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Food & Dining in Ethiopia


Ethiopian food is one of the most unique in the world; most would agree that the look, feel and taste is quite different from other types of foods served around the world. The constant is a soft, flat bread known as injera. It is made out of teff, a grain harvested only in Ethiopia. Injera is served with various meat and vegetarian sauces.

Menus in the best hotels offer international food and Addis Ababa also has a number of good Chinese, Italian and Indian restaurants. Traditional restaurants in larger cities serve food in a grand manner around a brightly coloured basket-weave table called a masob. Before beginning the meal, guests will be given soap, water and a clean towel, and the right hand is used to break off pieces of bread with which the rest of the meal is gathered up.

Addis Ababa

Addis has hundreds of Cake and Coffee cafes. They sell various coffees, tea – black unless you ask for machiatto – and sometimes fruit juices.

The cafes along Bole Road and around the Piassa area are of a high standard and relatively inexpensive. Most are very similar to each other. Most cafes serve the common drink called 'sprice juice' (which is just fruit pulp served in layers in a glass). There are usually 3 layers from a selection of avocado, mango, papaya, banana, guava, etc. The juice is eaten with a spoon.

Restaurants like Connection (between Bole Road and Tele-Bole, next to Bole roundabout, close to German Kantine) that do not have an English menu are cheaper. You can have lunch (local food, spaghetti) for less then 20 birr. If you don't have a translator, ordering is a lot of fun.

Habesha on Bole Road, is a cultural restaurant that has traditional singing and dancing at night. If you're feeling brave, try the gored gored (cubes of heavily salted and spiced raw beef). Waiters are well mannered and kind, and most are very talented dancers.

Also on Bole Road, Team Mini is a friendly, high quality cultural restaurant serving traditional Ethiopian food. Be sure to try the mesir besiga (ground meat with lentils). At night, Team Mini features performances by traditional singers and dancers. The entertainment is not as good as that at Habesha, but the food is generally better.

The Limetree (Boston Partners Building, Bole Road) provides a good range of food including gourmet sandwiches, pasta and Arabic beef. A favourite hangout of ex-pats and NGO workers, the Limetree is nevertheless one of the best and surprisingly, affordable, restaurant/cafes in the capital.

Fisherman Restaurant (Mickey Leland Street, near Atlas Hotel) is a half-Chinese, half-Tibetan restaurant serving an excellent range of Asian cuisine and specialising in seafood.





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