Little Ethiopia

Could it change the culinary image of the Danforth?

By Scott Jeffries

Traditionally the Danforth has been known for its Greek town, but over the last five years there’s been a rise in a new culinary delight: Ethiopian cuisine. Between Pape and Coxwell station you’ll notice about a dozen Ethiopian restaurants right on the Danforth’s storefront.  I’ve been attracted to these new places as a vegetarian, so I imagine that has to be part of what’s going on.


“Our dishes are popular amongst vegetarians,” explains Michael Kidus, owner of the Dukem Ethiopian restaurant, “and our most popular dish is the vegetarian platter. It’s a selection of all our meatless dishes so it works as a sampler, and since the dishes are a bit exotic they’ll know which foods they like for next time.”

Ethiopian cuisine can draw both vegetarians and health conscious diners because many entrees consist of lentils — which are a good source of protein and fibre — as well as split peas, carrots, cabbage, red onions and potatoes (don’t worry, there also have popular meat dishes).

Each dish is prepared separately and is served on top a flatbread called injera. This bread –which is a complex carbohydrate – has a unique texture because it is spongy to the touch and is excellent at absorbing the sauces.

If you were to order vegetarian dishes at a Greek restaurant you’d probably get white rice, potatoes, pitas and hummus.  Could this give Ethiopian cuisine a competitive edge and get them into ‘Taste of the Danforth’?

“I really don’t think the Ethiopian population even compares to the Greek population.” replies Anthony Belete, owner of the Lalibela Ethiopian restaurant. “Plus, I can’t see food that’s so spicy and is strictly eaten by hand being very popular at the ‘Taste of the Danforth’ festival.”

Many of their satisfied customers – such as yours truly – are a bit more optimistic. The Danforth’s Ethiopian cuisine is definitely something worth checking out.

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