Hi everyone! I am Gee. Pedro and I have been friends for years now and he has invited me to make posts here occasionally! I live just outside Toronto in the suburb of Brampton! I love podcasts, world cuisines, and rainy days. I will be posting about food, events, tv shows, movies, and anything else that catches my fancy!
I have decided to start my first post with a visit to my favourite Ethiopian restaurant in Toronto. I don’t know where my readers are from but here in the Greater Toronto Area, one can easily find food from around the world. Ethiopian food is quite unique for being very vegetarian friendly and that suits me very well given that I have been a life long vegetarian!
ETHIOPIAN HOUSE – 4 Irwin Ave., Toronto
This is the entrance to the restaurant. You can see the Ethiopian flag flying proudly alongside the Canadian one. In the summer, the patio is always popping! I was first introduced to this place roughly 8 years ago by a close friend. Back then we used to check out different restaurants weekly and this one was his suggestion! Let’s go inside!
The main attraction of the downstairs eating area is this beautiful painting of the Rock Hewn Churches of Lalibela. They are ancient churches that are literally built into the ground. You should google them to see them in all their glory.
Some more delights of the interior. It is full of paintings and photographs depicting traditional and rural Ethiopian folk life. A lot of it prominently features Ethiopian women with different garbs and hairstyles. Not to forget that you also get to see a lot of Ethiopian tchotchkes some of which I wouldn’t mind buying if they sold them! And now onto the food!
One unique feature of Ethiopian food is that it is eaten with hands as opposed to using utensils. The main ‘vessel’ for eating is this unique bread called Injera. It is a soft, spongy, and slightly sour bread made from Teff flour. I like the Injera at Ethiopian House because it is the white kind as opposed to the brown variety that I have seen at some other Ethiopian restaurants. I just like the taste of this one. I think the closest distinction I would make is a preference for white bread over whole wheat.
Pictured above is my regular order at this restaurant. It is called the Vegetarian Bayaaynatu and features a small sample of 8 distinctly delicious veggie dishes. I was so hungry and enamoured by the dish that I dug right in without taking a picture! I had to stop myself and snap one before I could continue! It features dishes like Goman Wat (Collard Greens), Sherro Wat (Chick Pea powder mash in Berbere sauce), and Atakelt Wat (Mixed vegetables in tomato sauce) among others. For a full listing check out their menu here. Also as far as I am aware, all these dishes are also vegan and the bread is gluten-free.
If you can handle a bit of heat then another must-have to order is the Senig Karia. Can you guess which item I am talking about? I’ll give you a hint: it’s green and some would say an ungodly large amount for one person. It’s the Jalapeño pepper you see gently sitting there! Not to worry though, it is completely deseeded and then stuffed with a mixture of tomatoes and onions. It gives that added extra kick to your tongue. My friend tried making it at home but he could never get the right mixture that the restaurant stuffs their peppers with.
Other features of the restaurant include an elaborate and very traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony which needs to be ordered well in advance. It is brought out on a platter with Frankincense burning in an incense holder and a side of popcorn! The scent just completely fills up the room and it is quite intoxicating. Unfortunately we didn’t order it this time so I couldn’t take a picture.
Overall, it’s a great restaurant that I return to time and time again with new friends and old ones too! You should definitely try out some Ethiopian food in your city or go to this restaurant. The service is top notch and the restaurant has got some great reviews from local publications.
That’s it for now! Until next time!