While I love and constantly sing my praises of Tacoma, there are a few things that I wish existed in the city (food-wise) that currently do not. Exhibit 1: a vegan fine dining establishment, a la Portabello in Portland and Sutra or Carmelita north in Seattle. If someone built it, I believe we’d most assuredly come. Exhibit 2: a single Ethiopian restaurant. If you’ve never experienced Ethiopian food but have restaurants nearby in your city, I urge you to visit one on your next evening dining out. Not all of us are as fortunate to have one so nearby!
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) 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: 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.
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Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant (Central District)
2800 E. Cherry St.
Seattle, WA 98122