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Any Ethiopian places?

Hi,

My wife and I just moved back to Austin from Atlanta, where we got hooked on Ethiopian food. We're looking for a fix. I've looked online but haven't found any places. So I thought I would try here. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Angel

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  1. Sadly, you will have to drive to Houston for the nearest Ethiopian restaurant, unless Elgin has one hidden away somewhere. There is just not a large enough Ethiopian population in Austin to support one. I understand that there is a little selection of prepared/packaged Ethiopian food available at Whole Foods. The woman who supplies it also sells at a booth at the Saturday morning farmers' market on 4th St., but it is cold and cannot compare to a good sit down restaurant.

    1. It looks like one is opening up close to UT. Just noticed it yesterday on the way into work--right by the highway when you're exiting the ramp to Dean Keaton. Not sure what their timeline is, but will definitely check it out.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kitchenknife

        Wonderful news! Can you be a bit more specific about the location?

      2. i'll check name and address tomorrow on the way in--they may have an opening date sign up, but i wizzed by so fast i didn't notice.

        1. I drove back by this morning. The sign says, "Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant Coming Soon" and there isn't an address, but it's on the southbound access road of I-35 just at the turn-off for Dean Keaton--kind of wedged in there. Not a great location and place looks like it needs A LOT of work, so not telling when it will actually open.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kitchenknife

            I think that Aster is the lady that supplies Ethiopian food to some local outlets and was an owner of an Austin Ethiopian restaurant several years ago. If so, that is good news and I'll be looking forward to eating there.

          2. I moved here from Washington DC which has a great Ethiopian restaurant scene. I am sorry to say that I was really disappointed in Aster's restaurant when it was open and have never tried the frozen food for that reason. I wish them great success in their new restaurant, and Austin needs a good Ethiopian restaurant, but I would prepare for let-down.

            1. Thanks for the info. My wife works at UT, so the location is great for us. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will compare favorably to Meskerem, our preferred Ethiopian place in Atlanta.

              1. there was some info in the chronicle this week, which said it would be open...but drove by this morning and it still looked like they were doing a lot of work, like exterior painting.

                http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyroba...

                1. Aster's Ethiopian (2804 N. I-35, 469-5966).

                  I'm pretty excited.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: hooliganyouth

                    I've been there and it's good. I recently had a trip to DC and my friend took me to what he considered one of the best in town. I couldn't tell the difference, but I've only had the cuisine twice.

                    Driving by the other day there's a banner announcing a lunch buffet, Tuesday - Friday.

                      1. re: Scrambletron

                        Actually, I had a friend that went the night before last and said that they sell wine. For what that's worth...

                  2. I just came back from the new Karibu Ethiopian place on E. 7th. It was $10 for a lunch buffet and worth it in my opinion. There were 3 lentil dishes, salad, spinach, green beans & carrots, rice, and two meat dishes. My favorite were the green lentils.
                    It's been a while since I've had Asters so the only comparison I can remember is that Aster's Doro wott is much spicier than Karibu's.
                    I do make my own Ethiopian food from time to time but the only dishes we had in common were the spinach and the green beans. My spinach was better though their green beans are better.
                    The decor was interesting and it was quite a cute place in general. I hope they stay open!

                    1. My new favorite Ethiopian place is in Pflugerville, of all places. It is :
                      Addis Ethiopian Restaurant and Cafe
                      1466 Grand Avenue Pkwy Ste 100
                      Pflugerville, TX 78660
                      512-251-5365

                      We went with a big group for lunch and did not get the vegetarain buffet but instead ordered almost all of the meat dishes and the vegetarian sampler and it was all wonderful. Also loved the fact that they served in the traditional manner, with ll of the food shared in the middle of the table in a beautiful basket lined with the bread that is also used as eating utensils.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: judiftx1

                        Were you there recently? I wanted to try Addis a while back, but they weren't answering their phone and another poster said they found the place boarded up:

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4498...

                        1. re: Brian Lindauer

                          I was there for lunch on December 16th ...

                          1. re: judiftx1

                            My family made the drive up to Plugerville for lunch today, and it turns out that this is a different Ethiopian restaurant in the same space formerly occupied by Addis. The new place is called Taste of Ethiopia and is by far the best Ethiopian food I've had in Austin. I've eaten at the best places in NYC and DC and this is the first food I've found in Austin that can sate that craving. We ordered the Kitfo, which is a spicy ground beef mixed with seasoned clarified butter and mitmita (a ground, hot pepper). The meat had great flavor and was served with a homemade cheese, like a farmers cheese, and a small portion of gomen (collard greens). We also got the vegetarian sampler, which includes misr wot (red lentils with berbere sauce), shiro (buttery chickpeas), gomen (differently spiced than the gomen that came with the kitfo -- more sweet spices and less heat), fosolia (carrots and green beans) and tikil gomen (cabbage and carrots). It's usually my least favorite of the Ethiopian veggie dishes, but I thought the shiro was the best one today. They were all terrific. It's maybe a notch below my favorite Ethiopian restaurants, but I think it would be in my rotation even if I were in DC or NYC. LIke Queen Makeda in DC, you can taste the love that goes into the food. The menu is definitely more limited than other places, but it has most of my favorites, and I actually prefer to have fewer dishes if that means they're done better.

                            The owner, Winnie, and her husband run the place. Winnie takes care of both the cooking and the front of the house. They were unbelievably warm, welcoming, and accomodating. Despite the long drive, we'll be back. A lot. I really hope some of you will try to make it there, too. The food is great, but the location is terrible. It would be tragic if we lost our one good Ethiopian restaurant.

                            On to less encouraging news... we tried Karibu last weekend and thought it was, well, meh. The flavors were there, but were all very muted. The veggies were all served colder than room temperature, which didn't help matters. If you're going to serve something cold, you really need to turn up the seasoning to make it come through. Everything was good enough, but was a shadow of what it could be. The ingredients are all organic, and you could tell that all the veggies were really fresh. The meat in the Key Wot was also of higher quality than usual. They had only been open for a week or two, so I'm going to give them another shot. The owner, Solomon, was interested in listening to feedback, so I hope things get running smoothly and we'll also have a good option closer to home.

                            -----
                            Taste of Ethiopia
                            Plugerville, TX, Plugerville, TX

                            1. re: Brian Lindauer

                              I'm surprised about your experience with Karibu. We went there for dinner about a week ago and loved it. We had all 6 veggie dishes as part of their 'combos' and only one of the 6 was served cold (and incidentally the cold dish was one of my favorites). The food was served table-side to us and I thought everything we had was very well spiced/flavored and, aside from the one cold dish, was piping hot.

                              I'd definitely give it another shot, they may just still be working the kinks out since they've been open for such a short time. I have yet to try their buffet, too which is bizarrely not offered on the weekends.

                              1. re: nhennies

                                I definitely plan to give Karibu another try. I'm glad you had a good experience there. Maybe it means they're working out the kinks.

                              2. re: Brian Lindauer

                                JUST got back from trying out Taste of Ethiopia.... Addis was actually a LOT better, unfortunately they're no longer around... :(

                                Taste of Ethiopia isn't bad though. I had the ultimate veggie combo to try a taste of everything. All in all it was alright, but they DID have the best misr wot i've ever had. it was slightly sweeter on my tongue than what the spicy berbere sauce usually offers, so seemed a bit more complex to me. wish i'd had the other gomen that brian had a small portion of, although mine wasn't bad... and the fosolia and tikil gomen, which i'm usually not that fond of, weren't bad here either.

                                have to say i'll be coming back repeatedly just to support Winnie though. she's awesome! very warm and charismatic... :)

                                1. re: Brian Lindauer

                                  A group of us went to Taste of Ethiopia on Monday and it was great. We had the vegetarian sampler and Key Siga Wot. It was plenty of food for three. The beef was tender and flavorful in the Key Siga Wot and there was a nice selection of veggies in the sampler fosolia (carrots and green beans), tikil gomen (cabbage and carrots), Yemisir Wot (lentils), Ater Kik (split peas), Gomen (collard greens) and Eggplant Wot. My favorite of the veggies was the Eggplant. Unfortunately we were the only people there the whole time we ate. Hopefully it was just slow because of the holiday.

                          2. My wife and I went to Karibu for lunch today. The space is spacious but pretty basic. There's a covered patio out front that could be quite pleasant in warmer weather, although there's a fair bit of traffic on 7th. Inside, it was freshly painted with simple decorations and formica top tables. There's a small bar and there was a DJ set-up in one corner, so it could get interesting on the weekends.

                            The sign out front advertised "Buffet All Day" (although they have a full menu too). Getting there shortly after noon, we opted for the buffet. Although several dishes were sparse we went first went up, they were good about refilling. They had large platter of injera (buckwheat, possibly -- it wasn't the blue color I've normally seen) and an assortment of stewed vegetarian dishes -- green split peas, yellow split peas, brown lentils, cabbage and carrots, collards, and injera fit fit. They probably weren't vegan-friendly because I'm pretty sure they had a high butter use. For main dishes they had hard-boiled eggs in a spicy sauce and a beef wat.

                            Overall the food was good, but not as strongly seasoned as I've had at other Ethiopian restaurants (all outside Austin). The hard boiled eggs were the spiciest (and quite good). The wat was flavorful but not as intense as I've had elsewhere, but it was my wife's favorite. The cabbage/carrot stew was very simple but rich with butter or fat. (and tasty). The least impressive for me were the brown lentils which seemed very bland. Buffet was just under $10 a person. Overall I was pleased and plan to try some things off the menu.

                            1. Can I assume all these places are kid friendly? My 2yo will eat any type of cuisine so there's no need for a kids menu...just don't want to go somewhere they aren't welcome.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: achtungpv

                                yeah, they're kid friendly. the people at both taste of ethiopia and aster's are both very welcoming. i'd be shocked it they didn't accomodate you. just for actual confirmation though, there WERE kids at Taste of Ethiopia when i went. they even had a high chair and kids menu... don't recall any kids at Aster's though, but i'm sure you shouldn't have any issues... haven't been to karibu yet, so can't comment on that one...

                              2. My boyfriend and I went to Aster's the other night...we were a little skeptical b/c there was NO ONE in there at 6:30 on a Tuesday night...but we tried it anyway. I thought it was OKAY, but not great...like, it will do for an Ethiopian fix, but it wasn't DC quality at all...the injera bread was so-so...and they charge you for more, when you clearly don't get enough...the best dish was the eggplant. And we got one meat entree for the both of us and it was plenty to share.