Locally owned Taste of Ethiopia blends spice and culture


Variety is the spice of life. And a little bit of spice does not hurt either.

Locally owned restaurant Taste of Ethiopia fuses the two, offering versatility and depth of flavor unlike any other restaurant in Greensboro.

The restaurant, located at 106 N. Westgate Drive, has only been open for about a year but has already attracted ample attention, being the only Ethiopian restaurant in the Triad area.

“A lot of people in the surrounding area have been coming out because it’s closer than Charlotte and Raleigh,” said Sahar Asefa, whose family owns the restaurant.

Asefa explained that the restaurant was created to spread awareness of Ethiopian culture into the community, filling a prior void.

One customary tradition that may surprise customers is that silverware is discouraged. Instead, spongy, unleavened bread called injera is used to carry food to the mouth.

Senior Annie Bell found the atmosphere of Taste of Ethiopia brought her back to studying abroad in Ghana.

“It reminds me a lot of the places we would go to eat because it’s family-run,” said Bell. “Plus, you eat with your hands.”

If nostalgia is not what draws you in, it may be the reasonable prices. For a college student on a fixed budget, wasting limited funds on a meal that will not fill you up seems asinine.

Luckily, that is not an issue at Taste of Ethiopia.

Each entrée provides more than enough food for the average diner. The food is so tasty, however, that you might be tempted to polish everything off before the takeout boxes hit the table.

The Vegetarian Combo 2, casually dubbed  “Veggie 7” by Asefa, goes for $12.50. The platter comes with an array of tender greens and legumes, each delicately spiced with turmeric or red pepper.

If meat is more your thing, you might want to try the Combination Platter. It comes with lamb, rosemary beef, garlicky-ginger chicken in addition to five vegetarian samples, all for just $15.

Of course, both platters are served with large portions of soft injera.

If you find yourself hungry after devouring the platter, a sambusa may satiate you. Similar to an Indian samosa, this crunchy, savory pastry is filled with meat or lentils.

For a sweet crunch, look no further than a slice of baklaba. The humble combination of filo, nuts and honey tease the taste buds, leaving them begging for more.

Finally, a steamy mug of Ethiopian spiced tea or perhaps a glass of Ethiopian honey wine would round out the meal quite well. As the weather cools, either beverage would be equally effective in warming you from the inside out.

While the restaurant’s menu is extensive, the ambiance is sparse and dull. This is the one downside to the otherwise impressive eatery.

“The interior feels a little bit like an office that is having an Ethiopian-themed birthday party,” said Danielle Chiasson in a review for Greensboro’s local zine, Amplifier.

As the restaurant has been open a short time, the possibility remains that the décor will improve as it ages.

For now, the food quality and quick, friendly service are what keep customers coming back.

“The only things that I did not like was the fluorescent lighting and the white walls,” said sophomore Alec Gordon. “The food is great.”

Although the fare alone is reason enough to visit the restaurant, the prospect of supporting a local trade helps. It is rewarding to see a small business grow and thrive, remembering you had something to do with it.

“As a locally owned business with firm roots in our community, we look forward to many more years serving you and your family,” states the restaurant’s website.