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Best Ethiopian?

Went to African House this past weekend on the reco that it was the best in the city. It was good...but the best? The wots were really flavourful (the Gomen Wot and the Azifa were especialy good) but the injera was a little too wet/soggy which really threw things off. Plus I wish that they would serve the "dips" hot....as I'm sure the flavour would come out more....but I know that's just not the way its done.

So Chowhounders.....where is the Best Ethiopian in the city.....and what are your reasons for naming it #1?

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  1. Lalibela. Reason is, it's the only one I've been to. LOL. The fact is, when I went looking to have Ethiopian, it was probably the consensus best. We were stunned at how much we enjoyed it.


    1. Dukem is my favourite. My friend prefers Nazareth. My husband likes African House. I think they're all good, but it's quite subjective :-).

      11 Replies
      1. re: vorpal

        Ok - so on a subjective note...which resto has the best injera? One that is light but not to wet/slimy? To me, this is a big part of the expererience since every bite you take involves the injera.

        1. re: jrabbit2727

          I think out of the three I had, Nazareth had the best injera... the curries were my least favourite, but they were still quite good!

          1. re: vorpal

            Just an FYI Nazareth is closed for renovations right now.

            1. re: vorpal

              their injera isn't homemade, they buy it!

              1. re: jayseeca

                Do any of the TO restaurants make their own? I'd be curious to know which ones if so!

              2. re: vorpal

                FYI, Nazareth has gluten-free injera available on request, in case anyone's interested. Not sure if that means it's all teff, though.

            2. re: vorpal

              How are Dukem and Nazareth for veg dishes? It does appear (as noted below) that these are well-liked places but some times well prepared meat dishes doesn't work out to well prepared veg also.

              1. re: Ediblethoughts

                I am a meat lover but nothing beats Nazareth's veg dish! I can't wait for them to reopen!

                1. re: bacchus_is_watching

                  This seems to be the case in general with Ethiopian restaurants, I find. I'm a huge meat fan, and I can't fathom eating vegetarian food for the life of me... a meal feels incomplete without some meat. That being said, when it comes to Ethiopian, while I like the meat dishes very much, it's the veg dishes that bring me back.

                2. re: Ediblethoughts

                  I orderNazareth's vegetarian platter all the time and I think it's quite good. I learned to eat Ethiopian food from the poeple I worked with in Israel who used to bring their wives' home cooking for lunch every day. I think Nazereth is pretty close to their home cooked meals.

                  1. re: shpeizmaven

                    I called them up a week or so ago and got no answer--I assume they're still closed? (Went to Lalibela instead which was quite satisfying.)

              2. My fav is Rendez-vous, at 1408 Danforth (around Greenwood). Their vegitarian platter is great..all curries are complex in their flavor...and have texture...some places I find everything is too mushy and flat tasting (just heat nothing else). The injera is good..not slimy. The owners are there serving/cooking most of the time and make the place feel homey.

                6 Replies
                1. re: suzspot

                  What's this about curries? I've never had anything remotely resembling curry powder, paste or even Indian in flavour profile at an Ethiopian restaurant. Granted, the spice blends are complex, but most of the standard dishes at Ethiopian or Eritrean places contain berbere, which is likely a blend of a large number of spices which varies from region to region and thus, restaurant to restaurant. I hate to be a stickler, but the cuisine is so unique that I think it deserves to be distinguished from Indian or any other cuisine that has incorporated what we understand as "curry" into its cuisine.

                  I dined at a place on the Danforth that was very close to Coxwell. I don't recall the name. It was small and there was a second even smaller room in the back which housed a pool table, which was jammed against two walls. The food was very good. We had raw kitfo, two vegetarian combos and one vegetarian dish that was cooked fresh for us. It was WAY too much food for three of us. We were being greedy that night, but it was in error. We loved the raw kitfo. Does anyone know the name of it and is it still around?

                  1. re: 1sweetpea

                    Sounds like Cottage, which is defunct. Not sure if that's the place, though.

                    1. re: 1sweetpea

                      Based on every definition I've read, I fail to see why the term "curry" should not be applied to the majority of Ethiopian offerings. If your idea of curry is based on Indian cuisine, it is far too limited anyway: Thai and Japanese curries, for example, are nothing remotely like Indian curry.

                      1. re: 1sweetpea

                        ya...anyway I figured curry would be more understood to everyone...ok their wat is real good...that better? Besides...the word curry is used to describe meat/veg cooked in sauce and spice...not just in India.

                      2. re: suzspot

                        not sure what slimy injera you are referring to.
                        i think most Toronto Ethiopian restos buy their injery from an outside source (positive that Dukem does).
                        heard great things about Rendez-vous. Told that they, Nazareth and Dukem are the best.

                        Dukem is great, so i just stick wtih them.

                        1. re: atomeyes

                          By slimy I mean kinda wet to the touch...almost like it hasn't been cooked long enough. Has a soggy/limp feeling. I prefer my injera drier so that it can soak up more of the wots.

                      3. I used to go to Lalibela, but Sheba (near Bathurst/College) has been my go-to Ethiopian place since moving to that area. I would rate them about the same. I really like the yebeg tibs at Sheba.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: pravit

                          How are their veg dishes? I've been to Lalibela (veg dishes are very good) but Bathurst and College would mean less of a drive.

                          1. re: Ediblethoughts

                            About the same as Lalibela, I think, although I'm not that knowledgeable about Ethiopian food. I always just get the veggie combo and a meat dish.

                        2. Ethiopian House, at yonge & Irwin is by far the best i've had. Lots of choices/great spices & have a great coffee service at end of the meal.

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: blueberry101

                            Ethiopian House is our standby and we've always been quite happy there. It's not as cheap as I tend to think of great ethiopian food, but there is always plenty of food - if we are with a group of 4, we get veg and meat platters to share.

                            1. re: blueberry101

                              sorry, i would disagree with you.
                              i find their food oilier than the other places i've tried in Toronto. the service is poor and your meal wait time is relatively long.

                              have you tried anywhere else?

                              1. re: atomeyes

                                I've tried M&B Yummy was fine, Addis Abbaba also fine but a little bland in my opinion, African House which was really flavourful but the injera was soggy and Ethiopian House which I argee is really oily.

                                Basically I've had ok Ethopian food...but not great food.....and I really like it, so I'm dying to find a GREAT place.

                                It seeems that everyone likes Duken and Nazareth the best....will have to try those.

                                1. re: jrabbit2727

                                  the sevice should have been enough to turn me off of Ethiopia House.

                                  i was once sitting upstairs and went to go to add something to our order. walked towards the stairs and one of the servers was there. i told her i wanted to change my order and she started rambling how my server was crazy. wouldn't stop talking about it and made a crazy-finger-motion repeatedly. very uncool to do.

                                  took a guest from Brazil there for dinner. i think it was the large oiliness that did me in, but let's just say that i had to cut my post-dinner lounging short.

                                  never had that problem at Dukem. and all of their tibs (including the special tibs) are fabulous. plus the price is great. and yes, like all ethiopian places, they do the coffee ceremony.

                                  if my memory is correct, the veggie options at Addis Ababa were the tastiest in the city. wasn't a fan of their meats.

                                2. re: atomeyes

                                  I love the food there (this is the place that helped me to finally develop an appreciation for Ethiopian food after a number of failed attempts), but I agree that the service is very lacking.

                                3. re: blueberry101

                                  I've never had Ethiopian before, but have been invited by a friend to Ethiopian House. I am wondering what sorts of things you suggest ordering from there, or Ethiopian places in general. Thanks!

                                  1. re: racheljenna

                                    The vegetarian combo platter is probably the best thing on the menu (it so often is at Ethiopian restaurants). I'm a dedicated meat lover, and still I agree with the many people who recommend the veg platter. Besides that, I would recommend trying one beef dish; if you're up for it, get kitfo served raw (I believe that's the raw dish I had in the past, which was amazing).

                                    1. re: racheljenna

                                      The last time I took someone who had never tried Ethiopian food (but was very enthusiastic about it), we ordered the vegetarian bayaaynatu and the regular, meat-based bayaaynatu - the vegetarian gives you small amounts of 8 different veggie dishes, and the meat one gives you larger doses of tibs and kitfo (probably the most common beef dishes) and some greens and such. It makes a nice, broad sampler that allows you to try a little bit of everything to see what you like.

                                      1. re: racheljenna

                                        Just be prepared for how unusually sour the injera (the bread you use to eat your meal--no cutlery) is. That can be a bit of a shock the first time you try Ethiopian.

                                        1. re: Ediblethoughts

                                          Well, I tried it. I now know that Ethiopian is definitely not for me. We got the veg platter. The bread was so spongey I didn't enjoy it at all. Same for the platter. Ah well, now I know.

                                          1. re: racheljenna

                                            It is certainly different than other food . I wasn't much of a fan when I first tried it. I tried it on and off over the years but not very often. For some reason in the last year or so I've really taken to it. I'm not quite sure why I suddenly came around. I guess you could call it a long-term-acquired taste!

                                            1. re: Ediblethoughts

                                              I had a similar experience. I wasn't that into Ethiopian the first few times I tried it... then after about six or seven times of forcing myself to give it a go over and over again, something clicked inside my head and I suddenly developed a strong love of it. It's still far from my favourite cuisine, but I crave it often and regularly.

                                    2. I don`t know if this has been posted yet but Nazareth is back open! I havn`t had time to go yet but apparently it is as good as ever!

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: bacchus_is_watching

                                        Good to know! Thanks. I'll try this place out next time we do the Ethiopian thing.

                                        1. re: Ediblethoughts

                                          I tried Lalibela on Danforth the other night with four friends that had never had Ethiopian before. Against my advice, they opted for some very meaty choices. I ordered the vegetarian combo for myself. They ordered a meat combo (2-person order), combo meat and veg platter (for 1) and a lamb dish, with the intention of sharing all. When it arrived, they were staggered at the size of each dish. The lamb dish alone could have provided ample meat for four people. The meat combo for two was enormous and was probably not a wise choice for newbies, as it contained two mounds of finely diced tongue, tripe and a pile of jalapenos. It also had two mounds of kitfo, which they requested very rare, but not raw. It also had chicken drumsticks, another meat preparation, cheese and salad, with a couple of hard boiled eggs. The combo meat platter was a mix of vegetable dishes, plus a beef dish and the chicken drumsticks and hard-boiled eggs. It was all quite the adventure for my newbie friends. I really wish they had searched for definitions on the menu of the dishes that were going to be on the meaty meat combo for two. Needless to say, about 10 pounds of leftovers (all meat, I might add) went home (with me, the one who doesn't care for meat, especially) at the end of the feast.

                                          As for quality, I have to comment that I was a bit disappointed. I found most dishes to be more salty than heavily spiced. The only dish that proved to be really hot was the tripe and tongue combo that had as much jalapeno as meat in it. Normally, I'd be all over a dish that hot, but I despise tripe, so I couldn't be of assistance to my friends. My SO is working his way through the meat leftovers today. I must say that the leftovers I ate (veggie portions, plus saturated injera) today were tastier than when fresh the day before. Perhaps the spices came through more after sitting for a day. I still found everything quite salty, though, particularly the beets and collards. I ordered the HOT veggie combo, but the server must not have heard that one detail, as I received the MILD combo instead. There were only a handful of jalapeno slices on my iceberg lettuce, awful orange tomato and onion salad (no dressing to speak of). I didn't complain, though. Maybe I should have had them bring extra peppers.

                                          Just a comment or two about the meat dishes. I had a small taste of each and found all to be very salty, as my veggie dishes were. The beef in the meat and veg combo was tender and saucy. The chicken drumsticks struck me as being cooked in virtually the same sauce/spices as the beef. The lamb didn't interest me at all, despite a funky-looking dipping sauce that had a heady red wine and berbere flavour (quite salty). There were bones in some of the lamb pieces, but they weren't always evident until a bite was taken. The others enjoyed the lamb very much, I think.

                                          My friends opted for the coffee service and enjoyed the popcorn that accompanied (guess what ... it was really salty!) and the incense, though it had to be removed after a couple of minutes as it was smoking us out. The coffee was tasty. The Ethiopian beers we sampled with our food were fine, though not spectacular. Castel is a pretty typical beer, while Meta is quite malty. I applaud my friends for trying something new (every one of them tasted the kitfo and the tripe and tongue dish). I really wish someone had listened to me and focused a little more on the veggie options, which would have made the meal a lot less heavy and unbalanced. I wasn't surprised that nobody wanted to take the leftovers, since they were all meat and injera and it seemed they'd all had their fill for a while. I think they might have missed out, though, since the flavours improved over 24 hours. Oh well, their loss.

                                          Next time I'm in the mood for Ethiopian, I think I will try Dukem or else Nazareth. My SO and I will most certainly stick to the veggie combo, which is our fave. I hope the spicing will be hotter, yet less salty than all the dishes sampled at Lalibela.

                                          A couple of years ago, I tried Cafe Rendez-Vous. I recall being very impressed with the heat level and complex spicing of both the veggie dishes and the kitfo (which we had raw). I'll have to get back there for a second try too!

                                          1. re: 1sweetpea

                                            I ordered the hot version of veggie platter at Lalibela once and it came with a stuffed hot pepper in the middle of the platter. It was explained to me that there was no other difference between the "regular" and the hot except that stuffed pepper. OK then!

                                            You have my sympathy on all that meat left over. I have the same preferences for veg food and spicy (though since my dining companions aren't as good at hot, I tend to not seek out the real spicy stuff as much--pity!). I've only eaten at Lalibela and La Habesha in the past few years for Ethiopian so I don't recall how salty other places are. It would be nice to have a little less salt. Oh wait, I did go to that veg Ethiopian place on Queen (Y & B Yummy I think it's called) for the all day brunch---and the saltiness of many of the dishes just about killed me. Of course, I might have done much better with the veggie platter instead.

                                            1. re: Ediblethoughts

                                              Ediblethoughts, where is La Habesha? Do I have a reason to try that place before any other?

                                              Does anyone know if the veggie combo at Dukem is savoury and spicy rather than salty? What about at Nazareth?

                                              1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                I enjoyed it but I hadn't had Ethiopian in age and so I wasn't very discriminating. It's also, even for an Ethiopian place, VERY casual. More so than Lalibela. Of course, they also offer a rather eclectic "other" menu too (my dining companion had spaghetti with meat sauce) so if you're eating with people who would rather not try Ethiopian, they can go with the Other Menu. I'm trying Nazareth on my next Ethiopian endeavour.

                                      2. I like the place called - I think - African Palace, on the north side of Bloor near Shaw. Says "We specialize in vegetarian cuisine" in the window. They have a couple veggie dishes I've never seen in other restaurants, like this tomato curry that's basically a really aromatic, chunky marinara.

                                        One thing I love about this neighbourhood: you can buy injera at almost every convenience store.

                                        1. This thread is too long for me to go through all the posts. Can someone please summarize the locations for me? I'd love to try African for the first time!

                                          1. Sorry, this isn't quite a summary of the thread, but run down on the restaurants we have tried in TO.

                                            My wife and I have enjoyed Ethiopian food for many years. Last year we spent a month in Ethiopia and when we came back, we found that our tastes in Ethiopian food had shifted. Things that we didn't notice before (like the exact texture and taste of the injera) suddenly mattered a lot. We really miss the 100% teff injera. We avoided any raw meat there for obvious reasons and thus we still don't tend to order those dishes here.

                                            So here are some thoughts, with the above biases in mind:

                                            Queen of Sheba - used to be our favourite. Still very tasty stews and nice variety of both meat and veggie. But the injera is made from barley and rice and now is not to our liking - kinda chewy and glutinous.

                                            Lalibela - the injera is OK and the stews were less flavourful that Sheba. Vegetable variety is good, but mainly a la carte rather than in the combo plate.

                                            Ethiopian House - the meats could be more tender (although in Ethiopia, everything is chewy so perhaps this is more the way they like it). Less vegetable variety.

                                            Addis Ababa - the injera was good. According to the waiter, they are planning to put 100% teff injera on the menu at a higher price. The stews themselves were good, although the meat was oversalted. The quantities were a bit miserly.

                                            Rendez-vous - injera was so-so (teff and barley) and the stews (particularly the meats) were too salty. The vegetables were at room temperature (which can be authentic) but aren't as yummy this way.

                                            Wazema - very good injera, with a reasonable teff quotient. All the stews were flavourful and the vegetables were nicely done. A friend from Ethiopia felt this one was his favourite also. The only downside is that there is somewhat less variety than some.

                                            Ibex - injera only so-so. Veggies were generally good but again a bit lukewarm. Didn't go back so haven't tried the meats.

                                            Haven't tried Dukem, Africa House, or Nazareth yet, so no opinions there.

                                            So in summary, our favourite so far is Wazema. If Sheba can do better injera, they would be our second favourite.

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: Dr. John

                                              Thanks for the tip about 100% teff at Addis Ababa. I look forward to your review of Dukem, if you have a chance to eat there.

                                              1. re: Full tummy

                                                I tried Dukem last night and quite enjoyed it. My SO and I had a vegetarian combo and a combo that included all the veg, plus Doro Wot (slow cooked chicken leg in savoury sauce), a lamb wot (cross-sections of fall-off-the-bone rib meat in sauce) and a beef tibs dish. We really enjoyed the dishes. I was so happy that although all dishes were well salted, none was too salty, which is a theme at all of the other places I've been to in the past. I loved all of the veg dishes. Of the meats, my fave was the lamb, which was so tender and tasty. The chicken was also fall-off the bone tender and very good. I didn't care for the beef tibs, but as I'm not a die-hard meat lover, I just don't care for the chewiness of the beef pieces, which were bite-sized, but only seemed stir-fried, so were not at all tender. No matter. My dining partner gobbled it all up and let me enjoy the chicken leg. Good deal! I absolutely loved their take on the beet dish. It was gingery and contained potatoes, which were a lovely shade of pink from the beets and their juices. The collards were also excellent. They still had some texture and bright green colour. Yum. The injera was a little bit darker in colour than some that I've had elsewhere. I hope that means a higher percentage of teff flour, but I didn't ask. My only disappointment was that they didn't offer any Ethiopian or other African brands of beer. We wound up drinking Stella Artois, which was listed on the menu as $4, but we were somehow charged $5 for each. We didn't bother mentioning it. The enormous meal was otherwise excellent value. I'm looking forward to trying Ibex, Addis Ababa and Wazema now, and perhaps Nazareth, though without a hearty recommendation, it's probably not as high on my priority list.

                                                1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                  Your description of the veg dishes is making me want to try this place. I was going to go to Nazareth first but you're making me waffle... hmmm...

                                                  1. re: Ediblethoughts

                                                    Although I prefer Dukem and would encourage you to go there, I really don't think you can go wrong with either choice; they both offer excellent taste, value, and service.

                                                    1. re: vorpal

                                                      Good to know. My eating companion has a limited patience for Ethiopian so there must be very long times between dinners out. Decisions...

                                                  2. re: 1sweetpea

                                                    they used to have Ethiopian beer (not on the menu). St George was one that i remember.
                                                    trust me - not overly great. not missing much.
                                                    if you ask them at Dukem, this will ALWAYS suggest the lamb dishes. haven't bothered to order beef or chicken there (except for their kitfo, which i assume is beef but i may be wrong).

                                                    my only knock about Dukem: its inconsistent. their veggie dishes taste different almost every time. now, they are always excellent, but i feel like the recipe is always changing. strange to see.

                                                2. re: Dr. John

                                                  has anyone checked out of addis ababa is serving 100% teff injera? just wondering if it's worth the trip to try their injera.

                                                3. We went to Lalibela on Bloor last night.
                                                  Their menu selection was nice and expansive.
                                                  We ordered the meat combo and another dish that was sun-dried meat (sorry, forgot the name).
                                                  the meat combo was insanely huge.
                                                  i will say that their kitfo - which i ordered rare - was the tastiest kitfo i've tried. excellent mouthfeel, great flavours. delicious.
                                                  the chicken - was good but not amazing.
                                                  veggie options on the platter - good but not as good as Dukem's. i did like their gomen, which i normally find too bitter at Dukem.
                                                  the sun-dried beef, which was saucy and spicy and mixed with injera, was really tasty and quite different. very yummy option.

                                                  in all, i was very impressed with Lalibela. their kitfo is enough to make me share my allegiance between them and Dukem.

                                                  869 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G, CA

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: atomeyes

                                                    African Safari on Danforth has now become an Ethiopian restaurant. I went in there several months ago and they were already serving Ethiopian, although they were still billing themselves as Caribbean/Creole/East African. They finally got around to changing the sign recently. Like to hear from anyone who has tied it.

                                                  2. My early experiences with Ethiopian food at many of the place mentioned in this thread have always led to the same complaints: Oiliness, the feeling of eating a "muted" curry, the sourness of the injera building up over time, awkard potion sizes (and injera overload), etc.

                                                    The key to my Ethiopian food epiphany was the lunch special at Ethiopian House, delivered on a plate with the injera on the side. This setup, while perhaps less authentic, eliminated most of my complaints about Ethiopian food. I no longer get overwhelmed by the oil, and the "sour" taste of the injera no longer builds up to the point that I stop enjoying it. The flavours of the dishes are much brighter when they're not soaking into the bread plate. Even when I go with someone else, we get separate platters with Injera on the side. I understand that Ethiopian food isn't for everyone, but for those who have had poor experiences, this may be an option for you to try that lets you control the taste/texture of the meal more closely.

                                                    Ethiopian House
                                                    4 Irwin Ave, Toronto, ON M4Y1K9, CA

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Underdog Rally

                                                      Interesting story... I, too, found Ethiopian food somewhat distasteful at first due to the sourness (I always called it "tanginess") build up. I enjoyed the first five or six bites, but then felt no compulsion to eat any more and rapidly became disgusted with the flavours.

                                                      I was hell-bent on developing an appreciation for Ethiopian food, however, and would force myself to try it a couple times a year in the hopes that it would finally "click" in my head. Ethiopian House is also what did it for me (although just their regular dinner menu): my first meal there, suddenly everything fell into place, and since then, I've very much enjoyed Ethiopian food at any restaurant to which I've been.

                                                      Ethiopian House
                                                      4 Irwin Ave, Toronto, ON M4Y1K9, CA

                                                    2. I have lived in the Bloor Ossington area for many years and have enjoyed the wide variety of Ethiopian restaurants in the area and around the city. I tend to lean toward the meat dishes (especially the gored gored - cubes of raw steak with awaze sauce - when I can find it), my wife sticks to the chicken or veg options.

                                                      The best Ethiopian I have experienced is at African Palace near Bloor and Shaw. New owner took over about a year ago and food service and quality are tops. Food has much more of a homemade feel to it with fresh flavors and spices throughout, and the most incredible gored gored bar none in my experiences.

                                                      Biggest disappointment is Lalibella. Used to be my go to and I would drag friends, relatives, wife there at every occasion possilbe. Of the past year and a half food quality has dropped significantly. The last 3 times I went they did not have gored gored despite it appearing on their menu (dinner). Last 2 visits for breakfeasts I ordered fowl. Both times they "forgot" to include the egg (but added it after I noticed the oversight). Biggest issue for me is that the food does not taste fresh. It tastes like it was made in large quantity and reheated as needed. For those who enjoy Lalibella, I highly encourage a visit to African Palace - it will take you to a new level.

                                                      A few other comments:

                                                      -Ethiopia House: good value on lunch specials and African beer selection. Downside is that food tastes underspiced. I rarely see Ethiopian people in there, and wonder if they have softened the spicing a bit to appeal to a more "western" palate. Agree with others about long wait times and weak service in the evening. Found it a good place to take people new to the cuisine, or out of towners, because the decor is superior to most of the Ethiopian restaurants I've been too so it scores some points for atmosphere for those who care about that.

                                                      Nazereth-They seem to have the best chicken. Talked to the owner and she claimed it was their specialty and I soon learned why - plump, juicy, fresh sauce = excellent. Other menu items I've tried do not really stand out but always satisfy.

                                                      Zembaba-Has been around for ages. Small menu but very tasty. Nice lamb dishes and comfortable atmosphere. Didn't really blow us away like AP, but very enjoyable.

                                                      Queen of Sheeba - wouldn't recommend. Weak injera. Seems like they have lost their passion for the business. Service was extremely disinterested, food was barely warm.

                                                      Very eager to try Dukem after reading reviews from others.

                                                      950 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J 1L9, CA

                                                      African Palace
                                                      834 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G1M2, CA

                                                      Queen of Sheeba Restaurant
                                                      1051 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H1M4, CA

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: soobey

                                                        African Palace is my fave too! They seem to have a wider variety of veg dishes (although Ethiopian restaurants are all pretty good about veg options) and everything is delicious.

                                                        Had a less-than-stellar experience at Nazareth. Nothing major -- the food was fine, but the service was really abrupt. They do have gluten-free injera though, for those who want to know.

                                                        African Palace
                                                        834 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G1M2, CA

                                                      2. Not the best, by a long shot, but a friend of mine and I had lunch at African Village (north side of Queen just a bit east of Parliament.... the only reason we tried it is that it's convenient to our neighbourhood), and it was quite good. We had kitfo (raw), and a tripe stew. Both were very satisfying. It's a rather unpromising looking hole in the wall, but worth a shot. I'll be back (convenience, admittedly, being part of its appeal).

                                                        My tuppence for best: Dukem.

                                                        Helpful Ethiopian Hint of The Day: The trick is to minimise the injera:other ratio, i.e., minimum of injera to maximum of food. I love the flavour of injera, but I find that it can be bloating. I don't know whether it expands, or whether it has to do with the high protein content of teff (highest of all grains, I think... where's Sam Fujisaka when you need him (God rest his soul)?)

                                                        950 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J 1L9, CA

                                                        1. Went to Dukem this past weekend and now agree that it is one of the best. The injera was at least 50% teff and the stews were all flavourful, with a nice veggie variety. We tried the Duken Cornise, which mixed together lamb, ground beef, cheese, and "shredded wheat" - actually something more similar to bulgur. It was quite tasty and different.

                                                          Just a note about meat texture, Ethiopians seem to prefer meat chewy judging by our experience in Ethiopia. We actually did not enjoy eating meat there because it was so chewy.

                                                          Have to still try Nazaret and African Palace based on the more recent posts.


                                                          950 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J 1L9, CA

                                                          African Palace
                                                          834 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G1M2, CA

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: Dr. John

                                                            Just reviving this thread. First timers at Ethiopian restaurant - planning to go to Ethiopian House on Irwin. Suggestions for novices, not too spicy, no restrictions on dishes or ingredients. Appreciate any advice. Thanks in advance.

                                                            Ethiopian House
                                                            4 Irwin Ave, Toronto, ON M4Y1K9, CA

                                                            1. re: MargieEv

                                                              I'd try a combo plate with veg dishes and some tibs. Doro wat is also good, but spicy.
                                                              If you don't mind raw meat, kitfo is also very good.

                                                              1. re: MargieEv

                                                                My suggestion is to simply order the enough vegetarian platters and meat platters so that each person in your party is accounted for with a platter. They'll likely serve it as platters with both meat and veg on them to be shared amongst smaller subsets of the diners. That way, you get a little bit of everything, and the dining is meant to be communal.

                                                                If you have actual vegetarians in the group, you could ask them specifically to keep the veggie platters and meat platters separate, it just gets a little more awkward because of the need to keep reaching for things with your fingers.

                                                                It's really a great way to get a chance to sample a broad range of dishes. You may want to get them to explain the dishes to you as they bring them out, though, so you can remember which ones you like most in case you want to order more specifically on your next visit.

                                                                1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                  Thanks for your replies. I think we will try the veg. combo plate and some tibs. We have eaten all over the world so this should be fun.