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Oct 3, 2008 07:26 AM

NEW Ethiopian in Tampa - any info?

Hi all - I noticed yesterday that there is a brand new Ethiopian place opening on Kennedy - maybe around Himes? (I just drove by it). Does anyone know anything about it? Should I be excited?

Suspiciously, the sign said something about also having 'Italian food'. This is a bad sign, but perhaps it bodes worse for their Italian food than for their Ethiopian food ... one would assume that they are Ethiopians offering some Italian stuff to lure customers afraid of the unfamiliar, rather than the reverse.

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  1. This is not as surprising as you might think. Italy once colonized Ethiopia and Italian food is still a staple in restaurants there. A friend went to Ethiopia on business and ate Italian pastries and pasta the whole time (I was sorely disappointed in him). If anything, I find such a combination potentially exciting. I look forward to hearing about this place or trying it for myself. Does the place have a name?

    3 Replies
    1. re: andy huse

      Wow, cool. I seriously did not know that.

      I didn't get to look too closely as I zipped by along Kennedy, but no, no name that I saw -n it just seemed to have a big (fairly nice and together-looking) sign saying 'Ethiopian Restaurant', and then there was am 'opening soon' banner by the sidewalk advertising Ethiopian and Italian food. They looked quite close to opening to me. I haven't managed to dig up any online skinny other than one 'rumor' in the St Pete Times that there was a new ethiopian place coming (I am not even sure it's referring to the same place).

      Inspired by the sign, I talked my husband into lunch at Queen of Sheba today and it was YUMMY. I think they have gotten (yet) better. They had a buffet out, which I hadn't seen before, and they tried to talk us into that but we insisted on getting the platter off the menu, which I strongly recommend. You can't specify spiciness if you get the buffet, and the food is just sitting out and doesn't come on the proper tray of injera or anything.

      1. re: rebecca.kukla

        I'd agree about the buffet. I tried it once, and it wasn't as spicy as I would have liked. Whenever I order from the menu it's great. They get to know their customers; the first time I ate there I asked for some extra spices, and after that I never had to ask again!

        I saw the new sign yesterday, but I don't know anything else. I have eaten at a lot of Ethiopian restaurants, though, and Queen of Sheba holds up to the best food-wise, and has the most welcoming atmosphere of any restaurant, of any cuisine.

      2. re: andy huse

        For those waiting with baited breath ... the new Ethiopean place now has a name - Abol Bunna - still not quite open though.

      3. The original comment has been removed
        1. Abol Bunna just opened two days ago. It is just East of Dale Mabry at 3644 W Kennedy on the South side of the street. My husband and I went there tonight to eat. It blows Q of S out of the water. We had two appetizers, one with potatoes, jalapenos, and tomatoes, and the other a tuna salad with a lemon olive oil dressing. Great start! For the entree, I had the vegetarian plate, which was fabulous. There was enough food on the platter for at least three people. The food had a good variety of flavors and textures. Everything was fresh, delicious, and well prepared. My husband had the Yebeg tibs (lamb) which he ordered medium, but came out well done (still excellent, but something to work on since the menu says it can be cooked medium). They offer beer and wine--try the Ethiopian offerings. The white wine, made from honey, was sweetly aromatic, but surprisingly not too sweet tasting. The service is warm and attentive. The decor and pictures of Ethiopia make you want to visit their country, like what have I been missing! The main tables and chairs are a little dull and diner-like, but maybe they will upgrade if enough of us visit for the food.

          1. re: margarettampa

            I got take out buffet last week on election day. It was good, nice and spicy, and definetely worth the $8.00 they charge. The girl who worked there was very nice and helpful. The injera was very good as well, I have been to some places that use rice flour rather than the teff and it makes the meal less authentic. I am looking forward to going back because they have quite an impressive menu. Most ethiopian restaurants I have been too have the same staple items, which I love - but this place offers many other dishes that sound delicious as well.
            As far as the italian food, I wouldn't have advertised that personally. Sometime when a restaurant offers more than one specialty I feel it is more jack of all trades, master of none. Not that their italian would be any less delicious then their ethiopian, just from past experience with multi-ethnic restaurants.

            1. re: Croods

              I went for a birthday party at Queen of Sheba tonight we had a great time. They offer their buffet only on week days for lunch only. We had the Queen's Platter for 4 we had more than enough we even took some home.They danced for us for the party they are so warm and real. They seem to be excited about the party more than we did.
              They will have great dancers from Ethiopia next weekend on the 12 and 13 all day long buffet and music and dance. Go have fun