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Eating in Ethiopia

NancyC | Jan 9, 2008 08:51 AM

Just back from 2 weeks in the country, and I have to say that even for those who think they like Ethiopian food...it gets INCREDIBLY repetitive. It's rare for me to travel and crave "foreign" food, because I really prefer to eat local, but a few bad injera experiences are all you need!

That said, these were my favorite places to eat:

Addis: Habesha Restaurant on Bole Road, mentioned in another Addis thread. At the end of 2 weeks, this was the lightest injera I'd had the whole time. I ordered zilzil tibs, which apparently only one Ethiopian restaurant in New York has...it was strips of beef instead of chunks and so tasty. My companions had the key wat which was tasty as well, but I was really impressed with the injera! At 100 birr each (almost $11), this was by far my most expensive meal, but we also had many, many drinks. Also, it featured the absolute best dancing I'd seen in two weeks...incredibly explosive.

Lalibela: Seven Olives (hotel). The same great stews & meats, but they offer keita, which is like a wheat version of injera. Similar spongy texture, but not as wet, not sour, and a more structured form (I think the batter must be thicker so it doesn't just spread into a random shape). Keita makes a HUGE difference. I got bozena shiro (shiro with meat) which was very tasty, and my friend had the tibs, which was one of the best I'd had.

Gondar: Habesha Kitfo, near the Royal Compound entrance. Had lamb key wat, surprisingly spicy and again a decent injera. Very savory.

Bahir Dar: Dib Anbessa (hotel) has a great restaurant. Had excellent "fish fingers" here, which are small (really finger-sized, not just for eating with fingers) but a huge serving of them, crispy but not thickly battered, very spicy and tasty. I stayed at Ghion Hotel, which has a great view and a good restaurant as well. Had fish in a spicy sauce one night (can't remember the name of this dish) and the special omelet which was also spicy w/ meat and onions. Their fruit juices were ok but not as good as the dedicated juice bars...I think they mix in too much orange juice.

I discovered that in almost any restaurant you can ask for bread (dabbo), which was great for me because I really did like the actual meals, just got sick of injera.

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