Greek food is nice, but don't you feel like trying something different from time to time? If so, this place is for you! It is really different and tasty as well, if you like spicy food.
It seems there are a good number of Ethiopian immigrants in Athens, and in Kypseli area there are two or three Ethiopian restaurants. We visited one of these, Lalibela, listed in the Athenian information magazine 'Athenorama' and Traveladvisor website (August 2008).
It is situated in Naxou Street in northern Athens (see the Google Map below). We went there from Kato Patissia metro station, but later realised that it was closer from Agios Nikolaos station. It should take about 10 min walk.
Opening hours are from lunch time to the evening. When we phoned them a day before, we were told it was advisable to book. Seeing that there was hardly anyone during our two hour lunch, it might mean that they don't necessarily open for lunch time, if there is no booking. You can do it in English, so no worries.
This is how the interior look like. The walls are decorated with Ethiopian paintings, posters, crosses, etc. It is pretty spacious, but there are only about 10 tables.
The restaurant is run by an Ethiopian lady named Elizabeth. She is a painter as well. She said she has this place over 10 years. Lalibela is a place in Ethiopia famous for churches cut into monolithic rock. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and a very holy place for the Ethiopian Orthodox people.
The menu is written in Ethiopian, Greek and English. Mainly beef dishes and there are also some chicken, lamb and veggie ones. All cost about €10 and the price includes Ethiopian bread called Injera (the grey stuff you see in the right side of the photo), salad and Ethiopian coffee.
The Ethiopians seem to eat by hand, and we did so as well. If you prefer to use knife and fork, I am sure they provide you with.
The food is pretty spicy - not necessarily hot, but some are - and closest thing I can think of is Indian curry. However, the spices used should be different and there is not much similarity in taste. The Injera bread has spongy texture and particular sour taste.
Ethiopian coffee after meal (it was written on the menu that it was to be served before the meal, but when we visited it was served after, which we prefer).
The coffee beans are roasted just before milling and brewing. It tasted pretty bitter. In bitterness it is similar to Italian espresso, but the Ethiopian one is less dense. I think we are supposed to put quite a lot of sugar, but without milk. We were offered incense called Libani at the same time. Elisabeth explained to us that in Ethiopia coffee drinking is not just consuming the beverage but a social occasion in which neighbours and friends are invited and conversation, as well as the coffee, is enjoyed. It should be somehow ceremonious.
It took two hours to finish our meal. It is not a place for quick meal, but for long, relaxing one.
The price for two meals, one coke and one bottle of water was €26.
Naxou 26-28 Kipseli,
Tel. 210 8652495
See larger map
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