I also like their drinks (I think one has teff in it?).
For me Awash is still the best and Buna is second on the food. I’m disqualifying Genet completely in my assessment lol. What’s the one you’re calling best in little ethipia then? I find Merkato food quite great as well so i think we go back there because it’s both fun and good.
Why is that? I’ve eaten a lot of authentic Ethiopian food, and Genet’s is the best I’ve had in LA. Some peeps like to hate on it because the servers are White and they feel like Genet is putting on airs or something. But the food itself is outstanding.
I love Genet but I just don’t want it in the same category of experience as the other places. It’s a different kind of time when we go there. So i’m just keeping what my brain thinks are apples against apples
Ask a simple question and get a book.
Honestly, I don’t have a “the best”. 1) because I haven’t tried all of them. 2) because I haven’t tried everyone’s specialty. 3) because I have favorite dishes at different spots, instead of a hands down favorite Ethiopian spot. First, I want to try a few new (to me) places and revisit a few oldies - your favorite, Buna (looks great!), one of your not so favorites, Meals by Genet (loved by many), revisit Messob and definitely try the Chicken Tibs at Awash. But honestly - and I’m not a vegetarian, definitely not vegan - my favorite vegetarian combo platter could be Rahel. Because they’re vegan and competing with non-vedge places I think they put extra care with seasoning and preparation in their dishes which are excellent. I had given up on Awash for a while, because I couldn’t find it, lol. Not that I was trying too hard, but for a while I would detour on my way home from work and look for it based on my co-workers landmarks (they didn’t remember the name or exact address, because “we just know how to get there”.) Another deterrent was people saying they were ignored or received rude service. It dawned on me that Awash is not on Fairfax, has a nondescript storefront and ignore their non-Ethiopian diners, because they’re more interested in catering to regulars and the Ethiopian community. But I’m over that now, lol. I just haven’t been, but I must try the Chicken Tibs that everyone raves about.
This is a really good thread and it’s inspiring me to try the places I’ve been putting off and new ones I hadn’t heard of.
If you don’t mind, I’ll share a couple of my reviews:
Good stuff! Some comments on the above is that 1) I thought Awash specialty (per them) was the beef tibs (consistently my least favorite dish at all Ethiopian places because I seem to want stews there. 2) I think it’s not that service at Awash caters to locals it’s that it is a no nonsense and no smiles and politeness which I assume is more how things are over there and maybe that particular family is a bit more grumpy than others (another thing a former Soviet is completely used to). I never care about service because if something really necessary is missing I’ll demand it. 3) I actually love Genet, especially that crazy 3 day chicken, i’m only disqualifying it because it’s white cloth and they have so much more of a blog reader clientele. (so a less authentic experience in my likely flawed estimation) 4) Buna is totally different than others in that it’s tiny, usually ran by just the owner, but in our experience is marked by impeccable cleanliness and what seemed to us as brighter, sharper and even less greasy flavors. Also he’s a really nice dude to talk about your favorite soccer team and commonality of orthodox religion (in tradition only)
and thanks for the work break!
One of the reasons I like Buna is that they don’t charge corkage. However, that does come with the downside that you have to bring your own stemware, which really doesn’t bother me since I prefer high quality stemware anyway, but which may be off putting to some.
I also like that you can get Foul and eggs at any time at Buna. A lot of the Ethiopian restaurants either don’t offer those two dishes, or list them as “breakfast.” Lalibela and Merkato list both dishes as breakfast (although I am not sure how strict they are about that). I do see that Meals by Genet has foul for dinner, so I will have to give that a try sometime (much as I prefer not paying corkage). None of the other restaurants seem to offer foul or eggs at any time.
Being a chilihead (food cannot be too spicy for me), I do have to say that I wish Buna’s food was a bit more aggressively spiced. When I recently had Ethopian food in Washington D.C., I was surprised to see that it was quite a bit spicier than Buna. Only problem was that it was not freshly made and had clearly been reheated.
Good stuff back at ya’…
Ditto, thought it was me.
Yep, don’t have a problem with that. I read your hilarious ‘keep your tits on’ story. I too have grown up around a couple women like that. It’s amusing more then irritating. Being ignored would be piss me off more.
Ahhh, okay, got it.
Lovin’ your description of Buna. I think that will be our next destination, then Awash on Pico.
That is a bit obnoxious if i’m honest. haha What are you pairing Ethiopian with? Maybe some white wine. I’d be fine with any glass. Beer is my choice there anyway.
keep your tits on? lol what happened? i hope it was my story and my brain is missing cells again
Either champagne or Riesling generally. Riesling pairs with anything – that’s why sommeliers love Riesling, although they have a hard time selling it generally. Haven’t tried it yet, but I am going to experiment with bringing an Austrian Blaufränkisch next time.
Good dry riesling is a revelation yea. No way am I bring stems to any restaurant lol. that’s a bit much… but respect
I was doing some FTC research on Ethiopian food and came across your story about Awash’s electrical, no ventilation, smoking oven issue. I just looked it up again and what the waitress actually said was ‘calm your tits children, we just called THE MAN’.
oh god lol… that’s funny. i was definitely paraphrasing
Rahel’s lunch buffet is my favorite.
For dinner, i migrate to Awash.
Thank you for posting !!!
Sweet. I gotta’ get to Awash soon.
rahel has a supply of silverware stashed for folks like myself that want silverware.
Finally tried Lalibela and I liked it quite a bit.
We started with Kategna with Ayib, which is rolled strips of injera coated with berbere sauce and mixed in Ethiopian spiced butter or olive oil (should have asked which they used, but I didn’t) and served with fresh Ethiopian cottage-cheese. I had never had this dish and I liked it. My dining companion eats gluten free, so they used the 100% teff injera (unless you specify, most injera served in Little Ethopia is half teff, half wheat). I’m used to eating Ethiopian food with my hands, but I gave up using my hands on this one and used silverware because when you picked up one of the injera strips it was so coated with the berbere sauce and it was definitely greasy, so your hands just became a red, sticky mess. But I liked the dish and would order again.
Then we had the vegetable combo and one of the beef tibs dishes, which I didn’t try because I rarely eat beef. I liked the vegetable combo - everything was very nicely spiced. My dining companion had the gluten-free injera. To my surprise, it tasted a bit funky and I definitely prefer the part wheat injera (they also used the 100% teff injera in the appetizer dish but that dish was so coated in fat and berbere spice that it was a bit different than eating the 100% teff injera plain). Anyway, now I don’t have to wonder about the 100% teff injera anymore and know I definitely prefer it half and half.
My dining companion refused to eat with his hands so they brought him silverware and I happily ate with my hands because it just seems wrong to me to eat Ethiopian food with silverware!
Lalibela was very quiet and tranquil at lunch and it is quite a bit more upscale than my usual haunt Buna. I think it is definitely a good alternative for those who want a more upscale experience than Buna, and although I will continue to hang out primarily at Buna, I would happily return to Lalibela.