photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Sharing food is often kind of terrible. The best dishes go fast, the prices add up faster, and before you know it someone just ate the last piece of crudo and now you’re unreasonably angry and a little sad. But what if it didn’t have to be like that? What if you could go to a great restaurant, share food with your friends, and actually fill up your stomach without emptying your wallet?
That experience is actually possible in Ethiopian restaurants. And at Bunna, the vegan Ethiopian spot in Bushwick, it’s an especially excellent experience.
There are several ways to approach a meal at Bunna, but your easiest and best route is The Feast: a giant plate of dishes like Misir Wot (spicy red lentils), Gomen (garlic collard greens), Shiro (gingery split pea curry), and kale salad with avocado (because we’re still in Brooklyn). The Feast isn’t just perfect for sharing - it’s designed for it. You’ll eat nine different things off the same shared plate, plus your own personal pile of injera (flat, spongy sourdough flatbread for scooping) so you don’t have to fight anyone for the last piece. If you want even more food, the appetizers are also great, and you can add extra orders of any of the dishes a la carte.
At Bunna, you get really comfortable really fast - like if you were eating in your own apartment, only while wearing clothes and not sitting too close to the TV. It’s a warm, welcoming, casual space, consistently packed with people having a great time. There’s a bar, and a decorated area at the center of the room where they do Ethiopian coffee ceremonies (“Bunna” translates to “coffee”) and sometimes host live music. The cocktails aren’t precious (get an Ethiopian-spiced margarita, or go wild with a vegan alcoholic milkshake) and the beer is sorted into categories: Ethiopian, Regular, and Cheap.
Bunna isn’t just affordable (The Feast for two is $30), or accessible - it’s also healthy. But the plant-based food is so satisfying that you’ll probably forget it’s vegan. Until you walk out the door, after eating a ridiculous amount, actually feeling pretty good. And a hell of a lot better than any small plate of crudo would leave you. Even if you got the last bite.
This actually lives up to its name. A big plate of seven (if you’re one) or nine (if you’re more) Ethiopian dishes that lets you try everything Bunna has to offer. Every dish here also comes with injera, a kind of sourdough flatbread you use to scoop up your food (instead of utensils). Because all the food is plant-based, you will eat the entire plate and leave feeling full and happy, not full and in pain.
A refreshing appetizer of kale, onion, dried cranberries, and a mixture of chickpea flour and turmeric that’s like crumbled croutons, but healthier. Maybe.
Injera that’s been toasted (i.e. fried, lightly) in olive oil and hot sauce. This is addictive, and you want at least one order for the table.