Ethiopian Diamond

Ethiopian Diamond

By Jen Luby

Cooking like grandma is a lofty aspiration, but Ethiopian Diamond owner Almaz Yigizaw aims high in replicating her grandmother’s food for her large and loyal multi-ethnic family of patrons. Start with sambusas, best sprinkled with lemon and eaten while still warm, as you muse over the vegan-friendly menu. The “Tour of Ethiopia” is a belt-busting sampler of popular dishes. Be prepared to share—entrées are served family-style on injera, a floppy sourdough bread traditionally used to scoop the colorful stews and sides. (Silverware is available upon request).

Desserts aren’t native to Ethiopian cuisine, but here Almaz breaks with tradition. Try the destaye, a flaky pastry that’s filled with tropical fruits and nuts, and spiced with cardamom. Finish your visit with Ethiopian coffee poured from a clay pot into delicate cups. It’s a social drink, so leave time to linger and chat—just like at grandma’s house.

... on the side

the crowd
If there were an Ethiopian version of the TV show Cheers, it would be set here. If you sit at the bar, be prepared to move—you might be occupying a long time patron’s stool. And while Ethiopians from as far away as Naperville frequent both restaurants, locals of all ethnicities receive enthusiastic hugs from Almaz. “They are like family!” she exclaims on more than one occasion.

eye for design
The Broadway location is dotted with large, colorful paintings depicting significant points in Ethiopian history, and each table features a traditional textile underneath a glass tabletop. High ceilings and wide-plank wooden floors lend an upscale air.

on the stereo
Upbeat Ethiopian tunes make for a lively playlist.

decibels
Low—except if a crowd has gathered to watch soccer or football. On game day, these normally quiet restaurants can morph into internationally flavored sports bars.

hours

Mon–Thu 11 AM–10:30 PM; Fri-Sat 11 AM–11:30 PM; Sun 11 AM–10:30 PM

price range

$10.25 (kik alicha) to $17.25 (tibs combo 2)
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