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recommendations in little ethiopia

We're visiting LA and noticed little ethipopia diriving on fairfax. wondering which of the restaurants are recommended and any particular dishes. I've only had ethipian once and just remember a kind of stew and the injera bread. We may have a child with us so if there are any that are good for kids or bad for kids pls also mention
BTW we had an amazing meal in hatfields earlier this week. mix of flavors is creative nad works. i was really surprised to see some empty tables - guess the economy is that bad

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  1. There are so many restaurants there... but I stick to Merkato. It's there for a long time, it's simple and really good. :)

    2 Replies
    1. re: gado_gado

      Second for Merkato. The vegetarian combination platter is always a standard at our table... I also like the trout and others give a plus to the chicken wot and chicken tibbs. (i don't eat meat, but dining buds have been much less enthusiastic towards the beef dishes and generally eat chicken or vegetarian selections).

      They also accommodated my friend's 3 year old with scrambled eggs. he was a trooper and tried both the lentils and yellow smashed peas ...vetoed the lentils but a mini thumbs-up for the peas- he likes yellow ;-)

      http://www.ethiopianmerkato.com/

      1. re: gado_gado

        I've noticed a tendency (unfortunate to this heat-lover) to tone down the fire at the SFBA Ethiopians; when they first started appearing almost 30 years ago, hot meant hot.

        What about LA Ethiopian places?

        Thanks.

      2. 1.the child would need to be an experimental eater, since most ethiopian food is unlike the normal stuff that is fed to american children in texture, in appearance, and in flavor.

        2. imho the best of the ethiopian restaurants are awash (on pico, not on fairfax), rahel (vegan), and meals by genet.

        3. go in knowing, that the ethiopian idea of what constitutes 'good service' is somewhat slower than the american idea of the same.

          1. There are lots of threads on this, but I like Meals By Genet and Rahel. Nyala is maybe the most kid-friendly one (I have a 19-month-old) but westsidegal is right, you need to a) make sure they will eat Ethiopian style with no utensils, and that spiced (not necessarily spicy) food is OK. Also if your kids are the kind who act up unless they get food right away, go for Nyala (they serve a complimentary hummus-type thing when you sit down) or be very explicit when you are seated that you need something quickly.

            1. I live in the neighborhood but dont go to Ethopian that much. Having said that, I have tried all the restaurants and I have to say Messob is by far the best choice. If you have a child with you, they must be open to trying new foods because Ethopian is unlike anything to be compared with.

              1. Both my kids love Ethipian food, particularly the injera, so don't get too worried about that. They like eating with their hands and using the bread so your young eater might enjoy that. Also the vegetarian platters at most of these places have child-accessible dishes on them such as carrots and potatoes and some bean dishes. The red lentils can be spicy.

                In fact eating Ethiopian food was my kids' first real adventure eating more ethnic food (other than Chinese, Italian and Mexican) and was very successful.

                Our favorites have been Messob in LIttle Ethiopa, Fassica in Culver City and Industry Cafe and Jazz which is in Eastern Culver City and also serves soul food. The owner/chef at Fassica is extremely friendly and informative, though the place is usually quite empty and you may not absorb as much of the social milieu as you would at some establishments on Fairfax.

                2 Replies
                1. re: NAspy

                  i've been to fassica 3 times.
                  the first time it was terrific.
                  the second two times it was terrible.

                  the lunch buffet there is to be avoided.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    Meals by Genet is nice and also has non-Ehtiopian food for your child (I recall pastas and things like that). I've enjoyed meals at Messob, but that is strictly Ethiopian.

                2. I agree with DU -- Rahel is great if you want vegan Ethiopian and Meals By Genet is just tops.

                  I actually think Messob's food can be rather poor on occasion and I get the feeling that the Ethiopian decor is more for the non-Ethiopian crowd. I'm not a traditionalist but that kind of thing turns me off to the place.

                  While I like Nyala, it's just not as good as Meals by Genet. The closest analogy I can think of is homemade risotto. You can make it with store bought broth and it's good. Or you can make it with homemade stock and there's just no comparison. Meals by Genet is just a little richer, a little more layered, a little more well-executed, and in the end a whole lot tastier. My only quibble is that the traditional Ethiopian menu is pretty limited. If you go to Meals by Genet then I'd recommend getting the vegetarian combination for the table and adding the dorowot and the lamb. At least.

                  Merkato is solid. A good value and tasty in a very casual setting. I just don't think it's special like Meals by Genet but you can't go wrong there.