Seriously, Lalibela came out of nowhere and my enjoyment of it was a complete surprise. Previously, my entire experience with Ethiopian was restricted to a vague memory of a bad joke about how I thought they didn't HAVE food in Ethiopia. (Sorry. It's horrible, I know.)
But anyway, I hit up Lalibela awhile back and it was good. I went with some vegetarian friends who'd suggested it, which made me expect a whole lotta lentils, but no. While lentils and the like were in full effect, there was also plenty of meat to please my carnivorous heart (even RAW meat, though that's not what I ordered). I had a lamb thing. It came in a boat, along with lots of this sour pancake type bread that I guess is a kind of Ethiopian staple.
You eat with your hands, which I know some people don't like, but I found refreshingly fun. And my meat had a pleasant, slightly spicy, very flavourful, almost szechwan taste, which I enjoyed.
After dinner, we had a traditional coffee ceremony, which involved a lot of burning incense (dramatic and interesting, but sort of headache-inducing) and (inexplicably) a bowl of popcorn to munch alongside our brewed beverages.
All in all, I recommend it. It's a little off the beaten path, and fun as a result. As long as you don't order any raw meat, your more vanilla friends shouldn't be frightened off, and vegetarians have lots of options to choose from. It's not as cheap as I would have liked and expected, but I had a good time, and sometimes that's worth more than a few buck
Ethiopian Lalibela Restaurant
869 Bloor Street W
Toronto, ON M6G 1M4
*Photo by varmamukul from Stock Xchng.