Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike can enjoy a fine meal together at the best Ethiopian restaurant in town. The Blue Nile in the Irvington District offers a cozy atmosphere with pictures of the Nile River and beautiful craft work lining the walls.
Owner Gebi Yemane said that every family has their own special way of preparing Ethiopian food, and she learned from her mother to cook simply, with high-quality ingredients. She makes everything from scratch, including Injera, a large pancake-shaped flat bread made from freshly ground Teff mixed with water and allowed like sourdough to ferment for two or three days before it's cooked. The increasing number of people who find themselves stuck with a wheat allergy will be happy to learn that Teff is an ancient grain with tons of nutrition and very-little gluten.
The beef and chicken tibs are flavored to perfection. If you like to try a bit of everything, the beautiful combination plate for two is only $18. It includes, greens, and lentils spiced with garlic, onions, turmeric, cayenne, and olive oil and an incredibly tasty potato and spinach dish. Instead of using a fork you break off a piece of Injera, dip it in the lentils, and enjoy bite after bite of heavenly flavors blissing out your taste buds.
Vegetarians will also enjoy the atikilt alitcha (sautéed green beans, carrots, cabbage, and potatoes).
Gebi Yemane, 42, is studying at OHSU to become a nurse. She hopes to finish up in about two or three years. Her sister, brother and other family members help out when they can, but Gebi says she insists on doing the cooking herself. Her husband, who works for Oregon's DSHS, spends time working in the Blue Nile on his days off.
Blue Nile Cafe
2225 NE Broadway St
Portland, OR 97232
Getting There: Is easy. It's on the #9 TriMet line, or take MAX to Lloyd Center and bike or walk North on 15th to Broadway and up Broadway to 22nd. (15 minute walk)