African Ethiopian Restaurant in Orlando

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Service--Ethiopian Style!
Service–Ethiopian Style!

Unexpected adventures provide some of the most serendipitous memories of our lives, don’t they?

When our daughter took us on vacation to San Francisco, we had one of those moments when we discovered the Massawa Ethiopian Restaurant in the heart of the Haight-Ashbury district. Delicious food–unlike any other food I had ever experienced–was served on a large round plate in the center of our table. The different dishes were clumped beside each other on a flat, spongy piece of injera–Ethiopian bread at least two feet in diameter and completely covering the plate.

We ate the food with our fingers, occasionally spinning the plate so we could each try the various fare. The bread had a vinegar-y taste, like sourdough, and the dishes ranged from lentils to cabbage to green beans to split peas. Each one having a unique flavor, difficult to describe but enjoyable to experience.

This memory came to mind as Mrs. LanceAround and I, along with our three offspring, were driving down International Drive last week. This road is reminiscent of the Las Vegas strip–lots of flashing signs, tourist attractions, restaurants, hotels–everything but the casinos. Mrs. LanceAround’s sharp eyes caught a sign proclaiming “Ethiopian Cuisine.”

Tucked away in the midst of all the tourist trappings is a small, hidden plaza which houses the Nile Ethiopian Restaurant. We arrived around 10pm on Saturday and met Ermias & Ababa Gebremedhin, the owners. They came to Washington D.C. from Ethiopia about 12 years ago. In 2007, they moved to Orlando and opened up the Nile Restaurant. Ermias was a soccer player in Ethiopia and neither he nor his wife, Ababa, had any restaurant experience.

Ermias Gebremedhin Serves Us Ethiopian Coffee

Ermias Proudly Serves Ethiopian Coffee

When I asked Ermias why he left Ethiopia, he replied, “Ethiopia doesn’t give you a chance.” He enjoys the freedom and opportunity that are present in this country. He says his wife “pushed me” to open the restaurant. He quickly credits her with their success, stating that she is the one who can cook.

We enjoyed the decor of the Nile; a mixture of standard tables and chairs along with round African stools–shaped like large drums–With an even larger and taller drum-shaped table. The food is served on a single, large plate placed in a woven basket with a woven lid that has a large, slightly curved handle similar to the shape of the stem on top of a pumpkin.

One taste of the food and we were immediately transported back to our memory of that first Ethiopian meal we experienced in San Francisco. It was unique and bursting with flavor.

Mrs. LanceAround does not like sourdough bread, so she was not crazy about the injera or the collard greens. But she heartily enjoyed the lentils, yellow split peas and green beans. # 1 Daughter is a bit finicky and did not eat much. No worries, the three LanceAround males scarfed up everything else. A unique treat that made for a great adventure.

Give the Nile Ethiopian Restaurant a try. Expand your horizons! You might just discover something…serendipitous!

Nile Ethiopian Restaurant, 7040 International Drive, Orlando, FL  32819  407.354.0026. Entrees from $9 to $15.

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6 Responses to “African Ethiopian Restaurant in Orlando”

  1. Ann Says:

    We had dinner here a few months ago and absolutely LOVED it! We stuffed ourselves and then relaxed around in a circle for the coffee ritual afterwards. Can’t wait to go back again, and I HIGHLY recommend it, too!

  2. LanceAround Says:

    Thanks for the response, Ann, maybe this would be a good cross-cultural trip for a Montessori classroom…

  3. Abeba Gebremedhin Says:

    To Mr. LanceAround and whole family!!! We would like to take this opportuinity to thank you for all the wonderful stuff that you described about our restaurant. It was a great pleasure to have you and your family join us here and experience our food. We are greatful that Mrs. LanceAround located our restaurant (by accident) and got persuaded to come in. The wonderful comments that you left made filled our hearts with happiness. It would be wonderful to have you guys coming back in and join us. Thank you again and we all hope to see you again:)

  4. Barry Dunn Says:

    Excellent video. Always nice to see the inside of a restaurant before you visit.

  5. atokitfo Says:

    Greetings. I see you did a post about Ethiopian food on your blog. Here on WordPress, I have an entire Ethiopian Food blog, and I’ve written a book about the cuisine. I thought you and your visitors might be interested in looking at it: ethiopianfood.wordpress.com

    Cheers,
    Harry

    • LanceAround Says:

      Hi Harry: I took a few minutes to review your blog. It looks great. I love the Ethiopian restaurant in Orlando. I hope we see a lot more of them. I remember when I used to have drive an hour and a half to get a good Indian meal. Now, there are Indian restaurants everywhere. I am hoping the same thing happens with Ethiopian and Indonesian cusines! Best of luck in your blogging! LanceAround

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