Abyssina located in the heart of Harlem is named after the original name for the country. For those that have not had Ethiopian cuisine, this is a wonderful spot to be introduced. As the food is authentic, the restaurant is attractive with with lots of natural light, and the manager Abede who formerly worked at the UN, is a wealth of information if you are interested in learning more about the country's rich culture.
Eating in an Ethiopian restaurant is different from other restaurants as there are no utensils used for eating. Using your hand you use a spongy thin crepe like item called injera. It is messy, you will use lots of napkins, but it is delicious especially if you are one to enjoy some spice and kick to you food.
I strongly recommend the Meat Combo, as this will give you a good selection of tastes. I went with the Meat Combo and it was terrific! It contained three meat samplings, and two vegetables also. The meats included; Dora Wat (tender chicken with gently simmered onion, ginger, and the spicy berbere sauce) - and also a hard boiled egg on top. The other two meat items were the Ye Siga Alicha and Tibs Wat both were beef stews, but each had its own special taste - the former being more delicate, and the later with more fire. The two vegetables; Ye Misir Wat (red lentils cooked in the bebere sauce, it had some heat to it) and Gomen, (collard greens with cooked onions and garlic).
The atmosphere of Abyssina is appealing. Select posters, artistic works of Ethiopia and traditional Ethiopian music is played. And the plates they use to serve the food is very stylized as well.
Address - 268 West 135th Street (at Frederick Douglass Blvd) (212) 281 - 2673
Ethiopian (Amharic) Language lesson - "Hello" (tena nistlign) "Thank you" (ameseginlew) "Delicious" (tofach)
Interesting fact - Ethiopia is the country where coffee was first discovered.