The African music is calming and warm, almost like a lullaby, the servers are attentive and discrete, the food has an exotic aroma of spices and when that first taste of the spicy lentils pinched between the spongy and sour injera bread reaches your mouth, just the way the waiter showed you how, you taste the delicious Ethiopian food. It is a flavorful experience and a delight to enjoy. Redolent with spices that almost sing along with the music you are hearing.
Close to Los Angeles's County Art Museum, near Beverly Hills and down the street from the famous Farmers Market and the Grove shopping center, is a little known gem in Los Angeles, Little Ethiopia, three blocks of businesses on Fairfax Avenue, between Olympic and Pico Boulevards.
Only a few blocks south of Wilshire Boulevard, in the village like area are many Ethiopian restaurants as well as a couple of specialized markets and shops selling Ethiopian crafts. The restaurants are filled with photos, paintings and décor to transport the diner to Ethiopia.
A meal at Nyala, one of the larger spots, is filling and satisfying. There were several vegan stews in the buffet line as well as menu items, the afternoon I visited with my vegan granddaughter. It was the first time she experienced Ethiopian cuisine and she was an excited convert.
Bread is the basic of any culture and Ethiopian cuisine has it right. Injera is a spongy flat bread, sour and light, the perfect utensil to scoop up the delicious vegetable mixes of spicy lentils or carrots, potatoes and string beans with aromatic spices quite a delicious and healthy meal. Other stews feature chicken or beef or shrimp with the blending of aromatic spices.
Ethiopia is one of the largest African countries with a population of eighty million and estimates are that sixty thousand Ethiopians live in Los Angeles. Besides the restaurants, the neighborhood has two large antique shops and two designer cake shops, where the walls are adorned with movie star stills of famous customers
Entertainment is featured in some of the restaurants and Little Ethiopia is close to many other tourist spots in Los Angeles. It comes alive with joyous patrons even till late on weekends. Little Ethiopia is a great village in the large city chock full of great restaurants with friendly hosts.
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