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May 22, 2009 10:24 AM

Rahel or Nyala for vegetarian Ethiopian?

I've been threatening to try Ethiopian for a while now, and with my mom in town it seems like the perfect excuse. She is a vegetarian (eats seafood and dairy/eggs, no poultry or red meats) and we will be dining with a group. I understand that Ethiopian is served family style, so I am wondering if we would be better off going to a strictly vegetarian (or in Rahel's case, vegan) restaurant or if we have enough tasty meatless options at Nyala.

Both restaurants have been recommended to me and by the boards here, but if someone has a third option that is better I'd love to here it. Basically I wonder if we are really limiting our meal options by going to a non-veggie place, or if it doesn't really matter. My mom is not a vegan and is not super-picky about things like having a meat entree on the same platter as the veggie one, but I thought it would be easier to avoid it.

Thanks in advance! Let me know what you think is best: Rahel, Nyala, or other?

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  1. Rehel's is fantastic. Can't really get much better than that for taste and freshness. They don't serve alcohol -- but just a license thing -- so if you want to drink you can bring your own or buy from corner store just down the street.

    Messob (right next to Rahel's) is another good option if there are some people in your party who want meat -- their veggie stuff good and with good variety.

    1. for vegetarian, i would go with rahel.
      if you have meat eaters, then go with meals by genet (which is only open at night and is closed on mondays and tuesdays).

      another place that serves meat at which i was served excellent food, (service not terrific. but ok) is AWASH. they were located on pico near fairfax. they did not have anywhere near the ambiance of rahel or meals by genet, but the food was solid.

      1. I know it's not the popular opinion on this board but I like Nyala better. It's a nicer room, they DO have their liquor license, and beer with your Ethiopian is a pretty classic combo. Good service and their vegetarian platter is pretty awesome. We usually get a mixed veggie and a mixed meat or sometimes sub in shrimp for the meat (don't know if she's a fish eating veggie but the shrimp tibs are quite proper!) And even though the items are on the same platter of bread you can totally do yout thing without "mixing the streams." I thought Rahel was okay when we went but like I say, didn't like the room and both the injera and the dishes had more of a muddled flavor than Nyala. I also think since this is Ethiopian 101 for you that Nyala is the best pick as even the naysayers can't argue that it is the most straightforward Ethiopian on the strip for newbies. Any way you go, enjoy, you will be hooked!

        1 Reply
        1. re: PinotPlease

          iirc, the injera at rahel is made from 100% teff, as it should be.
          the injera at nyala is mixed with wheat.
          it depends if you want a more authentic dish or not.

          there is a reason that rahel has a steady stream of ethiopians coming in all day long to buy the packages of injera to take home and nyala does not.

        2. I'm going to offer a third option: Meals by Genet. That vegetarian platter is GREAT, and the fish tibs are wonderful too. That said, of the two options you presented, I'd sooner go to Rahel.