gluten-free at Abyssinia Ethiopian restaurant

I’d never had Ethiopian food until I moved to Chicago into a neighborhood with a healthy Ethiopian population. I now understand what everyone who raved about it was talking about. It’s delicious – and there’s something really fun about eating with your hands, sans utensils. It’s also very affordable.

The first restaurant I tried in my Edgewater neighborhood was Abyssinia but I hadn’t been back since. The last time bk was here, we tried Ethiopian Diamond on the same street. It was good but not as good as I’d remembered the previous place to be. ED is also the oldest Ethiopian restaurant in the neighborhood and it’s large, with a full-bar and much slicker service. Abyssinia, by contrast, is very small and homey. There are usually only 2 or 3 people working and it’s a little slow, but there’s something about it I just liked better.

Since my brother was in town and he had never had Ethiopian cuisine, I decided to take him to Abyssinia for round two. We got a lamb dish I’ve since forgotten the name of and the veggie delight sampler. It’s a massive amount of food but apparently we were hungry because we ate nearly every last bite. For a massive amount of food and two Ethiopian coffees, I think we paid around $30. Like many of the other Ethiopian restaurants around here, Abyssinia typically uses an injera made from a blend of teff and wheat flour. Call ahead and let them know you want the gluten-free, all teff injera instead. I was able to call about 40 minutes before I wanted to come in but some places require more time than that. Ras Dashen, for instance, which is right next door, requires that you call the day before. You also have to pay a little extra for the all-teff bread at most places – ranging from about $3-5. 
The boy and I were joking awhile back about how taking a first date out for Ethiopian would be a really good litmus test – it’s a very intimate dining experience that involves tearing pieces of bread to use as sort of a make-shift spoon to scoop up food from a large communal plate. It would also be a great place to go with a group of good friends. 

Check it out:
Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant
5842 N Broadway St., Edgewater, Chicago.

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