VieAMaggi.com

Real, raw, & relatable me. Enthusiastic food & lifestyle blogger living in Vancouver, BC!

Category: Ethiopian

Gojo Ethiopian Cafe

We were taking a break from the BC Beer Awards, hosted at the Croatian Cultural centre, with some dinner. They had hot dogs and food trucks available for a quick bite, but we wanted something a tad more substantial with a sit down vibe. There wasn’t much available in the area, as we wanted to keep our travel time to a minimum. All these factors led us to “Gojo” for some traditional Ethiopian cuisine. I am admittedly not too familiar with Ethiopian food, so took a step back, allowing my guests to order, and tell me what is what. This review is written in that perspective.

The restaurant was a little slower on this Saturday night, allowing you take in the decor. It was quaint with a thatched roof bar at the back and African antiquities adding patterns and colour all around. Photos, prints, and textiles leading you through the restaurant.

As for the menu: when you order Ethiopian food you are choosing the meat and vegetable dishes you want to enjoy with injera. “Injera” is a sourdough-risen flatbread, which is more like sour and spongy pancake textural. It is the national dish of Ethiopia and every meal is based around it. A typical serving consists of a Wat, a stew that is also similar to curry or a more watery stew, poured over some injera.

In our case, this pancake is stretched out over a large plate, and any side is served over it like an edible dish. But first you eat any of the stew or veggies with the basket of rolled up injera on the side. You eat with your hands, using the injera like a scoop. It keeps your hands clean until you begin peeling from the round of it that is also used as a plate.

We had the following three dishes. “Lamb wat”, chunks of lamb seasoned in rosemary, garlic, and ginger; with sautéed bell peppers and a side of clarified butter cabbage. The lamb was a little tough, tough I liked its sauce and the tart peppers that gave it some freshness.

The “Beef wat” was the same as the above, but with heartier chunks of beef instead. It was spicy and salty, and more like a rich stew. I wish this had some vegetable mixed in too, in order to break flavours apart.

“Kitfo” was the steak tartar that centred our serving. It was freshly minced, extra lean beef seasoned with mitmita (spicy Ethiopian chilli powder) and herbed clarified butter. Served with spinach on the side. Although we were given a warning that the meat was raw, you couldn’t tell by tasting it. It was less seasoned than the two dishes before, so for more kick, it was suggested that we dip it into the chilli power for more spice.

To balance all the protein above, we had some vegetables in the form of the “GOJO vegetarian combination”. Miser wat, cabbage, green beans and carrot, and spinach. It gave the serving a different texture and some tang. It also gave us a great break in between all the heavier meats.

Overall my table mates agreed that this was most satisfying. And I will take their word for it, given their combined familiarity with the cuisine. One of which even unconsciously “mmmm-ed” after each bite he took. For me, I was left feeling very full from all the doughy injera that I ate. I enjoyed it and its bubbly texture the most.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I wouldn’t be apposed to coming back, but this wouldn’t my first choice, given my unfamiliarity with the cuisine. And having had this full serving, I can conclude that the flavours aren’t something I would naturally gravitate towards in the future. I would however, recommend it to those who want to try something new or are already familiar with Ethiopian cuisine as a great destination for some. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

GOJO
2838 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC, V5N 4C6
604-708-5394
gojocafe.com
Gojo Little Africa Ethiopian Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Red Sea Cafe, Ethiopian Restaurant

Easy on the Ethiopian ~

Having to accommodate a vegetarian on her birthday, we decided to try Ethiopian food for the first time. We settled on “Red Sea Cafe”, the most well known and most word of mouth recommended Ethiopian restaurant in Vancouver. (info and link to their website at the bottom of this post) Not only was is easy to get to, but there was meter parking in front and free parking when you turned into the residential blocks. Parking is one of the most important things I look for when choosing where to eat. You shouldn’t have to work so hard before you have to pay for your food.

First thing I noticed and was off put by: was the decor. Everything looked old and dusty, but there was clearly an attempt to be authentic. Tanned animal hides made into artwork hung on the walls and a photograph of a camel was settled under the glass of the table we were seated at.I appreciated this one off mom and pop owned shop, but I did not get the basic level of service I expect from any restaurant. I have spent 10 years in several retail management positions, training my staff on delivering exceptional customer service; as well as working a couple of years in the restaurant industry, from hostess to server. So I do know a thing or two about serving customers.

Yes, with a prices form $5-15 I do not expect too much, but approaching the table to ask us if we would like to order and checking on us after we have tried a bit of the food seems the minimum. Chasing the only server did dampen the experience. (Not that more than one was needed) And unfortunately this negative was exacerbated when she brought the cake out without the candles (both of which we brought in and gave to her before our dinner to bring out when we were done eating). Instead this all was placed on a tray she sprayed and wiped down close enough to our table that I got a clear view of the dirty rag she used. I guess I can’t expect too much from a meal that cost $40 for 3 people after taxes and tip.

The restaurant had 4 tables seated including ours and other parties came in as our dinner progressed, pretty impressive for a small cafe on a Thursday after 8pm. There was a diverse mix of people, friends and daters from 23-33 years old. One table ordered alcohol, so that was available but I would refrain from ordering drinks from a place without a learned bartender. 
When I dine I like to take a picture of the menu so I can ensure I spell everything correctly, and list what is in the dish when I post the picture, but for the first time ever I was told I would not be able to as it was their restaurant’s policy. I explained why I do it and that its for this blog. Ironically all this is online, so I do not understand all the hush hush over it is for. Anyways, here is what we ordered with their names and descriptions from “Red Sea Cafe’s” website.

Once again keeping in mind the price for the value, it all was not too bad.
Ful” was their only appetizer at $6.95. “A mixture of Fava beans, jalapeno pepper, tomatoes, onions mixed with oil or butter and spices served with multi grain bread.”
We all agreed this was the best thing we had that night. It was similar to a zesty 7 layer bean dip you would serve with tortilla chips. Was disappointed that the bread was not fresh though. 


This being my first time here I asked the server what she recommended and what was the most popular of their lamb dishes (there were 4 of them, and when there is a lamb option I will always chose lamb) She was unable to help me much. I think it shows something about the staff if they do not have a fvaourite dish at the restaurant they work at or know which is the customer’s favourite. A the end she was able to boil it down to whether I wanted my meat in a stew or sautee form. After some wavering I choose sautee, hoping it would be a more handsome dish for photo taking. 


Kilwa Tsada/Yebeg Tibs, lamb chunks sauteed with spiced butter, jalapeno peppers, onions, garlic and flavoured with other exotic spices” at $11.


My fellow carnivore also opted for the more rarer of meats on the menus: lamb.
Zignee, tender lamb pieces stewed with chili, simmered with spiced cardamom and other exotic spices” at $11.25. 

This dish boasted “tender” pieces of lamb, which was not the case, had they left it “lamb pieces” it would satisfy its menu’s description.

The vegetarian in the group chose the “Vegetarian Combo for One, choose any four vegetable dishes” for $10.95. They were spinach, okra, roasted peas, and a carrot and potato mixture. According to her they were all flavourful with spices spice and not just oil spice. I did not want to try it based on the colours and textures, they do not resonate with me.




Every dish was eaten with “Injera, flat bread”, in place of cutlery. You would scoop or pinch morsels of food with them helping you to not get your hands saucy, unless you wanted to. It was a fun novelty, but we opted out and asked for spoons after 3 bites. I have long nails and eating with my hands is not a good option for me.You got full fast with this carbohydrate filler, and i am trying to cut down on my carb intake for dieting purposes (read the book “Wheat Belly” and you would too). No table finished all their “InjeraAll the dishes were over salted and you needed the flat bread to tone down the flavour. By the time you got to the one on your plate that your meat and veggies were served under, it had absorbed all the sauce and salt to the point it that the saltiness made it taste bad, like drinking a shot of soya sauce.

We all agreed coming into this new the first bite was surprisingly good, but all the dishes had one singular note each and it got old fast. There was an option for veteran diners that allowed everyone to eat from a singular large bowl and share all the dishes, which I suspect would help to keep the flavours exciting on your pallet. This is the kind of food that you would want as small plates for sharing.

To rate this my guest gave me the idea of it simply being would I recommend it – No, would I come back again – No. But I eat meat and seafood and will try everything at least once, so there are numerous options to me. But for a Vegan or Vegetarian on a student’s budget this place is the bee’s knees. So I will mention this as an option for those people I know
In addition despite my souring review I believe everyone should try everything at least once and be the judge for themselves, you can’t say you dont like something unless you try. So if you are hankering to try something new and are along East Broadway with $15 in your wallet, stop to try “Red Sea Cafe”



RED SEA CAFE
670 E Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5T 1X6
604-873-3332
redsearestaurant.ca

Red Sea Café on Urbanspoon Instagram

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén