Since I moved to New Orleans, the restaurant I find myself frequenting the most is Cafe Abyssina. Yes, of all the places in NOLA, my go-to is an Ethiopian restaurant. At this point it’s my comfort food away from home.
Cafe Abyssinia is located on Magazine Street, where they have a cozy outdoor patio perfect for gatherings and wine nights (another plus -- they're BYOB!). They're also very flexible and can accommodate large parties. They helped me host a 20+ person event once, and the bill came down to less than $20/person and there were plenty of leftovers. This food is meant to be shared, so bring friends!
What's not comforting about Ethiopian food? There's hearty stews, carby injera*, and lots of flavor. Here are some of my favorite dishes to order:
- Doro wot - a spicy chicken stew seasoned with berbere spice and served with a hard boiled egg
- Lamb tibs - lamb meat sauteed with onions, garlic, and pepper
- Doro tibs with spinach - cubed chicken sauteed with spinach and onions
- Fish goulash - white fish in a tomato based stew
- Kitfo - lean beef sauteed with Ethiopian butter and mittmitta spice
- Shiro - ground lentil and chickpea stew with berbere spice
- Yamisr wot - red lentils and onions in a spicy sauce
And if you don't know what to order, ask the sole waiter. He's not too talkative, but he's young, handsome, friendly, and will recognize your face the next time you come back.
* Injera is a fermented flat bread made with teff, which you essentially use as an utensil to eat with. Teff is a type of small grain commonly found in Ethiopia and is high in protein, fiber, and many minerals, such as calcium.
3511 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA