A Taste of Ethiopia in Paris
The vast migration of African immigrants into France has lead to the popularity of Ethiopian cuisine in the city center. If you’re yet to try Ethiopian food you are in for an absolute treat — this is my personal favorite African cuisine.
A typical Ethiopian dining experience involves a variety of vegetable or meat based “wats”. A wat is a curry/stew hybrid; a thing mix of ingredients and tasty spices. Wats are eaten on top of injera, a sourdough based flat bread that usually covers the entire base of a very large silver tray.
When dining Ethiopian, you’ll eat five or six different wat mixes on top of the bread. They are usually called tasting plates. This gives you a chance to sample a bit of everything.
Habesha in Paris
Habesha has been voted best Ethiopian food in Paris numerous times over. It’s particularly inconveniently located, far west of Montparnasse, but loyal customers are happy to make the journey for the dining experience.
It’s a tiny space, booking a table in advance is a good idea.
All dishes in Habesha are made using the traditional recipes from the motherland and served on soft, all you can eat injera. Accompany your meal with any of the authentic Ethiopian beers, coffees or homemade honey wines.
Remember: Ethiopian food is usually eating using one’s hands. The injera bread replaces the cutlery! Don’t get a fright when they don’t bring knives and forks to the table.
OPENING HOURS: Monday TO Sunday: 12pm to 2:30pm // 7pm to 11pm
ADDRESS: 19 Rue Copreaux, 75015 Paris, France
METRO STATION: Volontaires
Les Saveurs d’Abyssinie in Paris
Another great perk of Ethiopian food is that the cuisine naturally caters to vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters alike. The Ethiopian people are vegetable lovers, and many dishes contain only plant based products. They are also not big consumers of cheese, it is only eggs that vegans need worry about.
Again, the space is small and making a booking for dinner would be preferable. They open very briefly for lunch, only two hours of service before closing until 7pm.
The restaurant is a few blocks from the Grand Mosque of Paris. The two make a beautiful combination of sightseeing and dining excursions since a large majority of the African people practice the Islamic religion. End off with a walk through the Botanical Gardens and you’ve curated a wonderful yet unusual day out in Paris.
OPENING HOURS: Tuesday TO Sunday: 12pm to 2pm // 7pm to 11pm
ADDRESS: l’Arbalète, 1 Rue de l’Arbalète, 75005 Paris, France
METRO STATION: Censier – Daubenton
Massawa in Paris
Another thing I must mention about dining the Ethiopian way: most dishes are best shared.
The giant trays of injera with their many piles of wats make for the perfect meal to be shared amongst two or more people. Most restaurants will increase tray sizes depending oh how many people are eating — sometimes trays as big as one meter in circumference will be brought out!
Massawa is the Ethiopian restaurant catering to the Canal Saint Martin area. This part of town is where you’ll find some of the best African and Middle Eastern food spots, because of the very diverse demographic of people living up here.
Massawa is the spot with the most generous portions of each dish, reiterating why sharing is always recommended.
If you happen to arrive while it is particularly crowded, request a take away plate and walk to the canal nearby where you can eat while your feet dangle over the edge.
OPENING HOURS: Monday TO Sunday: 6pm to 11pm
ADDRESS: 22 Rue du Château Landon, 75010 Paris, France
METRO STATION: Louis Blanc
Ethiopia in Paris
Ethiopia has taken the dining experience to the next level, embracing everything about Ethiopian culture in the process. Sitting in this restaurant feels like you could be in the middle of a small village somewhere in the country itself.
The food is exceptional, and comes with a price to match. Ethiopia doesn’t increase their plate sizes to cater to sharing but the individual portions are so big that two people can easily eat from just one.
Ethiopia is usually busy but the tables turn quite fast and you’ll never wait more than a few minutes to be seated. The service is equally as speedy.
OPENING HOURS: Monday TO Sunday: 12pm to 3:30pm // 7pm to 12am
ADDRESS: 89 Rue du Chemin Vert, 75011 Paris, France
METRO STATION: Metro Saint Ambroise
Le Negus in Paris
Customarily, Ethiopian food is served with a basic lettuce and tomato salad of sorts alongside every wat. This is not always implemented in Ethiopian restaurants abroad, with many of them leaving just the curries and breads as is.
Le Negus embraces the traditional serving method and you’ll have fresh, simple salad with all of your plates. The restaurant is extremely traditional and prepares each recipe to perfection; you can tell there is utmost respect for the culture here.
Whether you’re eating meat or veggies, be sure to order at least a side of the lentil wat and cabbage wat. These blew me away during my visit to Le Negus.
Prepare to spend around €20 per person to eat here, it’s not cheap but it’s an authentic cultural experience from a foreign land so consider it an investment rather than an expense.