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Sep 4, 2008 12:25 PM

Lalibela Arlington - Ethiopian Buffet Lunch???

Driving by Lalibela II on Columbia Pike today, I noticed small signs in each of the street-front windows - just time enough to read "BUFFET LUNCH".

i, for one, am excited by the prospect - anybody know anything?

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  1. Lalibela does a lot of weddings and events, so they often have a buffet out. I was there once, not recently. I put their food in the Everything Tastes the Same category, especially that everything was chock full of jalapenos. They do a nice coffee ceremony in which they bring out a hot plate of smoking, cracked coffee beans for the aroma. But this is not recent info at all.

    1. I went there once right after they first offered the buffet. It was not so much of an Ethiopian buffet as it was a basic buffet that happened to be in an Ethiopian restaurant. I remember a couple of bland pasta dishes, some fish with bone in (some of it undercooked), roasted potatoes, and a decent soup. No injera at all. Made me wish that I just ordered off the menu. The food was bland mainly because my expectations were set for Ethiopian food and this wasn't it. The food was filling. Just not as good as the standard excellent Ethiopian fare.

      Let me know that they changed it and I'll go back. Otherwise, I'll continue to steer clear of the buffet.

      1. A few months ago, I stopped in for the lunch buffet after seeing the sign. I took a quick look at the food and took a pass. Most of the clientele during the day seemed to be cab drivers on their breaks. That would be fine if the food were compelling but it didn't seem to be. Maybe ordering from the menu is the thing to do. I haven't the chance to try yet.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Minger

          Well ... I thought, "maytbe, just maybe..." but y'all kinda confirmed my impression from a couple of years ago that there's much better Ethiopian just a mile or so away.

          Thanks for saving me the trouble.

          1. re: wayne keyser

            Wayne, where are the "much better Ethiopian" just a mile or so away? I've seen one or two Ethiopian places east of Lalibela II on Columbia Pike near the Pentagon. Are you referring to those? I tend to eat Ethiopian on U Street, but wouldn't mind trying good restaurants in Arlington too.

            1. re: Minger

              The one right near the Pentagon is highly spoken of, but the atmosphere is dreadful - IMO you'll get very good food in a truly attractive room at Meaza, 5440 Columbia Pike.

              Then, of course, there are the numerous places at the plaza down Walter Reed at Skyline - including a very good Ethiopian bakery.

              1. re: wayne keyser

                Don't forget the two Ethiopian restaurants across from each other on 23rd st in Crystal City. They are worthy additions to a pretty nice restaurant row.

                1. re: malveaux

                  Personal gripe: as a person with just a modest handicap (I use a cane or, usually, a walker) I can get into neither of these places.

                  I suppose I possibly could strugglet into one ... but it's too darned hard. The other, I'm sure, looks easy to the untrained eye - but even one or two stairs, no rail = no access for me.

                  1. re: wayne keyser

                    If it helps, Meaza has them both beat by a mile. Nothing on either menu that you couldn't get a better version of at Meaza. There's a nice meat combo at the restaurant that's on a second floor but the one you can assemble at Meaza by ordering a few dishes is worth the extra cost and the minor hassle of leftovers so you enjoy it over multiple days.

          2. re: Minger

            "Most of the clientele during the day seemed to be cab drivers on their breaks. That would be fine if the food were compelling "