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Blue Nile vs Addis vs Asmara vs... for birthday dinner

Hi all, I know there's hot debate about the best Ethiopian in the Boston area. I'm trying to throw a birthday dinner for a group of about 10. The birthday boy wants the best/most authentic, someplace that's truly Chowhound-approved, over best ambience. But of course, should be a place that will be amenable to a group. What think?

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  1. Habesha
    535 Main St
    Malden, MA 02148
    (781) 399-0868

    1. I went to Blue Nile once and absolutely hated it, so I'd advise you to pick some place else. The food was not good. The Kitfo was tasteless, the Tibs were hard and dry and really chewy. Just not enjoyable food.

      Habesha is excellent, but has no atmosphere, so go for the food only. I love Addis and it has nice atmosphere as well. Currently though, my favorite is Asmara. Decent atmosphere and really tasty food.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mwk

        I've been to Blue Nile a number of times, and I really like it. I've found the food to be consistent and quite good.

        I find Addis to be a bit more expensive when compared to other Ethiopian restaurants, and I like the food better at Blue Nile and at Fasika.

      2. Though I probably like Habesha the best right now, the downstairs area at Addis Red Sea (South End) is excellent for a group, and the food they serve is definitely solid---I've had a couple of birthday gatherings there myself! I'd recommend it.

        1. +1 for Habesha. An ethiopian friend of mine agrees.

          1. Thanks all! Leaning towards Habesha for the authenticity factor. Will report back.

            1. Update: Took a party of 13 to Habesha. As other reviews have dictated, while the food was good, the service was horrendous (albeit very very sweet). Food took forever. Drink orders were incorrect and no one came back to take second drink orders. One of the waitresses tripped coming out of the door and spilled an ENTIRE PLATTER OF FOOD on guests. The fire alarm went off for a loooong time and firemen arrived. All this kind of overshadowed the deliciousness of the food. Might have been a different experience had we been a smaller party!

              7 Replies
              1. re: janbrady


                Slow = all Ethiopian restaurants, but the rest...!!

                1. re: janbrady

                  Talk about a meal from hell. Not a fun way to spend a birthday!

                  1. re: janbrady

                    I'm told it's proper etiquette to wave to get a server. No wave, you might not get what you want.

                    1. re: junior coyote

                      Yep, they were just way overwhelmed--not enough servers for the crowd. Our fault for bringing such a big party. We didn't think the place would be so packed, and I don't think they did either!

                    2. re: janbrady

                      I should clarify that I'm not warning people against this restaurant--and the birthday boy and crowd took this all in good-humored stride. And the servers are sooo nice. Just wanted to share the experience in case others try to take a large group!

                      1. re: janbrady

                        Well, I'm glad there were no injeras reported. Wot, you don't like my joke?

                        1. re: Prav

                          HA. Nothing so gored. I love tej jokes!