopians do, but you may be able to get utensils.

        And yes, be sure to order the coffee. I don't normally even drink coffee, but Ethiopian is such a unique experience that I thought I should this time.

        Don't expect great service, however. But the food itself will no doubt be memorable

    2. What part of town do you live in, how far will you travel?

      The main strip of Ethiopian restaurants is along Bloor St. W. between Ossington and the west site of Christie Pits. There are a bunch of places and they change names and owners frequently. (I used to live right here and went to Selam, which became something else, and then Lalibela which was something else last week)

      Now I live near the Danforth and go weekly to Dukem at 950 Danforth between jones and donlands. There are others along Danforth heading east (not concentrated like on bloor). There's one that advertises in NOW called something like Abay Fawfate - I've gone twice and they wouldn't give me food. Said both times they had none left (one was Friday at 6pm, the other was a weekday at a similar time). Ethiopian Village has been written up lots on this board.

      There are a few others - Ethiopian House and the one on Queen W near the Drake whose name escapes me. They tend to be pricier.

      What to order? Ethiopian menus here are straightforward and don't vary too too much. Go with a vegetarian sampler (usually 5 or 6 dishes) and/or a meat (lamb, beef, chicken) sampler. Figure out which dishes you like, then go back and order them instead of a combo. A veg combo should be about $10, the meat one a tad more.

      Hope that helps

      1. Thanks for all the suggestions! I'm on Yonge and St. Clair but I'm willing to drive. Ethiopia House looks like a good place to start. I'll let you know how it goes.

        1. Give Queen of Sheba on Bloor West a try. It looks a bit shabby when you first walk in, but the dining room at the back is actually quite charming. The food, as far as I'm concerned, is better than Ethiopian House on Irwin St. It's more reasonably priced and, as mentioned, you can order the combo platter (veggie or meat and veg)here as well.
          Ethiopian food is spiced with a spice mixture called "berbere," which is fragrant and hot but not burning hot. There are some cooked meat dishes, some raw meat dishes, many menu items made with various pulses (legumes), and terrific stewed collard greens.
          The dishes are served in separate mounds on a huge piece of injera bread, which is a spongy bread traditionally made from teff flour. It's a little odd the first time you try it, but when it's soaked with the sauces from the various dishes, it's divine.
          No forks or knives here or any Ethiopian restaurant, by the way. You take a piece of injera in one hand and scoop some morsels of food with it. Total comfort food!

          2 Replies
          1. re: olivergail

            I have to disagree; Queen of Sheba is the worst of the lot. One dead giveaway is that there are never any Ethiopians in there, just white people, unlike Lalibela and some of the others in the Bloor-Ossington area.

            1. re: estragon


              The food at queen of sheba took a downhill turn ever since they moved to their new location, i used to frequent them a lot when they were at bloor & brock...

              now I go to Lalibela and I love it there.

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