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Feb 24, 2010 08:19 AM

Best Ethiopian near mid-wilshire?

Visiting from SF where Ethiopian is hard to find and found recs for Rahel but none for other Ethiopian places. Any advice//info?

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  1. Although it's older, this thread might help.

    Many of our Ethiopian restaurants are on the same block as Rahel.

    I don't think the Ethiopian selection is that much worse in the bay area than it is here, though. For something you absolutely can't get in SF, be sure to stop by Jitlada before you go back. And hit a Korean place or two.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Bjartmarr

      thanks - there is good Ethopian in the bay area, just not near where I live and I'm visiting near mid-mil so thought I'd introduce my DIL to a new cusine. Plus I've been having a craving for injera :D

      1. re: estnet

        Meals by Genet is my favorite Fairfax restaurant followed by Merkado which I like for its very warm staff and because they make the best Ethiopian coffee! If you are looking for the best injera, you will have to travel to Orange County to Merhaba in Anaheim...while not Ethiopian, it is Eritrean (close enough cuisine wise!!)...and they do a brisk business with the local Ethiopian and Eritrean communities selling just their injera!!

        1. re: TravelPath

          Agreed, TravelPath! Merhaba's injera is, indeed, otherworldly good - the best I've ever had. I was there a few nights ago and three groups of people came in within an hour and bought some to go.

          1. re: TravelPath

            My vote always goes to Merkato. In fact, I just had it on Saturday! They have Mitmita on the table!
            Funny, the one time I ate at Meals by Genet, I thought it was good, but still pulled my cell phone out of my purse after dinner and called in a to-go order from Mercado - walkled across the street to pick it up and drove home.

            1. re: WildSwede

              For the record, WS, Genet gets their injera from Rosalind's, directly across the street. That's the only place we've eaten - wanted to try Genet, but it's not open for lunch, and that's the only time we're ever around there. Our first meal was delightful and very good, everything very fresh, with a server who was more than happy to take these newbies under her wing and lead us through the How To Eat Ethiopian thing. Next time we brought friends, and of course got this sullen woman who I think took special pains to bring us whatever had been on the steam table the longest. The fish balls had all the zip of stale communion wafers...

              1. re: Will Owen

                I have the same problem -- I'm always in the area during lunch when Genet isn't open. When you say "fish balls," were they made with actual fish or with chickpea flour? I'm looking for a dish called shimbra asa that's sometimes called vegetarian fish.

                1. re: a_and_w

                  I think these are supposed to have real fish in them, though neither the fresh nor the stale ones tasted at all fishy. We generally have no particular interest in whether our food is vegetarian or not, so we simply ordered the appetizers sampler platter and took what they gave us. When it's fresh it's good, is all I can say about it. They do have plenty of specifically vegetarian items, however.

                2. re: Will Owen

                  I will have to try Rosalind's. Wonder where Merkado gets their injera from? I was not impressed by Messob when I was there, either.

                  1. re: WildSwede

                    If I were there by myself, I'd probably get a lamb dish and some greens. Something they'd need to make from scratch.

            2. re: estnet

              imho, the injera at rahel is better than that served at most of the other places.
              the rahel injera is teff-heavy.
              others seem to be more wheaty.

              1. re: westsidegal

                I will make a point to try it. Teff-heavy injera is the sine qua non of good Ethiopian food.

          2. I honestly think Cafe Colucci is better than any Ethiopian I've tried in LA, including Rahel, though I still haven't been to Meals by Genet.

            1. Meals by Genet is my favorite of the 4 or so I've tried in the Little Ethiopia stretch of Fairfax. However, it's also the priciest (though not by an order of magnitude, just a few more bucks) and the attentive waiters can sometimes be just a bit TOO attentive for their own good ... never before have I had someone tell me "there are some more lovely little bits of lamb snuggling under their cozy injera duvet on this side of your plate..."

              2 Replies
              1. re: Bradbury

                that is funny!

                Actually I'll probably be doing take out as there is a very new baby involved. Would this change any recs?

                1. re: estnet

                  I don't imagine any problems with a new baby in tow at Genet.

                  I also like the Ethiopian food across the street at Nyala. Baby (and stroller)-friendly, too. Genet is a more "intimate" (read smaller) setting than Nyala.

                  Haven't been to Colucci.

              2. FWIW...there are tons of good Ethiopian restaurants between Berkeley and Oakland on Telegraph Avenue. They're at least as good as LA's Ethiopian restaurants and often easily accessible by BART..

                2 Replies
                1. re: sillygoosedown

                  Yes, but until BART goes about 300 miles further south than Fremont this information is pointless on the Los Angeles board.

                  1. re: pinpei

                    The OP is from the SF Bay Area, which is why people keep mentioning the quality of Ethiopian food there.

                2. LA offers a fairly respectable selection of Ethiopian dining options, but certainly not at the level of Washington, DC or even the Bay area as a whole. Fortunately for you, most of them are centrally located in Little Ethiopia, quite near to your Mid-Wilshire destination. They vary a bit in ambience, menu, taste and authenticity. While virtually all are worth a try, those I highly recommend include:

                  Merkato – authentic, consistently reliable, full-menu (meats and veggies) Ethiopian cuisine served in a traditional restaurant/market venue. Very good injera. One of few places, along with Messob across the street, offering dulet (beef, liver and tripe scramble) and gored-gored (spicy cubes of raw beef) among the many other selections on their menu. Most everything is cooked to order, so service can be a bit slow. Still, my Little Ethiopia favorite.

                  Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant & Market
                  1036 1/2 S Fairfax Ave
                  Los Angeles, CA 90019
                  (323) 935-1775

                  Messob – solid, authentic full-menu Ethiopian fare served up in perhaps the most traditional setting in Little Ethiopia. Culturally rich décor. Many of the tables themselves are messobs serving as holding vessels for the large Ethiopian serving plates. The food is excellent. Supposedly no oils are used in food preparation, only boiling hot water. Good injera. Quite similar to Merkato, although with a bit less spice, particularly in the veggies. Large serving portions with an emphasis on combos. My second choice.

                  1041 S Fairfax Ave
                  Los Angeles, CA 90019
                  (323) 938-8827

                  Rahel – the choice for vegetarians and vegans (no meats whatsoever). As one would expect, the vegetable dishes are wonderfully fresh, delicately spiced and superbly prepared. Excellent injera too, with a distinctive taste and texture due to its all grain (teff) composition. They also make several of their own fresh juice concoctions using barley and sunflower and flax seeds. Modernized traditional vibe, good service. My first choice for veggies, third overall. I’m a carnivore and the veggies and injera are that good.

                  Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine
                  1047 S Fairfax Ave
                  Los Angeles, CA 90019
                  (323) 937-8401

                  Note: Please don’t hesitate to let your server at any of the above establishments know that you’re familiar with Ethiopian (or ethnic) foods and that you would like your order traditionally spiced. Ethiopian food custom-seasoned for non-Ethiopians can be underwhelming, imho. I like to tell ethnic chefs to “make it the way you would at home”.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: degustateur

                    Thanks to everyone - wasn't trying to start a N Cal comparison to S Cal - just didn't want to go to an awful place accidentally.

                    Well, that seems not to have been a concern :) Decided to try 3 different restaurants to do a comparison as we were doing take out (which of course isn't as good as eating there) but was a lot of fun.

                    Addis - got veggie combo. Empty on a rainy night - so I was a little worried but the food was good! Can't really comment on individual dishes as there were so many and we each had a small taste of many different items. DIL favorite

                    Raphel - veggie combo. Had about 4 customers at the same time, Addis was empty, looked a bit better kept up inside (whatever that means). Food was good - my son's favorite as he thought it had a bit more "kick" - but that could have been the individual dishes.

                    Meals by Genet - veggie combo and lamb alichar. Clearly as mentioned before much more upscale atmosphere, white table cloths, trendy waitpeople. Still only a few people eating (not a good night for the trade I guess). Smells were the best of the three (but may have been b/c cooking was going on when I walked in). This is clearly not an exclusively Ethiopian only place - the injera was in a bag labeled that it is from Rosalind. Veggie combo very different from the other two - quite nice and a change from the more tradional ones I am used to. Lamb was very tasty, big bones (it was mentioned that lamb with bones), a fair amount of fat and connective tissue and liquid fat, mild falling apart meat. (Why is it that the worse things are for you the better they taste?)

                    I can't really comment on the injera b/c I don't think it's quite fair when you don't have it fresh, but all were certainly acceptable. I look forward to exploring more places on other visits since it is so close to the place I'm staying.