Melbourne is home to many cuisines and there are hundreds of restaurants around town where visitors and locals can fill their hungry bellies with delicious, and often cheap, meals. Ethiopian food in Melbourne has grown in popularity over the years and it’s not surprising that Ethiopian restaurants have popped up to meet the demand.
There are lots of Ethiopian restaurants throughout Melbourne to try, all offering authentic dishes and the unique opportunity to eat a meal sans cutlery. Ethiopian restaurants will serve many scrumptious stews and sauces, tibs and wats, atop large rounds of fluffy injera (staple Ethiopian bread) for guests to pull apart and enjoy. All meals are served with the intention of “breaking bread”; sharing among friends and family while building strong connections. Some restaurants even offer guests an authentic Ethiopian coffee experience.
Here are just a few Ethiopian restaurants around Melbourne where you can indulge in an authentic Ethiopian meal at good prices. Just be sure to arrive with an empty tummy!
Wander into this cosy shopfront on Racecourse Road in Melbourne’s north-west to experience hearty “slow food from the horn of Africa”. The space is adorned in traditional Ethiopian carvings, straw baskets and wall hangings, all adding to The Abyssinian’s warm ambience. There are plenty of dishes on the menu to satisfy meat-eaters as well as vegetarians, though a combination plate offers the best value and a chance to sample many of the chef’s personally-selected favourites such as pumpkin dubba, lentil tumtummo or hoswas, a seasonal vegetable mix seasoned in spices. Service is prompt, friendly and knowledgeable, and the beer list gives guests the opportunity to sample six Ethiopian beers. Bookings are advised, particularly on weekends.
277 Racecourse Road, Kensington Victoria Australia 3031. Phone (03) 9376 8754.
Open Monday to Saturday 5.30pm to 10.00pm, closed Sunday.
Gibe African Restaurant
Gibe African Restaurant in the heart of Dandenong in Melbourne’s south-east is a spacious locale for devouring a myriad wat and moreish injera. The walls are washed in white, seating is comfortable and service is personable. Care is taken for dietary requirements and suggestions are offered with enthusiasm. Gibe African Restaurant prides itself on serving exotic food featuring carefully-selected layers of aromatic spices and herbs. This pride is tasted in delicious servings of vegetables such as aticlt wat and missir kik wat, seasoned split lentils, all served with rolls of injera. A combination, yetsome beyayinetu, is also on hand for those who want to try a bit of everything. Gibe, like all Ethiopian restaurants around Melbourne, serve piping hot Ethiopian coffee. Yet, Gibe offers its respected guests a full coffee service. For $15, coffee is prepared – beans roasted and brewed then coffee served in front of your eyes using a traditional jebena (coffee pot).
108 Foster Street, Dandenong Victoria Australia 3175. Phone (03) 9792 9929.
Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
The Horn African Café and Restaurant
Another cosy destination, located in Melbourne’s inner east, is The Horn African Café and Restaurant where guests feel right at home in this converted terrace house. Guests can choose from many authentic and modern Ethiopian dishes and a selection of African beers. In the warmer months, guests relax in the courtyard while live Ethiopian jazz, hip hop and funk can be enjoyed in the front bar area Thursdays and Sundays year round. Like other Ethiopian restaurants, there are entrees to nibble on such as samboosa parcels of lentils though the mains are striking. Opt for a keysirr wat – beetroot, carrot, potato and spinach – and shiro wat of black-eyed and split peas. Ethiopian doughnuts are also on the menu for those looking for a sweet finish to this sumptuous meal.
20 Johnston Street, Collingwood Victoria Australia 3066. Phone (03) 9417 4670.
Open Wednesday to Friday 7pm until late, Saturday 6.30pm until late, Sunday 3pm until 10pm, closed Monday and Tuesday.