Vegan Food

Ethiopian Fix: Lalibela Restaurant

This guest post was written by Dawn, and originally appeared on the Vegan Moxie blog, a South Sound-based vegan food/lifestyle blog.

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While I love and constantly sing my praises of Tacoma, there are a few things that I wish existed there, (food-wise) that currently do not. Exhibit 1: a vegan fine dining establishment. If someone built it, I believe we’d most assuredly come. Exhibit 2: a single Ethiopian restaurant.

We Tacomans venture to Seattle for our vegan Ethiopian, because as to my knowledge, Olympia doesn’t have one either. This just makes it an every once in a while treat for us, and thankfully Seattle is teeming with Ethiopian restaurants of varying levels of hole-in-the-wall-ness. I haven’t been to all, (there are approximately one zillion, you Seattleites are so lucky!) but our favorites, Queen Sheba and Kokeb, are both lovely in ambiance, service and delectable vegan options.

As we frequent both of those locations primarily for our Ethiopian fix, we wanted to try a new place while visiting this past weekend. Yelp is kind of hard to wade through for a suggestion on this, because almost all restaurants have the same ratings and all have veggie platter options. So I took a shot in the dark and picked a restaurant at random in Columbia City [editors note: Central District]: Lalibela Restaurant.

Lalibela has a whole page dedicated to pure vegetarian/vegan dishes, and they should be pretty familiar to you if you’ve ever tried the cuisine. If not, Ethiopian food is mostly composed of staple ingredients such as potatoes, onions, greens and lentils that all different spicy flavors. Gomen, Foskua, Misir Wot, Fosolia and aptly named Cabbage all don the menu, and my favorite way to eat Ethiopian food at any restaurant, (the veggie combo platter) gives you a little bit of everything on the menu, save for a few dishes. When you share with a friend, you really get a lot of bang for your buck.

The boy and I split this monster veggie combo, complete with warm, soft, sour and delightfully spongy injera. His favorite was hands down the Fosolia, and I was the biggest fan of the Gomen, (collard greens), cooked down with onion, ginger, garlic and other spices. I don’t even want to tell you how fast we ate all of this, plus our injera, plus the injera that the food comes on. It’s that good, and/or we were just that hungry.

If you’re in the mood for Ethiopian and are near the Central District, I think you should definitely check out Lalibela. Though we did pass about five other Ethiopian restaurants on the way up, you can be assured that the food is tasty and vegan at this cozy spot.

Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant (Central District)
2800 E. Cherry St.
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 322-8565

6 thoughts on “Ethiopian Fix: Lalibela Restaurant

  1. Cool, maybe I'll try an Ethiopian restaurant in my home town, now that I know what it looks like and there are vegan options in the cuisine! Thanks for sharing this information, I am not very adventurous in ethnic restaurants….

  2. My husband and I live near Queen Sheba and love it. One notorious day we went there with a huge appetite and devoured a veggie platter in maybe 10 minutes. I'm not actually confident we hit double digit minutes. I'd really like to pretend it was longer, but alas. Ethiopian is one of my favorite discoveries about Seattle.We're on the eye out for other Ethiopian places to try, and Lalibela sounds great. Thank you for this tip!!!! :)

  3. Great post! Most Ethiopians are orthodox christians and have many "fasting" days throughout the year. When Ethiopians fast they do not eat any animal products including butter. So, veggie combos are fasting food. Every Ethiopian restaurant has a veggie combo. Some are far superior to others. I have eaten at almost every Ethiopian restaurant in Seattle and now there is only one or two that I will go to often. The hands down best Ethiopian in Seattle is Enat in Northgate. No other restaurant has come close. Here's how I judge Ethiopian food.1. How is the injera(spongy bread)? The darker the color the better. Injera is made with teff, a very healthy grain. If your injera is white then it is made with white flour(it's much cheaper). The injera must be made fresh daily. You can tell when the injera is older, it will crumble.2. Freshness. Do they make their food fresh. Many Ethiopian restaurants heat up the leftovers and serve them for a few days. To my knowledge there are only a few places that make your order fresh; Cafe Selam and Enat.3. Shiro. Shiro is chickpea dish and is the quintessential Ethiopian veggie dish. The spice, color and consistency are key. I can taste the shiro and know how good everything else will be.4.Consistency. You can't tell how good and Ethiopian restaurant is by only one visit. You need to visit at least twice to see if they are consistent.Sorry for the long post. I'm a vegan and the only food I eat out is Ethiopian. I only eat out at places that can cook better than I can and all of the other vegan establishments have yet to prove they can.

  4. Enat is super vegan friendly, and my other favorite place is Rash Dashen, on 28th and Cherry. The outside is nothing to write home about, but the inside is beautiful, warm, and clean. Their veggie platter is the freshest. You should visit them too!

  5. Sorry Ben! Good catch. Now we'll have to implement some sort of editorial oversight and review for guest blogging. Oh wait, no we won't. :) Have you been to Rash Dashen?

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