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What's the best Ethiopian restaurant on Fairfax Ave.?

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  1. If you're interested: Listen to a recent review of an Ethiopian restaurant on Fairfax by J. gold of L.A. Weekly. Here's the link to KCRW's Good Food show.

    Link: http://www.kcrw.com/cgi-bin/db/kcrw.p...

    8 Replies
    1. re: elmomonster

      BTW, if you want to skip to the section about the Ethiopian restaurants fast forward to 8:49.

      1. re: elmomonster

        I suspect Gold didn't eat there...he mispronounces "foul" (fool) as "foul" (fowl). Although his choice was good. Meals by Genet is a really good place. Rosalind's is a good intor to Ethiopian, though- and you get a little more food for your buck. But Genet is an artist.

        1. re: wavewench

          I wouldn't call Rosalind's a good introduction, simply because the menu is much different than the typical doro wat/meat combo/veggie combo meal that appears on every typical ethiopian menu.

          I feel that in order to really appreciate LA Ethiopian food, you should start at Nyala. It's decent, basic fare in a friendly and fun environment. Eat there a few times to get accustomed to the flavors and textures.

          Then go to Rosalinds, and see how they do it differently. Finally go to Meals by Genet to taste what many people here feel is the best Ethiopian food in LA (though I have yet to try, but it's at the top of my list).

          Mr. Taster

          1. re: Mr. Taster

            Nyala's food comes froma different region of Ethiopia, and frankly, I find it less appealing. The flavors of Rosalind's are much bolder, which I personally prefer. Then again, my boyfriend likes Nyala. Meals by Genet is a guilty pleasure. The food takes Ethiopian to a different level, and she also does some fabulous European dishes-good if you have a friend who isn't into the wots.

            You'r right, though..the best way is to try each of them and find what you like best.

              1. re: therealbigtasty

                Merkato is the one I go to - I really like all their vegetarian dishes and their fried fish. Their honey wine is fantastic, although last time I went (a couple of months ago) they could not serve it since they lost their liquor license. I think they are waiting for it to be renewed. However, you can still buy it in their store.
                As mentioned, I would recommend trying several of the restaurants as it is really determined by a person's tastes.

            1. re: wavewench

              I really, really doubt that j.gold would review a restaurant he hasn't eaten at if he says he has.

              Pronunciation - like transliteration - of foreign words is always problematic. Maybe he's just pronouncing it in a way you aren't familiar with. I've heard it pronounced and spelled in different ways.

              1. re: wavewench

                My impression is that Gold is pretty careful with ethnic food names, so your comment piqued my curiosity. I just had a listen and heard "fool" (or "fuul"), exactly as it's pronounced in Egypt.

            2. This thread may serve to confuse you even more since no one has yet chosen the same restaurant.

              With all due respect to the venerable JGold (and equally venerable fellow CH ers), my vote goes to Merkato. More of a dive than the others, but they seem to have the largest number of Ethiopian clientele, and the food is fantastic and very reasonably priced.

              1. r
                Rich Gould-Saltman

                WE've eaten at almost every place on the Little Ethiopia strip, and based on the Weekly review, reently tried Genet's for the first time (actually, we ended up there because we took a wrong turn looking for the newly reopened Chameau!) I share the view that while it's more "formal" than the other places, the food is also better (I don't think the "high art" references are hyperbole), and the prices are roughly comparable to the other places. The Chowpup likes soupier doro wat though, for soaking up with more injera.


                1. the ethopian cabbie who drove me home from airport swears by messob...and i questioned him thoroughly, too. (the one i think i'm talking about is on the west side of fairfax)...fyi

                  1. Which ones serve the coffee with the burning incense on the side?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Jerome

                      I think it's Merkato.

                      If I have the name wrong, it's the restaurant that has the attached Ethiopian goods store.

                      1. re: Joe MacBu

                        Correcto-mundo, Joe. It is indeed Merkato serving the coffee/incense. Attached shop has some interesting items (Ethiopian music, statues, clothing accessories). Worth a quick look-see next time you eat there....

                    2. We just went to Merkato on Saturday night. It was very good, tho' I can't compare it with the other restaurants since I haven't been to them. The experienced hound who took us has been to Messob, Nyala, and Rosalind, and while she likes each of them, she still rates Merkato No. 1. based on the tastebud factor. She's a vegetarian, but notes that the beef dishes have been described as "range-y" to her by other friends, so she suggested sticking with the vegetable items.

                      Opened with the lentil samosas -the pastry is nothing special, but the spicy lentil stuffing was incredibly flavorful. The S.O. inhaled mine before I got two bites - shoulda ordered more. Followed up with the vegetarian combination entree with an order of the stuffed hot peppers. The collards and yellow split peas were hands down favorites, lentils a close second. The peppers were raw jalapenos, unseeded, stuffed with tomatoes and onion. Flamethrowers-I wouldn't suggest them unless you're into lethal food.

                      I had read a review (link) before going; we almost had the exact same menu. Timatim Fitfit - I wasn't particularly overwhelmed with since it combines a ton of the injera with just a smidge of tomatoes, onion. Next time I'll opt for the Shiro they described and the shrimp tibbs. Very relaxing evening, following our trip to the Pedersen Automotive museum to see the French Curve and Traveland exhibits (highly recommend !!)

                      Link: http://www.vegparadise.com/dining53.html

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Local

                        Back to the Ethiopian Coffee question, it's TASTY and they are are very SERIOUS about the ceremony (I once went with a pal, who wanted to forsake the incense, but the waitress protested and my pal gave in...). It's a very nice way to cap the meal!

                        Anyway, this is my favorite of the bunch. A little divey, non intimidating menu and GREAT prices.

                        I totally agree about the description of the Apps. The letil samosas are indeed on the dry side, but wonderfully spiced. And the stuffed Jalapenos are for SERIOUS heat seekers. I usually end up rolling them in the Injera bread. Hmmm...

                        I however, have to say, I've enjoyed all the chicken dishes as much as the veggie dishes (I haven't tried the beef, as I perfer chicken to beef). So it's also good for those protein seekers! :D


                        1. re: Local

                          for vegetarian ethiopian, rahel is by far the best.
                          their injera is supurb.

                          1. re: Local

                            I agree with the assessment of the beef dishes at Merkato. We had one (something with tomatoes) and we agreed that we definitely did not need that again! Stick with the vegetarian menu and samosas (the last time we were there they were out!). The coffee ceremony with incense as mentioned above is worth it at $9.99 (very strong, good coffee). Funny, we ordered the stuffed peppers appetizer and they were so not hot at all. Tasted like a green bell pepper!! Must've gotten a mighty mild shipment of peppers!

                          2. Okay,

                            Best basic Tibbs: Rosalinds.

                            Best Injera: Meals by Genet

                            Best Restaurant: Merkato.

                            Nyala was fine, but a little too American.

                            Plus, the minute that you take a piece of the deep-fried trout from Merkato, put in your mouth, and eat it...you'll realize that you were doing a goood thing.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: therealbigtasty

                              merkato must have been having an off day for trout when i was there because the trout was so bad that i never set foot in the restaurant again.
                              the other dishes, though, were OK.

                            2. This is my first post, though I have been reading for a while. My wife introduced me to Ethiopian food more than 10 years ago. We have eaten all over Fairfax and then, a few years ago, we found ourselves living in Inglewood.

                              One day, we ended up in this little strip center, to visit an Ethiopian restaurant called Ibex...We were hooked. Anywhere we go, we always get a Veggie combo and then 1 or 2 meat dishes; mostly Kitfo (a ground beef dish; usually served almost raw, but we get it well done).

                              The food is really delicious and our bill is always half of what the same meal would cost on Fairfax. I usually call in my order, so that its ready by the time I get there. It usually takes a while; Ive noticed that at other Ethiopian joints.

                              The owner, Janet and her son, are super sweet people and Janet does a traditional Ethiopian coffee on Sunday afternoons. Definitely a drive, but never disappointing. Anyone ever been?

                              630 N La Brea Ave
                              Inglewood, CA 90302
                              (310) 673-3392