While visiting LA I was able to see a childhood buddy of mine named Seth. One evening he asked, “What would you like for dinner tonight?” I responded with, “I dunno, something different!?!”
Seth asked me if I had any issues eating food with my hands, sans silverware. He had my interest.
Later that evening we arrived in LA’s Little Ethiopia district full of Ethiopian restaurants, markets and delicious smells. Little Ethiopia is a section of West Los Angeles, CA between Beverly Hills and Culver City (kind of). Here’s a Google Map outlining the area:
Messob Ethiopian Restaurant
Vegetarian-Friendly & Meat Lovers-Friendly
1041 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90019
Messob Ethiopian Restaurant has been serving authentic Ethiopian food to LA for 30 years! I wasn’t educated on this style so we shared a sampler platter and I loved it. It was a little weird at first getting used to eating with your fingers. However, it reminded me of eating Indian foods but instead of the Lembas bread (almost soft tortilla-like) we were given a pancake-like bread called Injera. You use the Injera just like Lembas to scoop up the food. You still get quite a bit on your fingers because the Injera is much more flimsy than Lembas.
The food however was excellent with rich flavors. Our sample tray had about 10 different helpings of foods. Each one had a unique flavor and complimented each other. Out of the 10 options, I sincerely liked 9 of them. Although I tried the 8th it had some pickling (or some spice) that didn’t suit my fancy. My friend Seth was grateful for two helpings.
Now, Seth and I have known each other for nearly 30 years. We grew up in the same Deep South community and attended the same schools as kids. As we sat there eating the Ethiopian food we came to the realization that the food strongly reminded us of Southern cooking down to the collard greens. It was delicious… and still unique.
Would I bring my family to eat here? No. It’s a bit expensive for kids who just want to know when the Mac & Cheese is being served. Would I bring my wife? Yes. She loves Indian food and Southern cooking. She would appreciate Messob Ethiopian Restaurant.
Side note: Although being OCD is no joking matter, I often claim I’m OCD when it comes to keeping my hands clean. I don’t have to wash them 30 times a day but I won’t turn my nose up at 10+ hand washes a day. Eating with my hands still seemed strange even by the end of the meal but, it was fun and I didn’t feel out-of-place. Even the best-dressed couples were laughing and getting into it. I appreciated the sink placed outside of the bathrooms to make it easy for cleanup. I must have scrubbed my hands 6 times that evening before the smell subsided.
Don’t make the mistake I made. Don’t just visit Messob Ethiopian Restaurant or Little Ethiopia at night. There’s so many places to explore in this area. Come earlier in the day so you can explore the markets, get some dessert at another restaurant (although I heard dessert was good at Messob) and enjoy LA’s Little Ethiopia.
Here are some photos from Messob Ethiopian Restaurant: