Montreal’s Best Ethiopian Eats

Ethiopian restaurants are scarce in this city, but a handful of establishments invite adventurous diners to pull up to their messob (table), roll up their sleeves and ditch utensils in favour of injera, a soft, teff-flour flatbread used to scoop up – and soak up – their delicious meal.

Magdala
The former home of Au Messob d’Or re-opened in 2008 as Magdala, with Chef Teshome Belachew retaining his role in the kitchen. Try his doro wot, berbere-marinated spicy chicken with hard-boiled egg – or the vegetarian variation with split lentils, miser wot – and be sure to get there for the coffee ceremony on Friday and Saturday nights. Mains, $11–$15, 1222 Bishop St., 514-866-7667.

Nil Bleu
The city’s oldest Ethiopian establishment, the one with a waterfall in the wall, invites patrons to sample its meat and vegetarian combo platters, which include key wot (beef in hot sauces) and yekik alicha (curried split peas with ginger). ?Mains, $12–$18. 3706 St. Denis St., 514-285-4628.

Abiata
With a grass roof over the bar, animal prints on the walls and another waterfall, Nil Bleu’s sister restaurant creates an equally exotic setting for sipping Giraffe beer and feasting on yemesser wot (spicy lentils) and yebeg alicha (lamb with potatoes and carrots). Mains, $12–$18. 3435 St. Denis St., 514-281-0111.

Okambo Café
Injera, berbere and alicha sauces don most of the dishes at Okambo Café, even those from Eritrea, the nation just north of Ethiopia, including zigni (beef stew) and dorho tsebhi (chicken stew). Mains, $7–$12. 1301 Ontario St. E., 514-523-8754.

Image courtesy of Stu Spivack.

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