If someone were to ask me, what does Ethiopian food taste like, I really wouldn’t know what to say. Being the adventurous eater that I am, I decided to go to Nile Ethiopian Restaurant. Driving up to the restaurant, I began to have some doubts about this place. It’s located right in the super touristy part of Orlando. I-drive. From my past experiences, the food on I-drive isn’t something to brag about. While sitting in traffic (as expected on I-drive), I had plenty of time to wonder what kind of food I would be having tonight. Oh, google maps, don’t fail me now! I finally find the place, located behind Buffalo Wild Wings. This is not a restaurant one would happen to stumble upon.
Some of my vegetarian friends recommended this place, so I had some idea about this place. As I walked in, I was immediately greeted by a server. The warm earthy tones in the restaurant was a nice touch. To my right, I see this coffee ceremony set up. I am really digging the ambiance of the place. There is the usual dining area and to the left of the restaurant is the traditional style seating. Unfortunately for me, they had been very busy and didn’t have the areas cleaned.
As I browsed through the menu, the homemade honeywine caught my eye. Honey… mmmmmm. I always enjoy mead so this was right up my alley. I had fun drinking out of this glass. I could compare this to mead but this is much tastier. Imagine mead with more fruity flavor and less cough syrup-like flavor. I could probably drink 4 more of these. Probably not a good idea though. There was also some Ethiopian beer, Hakim Stout. I was a bit hesitant on the beer at first since I’m not an avid beer drinker. It wasn’t as bitter as I would have thought it to be. I could possibly drink all of this too. *gasp* I think I’m making progress with beer.
The menu has plenty of selections, vegetarian items, poultry, beef, lamb, seafood. The Chef’s Special caught my eye since it allows me to try different entrees. I’m definitely about variety! The Chef’s Special included: Chicken Doro Wat, Doro Alicha, Beef Alicha, Beef Tibs, Cabbage, Collard Greens, Lentils, and Split Peas. The yellow split peas was good overall, but nothing terribly exciting. I felt the same way with the red lentils. The cabbage had a lot of flavor as well as the collard greens. I think the chicken doro alicha was quite tasty. It was my first time eating Ethiopian food and I didn’t realize there were no serving utensils. I had to use injera to eat my food. Injera is a type of flatbread made from teff flour. You can expect a sour flavor and traditionally, it’s even more sour. I thought it was plenty sour already. The texture was a bit different to say the least. Imagine a soft, spongy, cold, slightly sticky crêpe. So, you rip pieces of the injera to grab your food. The sponginess was great in sopping up the sauces. The meal itself was on top of injera.
This truly was a learning experience. Definitely a filling meal! Overall, everything was quite flavorful and I definitely recommend it for everyone to experience at least once.
Oh, and if you’re wondering what Ethiopian food tastes like, I’d say it’s has hearty, earthy flavors. It’s like Indian minus the spiciness with some Mediterranean influences. Better yet, you guys try it and tell me what you think of it!