Addis Abeba

I have known about Addis Abeba for years. A friend of mine who loves Ethiopian food and lives in Chicago told me it had been his favorite restaurant in Wrigleyville

He has been driving to Evanston at least once a month ever since the restaurant moved. So, last Saturday I grabbed my husband and we decided to try it out.

My first impression was good: cute, homey, nice artwork on the walls, pleasant background music, and a very friendly and attentive staff.

Wanting to try as many of the dishes as possible (and having no idea what to order), we chose the Chef’s tasting menu. This consisted of three vegetables and one meat dish per person. For the two of us this meant six vegetables and two meat dishes. It was all delicious! The food was uniformly flavorful and fresh.

My favorite was the Yaeter kik alitcha (yellow split peas) and Gomen (spinach); my husband liked the beef and chicken dishes. This is serious family-style service; you eat off one communal platter, sharing and reaching across each other to grab a bite of each dish. All meals are served with Injera, which is flat, spongy bread made from tef, a gluten-free grain found only in the African Horn. It serves as both plate and utensils.

Ethiopians eat with their right hands, using pieces of injera to pick up bites of entrées and side dishes. No utensils are ever used. Addis Abeba had a nice wine list and we ordered a Mondavi White Zinfandel. I am told that the Ethiopian honey wine is wonderful but my husband had been adventurous enough for one night so I decided not to push my luck. All and all, it was a very good meal and a fun eating experience.