Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Sep 14, 2008 01:56 PM


Hi, looking for a new ethipian restaurant to try. I've been to all the been to all the obvious locations but hoping to find a hidden gem. Prefer to go somewhere south of Lakeview. Any ideas?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Unfortunately, one of the best Ethiopian restaurants is well north of Lakeview, but easy to get to using the Red Line. Also, I am not sure if you consider this to be an obvious location or a hidden gem. I did not know about it until I moved nearby. Anyway, if you take the Red Line up to Thorndale, walk a block West to Broadway and walk two blocks south you will come to Ras Dashen at 5844 N. Broadway St. There are plenty of reviews on the web. Always good food. During the weekends they sometimes will have small bands or a musician playing low key music. A great atmosphere if you have a group of people. Sorry again that it's so far north, but if you have never ventured to the land of sorta fairly reasonable real estate prices, it might be a good excuse.

    1 Reply
    1. re: imclear

      I second Ras Dashen! One of my best friends recommended it, and I truly had no idea what to expect. I'm not a big fan of spicy foods, so I wasn't quite prepared for how hot some of the dishes were, but it was amazing nonetheless (and they assured me I could request less spice in the future). We went on a random Tuesday night, and I was surprised at how busy they were for such a small restaurant (and most of the clientele seemed to be regulars). And I believe they also have live music on Wednesdays. Definitely worth a trip up north, and super close to the red line.

    2. I'm not sure what "obvious" locations refers to but I've been to an Ethiopian restaurant that seemed very authentic: Addis Abeba. I wrote about it here ( Unfortunately, it's in Evanston, much farther North than you requested, but hey, could be worth it anyway?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chew on That

        Well, I would consider "obvious" any place that comes up when I google "ethiopian food chicago." I have been to Addis Abeba, and Ras Dashen. Looks like it is back to Mama Desta's which is a fine choice and close to Lakeview.

        1. re: Doogie Houndser M.D.

          Demera on Lawrence & Broadway? Haven't been there myself - I gave Ethiopian a shot once and it just didn't do it for me.

      2. How about Lalibela on Ashland? It's fairly new. I've tried all the usual suspects as well, but I haven't hit this one yet.

        2 Replies
        1. re: pamiam

          I have been to Mama Desta's and I think it does not compare in the slightest to the quality of food at Ras Dashen. I think that Ras Dashen is well worth the short hike! I have only good experiences at there. When we went to Mama Desta's we couldn't pick our own side dishes and the meat was AWFUL. We got the steak tartar and it was all fatty and pink and I couldn't eat it because I thought I was going to get sick. One of our sides that I remember was a mushroom dish and it was obvious the mushrooms were canned and not fresh. Blech.

          1. re: Gweck

            Yes, I second Gweck's analysis of Mama Desta. Word around town is that they changed ownership a little while back and the quality of the food plummeted. My girlfriend and I had been die hard fans of Ras Dashen when we finally decided to give Mama Desta a try because we had heard so many great things about it, and boy was it disappointing—the service, the atmosphere and the food were all poor. Ras Dashen is hands down the best Ethiopian in Chicago IMHO.