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Review

Kat Hong

Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant

$$$$
Written by
Kat Hong

Between all of the Zoom calls, online spinach discourse, and slight (but palpable!) growing sexual tension between you and your next-door neighbor, the last thing anyone needs right now is for things to be more complicated. So we’ll make things easy.

Place an order from Lalibela in Little Ethiopia, and do it now.

You’ll want to start with the Veggie Utopia. Which, admittedly, does sound a little hyperbolic, much like the time we called Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping a work of “Mensa-level genius.” But with 14 different types of Ethiopian dishes loaded onto one plate, the word “utopia” is anything but an exaggeration as Lalibela dares to ask the question, “Why can’t you have it all?”

Berbere spice blends turn chickpeas into a fiery, mouth-burning stew. Collard greens live next to sunflower seeds, spiced red lentils, and fosalia, a green bean and carrot medley that tastes slightly sweet and is ripe with thyme and rosemary. All of this is served upon their excellent injera - flatbread that’s so good, we’d happily eat it as its own dish. It’s tangy, sour, comes by the (seemingly) one-ton brick, and is nice and porous, able to absorb anything paired with it.

The sambusas are a treat, too. The little deep-fried pockets are filled with lentils, grilled onions, jalapeños, and herbs - a combo that tastes like a Los Angeles vegetable garden in the middle of spring, but without all of the pollen or mild-to-severe allergies. You’ll want a few of these, even more if you’re sharing.

This restaurant in Little Ethiopia remains one of our favorites in the area - one that we always find ourselves returning to. Especially after a long day of virtual meetings, doomscrolling, and finding out that our next-door neighbor in fact does have a girlfriend.

Lalibela Ethiopian Cuisine is currently available for takeout and delivery, call (323) 965-1025 to place an order, if you haven’t already.

Food Rundown

Veggie Utopia

As far as we’re concerned, The Garden of Eden’s got nothing on this heavenly, utopian paradise. A huge spread of 14 plant-based dishes, it includes red lentils, spicy shibera asa chickpeas, collard greens, sunflower seeds, and a massive amount of their spongy, slightly-sour injera flatbread. Ideal for whenever your body gets hit with a massive “I Need To Eat A Vegetable Right Now (Or Else)” alert.

Injera

What makes perfect injera? Should it be sour, funky, and porous? Firm, but not too firm? Or is it simply the one served at Lalibela? This fermented flatbread comes with almost every order, but be sure to add on an extra serving or two. In this case, you can never have too much of a good thing.

Sambusas

The Veggie Utopia isn’t the only thing you should be focusing on at Lalibela - make sure to also throw in a few of their sambusas as well. They’re deep-fried to a beautiful dark brown color and filled with fragrant lentils, grilled onions, jalapeños, and herbs. We’ve been known to eat three or four of these on a good day. Not to brag.

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