Restaurant Review: Ethiopian and Eritrean Cuisine

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

If you have yet to eat East African food, you have something important to do this weekend. Meat eaters and vegetarians alike can enjoy scooping up red and yellow lentil dishes with the distinctive injera. West Philly is home to many inexpensive restaurants just south of UPenn. Most locations feature an imported drinks list and the option of low seating around a small circular table. Though slow service seems to be as indicative of Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants as the berbere seasoning, the experience makes for a relaxed and enjoyable night out. Therefore, grab several friends or a date and head to 49th St. station to find one of the locations the Daily Gazette has scoped out for you. Enjoy!

Dahlak: Eritrean Bar and Cuisine $
Dahlak is usually cited as the best of its kind in Philadelphia. Prices are higher than other places and the menu provides more options. In addition to the usual art and intentionally cultural decorations, the green and red lighting provides an interesting setting. Dahlak is high quality, but may have more in name than quality over its competitors.
4708 Baltimore Av, Philadelphia, PA

Abyssinia Restaurant $
Service has varied with each visit to Abyssinia. Once it was clearly a single waitress waiting on all tables and spending time in the kitchen. Even though all of these restaurants have slow service, that made for the second slowest I’ve ever received. Despite this drawback, Abyssinia provides delicious food for very cheap. Servings on the vegetarian combination were much larger than I have received at other restaurants. A tentative favorite on this list.
229 S 45th St, Philadelphia, PA

Gojjo Restaurant & Bar $
This restaurant provides a little more emphasis on the bar than the restaurant. The atmosphere is welcoming though, even without the East African nicknacks other places find necessary. The menu contained fewer vegetarian options than nearby Dahlak, but more than made up for it with the best seasonings I’ve tasted.
4540 Baltimore Av, Philadelphia, PA

Almaz Cafe $
Situated conveniently in center city far from other Ethiopian restaurants, Almaz is a delicious restaurant disguised as a cafe and ice cream shop. Large ice cream cones decorate the windows, and one could possibly not suspect that more than typical food was served until reading the menu. Despite this, delicious Ethiopian food arrives with slightly faster than typical service. But do have some ice cream as well.
140 S 20th St, Philadelphia, PA

Do you have any favorite restaurants to suggest? Or perhaps somewhere you’d rather not go to again? Leave a message in the comments!


3 thoughts on “Restaurant Review: Ethiopian and Eritrean Cuisine

  • January 21, 2008 at 1:28 am

    I just went to Abyssinia earlier tonight with a group of Swatties. I was not impressed.

    We got the meat combination platter, which came 1.5 hours after we arrived. There was one waitress in the whole dining room.

    I didn’t care too much for the food either. Maybe Ethiopean is not my thing.

  • January 21, 2008 at 8:45 am

    Vegetarian restaurants in philly next time, perhaps?

  • July 24, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    East African food is very different in Tanzania, kenya and is NOT anything like this.


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