I Got My Hands All Over Israel’s Ethiopian Food!
I love eating with my hands. There’s no middleman fork or spoon in between my taste buds and the actual taste. My favorite food to stuff my face with is Ethiopian. And while this country may lack in Mexican food (my familiar angry rant) it almost makes up for it with Ethiopian food.
When it comes to Ethiopian restaurants you need to seek them out, they don’t find you. They’re hidden all over Jerusalem and I assume they take a similar pattern in other cities. They’re small and everyone is really friendly. Until you go to a place at least three or four times, you feel like you are actually walking into someone’s kitchen. In fact one place I went to was basically a home and when we walked in I felt like I had just become the uninvited guest that they always have an extra plate for, just in case.
I have found one restaurant where I go on a regular basis. Don’t ask me the name, because I am not sure if it even has one. But what’s in a name after all? The food is amazing and I’ll tell you how to get there. And then someone will read this and tell me the name and I’ll appreciate it but forget it and still refer to it as my yummy Ethiopian restaurant (thank you in advance).
How do you get to this hole in the wall? Get to King George and Agripas (the Felafel King place is right next to the light at the intersection). Walk up the hill keeping on the right hand side. There will be a few narrow alley entrances. Go down one of them and the Ethiopian restaurant will be on your left hand side with green doors and an Ethiopian flag. Which alley way? Now, why would I spoil all the fun of telling you exactly where it is? I want you to find it on your own. It’s a part of the experience!
Once you get there, you might get funny stares (the whole kitchen-uninvited-guess-thing) but they will warm up to you right away. Ask for a menu and take a seat. The menus are in Amharic (Semitic Ethiopian language), Hebrew and now in English-they know we are coming!
If it’s your first time eating this food, I would start with the basics and order injera (a large sourdough flatbread about 50cm or 20in in diameter and made out of fermented teff flour) with different types of salads and dips added right on top of it. This is the part where you use your hands. Just tear in and start dipping. Don’t question what’s on your plate just eat the colorful variety of veggies and beans and hope your stomach agrees with your choices.
After your first tasting, you may want to venture out, but to tell you the truth I have remained a fan of the veggie option which seems to have new salads and dips every time I go there. Ethiopian food is healthy (probably) and decently priced (I think it was in the NIS 30-40 range the last time I was there). Add a strong coffee at the end of the meal to get the full effect. You don’t have to drink the coffee with your hands!
Here’s a list of other restaurants that Becca- my skinny co-blogger and friend- found online. And a voucher from Ethio-Israel Restaurant (I found that because I am cheap). Any additions would be great!
Opening hours: 9:00 to 23:00
Address: Agripas St. 10, City Center, Jerusalem
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday, 12:00 to 1:00
Address: Elyashar St. 5, City Center, Jerusalem
Address: 17 Jaffa Rd., City Center, Jerusalem