Blue Nile - Edmonton
Ate at the the Blue Nile last night. Only my second time eating Ethiopian cuisine, so I'm no expert, but so far this was my favourite. Go in a group of at least 4, as all Ethiopian meals are served communal-style on large central platters. Plus, as most people may not be familiar with the food, this offers a chance to share and try out small portions of different dishes.
Suggestion is to order 1/2/3 (depending on group size) of the "main" dishes such as Special Tibs (beef) or Doru Wat (chicken, "wat" is a generic Ethiopian word meaning stew) accompanied by one of the combo platters, which offers servings of sides such as salad, vegetable, lentils etc.
Ethiopian food is eaten without utensils. Instead, a sourdough pancake-type bread called injera is used to scoop un bitefuls of food.
There are a *lot* of vegetarian options in Ethiopian cuisine so this would be a great choice for any vegetarian diners.
In addition to Canadian beers, they also offered organic Ethiopian beer but nobody at my table tried any.
Highly recommended for any caffeine addicts is the Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Coffee originated in Ethiopia millennia ago and they take it very seriously. It takes a little while as fresh (green) coffee beans are roasted to order. Midway through the roasting process, the server will bring out a small pan of the roasting beans for you to appreciate the aroma. While the beans continue to be roasted, ground, and brewed, the server will bring out various forms of mild incense, along with the decorative coffee serving set. Finally, the coffee is ready. Besides having the benefits of being freshly roasted, the coffee is brewed with some spices (wish I knew which ones!) which give it an extremely pleasant and unique taste. Every single person at my table enjoyed it, even people who didn't regularly drink coffee. (The taste is hard to describe but is vaguely like espresso in the sense that the coffee is served stronger. However, there was absolutely no hint of bitterness.)
I had a lot of food, coffee, and one beer for $22 including tax and tip.
I assume the place is fairly authentic as it was absolutely full of Ethiopian and other E. African (e.g. Somalian, Sudanese, Eritrean) men the whole time we were there.
Thanks so much for the review! I ate at the Blue Nile many years ago when it was on the south side on 109 Street. The flavours were amazing and so different. I've wanted to go back, but must admit the somewhat sketchy neighbourhood, now that they're on the north side near chinatown, turned me off. Glad to hear it is still so good, and I look forward to trying it myself.