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East Africa Ethiopian Restaurant (NDG)

  • kpzoo Mar 25, 2011 11:54 AM
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Has anyone been to the East Africa Restaurant for Ethiopian in NDG - Sherbrooke W. at corner Clifton?

There's a puff piece about it in this week's NDG Free Press - see p. 16 in this PDF http://www.ndgfreepress.com/FPv3.3.d.pdf

It sounds like a promising hole-in-the-wall: food homemade by an Ethiopian-Canadian family, spices imported from Ethiopia. Currently open for dinner only, planning to open for lunch later in the season.

I'll report back after checking it out myself but wondering if anyone has any experiences to share.

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  1. I went a couple of weeks ago.
    The food was delicious and the service was very friendly. The portions were a bit smaller than what other Ethiopian places usually offer, but I think it might be for the best. ( I usually find myself stuffed after Ethiopian.) The space is tiny, (4-5 tables I think) and doesn't offer a lot in the way of ambiance. I'm hoping they'll put a couple of tables outside in the summer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Moosemeat

      Cool - thanks for the report, appreciate it!

    2. I look forward to hearing what you think, KPZoo: we've not had good Ethiopian in the area in a good while, since the Messob d'Or closed down.

      1 Reply
      1. re: TheSnowpea

        Sounds enticing! I'm not too familiar with Ethiopian cuisine, what are some of the specialties??

      2. I've been to East Africa 4 times in the last month! Delicious, best ethiopian in Montreal without a doubt. Can also bring your own wine or beer. Highly recommended.

        4 Replies
        1. re: suzmontreal

          Lovely - glad to hear it and good to know it's BYOB!

          1. re: suzmontreal

            To jump onto Waziboy's question, what are the specialties there, what did you order that brought you back 4x?!?

            1. re: minisma

              The usual specialites, chicken, lamb, beef, lentils, spinach, a mixed veggie plate. All made fresh with lots of flavor. We had the lamb or beef with a mixed vegetarian plate (spinach, potatoes and carrots and lentils). Of course the ethiopian bread is my favorite. There's no real desserts except for a fruit salad, etc.
              Hope you try it out.

              1. re: suzmontreal

                Thanks for the great info! So if I understand correctly, EVERYTHING is scooped up with bread??
                Looking forward to trying this one out.

          2. Best Ethipoian in the city by far!

            I went tonight and had the number 4 lamb platter and some vegetarian platter and it was incredible... spicy, flavorful and delicious!

            The service is extraordinary too. The husband actually ran down the street to get a wine opener for us when the one they had wasn't working. Super friendly and nice couple who are actually from Ethiopia and put a lot of love and care into their cooking and dishes.

            It's honest homecooking and damn tasty. Avg. price is around $13 p/p.

            I'm definitely a new regular and only wish I'd tried it sooner. Highly recommended!

            10 Replies
            1. re: OliverB

              Anyone have a phone number or address for this place? I'd love to check it out!

              1. re: SKYMTL

                East Africa Restaurant
                5893 Sherbrooke Street West (corner Clifton)
                (514) 660-3154

                I've been meaning to report back on this place for ages. I went with a group of six, and we pre-arranged the menu when I made the reservation because it's such a tiny mom & pop joint that for them, six people at once was a large crowd. The service by a mother-daughter pair was friendly and warm. The food was good, but not the ethereal Ethiopian experience I've had elsewhere, and the portions were a bit small for the price (i.e. $11 for one doro wat chicken leg). I have been meaning to go back for the vegetarian platter, which seemed like better value than ordering à la carte. Their signs say they have lunch specials, but I've yet to see them open for lunch. Has anyone had lunch there?

                1. re: kpzoo

                  Where in Montreal did you experience these "ethereal Ethiopian experiences"? I really need to know!

                  1. re: SKYMTL

                    The old Messob d'or in NDG was my longtime favourite, but sadly it closed a number of years back. I like Le Nil Bleu on St-Denis but I know some folks aren't crazy about it. Quite honestly the best Ethiopian in Mtl these days now comes out of my own kitchen. I get the berbere spice mix at Jean-Talon Market, the injera from Akhavan, and the rest is my own cooking mojo. ;-)

                    1. re: kpzoo

                      I was at Nil Bleu last summer and it was absolutely terrible in every possible way. The food was bland, tasteless, lacking spice, flavor, and ridiculously overpriced for what was served. The atmosphere was equally terrible; like a gaudy hotel lobby with live music playing way too loud all night long. It really doesn't compare at all to East Africa. A better comparisson would be Messab D'or, which was my favorite Ethiopian in the city for many years. East Africa is not far off... Only the prices are dirt cheap and the friendly homey service is entirely unique in this city. Best of all, they'll prepare anything you ask using any available ingredients on hand, at your desired level of spice. Try it again and get the no. 4 lamb platter -- so tender and flavorful! It's unquestionably the most authentic Ethiopian in Montreal.

                      1. re: OliverB

                        "I was at Nil Bleu last summer and it was absolutely terrible in every possible way. The food was bland, tasteless, lacking spice, flavor, and ridiculously overpriced for what was served."

                        Hmm, that is too bad. Never been my experience at all. At $35 for a 2-person combo the prices felt reasonable, too. I always left stuffed, and I have a pretty big appetite.

                        On the other hand, we all were all still a little bit noshy after our meal at East Africa, even though the owners assured us we'd ordered more than enough for six people.... but that was easily solved with a trip next door to the wonderful little chocolate store (Briimstone) - homemade fudge and chocolates - delicious!

                        Anyway, very glad there is an option for Ethiopian in NDG and will definitely go back to East Africa. I do hope they survive.

                  2. re: kpzoo

                    Well, the number doesn't seem to work or they have had their phone off the hook. ;)

                    1. re: SKYMTL

                      Its that kind of place, you just have to go there instead of calling...they're open every night. I go once a week cause we love it so much and we don't want it to close down.

                      1. re: suzmontreal

                        I called last night and got through fine, but I agree that it's the kind of place you just show up to.

                      2. re: SKYMTL

                        SKYMTL - I found another number, try this one:

                        514-963-3152

                2. I went today and I must say its pretty good! Especially considering I thought I hated ethiopian food. Will definetly go back..

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: jay_81k

                    What did you order?

                    1. re: OliverB

                      I had #9. It was a beef dish. I know I should of tried the lamb but I took a chance and was not disspointed one bit. And whoever said the portions are small, I had trouble finishing mine. Overall one of the better new restaurants that I've tried this year, felt like I was at some random Ethiopians family's house having supper. Even the injera which I normally can't stand was pretty good. Its a tiny bit pricey but worth it. Gonna try it for lunch next time as everything is about 4$ less which makes it much more worth it.

                      1. re: OliverB

                        I always order the beef or lamb cubes berbere and the mixed vegetarian which is 2types of lentils, potatoes and carrots and spinach, for 2 people. Its so filling i leave stuffed and pay around 34 bucks witn tax.

                    2. I used to be a regular at the Messob d'Or. I also liked Magdala/Mekdala on Bishop especially when it first opened and Teshome (the former co-owner and chef from Messob d'Or) was in charge of the kitchen. Sadly since both of those places closed I had not been able to find a satisfying Ethiopian experience in Montreal. The Nil Bleu's cuisine is too variable and the flavours just aren't right for my tastes.

                      I have to say that I am extremely impressed with East Africa. The Minchet'Abish (fenugreek based stew - #10 on their menu) is the best I have ever tasted (yes even better than the one at the Messob d'Or). I highly recommend it. Their Key Sega Wat (#4- spicy beef cube stew) is also amazing.

                      Note that their Boutitcha (#25) is more the traditional Boutitcha (i.e. made with chick pea flour instead of mashed chick peas) you find in Ethiopian cookbooks than what the Messob had gotten us used to but it is delicious.

                      Other dishes I would highly recommend are the gommen (#21 - spinach in spiced clarified butter) and azifa (#24 - cold lentil salad).

                      For the kitfo addicts out there, it is available if you warn them a day in advance or if they are not too busy. In the latter case they will actually go out and get the meat so that it is as fresh as possible.

                      As others have mentioned the restaurant is tiny but if you manage to go on an off night then you will get the chance to actually chat with the owners. They are a mom-and-pop operation (literally!) and are waiting to see if they can get a regular following before investing in a larger space or hiring actual staff and who can blame them in the current Montreal restaurant market.

                      I strongly urge any fan of Ethiopian / Eritrean cuisine to try this place. It's the best food of this genre in the city right now and easily rivals what the Messob d'Or used to serve. Please be indulgent on the owners if you get there on a busy night and they are slightly overwhelmed.

                      Right now they are closed for lunch unless you ask them to open (i.e. make reservations). The phone numbers also are their personal cell phone numbers which is why sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. I have no fear that given a regular clientele they will be able to invest in a larger restaurant and hire staff to help them meet the growing crowds.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Topaz3333

                        It all sounds lovely; unfortunately the value for money is not there yet - was really disappointed on my last (maybe only) visit. Very stingy portions, even on the vegetarian items - this is not expensive food to make.

                      2. Quick follow up on this. They now have a website.

                        http://www.eastafricarestaurant.com/a...

                        Ironically, NONE of the numbers listed in this thread are there.

                        Rather they are using (514) 419 7165