I was walking out of Merkato on Sunday, and perhaps I had just indulged in too much tej, but I was almost positive that I saw not one not two but THREE new Ethiopian places smack-dab in the middle of the other six. I went back to check today, and indeed there are three establishments which I had neither seen nor heard of before. Are all three of these places new?
The first is called "E&M", and is two doors North of Merkato. I peered in the window as I went by, and they seemed to have something of a coffee-shop vibe going on. It is, however, an Ethiopian restaurant. I know this because "Ethiopian Restaurant" is printed in big letters on their awning out front. They looked open when I first went by around 6:30, but were closed when I walked by again around 7:45 (though a sign claimed that they were open until 9).
The second place is located a couple doors South of Merkato. It has a bit more of a restaurant vibe to it, but just in case you were wondering if it was an actual Ethiopian restaurant, the owners have helpfully named it "Little Ethiopia Restaurant". With hardwood floors and real wood tables, they seem to be aiming for a little more upscale crowd. Or an invisible crowd -- there didn't seem to be anyone eating there either.
The third place, "Marathon", is located well over eight yards from the other two, all the way across the street and sandwiched between Messob and Rahel. I have actually seen people eating in this place, though they may just be the owner's friends. Still, they do appear to be open for business.
Has anyone tried out any of these three places? What did you think?
Incidentally, either my tastes have gotten more sophisticated, or Merkato has gone downhill recently. The food the last couple of times I went just tasted *bland*.