Tag Archives: restaurants in atlanta

Hearty Ethiopian

19 Aug

About seven years ago, I used to think that Ethiopian food was only for vegetarians. After writing an article on Ethiopian cuisine (during my freelance writing days in college) and trying different dishes with Ethiopian classmates and friends, this hearty and spice filled food cannot be limited to vegetarians. In fact, most of the dishes I order include lamb, fish, or beef!

Lamb tibs

Ribeye goden tibs – the bf’s favorite

When taking first-timers, my favorite spot in Atlanta to take them is Desta Ethiopian Kitchen just off of Clairmont Rd. It’s authentic, served individually for those who aren’t comfortable sharing family style, and provide eating utensils (if you prefer those over eating with your hands). The menu is great at explaining what everything is with a key/dictionary for common food terms (Tibs, shiro, firfir, gomen, ater etc.) and includes substitution options for those who may prefer other sides instead of the traditional injera.

Injera

What’s Injera?

Injera in Ethiopian cuisine is equivalent to rice for asian dishes. It’s served with everything and goes with everything. It’s often described as “spongy sour bread” known for its great absorbency, but with the flexibility of a tortilla. In some dishes, such as fit fit or fir fir (which literally means broken), the injera is cooked as part of the entree with the meat and seasonings. This dish is named as so because the injera is broken into smaller pieces and mixed with the sauce and spices. When eating in the traditional style with your hands, medium-sized pieces of injera are torn from the rolled injera and are used to grab or pick up other food. This allows the injera to soak up the flavor and prevents the sauce and spices from getting all over your hands. And even if you do get a little messy, the way I tend to get, there’s hand sanitizer at every table along with wet naps that they provide with the check.

Lamb tibs

Lamb tibs with a side of mesir (without gomen)

Lamb tibs with gomen

Lamb tibs cooked with gomen and a side of miser

The good stuff

I usually skip over the appetizers and order straight for the entrees. I’ve been to Desta quite a few times with different groups of people, but my favorites have been the fish, lamb and ribeye. The BF loves the ribeye or goden tibs (served on a sizzling plate), my father and a few friends prefer the fish tibs (with tilapia) or the fish dulet when they want something lighter and I usually end up with a lamb or fish entree. I can’t speak to the sandwiches or pasta because I am usually looking for a hearty meal, but I’ve heard everything on the menu is pretty great.

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Lamb cooked with gomen served with mashed split peas on the side

Fish dulet served with salad

Fish dulet served with salad

Fit fit served wrapped

Fit fit served wrapped

Fit fit (unveiled)

Fit fit (unveiled)

The other good stuff

While I typically order water or mango juice, some of my other favorite drinks for special occasions are tej (honey wine),  tella (beer) or their famous coffee. They also serve a variety of desserts, but I usually don’t have any room in my stomach for anything else. Do you have a favorite Ethiopian dish? Let me know and I’d love to check it out!

Desta Ethiopian Kitchen

3086 Briarcliff Rd.
NE Atlanta, GA 30329

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BYOB- Bring your own bottle of wine that is…

22 Mar

Although I wish I could take credit for discovering these hidden gems, a few friends actually found these restaurants where guests are welcome to bring their own bottle of wine, kept chilled if necessary and most importantly, NO CORKING FEE!

Thai Silk Thai Cuisine and Sushi Bar (formerly Rama 5 of Thailand)

318 E Paces Ferry Rd NE Atlanta, GA 30305

It was a small group of ladies and perfect for the Monday and Tuesday special: $20 for 1 appetizer, 2 entrees. (Check out the specials menu online.) Although we weren’t aware of the BYOBottle, we still had a great time enjoying both the food and company. My dinner partner and I split the larb consisting of spiced ground pork with red onions served over lettuce with a side of sliced cabbage leaves eaten like a mini sushi roll or eggroll.

Other dishes included stir fried dishes, the 4 most popular types of curry(masaman, yellow, panang and green), popular noodles dishes such as pad thai and fried rice (including pineapple fried rice).

spiced ground pork with red onions

 

My fellow dinner mates also allowed me to take photos of their dishes.

Chicken Pad Prik (stir fried dish with green beans, onions)

Red curry with red and green bell peppers

Chicken Curry with avocados

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Panahar Bangladesh Cuisine

3375 Buford Highway Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30329

This Bangladesh restaurant apparently serves a lunch buffet on weekdays, but is packed on weekend evenings (weekend reservations suggested). Bringing our own riesling and beer, the staff kept the beer chilled and did not charge a corking fee. With a group of seven, we were intially going to let our Indian friend choose a few items from the menu for us to share family style. Upon hearing that it was our first time at the restaurant, the friendly and talkative gentlemen offered to select a variety of dishes for us based on a budget we set per person. Figuring “why not?” we gave it a shot.

Mulligatawny Soup (orange lentils, tomatoes, lemon, cumin and spices)

 

Sample of the spread

 They brought out the mulligatawny soup (orange lentils, tomatoes, lemon juice and cumin) as our appetizer followed by two beef dishes, two chicken dishes, two goat dishes, two plates of the creamed spinach with homemade cheese, the rice with peas, soft and fluffy naan with cheese and green onions and roti for each side of the table. For Dessert, they served the ball of sweetened bread (whose name I cannot recall).

Hope this post made your mouth water! While you’re here, I want to know your favorite BYOB in Atlanta! Is it one of the restaurants above, the pizza joint by GaTech (Antica Pizza on Hemphill) or a hole in the wall you’re dying to share?