First things first, I was just checking out chow hound but it was your post that made me join !
The best ...BEST ...Ethiopian food in Chicago (maybe beyond) -hands down is @ Ethiopian Diamond, located @ 6120 N. Broadway ...I've been an adopted member of the Ethiopian Diamond family for nearly 4 yrs. and eat there/get take out @ least once a week ...I'm vegan (so your vegetarian friend is in luck) and I've entertained many friends/family both vegan/vegetarian and/or carnivores @ Diamonds -all of whom loved it. My ex boyfriend's Mother, who resides in Rockford, requests we eat @ Diamonds during her visits, ha.
The menu covers many tasty Ethiopian standards -including a dish exclusive to Diamonds: shimbra assa ...chickpea flour in a blend of spices, to mimic their fish watt -This dish alone could thrill any newcomer.
The atmosphere is spacious and airy, with vibrant lime walls and sturdy tables and chairs. they can accommodate parties big and small and their staff is friendly/helpful and more than willing to explain any menu item. The price is just right and one platter can satisfy 3-4 people. They also serve a wide variety of beers and wines. There's also free entertainment from legendary/man w/ the biggest smile Kelan Phil Cohran, on Friday nights.
Here are a few helpful reviews:
In the 4 yrs. I've been a regular, I've never had a bad meal and I always leave satisfied. One warning, prepare to crave Ethiopian food, post-Diamonds, haha.
Well, there aren't all that many to choose from...
Ethiopian Diamond Restaurant and Lounge
6120 N. Broadway
Mama Desta's Red Sea Restaurant
3216 N. Clark St.
5846 N. Broadway
6118 N. Ravenswood Ave.
5403 N. Broadway Ave.
Ras Dashen is my all time favorite. Love the place. Wish I had more people in my circle of friends who liked Eithipoan food as much cause as it goes, I only get to eat it three or four times a year. The waitresses at Ras Dashen are very helpful and nice. However, service can be slow. I personally like the veggie options (you can pick three if you order) but the chicken wat is so tasty as well. Man alives, I am craving this big time now.
I really enjoy Rasdashen and Adfdis Abeba. I have never been a big fan of Ethiopian Diamond. Food was ok. Service slow.
So much of a contrast from the service at Rashdashen. I ordered the Ethiopian Coffee and tehy came out from the kitchen to let me smell the handroasted coffee. Lovely service. Great food.
I've been to Ras Dashen and Ethiopian Diamond in the past two months, and I like Ras Dashen over Ethiopian Diamond for three reasons: 1) RD is much smaller, and more intimate in my opinion. 2) at RD you can put together your own combo (I think there's a pick 2 or 3 option), whereas ED has set combos that may or may not be to your liking. 3) RD lets you pick some little sides (chickpeas, salad, veggies) to accompany your meal, which rounds it out much better.