***Written by guest blogger Healthy Harry, an Atlanta Eats guest blogger***
Believe it or not, vegan CAN be delicious! And who knew…there is a surprisingly long list of incredible Ethiopian restaurants in Atlanta that rarely use eggs or dairy products. Ethiopian cuisine is perfect for vegans and meat-eaters alike, however I can bet you Ethiopian-style veggies will make you meat eaters want to go vegetarian for at least for one meal! From fancy spots to ‘hole-in-the-wall’ gems, I visited some of the best & healthiest Ethiopian spots in the city to see what type of grub this country serves.
Vegetarian Combo at Bahel (Briarcliff)
I mean c’mon. Does that picture not make you want to use the dish as a pillow? (Just me?) So the porous looking wraps you see are called injera, a flatbread made from the ancient grain teff, which is a staple in Ethiopian food. The bread is typically used to pick up the food with your hands, however the waiter/waitress will likely bring you silverware too if you’re anything like me and walk in looking clearly out of place. Teff itself is a nutrient powerhouse…it is a complete protein with more calcium than any other grain and full of fiber and vitamin B6… take THAT meat!
Vegetarian Platter at Desta (Briarcliff)
Now this is what I call bang for your buck! I literally had to double check with my waiter that the three darker sauces on the top of the plate were vegan because they tasted so meaty and rich (don’t worry, they were). You can eat all these veggies one by one or all together (I like combining several and making mini burritos with the injera)…whatever your style may be, this food does not mess around. My friends ordered a chicken dish and could not stop lusting at my vegan plate. *Hair flip!*
Build Your Own Veggie Plate at Kimis (Little Five Points)
Kimis has a whole section on their menu dedicated to vegans! Thanks for the inclusion, Kimis! You can essentially choose up to four vegan sides from thirteen, or more for an extra $1.50 each, which was like asking me to choose between my family members (still probably would be easier for me to do). I ended up getting the shiro wot (ground spicy bean stew), kik alicha (yellow split pea stew), tikil gomen (cabbage and carrot) and beet/potato salad. Each dish was full of spices, garlic, onion and ginger…I mixed it all together and it tasted just like the beef stew my mom used to cook me before I gave up carcinogenic food (shameless vegan plug).
Veggie Special at Embilta Cafe (Druid Hills)
This is Atlanta’s hidden gem. I went with my apparently sissy uncle who was offset by the hole-in-the-wall vibes. But as soon as the food came out, he was swooning over this place. Out comes my beautifully arranged vegan feast that put his bowl of Ethiopian beef stew to shame. Now, my uncle is the meat eater of meat eaters…we have a very hard time finding restaurants that meet both our preferences and I can’t sit through a meal without being made fun of at least three times for eating veggies. So when my uncle couldn’t stop picking at my plate of vegan heaven, that’s when I knew this spot had some serious stuff going on that anyone would enjoy eating.