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Ethiopian Food - Recommendations Please

Hello. I took my wife to the Ethiopia House off of Yonge near Wellesley a long while back and she did not love it. I am looking for the best Ethiopian in Toronto as she has recently told me that she would like to give it another go.

Any recommendations? Anything in my neck of the woods (Greenwood/Danforth)?

Thank you,

Foodie Smith

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  1. there's a place just east of the Gladstone Hotel on Queen St. W. that is supposed to be quite good according to several friends of mine...they preferred it to Ethiopia House at Yonge/Wellesley.

    4 Replies
      1. re: Joobu

        i really enjoyed my meal here.

        the place isn't fancy, but the woman who owns it and her son are friendly, honest and the food was delicious.

        give it a shot.

        1. re: TaCk OnE

          Exactly what TackOne said. Not fancy, wonderfully pleasant staff including both the owner and her son and absolutely delicious food. The spicy lamb (I forget the Ethiopian term) and the Black lentils were best.

      2. re: diesta

        My vote is for addis ababa too. YUM!

      3. What was it your wife didn't care for at EH?

        Another good one is Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant http://www.lalibelaethiopianrestauran... >> click on the pics to go to the menu
        (aren't you shocked this URL was still available for them?)

        2 Replies
        1. re: orangewasabi

          Second Lalibela. tasty food, warm service and good atmosphere.

          1. re: mrbozo

            We tried Lalibela for dinner a couple weeks ago. It was fantastic. It was our first experience with Ethiopian and we couldn't have been happier.


        2. I like Dukem on Danforth just west of Donlands. Had the veggie combo yesterday (and leftovers for lunch just now!) and I love their lentils, collards and sour injera. But I can't compare it to any other places as I don't eat Ethiopian often enough to make comparisons. I only mention it since it is definitely in your area. I think there was also a thread a couple of days ago about a new place further east on the Danforth?

          2 Replies
          1. re: julesrules

            The new place is at Lamb, right next to 3's Company. I've not been, but if anyone goes I'd love to hear about it.

            1. re: julesrules

              I will add that this place does seem to popular with the Ethiopian community if that means anything :)

            2. Greenwood/Danforth probably has the second highest concentration of Ethiopian restaurants after Bloor West. I can recommend Dukem (I've been there many times), but there are many more. But I also have liked Ethiopian House, so...

              9 Replies
              1. re: embee

                I'm with you embee. I've eaten Ethiopian at some of the best places in DC (the highest # of Ethiopians in N.A.) and loved Ethiopian House......I've disliked many places in other cities b/c of their lack of authentic-ness.....EH is really authentic and has a good variety of dishes.

                1. re: embee

                  What about "The Cottage" at Greenwood and Danny? It's actually the only Ethiopian I have had, so I'm wondering if it is worth going back or should I go elsewhere. I definitely enjoyed what I had.

                  1. re: redcoconut

                    We've never tried it, as it looked like a less than reputable pool hall from outside. So I can't compare it with others. You should definitely try Dukem and compare your experience at the two places for us. Our next stop is the new one near 3s Company.

                    1. re: embee

                      It was a few years ago, and I ended up in there by accident. Some leftist event was supposed to be happenin' there, the DJ never showed so I just chilled with some comrades and ate the food. It's actually really nice inside, I think the pool hall is next door that you are thinking off. It did have a bar and a dance floor, but the place was empty. Service was friendly and the food was really good. I think I had a stewed beef type of dish with their "roti" (the big sourdough tasting, spoungie delicious stuff that I don't recall the name of). Then again, I think this was like 2004 so it's a bit hazy. ;)

                      1. re: redcoconut

                        several ethiopian friends speak very highly of the food at Cottage and Rendezvous (the latter is also on Danforth/Greenwood), despite their seedy appearance... i've been to both and prefer them to Ethiopian House: I find the service at Cottage and Rendezvous to be better and more personal than at EH ...have heard good things about Dukem tho haven't been myself.

                        1. re: berbere

                          I went to Wazema last night (north side of Danforth, a couple of blocks east of Greenwood). Friendly service, tasty food, soccer playing (silently) on an enormous screen. I had a vegetarian platter, which contained the usual selection. The stews were less...pureed than in other places and the bread was slightly browner in colour. One of the yellow dishes was more ginergy than I've had elseshere. Overall, a very enjoyable dining experience, and inexpensive too: for more food than two of us could eat, plus a beer and a spiced tea, the bill was $25.

                          1. re: thought_for_food

                            wow ! A bit steep for microwaved cuisine lol ! Find a stove there ...

                            1. re: musard

                              mussard, are you saying the food is not cooked there?

                              1. re: musard

                                Musard that's a wrong statement ! There is a stove and Ethiopian food is made daily from scratch. I also think the hard working people in these restaurant would find your comment a bit offensive.

                  2. I'm also surprised your wife didn't like EH, and if she didn't, I wonder if maybe Ethiopian food might just not be for her. Prior to eating at EH, I'd tried a few Ethiopian restaurants (mostly in Ottawa) and was convinced that I just didn't enjoy the cuisine, but I decided to give EH a try and now I'm in love.

                    1. I've really enjoyed the food at Queen of Sheba, on Bloor West, perhaps even more so than at Ethiopia House on Irwin.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: FlavoursGal

                        Really? It's been years since I was there, but I wasn't very impressed with Queen of Sheba. Well, it was nice and cheap and certainly passable, but I didn't love it. I like Ethiopia House more than Queen of Sheba, and Addis Ababa more than Ethiopia House.

                        I guess this is more unnessesary proof that everyone's taste is different. *grin*

                        1. re: mainja

                          I actually find that there's more depth to the flavours at Queen of Sheba. I haven't gotten around to trying Addis Ababa yet, but will certainly do so in the near future. I'd also like to pick up chef/owner Aster Belayneh's new cookbook.

                        2. re: FlavoursGal

                          Toronto restaurants are so inconsistent, and change so often, that anything is possible. Sheba was great in the eighties. When I was last there,the food wasn't special, the service was unfriendly, and it wasn't very nice. Although I found Addis Ababa to have its virtues, the incense level there has given me migraines.

                          1. re: embee

                            Incense is always a challenge for me with Ethiopian. I found that Ethiopia House had so much incense going on I thought I wasn't going to be able to breath. It was a challenge at Addis Ababa too, but there it was only when they did the coffee ceremony that they burned it, which made it *slightly* better than Ethiopia House for me.

                            1. re: mainja

                              Complete reversal of my experience. I've found Ethiopian House permeated with incense only when they were doing a coffee ceremony (which wasn't all that often), while Addis Ababa reeked of it all the time. Note that I haven't been to either of these places, or Sheba's recently. I've mainly been going to Dukem and Lalibela.

                        3. Thanks for all of your suggestions. I should have mentioned that we tried EH about 5 years ago when we were first dating. From I've read here it sounds like a trip to Dukem and Addis Ababa are in order. What she didn't like was that the bread seemed raw/wet and our toppings were very bland. Looking forward to hearing about the new spot near 3's Company....

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Foodiesmith

                            the raw/wet thing might be the texture of injera, which is a bit like a thinner, damp huge english muffin (with a totally different taste). Can't speak to the bland toppings, that's really odd. If you order the kitfo spicy, the sherro wat and the goman wat, the green salad and/or the azifa I am certain it won't be anything but deliciously flavourful today.

                            In any case, request some mitmita or berebere on the side if you find the dishes bland at the new places you try.

                            1. re: Foodiesmith

                              injera isn't everyone's thing, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the other bits. I reccomeneded to a friend that he give it another try and just use the injera as a utensil and not eat it, he was pleased by that idea. So, maybe if you gf tried it again and still didn't like it she could use that approach, for that night at least...

                              1. re: mainja

                                Injera was an acquired taste for me, but now I love it. You could also get take out and eat it with another type of flatbread - there's a place on the south side of the Danforth that seems to sell nothing but some kind of flatbread, maybe Afghani? Or with rice.

                            2. I've tried EH, Adis Ababa and Dukem. Most of the other restaurants (including QUeen of SHeba) look too sketchy.
                              We used to love EH but they tend to be greasier than the rest. Adis Ababa was good, but the veggie options were disappointing and lacked flavour or freshness.
                              our new favourite - and when i say favourite, i mean one of our favourite restaurants in toronto - is Dukem. Just last night we had it and we go there at least once a month. The veggie options are the most flavourful and freshest. I had a lamb dish last night and the cuts of meat were great and not fatty and they injera wasn't soaked with oil or butter (see EH as an example). the staff is nice and attentive (unlike EH, where they take a while and are sometimes quite weird).

                              i also think that you can judge a restaurant by its clientelle. EH's clientelle is mainly white hippies or youngsters. Dukem is always full of ethiopians. 'nuff said. we have yet to have a disappointing meal at Dukem and we've been hitting it steadily since early spring.

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: atomeyes

                                I live practically across the street from EH, so I go there often, and my experience has been exactly the opposite - EH's clients, as far as I've noticed, are more Ethiopian than the surrounding area (also, I doubt this method of evaluating). I have never had oil or butter on my injera at EH, nor has the food ever been greasier than should be expected based on how it should be prepared. I've never been to Ethiopia, so I can't comment on authenticity for myself, but the food has always been flavourful, if not as spicy as I would like recently...

                                1. re: atomeyes

                                  I can't find any sign of a restaurant called Dukem existing in Toronto through Google, Google maps, or Canada 411. Where is this place? I wouldn't mind checking it out.

                                  1. re: vorpal

                                    It's on the north side of Danforth, near Donlands. I can't remember the cross street, but they have a quite visible sign. It is west of Coxwell and closer to Donlands. Recommended.

                                    We tried Rendezvous for the first time last week. It is also on the north side, nearer to Coxwell. The service here was very friendly and the vibe was good. The injera was lighter, fluffier, and less sour than at many other places. The mound of salad provided was also was especially fresh, crisp, and tasty. The food overall was perfectly OK and there was nothing actually wrong with anything, but the cooking at Dukem is spiced much more interestingly.

                                    1. re: embee

                                      Is that the new-ish place with the orange sign? I'm thinking that place starts with a 'W'... I thought it was called Wakem or something similar... Or - I could just be confused. :)

                                      1. re: Tara9000

                                        Dukem isn't really "newish" and there's an Ethiopian place in the area the name of which begins with a "W". So I'm not sure what to answer. I <think> there is some orange in their sign, but cannot really visualize their sign. But it's a big, bright sign. There's a place called "Paradise" nearby and a large store selling pants.

                                        1. re: embee

                                          Sorry embee - the place with the orange sign I was thinking of is called Wazema. I made note to look at the name as we I drove by. My husband has been once and enoyed the food there.

                                          I can see there was a thread on it here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/401467

                                    2. re: vorpal

                                      Found it. Went for a walk today and got the exact address for Dukem. 950 Danforth Ave. It is indeed on the north side just west of Donlands, about three or four doors west of The Only Cafe. It's a mystery why it doesn't come up on Canada 411 or google, which means I can't link it to Places so I've linked to The Only Cafe. Close enough.

                                      Only Cafe
                                      972 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1L9, CA

                                      1. re: JamieK

                                        I went to Adis Ababa on Queen West of Beaconsfield and had such a great experience. It was my first time eating Ethiopian food. My husband and I sat on the patio and I was surprised to see a lot of kids expertly sopping up wat with their injera. When I tasted the food I saw why even kids liked it! THe food was so amazing and flavourful and spicy! I had the doro wat, and my husband had the lamb. They were both good, but the doro wat was my favourite. Next time I will try the meat and vegetable samplers. I'm definitely adding Ethiopian to my favourite types of cuisine!

                                        1. re: JamieK

                                          Anyone know whether DUKEM or NAZARETH or RENDEZ-VOUS are big enough for a party of 10 or more???


                                          1. re: tp24

                                            Dukem & Rendez-Vous yes (I think it is best to call ahead though, they can be kinda busy on weekends), Nazareth no.
                                            Nazareth is the cheapest but really small, it only has 3 - 4 tables or so.

                                      1. I hope you have explored the area since you left this post.... Dukem is really good, but there is really amazing ethiopian rest at danforth and monarch park called rendez vous..its the best Ive had in the city, and it was recommended by an ethiopian friend! So give it a try!

                                        1. I'm surprised to see no mention of hole in the wall, Nazareth on Bloor just east of Dovercourt. Far better than Lalibela in my opinion, it's always packed with young and trendy locals and Ethiopians alike. The food is absolutely delicious and you get a disgusting amount for the price. The veggie platter has four different curries and salad. It easily feeds two people for only $8. Downside: It's cash only.


                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: afternoonveggiedelight

                                            Totally agree on the Nazareth recommendation - I've eaten at Ethiopian House, Addis Ababa, Lalibela, and now Nazareth and Nazareth was the best tasting by far.

                                            1. re: afternoonveggiedelight

                                              That's because it's supposed to be a secrete.

                                            2. I'm curious if anyone has been to the 2 Ethopian restaurants on College st. near Bathurst.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Janine

                                                I walked by Nile the other day(North side of College, east of Bathurst). The menu looked interesting, with prices about the same as Ethiopian House. The room isn't very big, but looks nice. It was quite full. I'm going to try it tomorrow night.

                                                1. re: Moorepark

                                                  Great looking forward to your report.

                                                2. re: Janine

                                                  I've been to Sheba on College. Food was okay - not the best I've had. Service however was pretty much non-existent - it took an hour for our food to arrive - we were at the point of getting up and walking out. We had ordered coffee as well, which the server ended up comping us to make up for the wait.

                                                3. I have had nothing but negative experiences with Addis Ababa. Some people love it, but I find the food to be flavourless and sub par, and the prices, service, and portions unacceptable. It was near impossible to get additional portions of the excessively dense injera. But that's just my opinion. Oh, and i got sick after eating there. And that never happens to me.

                                                  I have since become a regular at Sheba on College (just east of Bathurst)...Not to be confused with Nile, whose owners, while lovely, opened up a western food restaurant only to close it a few months later and wordlessly reopen as an Ethiopian place after casing out the Sheba menu. This occurred after the Sheba owners welcomed Nile's owners to the street, ate at their western restaurant, and offered to support them in any way they could. I used to go to their old restaurant, but can't help it--i can't go back to Nile, even if they have the best Ethiopian food in the universe.

                                                  The service at Sheba is a little slow, but it is extremely friendly, helpful and pleasant. The food is unbeatable and is recommended by Ethiopians throughout the city. (My friend who is also a regular recently had a random conversation with her cab driver, who is also a regular, and who said it is the best Ethiopian in the city!) The place is always packed with regulars and it is difficult to get a table around 8 on a Friday. (Or on any night, for that matter!) I highly recommend it. The awaze tibs could be the greatest thing i have ever eaten.

                                                  Ethiopia House is also excellent, and I agree: if you don't like Ethiopia House, you probably don't like Ethiopian food.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Hypnotized By Food

                                                    I've been to Ethiopian House, Addis Ababa, Sheba, Queen of Sheba, and Lalibela.

                                                    Best to worst:

                                                    1. Lalibela
                                                    2. Addis Ababa (prices have gone up)
                                                    3. Ethiopian House
                                                    4. Sheba
                                                    5. Queen of Sheba

                                                    I went to Sheba around the time it first opened and was definitely not impressed. It may have improved since then.

                                                    I still really want to try Nazareth.

                                                  2. I 2nd Rendez-vous, good food, nice atmosphere.

                                                    1. I've been to Addis Ababa, Ethiopian House, Lalibela, and Nazareth and so far Nazareth is the best. Awesome tasting and incredibly priced.

                                                      1. Been to both Dukem and Meskerem in the Greenwood, Danforth area. Loved them both. I like the food at Meskerem better but the atmosphere at Dukem is a bit more convivial. However, service at both was excellent. Price wise, no difference for my standard veggie combo.

                                                        A party of 10 could fit into Meskerem by shouting across tables. Not sure if that's what you want, though.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Pincus

                                                          I second Dukem - tasty, good atmosphere and great service, too! I've heard Nazareth is good, as well...and seems like it's already been recommended on here!

                                                        2. After yet another subway malfunction today, I had to walk from Christie to Ossington on Bloor. I saw at least 4 Ethiopian places that I remember, and there might have been more I didn't notice. It might be worth checking out if you're curious.

                                                          (And I so want to make a "why are ethiopians all skinny?" comment, but I know the mods would hate it.)

                                                          1. Lalibela was recomended to us by an Ethiopian. I'm guessing he'd know.