Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant

Has anyone tried Lalibela yet? Garret Snyder has an intriguing write-up in the LA Weekly. The menu looks very promising, especially the Veggie Utopia, which contains several items you don’t usually find in veggie combos at Ethiopian places in LA.

It’s getting good write ups. We tried to go for a group birthday dinner. But they were unsure about accommodating our party. We went to Merkato instead. When we were leaving Merkato we looked in Lalibela and it was empty. If they had said yes to our party we could have filled the whole place. Oh well. Another time.

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I didn’t understand that rave review and then a two star reward. What did I miss?

I generally assume the stars are some sort of objectively calculated conclusion while the review is the critic’s emotional response. I am by no means a professional food critic, but there are places with just-okay food that I value more highly than some other places with better food. The dining experience is not all in the mouth by any means, and even what is there can skew my judgment by being unexpected or audacious. Although I really liked the food, for instance, we will never return to El Arco Iris because of two hideously misbehaving children that the manager refused to do anything about. And while the food at Amigo’s in Pasadena is just okay, we love the place above all others and will go there forever, as long as the margaritas and the jukebox stay as sweet as they are.

this concept was what i was trying to get across when i tried and failed to communicate how important the FOH employees are to me.

My husband and I have gone twice and we’ve loved everything about it. It is,to my taste, the best Ethiopian restaurant I’ve eaten at. The food is seasoned perfectly. They have Ethiopian breakfast items which I haven’t seen in a restaurant previously. They were delicious. The service is delightful. The restaurant is owned by a woman who is the chef and her daughters who run the front of the house. They are eager to make sure that you enjoy your meal. I highly recommend Lalibela.

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Oh cool

Hi @Bigmouth & Ethiopian Food Lovers -

We wanted to check out Lalibela a couple of times before reporting. Here it is :slight_smile:.

Lalibela is what I would call an Ethiopian white tablecloth restaurant. It’s not as funky & festive as Merkato. Along with regulars you will see couples on a quiet date night. But it is also conducive to a party. The food definitely has the heat. But there is also a certain delicateness.

Mango Juice

They gave us honey water & “currant syrup” for flavoring.

Sambusa - Stuffed with lentils, grilled onions, jalapeños, herbs and served with a sauce made with cilantro & jalapeños.

Savory, spicy little pockets w/a slightly mellow sauce to compliment the heat of the filling. These need to be eaten right out of the kitchen to avoid oiliness. They were perfect today.


Some find injera to be a tolerable necessity… I mean me. If you’re the same, you will enjoy this. It’s lighter, less sour.

Veggie Combo - Salad, Shiro Wot (puréed chickpea stew), Gomen (spiced collard greens), Tikile Gomen (cabbage & carrots), Keke Aletcha (yellow split peas), Misir Wot (red lentils), Dinich Wot (potato & carrots)

I love lentils and split peas. The cabbage & carrots have a nice, sweet mildness. But the standout is the Shiro Wot (puréed chickpea stew). If you like heat, ask for it to be cooked with spiced butter.

Doro Wot (center) - Chicken stewed in special berbere sauce and seasoned butter; served with hardboiled eggs and homemade Ethiopian cottage-cheese

This was the center piece of the dish. We had a tasting of it at the City of Gold screening and just had to have it again. Crumble the egg, pull the tender, dark meat off the bone and dig in :yum:.

Ethiopian Amber Beer

They don’t have a liquor license. We bought the beer across the street at Merkato. Surprisingly smooth compliment to the spicy meal.

There is a back patio (not pictured) that could use a little help. But they have a sweet, little room where they perform a Traditional Coffee Ceremony. I definitely want to check this out. After all, Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee.

Service is sweet and laid-back :wink:.

I was going to add this as a late entry to Cheap Eats. But we went over-budget with the beer & sambusa starters. About $45. tip included. Not bad at all.

1025 S Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles CA. 90019


Nice report @TheCookie! Thanks for the pics and descriptions. Sounds nice. :slight_smile:

How does the food compare with Meals by Genet (another “fancy / nicer” Ethiopian restaurant as well)?


Thanks @Chowseeker1999 - I’m trying to recall. I actually don’t think I’ve had Genet’s food yet. Next on my list. I’ll get back to you :relaxed:.

Great report @TheCookie! I stopped by once for takeout a while back and recall enjoying the veggie combo. Been meaning to go back and eat in the restaurant itself, which is very pleasant, airy space. The people there are super friendly.

Definitely give Meals by Genet a try and let us know how you think it compares. For my money, that’s still the best Ethiopian food in town.

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Thanks @Bigmouth!

I will definitely try Meals by Genet now. It had been on the top of my list at one time, then slipped my mind. We’ll put back at the top. So many places so little time…

We love Lalibela more than Genet and equally to Buna and Merkato. Coffee ceremony is worth making the time for.