Recently, Chris and I had our 1st veganversary and to celebrate, we wanted to treat ourselves at a vegan restaurant. We wanted to go somewhere we don't often go, so we were headed across town in early evening LA traffic. Halfway there, however, our stomachs were demanding that they be fed sooner rather than later. I noticed that we were coming up on Fairfax Ave., and I suddenly remembered how much Cadry and her husband rave about Rahel Vegan Cuisine. Since Little Ethiopia is on Fairfax and much closer than where we were originally headed, we decided to listen to our stomachs and head to Rahel.
Chris and I had never tried Ethiopian food so we didn't know what to expect. While looking at the menu, the waiter was very helpful in explaining what things were and what he suggested. He suggested either the Hudade Special Combo or the Vegan Feast Combination. Both have a selection of wots (stews) and are served with injera, a fermented teff flour flatbread. Having pulled up Cadry's review on my phone for an idea of what to order, we decided to go with what Cadry recommended: The Hudade Special Combo. We also ordered a couple sambussas to have as an appetizer (did I mention we were pretty hungry?) and ginger kombucha to drink.
While we were enjoying our kombuchas, the waitress brought over a pitcher and bowl with which we used to wash our hands before we ate. Though they offer flatware upon request, Ethiopian food is traditionally eaten by hand so it is essential that they are clean. She brought us our sambussas shortly after. Sambussas are Ethiopian samosas, filled with lentils and spinach, and we loved them. The wrapper is a little thicker, more doughy, and less flaky than the Indian samosas we were used to, and the filling was so rich and full of spices. I can't think of a better way to have begun our first Ethiopian meal.
Once we had finished our sambussas, our main dish arrived. The Hudade Special comes with Shiro Wot (chick pea stew), Split Lentil Stew, Yeatkilt Stew (steamed carrots and potatoes seasoned with assorted spices), Split-Pea Stew, String Beans mixed with Carrots, Yeshimbra Assa (powder chick-pea stew), Greens, Yebagela Siljo (broad beans paste), Stuffed Green Peppers, Injera with Sunflower, and Tomato Salad, all served on top of an injera. You are also given some injera on the side to scoop the various stews with. Since we had ordered the combo for two people, we had a blast trying each of the stews, all by hand. I felt like a kid again, playing with my food, only this food was vegan, Ethiopian, and super delicious. I even loved the spongy, crepe-like injera, with it's slighlty bitter taste. It was so fantastic that even after I was stuffed, I found myself wanting to take one more bite. Several times.
Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine is one of LA's true vegan gems, and the entire time I was devouring my food, I was thinking "Why have I not been eating Ethiopian food this whole time? Why am I only discovering it now?" On our drive home, I was already dreaming of our next visit. Rahel Vegan Cuisine, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Please check out Rahel Vegan Cuisine's website for more information about their menu, their address and hours.
Photography by Chris Miller
I've actually been here! : ) I had to get used to the injera though. It was spongy, soft and completely new to me.
The injera was what Chris had the hardest time with, but it's good to know that one can get used to it. I got used to it very quickly. 😉
yeah... I tried Ethiopian food once at a restaurant near Berkeley, CA, and it was the kinjera that freaked me out and refrained me from going back!
The injera was the weirdest part for Chris too, but when it's combined with the bold flavors of the wots, we couldn't taste it's bitterness. I guess it's just a matter of tastes, though, right? 🙂
Oh, my god! It all looks so good! I'm going to be homesick all day now. I'd like to try making sambussas like theirs with the lentils inside. I rarely ordered them, because I knew how stuffed I was going to be from all of the wots.
I've visited a few other Ethiopian restaurants in other cities, but none compares to Rahel. The spices, the sourness of the injera, it's all just right. (I never visited any of the other Ethopian restaurants on Fairfax. With an all-vegan option right there, why would I?)
It looks like it was a marvelous meal and a perfect veganiversary!
wow..that looks so amazingly fantastic! i need to go to an ethiopian restaurant asap now.
Oh wow, that looks so good, I've never had Ethiopian food. Makes me want to do a search and see if there are any restaurants in Salt Lake City!
Looks like a great and delicious way to celebrate. Love your restaurant reviews. I will be near LA next May and hope to be able to visit some of the fun places you've reviewed If I have time! 🙂
i love love ethiopian food. it is quite close to indian:) such a great way to celebrate! tonights dinner will be ethiopian.
Oh my what an amazing find - I would have rolled out of there!
I practically did. And the whole way home, though I was stuffed to the gills, I was trying to figure out when we would be able to go back. 🙂
I love Ethiopian food, but I've never been to a vegan Ethiopian restaurant like Rahel. If we had such a restaurant here, I'd probably have a hard time going anywhere else! The food looks fantastic.
This is one of my husband's favorite restaurants in LA. You need to try their all you can eat brunch. It's a darn good deal. Eat slow, sip tea, take your time 🙂
I DO need to try the brunch! That sounds amazing! Thank you for the tip! 🙂
My husband and I are new followers to your blog. We live in Orange County, but recently spent the weekend in LA volunteering to get dogs adopted with the Best Friends Adoption Center. While up there, we made it a priority to stop at Rahel, and we LOVED it! We ordered the same as what you recommended above. We haven't had Ethiopian food since we were in Washington D.C. and when we went vegan, we thought that we would never have it again. It was so great - we will definitely be back...thank you so much for this post on Rahel!
We also went to Cafe Gratitude in Hollywood and LOVED that as well. Eagerly waiting your review on Crossroads. :o)
Thank you, Emma! You really have to thank Cadry, from Cadry's Kitchen, because she turned me on to Rahel. It's just so great!
The Crossroads Kitchen review is coming soon. Very soon. 🙂
And thank you for volunteering with Best Friends. I love hearing about people helping animals find homes. 🙂