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Dukem (Ethiopian resto review)

h
hungry_pangolin Sep 3, 2007 04:34 PM

Last night pangolin and his band of kitchen rats made it to Dukem at 950 Danforth Ave. I have not dined at every Ethiopian place in the city, but Dukem is excellent. The service was occasionally a bit slow, but so far as I could tell, one girl was taking care of six or seven tables, and despite being in a constant state of motion, she seemed as efficient as possible under the circumstances, and maintained a fairly pleasant demeanour throughout.

The atmosphere is nothing special, but it is pleasant, extremely clean, and well maintained.

But, it's all about the food, right? We ordered kitfo (minced beef, traditionally served as tartar), doro wot (chicken stew), zilzil tibs (sauteed cubes of lamb), and the vegetarian combo. The only moment of confusion during the evening was a slightly comic exchange about the kitfo. One can ordered it seared, medium, or well done, as well as the raw. Whe ordering it I paused, and the server asked "well done?" Well, all of us were (very) pale faces (very much the minority in the restaurant), so perhaps she thought that we weren't up to the challenge. I asked for it seared, but raw. It arrived raw and unseared - minor quibble, and I didn't care. We said that we were going to share, and asked that we get a communal platter. The dishes arrived on the communal platter, surrounding a green salad, with a smaller dish holding a large stack of folded injera. The kitfo, garnished with a bit of dry cottage cheese and stewed spinach, was finely minced, and as fresh as one could hope for. The doro wot was a chicken leg and thigh, accompanied by the customary hard boiled egg, in a very rich and nuanced sauce, which, for all its richness, was not the least bit greasy - it might be the best I've had. The tibs (I've always wanted to say in an Ethiopian restaurant "They call me Mr Tibs", but haven't) was the only weak spot, as the cubes were a little bit tough, and there was less sauce than I like; but, that said, it was adequately flavourful, and actually the favourite of one the kitchen rats. The veg combo was stewed red lentils (excellent), stewed greens (good), and stewed yellow lentils (good). The injera seemed to be less dense than normal - a nice change. We went for the coffee ceremony (we ordered that when we ordered our food), which was a nice addition for the neophytes, but while it had the requisite pot, stand, and frankinsence, (as well as a huge bowl of popcorn) it was a bit perfunctory. Again, the poor girl was run off her feet, so I'm not really complaining.

So, all that food, plus two bottles of wine (your choices are a red and a white), three Heineken, and a vodka tonic, came to $105, including tax, but before tip. Dukem is a great little place. Go go go.

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  1. b
    bluedog Sep 4, 2007 06:32 AM

    Second this, hungry_pangolin. Dukem is my go to spot for Ethiopian (though sadly have not been in awhile).

    1. xtal Sep 4, 2007 08:13 AM

      Thanks for the mouthwatering report! I do love Ethiopian food, but haven't fully explored many of the options in Toronto (save Ethiopian House). How would the two compare?

      -----
      Dukem
      950 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J 1L9, CA

      2 Replies
      1. re: xtal
        h
        hungry_pangolin Sep 5, 2007 07:17 AM

        Ethiopian House has somewhat better atmosphere, but certainly not as broad a selection of meats (very bovocentric menu). The selection of appetisers is broader at EH, though. As I mentioned, the tibs at Dukem was a little tough and dry, but not bad. It's a close call, but I prefer Dukem for the selection, especially if you're trying to acquaint yourself with the cuisine. The fact that the doro wot at Dukem was rich but greaseless (given that this was thigh/leg) is a definitely praiseworthy. The prices are comparable.So, I guess Dukem wins by a wot.

        1. re: hungry_pangolin
          xtal Sep 5, 2007 01:29 PM

          Nice pun. :)

          Thanks for the comparison, my interest is piqued, and I will definitely visit Dukem soon.

      2. Olivia Oct 8, 2007 02:56 PM

        Thanks for the heads up. I went this weekend, and was very pleased.

        We had the awaze and veg combo. The veg dishes weren't hot enough (temperature-wise) but the awaze was piping hot, but all were very tasty, and nicely seasoned. As you say, the ambiance isn't... all that ambient, what with the televisions on, but the lights were dimmed and the incense smelled great.

        The only other place we've been to for Ethiopian food is Ethiopian House, but Dukem is our new favorite: the service is more attentive and the food comes in a reasonable amount of time (I'm your typical impatient Torontoian who can't bear waiting 1 hour for food to arrive a la EH).

        4 Replies
        1. re: Olivia
          vorpal Oct 8, 2007 03:13 PM

          You've really waited an hour for food at EH? How many people were there in your party? Admittedly, I've only been there three times and at each time in a group of two, but all three times, the food arrived within less than 30 mins, and it didn't feel like very long because we ordered an appetizer - which came promptly - to pass the time.

          While I love the food (this is the place that made me like Ethiopian), I do admit that the service at EH is generally poor. As soon as the entrees arrive, they forget that you exist. Every single time I went, I had to chase down the wait staff for water refills, and it's not like the restaurant was full: the wait staff just lingered near the back talking. Even very blatant, sustained eye contact (which they clearly noticed) didn't succeed in luring them over.

          1. re: vorpal
            h
            hungry_pangolin Oct 8, 2007 04:00 PM

            A couple of observations.

            The service at EH can be spotty. Vorpal, dare I say, that the fact that you're a non-drinker chasing them down for water won't help your experience. I think that non-drinkers should get the same service as the rest of us, just that in a restaurant already known for having so-so service, if they're not making a premium off you, you can't expect much. Bad comment on them.

            I think that quality at EH is pretty good, but the meat selection is too limited. The beef dishes are good (never had a bad experience) but chicken not a regular item, and no lamb, is a bit lazy, especially since there are so many good Ethiopian places in the city. Its only real advantage is being right downtown without a significant mark-up.

            1. re: vorpal
              Olivia Oct 8, 2007 05:36 PM

              Actually, it was longer! There were four of us, we had a reservation for 8pm, and it was a Saturday (so they were wicked busy). We didn't eat until just before 9:30pm that night. Still though, it was a looong wait, especially for one member of our party who was 7mos pregnant at the time. On average though, when it's just the Mister and I, we wait anywhere from 30-45 mins for our food at EH.

              And sort of echoing hungry_pangolin's response, we are capital D drinkers, and even then ordering another round takes a while, so we`ve been known to order two at a time.

              Agreed, EH is also the place that made me like Ethiopian food, so I am very grateful for that.

            2. re: Olivia
              orangewasabi Oct 8, 2007 07:35 PM

              EH is my ethiopian standby, but we make a point to go off hours as the kitchen can get backed up.

              The service there cracks me up -- it's more like your sister or crabby aunt serving you than "servers". Those women can be really nice if they sense you're new and need direction. And they're terrific to us as regulars, though terrific means a smile of recognition and coming over quickly because they know we know our order -- it does not mean regular check ins thru out the mean. Just flag em down a bit more heartily than you would in a regular place -- they're pretty laid back.

              can't beat the food though, love it

            3. JamieK Oct 8, 2007 06:08 PM

              A question to all who have been to Ethiopian restaurants in TO. Do they ALL burn incense? As someone sensitive/allergic to strong fragances of any kind, I could not sit or eat in a restaurant where incense was being burned (as per the mention of Dukem above). Haven't tried Ethiopian yet, but the fragrance thing would be the deal breaker for me. Thanks

              3 Replies
              1. re: JamieK
                vorpal Oct 8, 2007 07:12 PM

                I can't speak for any of the others, but EH definitely does. I'm quite sensitive to incense and fragrance as well, but for some bizarre reason, it hasn't seemed to bother me there...

                1. re: JamieK
                  h
                  hungry_pangolin Oct 8, 2007 10:00 PM

                  Generally, it's not that they burn incense all the time, but because it's part of the 'coffee ceremony', and the frankincense tends to hang around. You might be better off going to one of the more 'downscale' ones to avoid the aroma/odour. I would say that it was stronger at EH than at D., but that might just have been the night.

                  1. re: JamieK
                    mainja Oct 9, 2007 05:53 AM

                    I have found that the incense smell is not as bad at addis ababa as it was at EH.

                    I have no memory of incense at queen of sheba, but to be honest, I didn't particularly like Queen of Sheba (although it was years ago, it would be worth another try...)

                  2. t
                    tp24 Jun 26, 2008 02:17 PM

                    Hey there !

                    How big is DUKEM? Is it large enough to seat a party - crowd of say, 10?

                    Thanks!
                    Foodhogger

                    16 Replies
                    1. re: tp24
                      pescatarian Jun 26, 2008 02:40 PM

                      The restaurant is not very big, but when I have been there during the week for dinner or on the weekend for lunch, it has not been very busy and I think they could easily accomodate a group of 10. Might not be a bad idea before you go, to call and give them the heads up.

                      1. re: pescatarian
                        t
                        tp24 Jun 26, 2008 06:01 PM

                        anyone have a number?

                        1. re: tp24
                          pescatarian Jun 26, 2008 06:31 PM

                          http://www.torontolife.com/guide/rest...

                          1. re: pescatarian
                            t
                            tp24 Jun 26, 2008 06:37 PM

                            Awesome thanks!

                            1. re: tp24
                              pescatarian Jun 26, 2008 06:49 PM

                              You're welcome!

                              1. re: pescatarian
                                t
                                tp24 Jun 27, 2008 08:07 AM

                                Going to DUKEM next week for a friend's birthday - how's the ambiance?

                                1. re: tp24
                                  pescatarian Jun 27, 2008 09:03 AM

                                  Ambiance is not the selling point. It's a pretty simple store front type restaurant. But the food is reliable. I haven't had the coffee ceremony, but from what I've heard it is worthwhile.

                                  1. re: tp24
                                    vorpal Jun 27, 2008 09:21 AM

                                    Nothing special. An open room with a bar in the back and tables and chairs along the walls. It's clean and not at all cramped, but I'm hard-pressed to find much more to say than that. You don't go there for the ambiance.

                                    1. re: vorpal
                                      t
                                      tp24 Jun 27, 2008 01:19 PM

                                      I'm planning the birthday there - will it be unimpressive in terms of atmosphere? we want good food, but we also want it to be cosy and nice.

                                      1. re: tp24
                                        pescatarian Jun 27, 2008 01:24 PM

                                        The restaurant itself will be unimpressive in terms of atmosphere, but IMHO, great atmosphere can be conjured up by good conversation and food. Because it is not too busy, the atmosphere will allow good conversation and the food it good.

                                        1. re: pescatarian
                                          t
                                          tp24 Jun 27, 2008 01:27 PM

                                          Always great at giving me a fast answer pescatarian! Thanks! :)

                                          1. re: tp24
                                            pescatarian Jun 27, 2008 01:43 PM

                                            Glad to help. If you decide you aren't keen on the atmosphere, and you want to try a different cuisine (because I don't think any of the other Ethiopian offerings will provide a better atmosphere), I would suggest checking out Matahari on Baldwin. I was just there last week and the food (Malaysian) was fantastic, and it has a nice atmosphere.

                                            1. re: pescatarian
                                              t
                                              tp24 Jul 15, 2008 08:09 AM

                                              Here's my DUKEM REVIEW:

                                              The last time I'd had Ethiopian food was at Ethiopian House at Wellesley and Yonge and although I was not entirely unimpressed, I knew if I were to try it again, it would have to be some really good Ethiopian to make me a fan of the cusine. Dukem has done that. And some.

                                              In trying to organize a surprise birthday party for a friend, one of the requirements was that it was Ethiopian. The other was that it was near a subway station. So, I turned to the world wide web for some help and good ol' reliable Chowhound is where I discovered people talking about Dukem and how good the food is there.

                                              They were right. The food was great and so was the service.

                                              Mike (the owner) and the the waitress (whose name I didn't catch unfortunately) did an awesome job making our party feel at home; fully accommodating our huge group (of 14 people by the end of the night) into their cosy, albeit small space.

                                              We had brought a cake with us, which they instantly accepted and placed into their fridge. They were on the ball with our drinks, our orders, and especially the "surprise" factor of our surprise party - making sure everything was perfect. We may have taken over the entire restaurant for four hours (my apologies to those who were at the restaurant while our raucous bunch was there).

                                              We each started off with a St. George (Ethiopian) Beer. Very tasty.

                                              The ambiance was intimate...the restaurant's not cramped by any means, but it's definitely not huge. However, it had enough tables (inside and outside on their patio) to accommodate us as well as other patrons without ever feeling stuffy. And, it was clean. As far as decor goes - they have a couple of tvs, a few paintings on the walls, plain tables and a red glow from the large neon "open" sign in the front and glowing bar in the back.

                                              But mostly they have amazing Ethiopian food.

                                              Mike knew just what to bring to the table - a couple of meat platters and one veggie platter - shared around with plenty of injera constantly replenishing our plates.

                                              The beef stews (both spicy and mild) were succulent and flavourful.

                                              The split peas, spinach/chard and lentils weren't mushy as I've had before...each with its own distinct flavour. The injera wasn't as sour as I've had before - everything was just delicious and perfect....and is this any indication that we cleaned it up?

                                              The wait for our food wasn't too long either, about 1/2 an hour or so.

                                              And the cost for 11 of us was about $200 including beers/drinks, so about $20-22 a person. Good deal, I say!

                                              Would I go again? Most definitely.

                                              My thanks go out to all the Chowhounders who recommended this venue. The birthday girl was very happy.

                                              Check out my blog for the pics!
                                              Thanks again guys!
                                              Foodhogger
                                              http://foodhogger.wordpress.com/2008/...

                                              1. re: tp24
                                                atomeyes Jul 15, 2008 06:37 PM

                                                i'm glad that your review was both recent and positive.
                                                my fiance and i are Dukem regulars. the owner and the chef know us from our frequent visits.
                                                we fell in love it with it during our first visit and we used to go there every 2-3 weeks.

                                                then we noticed that the quality and the service level dropped off slightly. there were two new servers who seemed overwhelmed if the resto was more than half full. and our wait time for our food increased to almost-Ethiopian House proportions, but not as unpleasant.

                                                we love the place but said we would wait until they got the service back under control.

                                                my only other "knock", although its a tolerable knock, is that you never know how your food will taste when its served. its inconsistent, yet its consistently good. for example, zilzil tibs will taste amazing one visit, but the next time you go, it won't taste the same type of amazing - it will still be amazing, but have a noticeably different flavour. and that's especially true with the veggie combos - sometimes a lentil dish will be sweeter, sometimes it will be downright spicy. but its always great.

                                                but its still my favourite Ethiopian restaurant in the city -you cannot beat the taste and the prices.

                                                1. re: atomeyes
                                                  t
                                                  tp24 Jul 16, 2008 12:56 PM

                                                  Awesome - good to know atomeyes!

                                                  I'd definitely be going back :)

                                                  1. re: tp24
                                                    atomeyes Jul 18, 2008 04:16 PM

                                                    Just to follow up on my last post - we ended up going there wednesday night for dinner (could not resist our cravings).

                                                    we saw the owner and the newish server was still there.

                                                    we sat outside on their patio and ordered the tibs and veggie platter combo (got the wet tibs this time, not the dry, pan-friend tibs that i usually love). just an FYI: they excel at goat, so i wouldn't even bother looking at beef tibs as an option.

                                                    we ordered and the food was out within 15 minutes.

                                                    the tibs were cooked to perfection! incredibly moist, cooked perfectly and insanely flavourful. our veggie combos were incredible as well. today, some were slightly spicy, but that's all good. and they kindly listened to our request and held the gomen (collard greens, which we do not like no matter where we go).

                                                    my faith in Dukem was restored! it still wears the crown of being my favourite Ethiopian resto in Toronto (hell, it is better than the Ethopian I've had in other Canadian and US cities - even better than the ethiopian i had in Jerusalem!) and being one of my favourite great-tasting-great-value restaurants in this city.

                                                    if you haven't tried it, i encourage you to do so.

                      2. pinstripeprincess Sep 18, 2008 07:57 AM

                        after all the raves i've been contemplating who i'd bring out to the east end with me for a meal at dukem, but our overall response to the whole thing was... meh.

                        we both ended up ordering the vegetarian platter as i find it's usually the tastiest offerings. i really wanted to tried the kitfo but wasn't quite into having a full order of just that and am completely disinterested in tibs as i've mostly had tough meat appear.

                        the injera was either mild in or virtually non-existent of that sour flavour that i've come to expect and lead the way in the bland meal. there was a dark spicy pile that i cannot recall the name of that was the highlight but overall the flavouring was just too muted. the lentils seemed undercooked and could have been more tender. the cabbage was perfectly fine but not particularly interesting and the beet and potato mixture was heavy on the potato that again lended to a muted taste...

                        i actually stopped eating because i was bored of it.

                        anyhow... back to the west end for me. nazareth doesn't have the variety per se but they do have great tasty and spicy stews with sour injera for ridiculously cheap prices.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: pinstripeprincess
                          1
                          11oclockish Sep 18, 2008 09:18 AM

                          have you tried RendezVous Ethiopian on the Danforth between Greenwood and Coxwell? I've had some really good, flavourful food there. Nice sour injera, yummy veggie plates, and the tibs are usually very good.

                          1. re: 11oclockish
                            pinstripeprincess Sep 18, 2008 09:49 AM

                            i haven't and i was debating between dukem and rendezvous but heard many more reports for dukem and thus went there.

                            the thing is... is it better than my west side locales?
                            sheba, queen of sheba, addidas ababba (sp?), and ethiopian house have been resoundingly underwhelming for me. i much prefer lalibela (though they're got some inconsistency issues) and nazareth at this time. especially nazareth as their kitfo was really quite nicely spicy and had a good rougher texture.

                            1. re: pinstripeprincess
                              p
                              Pincus Sep 18, 2008 11:30 AM

                              In the area, I prefer the spicing/flavour at Meskerem to Dukem. If there is a decent Ethiopian place in your neighbourhood, though, I don't think either is worth a special trip out to visit.

                              1. re: Pincus
                                atomeyes Sep 18, 2008 02:36 PM

                                i seriously find that surprising. i'm a true Dukem fan. my biggest complaint: inconsistency. but even that still provides an incredibly tasty meal.
                                then again, we usually get a meat dish and the veggie combo. many flavours that work and compliment each other.
                                i've never gone for ethiopian and been wowed by the veggie dishes alone. they're like the fries and 'slaw to the burger (in my opinion).

                                i'd drive across town to go to Dukem, and i can't say that about most of the other Ethiopian restos in toronro

                                1. re: atomeyes
                                  p
                                  Pincus Sep 18, 2008 02:45 PM

                                  I don't eat a lot of red meat, so I always get only veggie combos at Ethiopian places. I will qualify my statement with this added info. :)

                          2. re: pinstripeprincess
                            e
                            embee Sep 18, 2008 04:16 PM

                            We've settled on Dukem as the best place in the area after trying many (not all) of the others. I haven't figured out who is actually in charge, but I have noticed some drastic differences depending on who is serving, who is in the kitchen, and who is hanging out behind the bar. The inconsistencies can be maddening, but it's still been the best place overall on Danforth.

                            With one particular person in charge and one particular cook (though I don't know who exactly this cook is), we have been told we could ignore the menu and get combos with our choice (with a few exceptions) of meat items. With other people working, we are told that the menu is sacrosanct. This seems to be a cook and/or management issue.

                            With some staff, we get dumbed down food; with others, layers of enticing flavours. Some servers bring well done kitfo (an oxymoron) irrespective of what we order. (I want it raw when on my own and very lightly cooked when with my wife.) These considerations seem to depend on the server.

                            There may be a parallel with ordering at good Chinese places. The ability to order in Amharic would probably lead to more consistent results.

                            We've had our best Ethiopian meals at Lalibela, but they have also been inconsistent and Dukem is only five minutes from home.

                            1. re: embee
                              pinstripeprincess Sep 18, 2008 05:57 PM

                              i think that, like a few other restaurants, i'm taking the positive reviews too seriously and local is probably the key word in all of this.

                              also, to atomeyes, i've found meat dishes to be quite different at each restaurant and often full of tough tasteless meat. vegetarian meals are my fall back because i can guarantee that there will be at least one stew that i'll really enjoy. for the most part i find them more tasty because of the varying flavours and textures i often get. when i miss meat it's usually because of the fat but it's often quite lean in ethiopian cooking and so not really missed. it's really just a personal preference though.

                            2. re: pinstripeprincess
                              pinstripeprincess Jun 9, 2013 07:00 PM

                              random question... when did they start serving spice dip with their kitfo?

                              was there recently and got the kitfo (medium though it seemed pretty raw but didn't care either way because i thought i was asking for a spice level) and for the first time in my ethiopian dining experiences they gave us a small bowl of spice and told us to dip the injera into the spice and then pick up the kitfo with it. great flavours and good heat to the spice. first time i've done this.

                              is this common now in TO? is this how it's supposed to be done? i was fascinated and thoroughly enjoyed. the texture of the kitfo was phenomenal as well. the veg side was very nice but not exceptional still.

                            3. laurelmcg Sep 18, 2008 08:45 AM

                              I'm definitely going to give this a whirl, it sounds great. I've tried most Ethiopian places in the city and to date my fave is Sheba on College (not to be confused with Queen of Sheba on Bloor), great food and great service. The owners are very sweet and very accommodating.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: laurelmcg
                                pancake Sep 18, 2008 09:40 AM

                                Dukem is on my must try list, but I second the Sheba recommendation (on college). I was treated very kindly by the staff and my mouth still waters when I think of it.

                              2. h
                                habesha12 Mar 29, 2013 12:44 PM

                                Very good restaurant! I would definitely come here again. Food is great and prices are reasonable!

                                1. v
                                  Vinnie Vidimangi Jun 9, 2013 07:06 PM

                                  Embee, pinstripeprincess. Please tell me , in as as much detail as you will permit yourself, what it is about Ethiopian cooking that you like.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                    pinstripeprincess Jun 9, 2013 10:18 PM

                                    it's a texture and flavour thing for me. i like the slightly sour spongey injera mixed together with the well balanced spices and sweet veg. i think the sourness wakes up my tastebuds and creates a good foil to curry. there's something about the raw kitfo that also feels... fresh. i can get a little bored near the end of a meal if there isn't enough distinction in the spicing between the different lentil curries, but overall they are the main vegetarian dishes that i would happily eat on a regular basis. i find the flavour combinations unique enough from other forms of curry and some of the subtlety quite pleasing. i don't want spices to blow out my palate. it is a very specific and fairly frequent craving.

                                  2. h
                                    helenhelen Jan 5, 2014 07:22 PM

                                    after reading all the mentions on chowhound, i finally tried dukem not too long ago and was very disappointed. the food did not taste fresh and was not very good at all, at least not worthy of the praise it gets. i tried to go once (earlier) with a friend for dinner many months ago but it was packed (with no ethiopians in sight, so we were suspicious) and there was a wait, so we decided to go down the street to wazema (with a lot fewer people, but it included ethiopians) and it was delicious! i think wazema may be my fave on the strip, with rendez vous a close second. when i finally got to try dukem, it did not even make the list of fave ethiopian spots in the city. was it an off night or are they actually not that good? and why are so few ethiopians dining there (at least both times i was there)? i don't understand the hype around this place on here..

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: helenhelen
                                      atomeyes Jan 6, 2014 04:38 AM

                                      the ethiopians tend to arrive later at night. like, after 9.

                                      we still swear by Dukem and we've been faithful for years. consistency's my only complaint.

                                      1. re: helenhelen
                                        foodyDudey Jan 6, 2014 06:52 AM

                                        We order from Dukem about two or three times a month and have never been disappointed with the quality of the food. I've never felt that it was not fresh. We only order take-out as I am not a fan of "no cutlery".

                                      2. TorontoJo Jan 6, 2014 09:10 AM

                                        Based on a tweet by Jennifer Bain, it sounds like Dukem has just closed.

                                        25 Replies
                                        1. re: TorontoJo
                                          d
                                          Deep Puddle Jan 6, 2014 09:21 AM

                                          Was just about to post about the closing, and saw your comment, so will add: walking by Dukem two nights ago and saw that the front (glass) wall was papered up and there was a long, gracious note from the owner indicating that their lease was up. The note didn't provide many specifics beyond that about what had happened.

                                          1. re: Deep Puddle
                                            foodyDudey Jan 6, 2014 09:30 AM

                                            That is bad news! I ordered from them in mid-December so it was time to go back again now. Hopefully they find a new location in the area.

                                            1. re: Deep Puddle
                                              j
                                              julesrules Jan 6, 2014 01:25 PM

                                              That's really too bad, they were nice people and managed to survive a tough block for many years (9 years or so I believe?)

                                              1. re: Deep Puddle
                                                h
                                                helenhelen Feb 28, 2014 08:34 PM

                                                turns out they are not closed permanently, but just looking for a new, bigger space since their lease ran out:
                                                http://www.thestar.com/life/food_wine...

                                                1. re: helenhelen
                                                  k
                                                  Klafouti Feb 28, 2014 08:49 PM

                                                  Great news! Thank you!

                                                  1. re: helenhelen
                                                    l
                                                    LexiFirefly Mar 1, 2014 04:23 AM

                                                    Yay!!!!

                                                2. re: TorontoJo
                                                  atomeyes Jan 6, 2014 10:43 AM

                                                  really, really sad. kind of makes sense, now that i think about it.
                                                  popped by twice in December. both times, Mike (the owner) wanted to pour my wife and i free shots.

                                                  very unfortunate. i would guess that his lease didn't expire, since i saw him on Dec 24 and he said nothing of the sort.

                                                  well, shit.

                                                  1. re: TorontoJo
                                                    h
                                                    helenhelen Jan 6, 2014 09:42 PM

                                                    even though i didn't like the food when i tried it there that one time, i am sorry to hear of their closing.

                                                    1. re: TorontoJo
                                                      Dr. John Jan 7, 2014 09:36 AM

                                                      I'm sad to hear that Dukem closed. We have been to Ethiopia twice and have tried a dozen or so restaurants in Toronto. Dukem had authentic flavours (to our palates) and a better diversity of dishes than most places.

                                                      We have enjoyed Wazema also, so we'll probably end up going there more. Lalibela is probably next best for variety of dishes, although the execution is a bit more uneven. Nazareth is also very good, particularly for having fish which is common in Ethiopia but absent from most menus here.

                                                      1. re: Dr. John
                                                        mrsleny Jan 7, 2014 08:34 PM

                                                        How does Rendezvous compare to your Ethiopian experience? I prefer their vegetarian platter over Lalibela and Wazema.

                                                        1. re: mrsleny
                                                          Dr. John Jan 8, 2014 01:31 PM

                                                          I know a lot of people have liked Rendezvous, but when we have gone there we have been a bit underwhelmed. Several of the dishes were oversalted in particular. What do you like about the vegetarian platter there? What dishes does it typically have?

                                                          1. re: Dr. John
                                                            mrsleny Jan 8, 2014 08:59 PM

                                                            For me the perfect Ethiopian meal would be Rendezvous' vegetarian platter with Lalibela's salad, Dukem's injera finishing off with Lalibela's coffee. I have only visited Lalibela on the Danforth. I don't know if the Bloor location is better.

                                                            Rendezvous seems to offer a few more items in their platter and food was more warm and flavourful. It usually has about 8 items which could include spicy lentils, regular lentils, chickpea, split pea, string beans, cabbage, beets, and salad. Sorry I don't know the Ethiopian names.

                                                            1. re: mrsleny
                                                              Dr. John Jan 10, 2014 04:24 PM

                                                              That's a nice variety, particularly the beets which aren't quite as common. No collards/kale though?

                                                              1. re: Dr. John
                                                                mrsleny Jan 10, 2014 07:58 PM

                                                                Ooops I left out the kale/collards. It's always cooked perfectly at Rendezvous.

                                                                1. re: Dr. John
                                                                  hal2010 Jan 10, 2014 08:45 PM

                                                                  An Ethiopian plate from the Quara Hotel's rooftop restaurant in Gondar

                                                                   
                                                                  1. re: hal2010
                                                                    mrsleny Jan 16, 2014 03:23 PM

                                                                    What is the item at 5 o'clock?

                                                                    1. re: mrsleny
                                                                      Dr. John Jan 16, 2014 03:34 PM

                                                                      It looks like bits of ripped up injera. Shredded leftover injera is eaten for breakfast, usually mixed with other stuff (called fit fit).

                                                                      1. re: Dr. John
                                                                        mrsleny Jan 16, 2014 03:42 PM

                                                                        Thank you. I wasn't sure. It looked less "grey" than the injera on the plate.

                                                                        Now I'm craving Ethiopian!

                                                              2. re: Dr. John
                                                                foodyDudey Jan 10, 2014 04:43 PM

                                                                I am just checking the menu of Rendezvous here: http://ethiopianrendezvous.com/ it is really annoying! It automatically advances to the next page of the menu every 10 seconds. I'll skip this place.

                                                                1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                  mrsleny Jan 10, 2014 08:02 PM

                                                                  Agreed the website is horrible in the way that the menu automatically changes. But the food is very good. I still have to try the west end Ethiopian places. Any recommendations?

                                                                  1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                    h
                                                                    helenhelen Jan 15, 2014 08:01 PM

                                                                    really? skipping the place just because of an annoying website? too bad.. you are going to miss out on one of the better places in town.

                                                                    1. re: helenhelen
                                                                      atomeyes Jan 15, 2014 08:06 PM

                                                                      perception is reality.

                                                                      1. re: helenhelen
                                                                        mrsleny Jan 16, 2014 03:25 PM

                                                                        More for the rest of us! I should plan on another visit soon.

                                                                2. re: Dr. John
                                                                  hal2010 Jan 7, 2014 09:06 PM

                                                                  I like Lalibela, too. Maybe more than Dukem. Although Dukem's injera was better.

                                                                  I visited Lalibela, Ethiopia in 2010 and had a really good Doro Wat there. The Toronto Lalibela's Doro Wat is the closest I've found to it.

                                                                  1. re: hal2010
                                                                    atomeyes Jan 9, 2014 08:44 AM

                                                                    Dukem didn't make their injera in house. not sure who their bakery was.

                                                                    Dukem's kitfo was excellent, as was their ChaCha (the tips on the chafing dish).

                                                              3. l
                                                                LexiFirefly Feb 27, 2014 03:13 PM

                                                                Hey guys so I'm thinking Ethiopian for my birthday dinner. Which of these places do y'all recommend? Food is first, access to transit (preferably subway) second, and nearby bars to go to after third. Any recs? I'm thinking lalibela. 11 people, good choice?

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: LexiFirefly
                                                                  mariecollins Feb 27, 2014 04:09 PM

                                                                  Well Lalibela has a Groupon today. If it's the Danforth location there's Sauce, The Wren and Morgans for bars.

                                                                  1. re: mariecollins
                                                                    l
                                                                    LexiFirefly Feb 27, 2014 04:58 PM

                                                                    That's what I was thinking. I'm a bit wary of groupons, but it's next week, so hopefully will be fine.

                                                                    1. re: LexiFirefly
                                                                      1sweetpea Feb 27, 2014 09:07 PM

                                                                      My one and only experience at Dukem wasn't great. I found the food incredibly salty. I was with four other people. They went with the meat combo and I had the veggie combo. I was allowed to sample their meat dishes, so I feel that I sampled a decent percentage of their offerings.

                                                                      I have also eaten once at Rendezvous. The food was also salty there, but I really liked the dishes we ordered.

                                                                      Dukem was my go-to for Ethiopian. I'm really bummed to learn that it is no longer.

                                                                      1. re: 1sweetpea
                                                                        atomeyes Feb 28, 2014 04:03 AM

                                                                        you went to Dukem once, didn't like it, but it was your go-to for Ethiopian?
                                                                        ok, then....

                                                                        1. re: atomeyes
                                                                          1sweetpea Mar 1, 2014 12:06 PM

                                                                          OMG. I must have been drunk when I wrote that, Atomeyes. New Orleans during Mardi Gras will do that to a girl. I MEANT that the one and only time I'd been to Lalibela the food was incredibly salty. Don't know why I didn't actually type Lalibela (on the Danforth). Complete brain fart. I've been to Dukem three times, which is impressive for someone that does not live anywhere near the GTA.

                                                                          1. re: 1sweetpea
                                                                            happycamper Mar 1, 2014 01:03 PM

                                                                            It's ok 1s. You are far from alone in PUI - Posting Under Influence.

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