First time trying Ethiopian food...where should I go?
I am going out to dinner with my girlfriends for Ethiopian food next week. It will be my first time eating Ethiopian food and the girls have left it up to me to pick the restaurant. I have heard fabulous things about Fassica and Merkato. Where would you recommend that I go to get a wonderful first time experience?
Thank you in advance!
Hey, Eve! I'm not LA, but one word of advice about Ethiopian food (which I love). In all likelihood, your "utensil" will be a flappy bread called injera, with which you'll scoop up the (delicious) stews, etc. ADVICE: try to minimise the amount of injera vs the maximum amount of stew. Many people find injera quite filling, so if you aren't careful, you'll find yourself full 2/3 the way through the meal. Traditional injera is made with a grain called tef, which has the highest protein content of any grain, and I suspect that that has something to do with injera being filling. Where are the biochemists when you need them?
man, I love injera. Rahel has the best, because it is the real thing. Tef baby!
I try to eat all I can when I can. The best thing is to eat the injera that was under the food on the platter at the end. It has sopped up all the yummy oils and juices!
Also, it's good as a sort of pancakey breakfast. I take home a little, rip it in fourths (they're big things) warm them, fill them with nonfat cream cheese or greek yogurt and fruit, sprizzle with honey and serve em up!
The first time? Go to Nyala. It's not the best one but it's the best experience, especially if you do the coffee at the end with the incense and the tiny cups and the stone ewer.
Then, once you've acquired the taste for it, go to Genet. Get the lamb, and get the vegetarian platter. It's so good. I've never even been tempted by the "Western" side of the menu, it's so good.
I've eaten at most of the restaurants in Little Ethiopia, so here's a rundown:
Meals by Genet: Jonathan Gold is a fan. I haven't been here though.
Messob: other people seem to like this place a lot, but I didn't have a particularly impressive experience. I thought their vegetarian platter fell short.
Rosalind's: My favorite. It's quiet and peaceful most nights (I think they have live entertainment on the weekends) and they have never let me down.
Merkato: Can be a bit hit or miss. Atmosphere isn't as nice as the other places. Unbelievably cheap.
Nyala: The only Zagat-rated Ethiopian place. The portions were smaller and the prices were higher. The atmosphere was nice, but it didn't feel like the real thing. I felt sick after eating here.
If you click on the link below, make sure to also click on the restaurant titles if you are intersted in more info on Merkato or Messob. I think Rosalind's is your best bet, though.
fassica is not what it used to be.
this is very sad for me because it is much closer to where i live and work than are the others.
of the rest,
meals by genet is best, but check their hours before you go.
i also really like the vegan ethiopian restaurant, rahel.
be sure to ask for some awazay to put on your food.
if you go to merkato, DON'T order the fish.