After experiencing Ethiopian restaurants in Chicago, Portland and Salt Lake City, I would have to say hands down that Salt Lake City has it going on. The once African market/restaurant dropped the market about a year ago making it the African Restaurant. Those who haven’t gone and visited this diamond in the rough are missing out. Bullale, the owner, immediately and graciously invites you to sit anywhere you would like: traditional Ethiopian or Western seating.
Bullale was able to provide a description and recommendation of what to order. We decided on the ultimate combo, wal-maka plate, which is an assortment of a couple of beef entrees, chard greens, potatoes, lentils, cabbage, beets, cheese and other samplings. The dish was perfect to share, vibrant, flavorful, certainly not spicy, and an exotic treat for anybody – family with small children included! Ethiopian food is served without utensils. The dishes are created by placing the entrees on top of a sour/spongy bread called budenaa, also known as injera. Even for this adult, it was fun to simply tear some bread, pinch food into it, and enjoy dinner in a different way.
Bullale wasn’t overwhelming and gave us our space to enjoy the meal. That doesn’t mean that she wasn’t caring or engaging: when we asked her questions about Ethiopia, she became very excited to share about where she was from, the food, clothing, the coffee, and was quick to share photos of her family.
The restaurant was clutter free and clean, but unfortunately the ambiance was a bit distracting with a large plasma TV. However, it didn’t sway us from partaking in a unique dining outing, nor should it sway you. The only corky thing that we experienced was finding a shower in the bathroom, but hey – it didn’t impact our dining experience in any way.