The Big Felafel



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).

food11How 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!

1

Me eating my yummy Ethiopian food

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.

Ali takes a chance of coffee

Ali takes a chance on coffee

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!

Shegar
Opening hours: 9:00 to 23:00
Address: Agripas St. 10, City Center, Jerusalem
Not Kosher

Ethio-Israel
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday, 12:00 to 1:00
Address: Elyashar St. 5, City Center, Jerusalem
Phone: 02.622.3992
Kosher
Eluna voucher

Ansara
Address: 17 Jaffa Rd., City Center, Jerusalem
Phone: 054.698.6664
Not Kosher

More in Tel Aviv: A list of Ethiopian Restaurants

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Comments

  1. Good idea, Felafel ladies….I’ve never had Ethiopian food, the time is now. This place is right by my apartment. Going to check it out pronto. How do you say “pronto” in Ethiopian?

    Benji

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 10 months ago
  2. * shira says:

    hey girls- thanks for the tip- i love eating with my hands as well. when I used a fork and knife, I just feel like I’m pretending to be civilized.But I’m not- I’m a barbarian and I want my food at a direct source to mouth ratio. i suggest we start an anti-utensils movement. who’s in?
    im in the states getting fat off of other (unhealthy) finger foods- when I get back, I’m going there!

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 10 months ago
  3. I was so inspired that I went with a friend this morning. There was some kind of language barrier between us and the lady there who only knew a few words in Hebrew. After 10 minutes of sitting there at the table and playing charades with her, we kind of figured that they weren’t really open yet. Another time…

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 10 months ago
  4. * LB says:

    There’s a THIRD Ethiopian place in Jerusalem? Considering a friend got food poisoning at the last one I went to – maybe I should try this one, too.

    And anti-utensils sounds good. When I was in India I was told that people eat with their hands there (imagine eating a rice/sauce dish with your hands…) because it’s like add another sense to the food experience, in addition to taste and smell.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 10 months ago
  5. * Molly says:

    Benji- So you were just another kitchen intruder. Go at night- 6-7pm, that’s the best.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 10 months ago
  6. * Lauren says:

    Is the restaurant that you raved about in your blog kosher?

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 10 months ago
  7. * Rebecca says:

    Hey Molly, I believe the restaurant with no name is Shegar, as listed above.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 10 months ago
  8. * Molly says:

    Lauren- I really don’t know- meaning, I have only ever ordered the vegetarian and never looked for a certificate. Truth is, even if they are I doubt they could afford to pay for the certificate. I know that Ethio-Israel is kosher and I put the voucher from Eluna (Eluna only has vouchers for Kosher places). I hope that answers your question.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 10 months ago
  9. * sarah says:

    b’h…hi there. always wanting to experience cultural foods. my main concern is kosher…any of these places kosher??? thanks.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 9 months ago
  10. * iweisser says:

    Dear Molly,

    My wife an I took the day off, did a museum visit and had 1 1/2 hours to get back to Modiin to get the kids from gan/keitana. Inspired by your post we went to Ethio-Israel in Jerusalem. It took us a while to find it until we found it and, behold! the place was closed and probably out of business. So we walked to Ben Yehuda and had a good’ol shwarma. I still got cravings/curiosity of Ethiopian food.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  11. * Molly says:

    Closed!! No! What time of day was is? I know a lot of those places only open around 6pm for dinner. I hope they didn’t go out of business. You have to try again- if you have Ethiopian food cravings they won’t go away until satisfied!

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  12. * iweisser says:

    It was about 2 pm and the place looked closed for good. The coupon we had from eluna said it opened at 12pm. We tried calling but the number was disconnected. When we arrived it made sense that their number was out of service. I will try to find out if the others are Kosher.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  13. * Molly says:

    Your quest for Ethiopian food has made you into our detective! Thanks for your help, and I hope you are successful in finding a new Kosher place- because Ethiopian food is just that yummy!

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  14. * Jackie.Y says:

    Hey guys, Thanks for the info. Someone can recommend a place in Tel aviv or Rishon lezion area? I heard the did a report on tv few days ago about a place in Tel aviv but unfortunately didn’t got the name….. Thanks

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 11 months ago
  15. * Jeff says:

    Just so that no one gets disappointed, it looks like Ethio-Israel is open, at a new address:

    5 Elishar
    They say it’s open: http://www.gojerusalem.com/discover/item_570/Ethio-Israel
    GoogleMaps also has a review–as recently as 9 months ago, at least. Not closed, just moved.

    | Reply Posted 4 years ago


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