Jane and I really love Ethiopian food. We first encountered it way back when we were dating. As much as we love it, we don't really get much of it. "Little Ethiopia" is a 20 minute drive from our home. (Like everything else in Los Angeles, regardless of how long it will actually take you to get there, your destination is always only 20 minutes away.) Which means it's only a weekend option for us.
Over the years, we've frequented a few of the restaurants in "Little Ethiopia," but we'd never noticed a 100% vegan restaurant. When we were omnivores, that would have never registered.
Anyway, Jane's been craving Ethiopian, so Sunday afternoon I googled vegan Ethiopian. Rahel Ethiopian is listed as the only 100% vegan Ethiopian restaurant in all of LA. Off we went. It was wonderful. The cuisine is made up of spicy vegetable dishes (meat dishes too, but not at Rahel), mostly in a thick stew format called wat. The wat is served atop injera, a large flatbread made out of fermented teff flour. Traditionally, Ethiopians eat with their right hands and use pieces of injera to pick up bites of entrées and side dishes. No utensils are used, which can make for an entertaining meal if you're the slightest bit clumsy. It's probably not your best choice for a first date, but as a long married couple, it can be a fun excursion!
We shared the Hudade Special Combo for two. And it was was excellent. The plate looked beautiful. There were two little piles of each of the items in the special, which makes sharing easy. We have no idea which was which, but they all tasted good. Something resembled tuna salad, and there was a tomato salad, which was a little awkward to pick up with the inerja, but mostly they were spicy, hearty stews. By the end of the meal, we were completely stuffed and were each wearing a little bit of our meal.
The service is slow, but friendly. Our time in the restaurant with no appetizers or dessert was over 75 minutes. So don't go if you're pressed for time. Otherwise... we can't recommend it highly enough. Jane's trying to get me to go back next weekend!
They're open 11am -11 pm every day. 1047 South Fairfax. 323-937-8401.
If you don't live around here, but do have access to this cuisine, we recommend you give it a try! And if you don't know where to find Ethiopian cuisine, we've got a few Restaurant Review sites on our Resources page which can be modified to search for type of cuisine. Go, try something new!