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Restaurants

Ethiopian House

Posted by Tanja / Reviewed on November 13, 2005 / review policy

nov1205_ethiophouse.jpg I drink coffee and I drink it black. Yes, because I enjoy coffee, not what you get if you put a shot of coffee in a 20oz cup of milk, sugar, whip cream and flavourings.

Right then... so with that established, let me also make a point of saying that its really hard to find a good cup of coffee! 2nd cup has one or two flavourful brews out of their lot (usually), Starbucks is pretty much bitter gas-tank dribble (there's a reason they have so many flavour shots), and Tim Hortons... well, usually if you're having it, you don't have many other options (ie. on the road to Napanee).

Last night, I happened to stop into the Ethiopian House (4 Irwin St) and tried the house specialty Ethiopian coffee...
Sweet heaven in a miniature cup.

The coffee here takes about 35 minutes to prepare. I was there for a birthday dinner, so with plenty of time to spare, I figured I'd give it a try.

Having had Ethiopian coffee before (and not being notably impressed) I didn't expect that much... general goodness and definite freshness. The hosts here had a different idea.

A little while after ordering the pot, the waitress came around with a wooden tray of roasting coffee beans, shaking them around us at the table so that we could take in the aroma. After going the length of the table, she left, leaving only the smokey air wafting around us behind.

20 or so minutes later she returned with a wooden pot and tray with tiny coffee cups for all and even the hesitant folks gave it a try. The slickest move came from a couple bitter-fearful friends who added a spoonful of sugar into the wee cup and subsequently ended up with a cup of caramel-y sweetness (bad move!).

The coffee was strong and yet sweet enough with almost a berryish twist to it. Really, really good... and satisfying too. I refilled a couple times and felt like I'd had a whole big cupful.

While I wouldn't have gone back for the food here (little expensive, even on the so-so veggie side) I would definitely return time and time again to sit with this coffee and just relax.

The freshly roasted and brewed pot costs $12 and serves about 6 or so bean-lovers.

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Ethiopian House - 4 Irwin St., just West off Yonge, 2 blocks North of Wellesley

Discussion

22 Comments

Fen / November 13, 2005 at 09:34 am
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I like my sugar with coffee and cream.
Georgia / November 13, 2005 at 12:49 pm
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I am totally one of those people that drink Starbucks coffee+flavour shot+tonnes of milk+ any sprinking available..
I made the mistake of trying to do something like that to this coffee..bad move!!

The coffee is definitly best left on it's own.
matthew / November 13, 2005 at 10:56 pm
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I like my coffee like I like my men...
Mare / November 13, 2005 at 11:37 pm
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I happen to luv Starbucks with cream, that "bitterness" is usually a deep roast bean... ahhh the French Roast is the best!Their caffe lattes cannot be beat anywhere. 2nd cup is just BAD coffee, it tastes like watered down burntness...yuck. I must confess and admit that I've been getting seduced by Tim's coffee with that hint of tobaccy aftertaste (dble cream of course). Now a fine espresso with a hint of sugar is darn good too. Now, I'm curious to try this Ethipion coffee - thanks for the info - great shot by the way!
morecowbell / November 14, 2005 at 12:58 pm
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I don't understand those who put no sugar or minimal sugar in espresso. Espresso is made for sugar, as this brings out the sweeter, caramel tones in the coffee. There is a saying about how you should take your espresso - dark as night, hot as hell and sweet as love.
Camille / November 14, 2005 at 05:54 pm
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What I love about Ethiopian coffee is the way that it engages your senses and invites you to slow down and enjoy the experience. The time it takes to roast the beans, the way the aroma is appreciated and shared, the much-anticipated rich, bitter taste, and the presentation of it all make it something special. It certainly doesn't compare to the phenomenon of take-out coffee most of us are used to.
x the x / November 24, 2005 at 09:48 am
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Other good, non-35 minute coffee:

Espresso Rose (?) on Yonge, south of college on the east side makes a great cup.

Epicure on Queen West

mainja / November 28, 2005 at 04:23 pm
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okay, this is going on my 'must try' list.
B W / February 16, 2008 at 01:20 pm
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There's another good ethiopian place on Bloor just east of Dovercourt. (I forget the name, but it's got great low prices-I've not had the coffee there but it's worth a try)

I have had the coffee at Addis Ababba on Queen St. W. The service there is warm but slow, the food is spicy and delicious but it costs a little more than you'd expect.
actionwords / January 11, 2009 at 07:34 pm
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Ethiopia House is neat and the food is quite good, but the service can be on the cranky side. Last time I went it bordered on rude and kind of put me off going back. I really enjoyed the coffee, but then again I do like my coffee black if it is good quality. As for other sources of good (non-Ethiopian) coffee in TO, I strongly recommend Bisogno at King & Sherbourne. Stellar coffee and friendly service.
Sharon replying to a comment from actionwords / May 19, 2009 at 04:36 pm
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Ethiopia House (man the same cranky & rude waiter ('_')
, the service is too sloooooow and there is only one server/waiter/cashier and he is cranky and rude. Some one even found him cheat b/s he charged him more. Some one else commented on the the attitude of this server (the braided hair server) when the customer pointed out about some issues with the food (veggie stew was not fresh). I know there are other Ethiopian restaurnts, number of them on the Bloor and Ossington area and also on Danforth once your passed Pape some where around Greenwood.
Sharon replying to a comment from actionwords / May 19, 2009 at 04:37 pm
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Ethiopian House, the service is too sloooooow and there is only one server/waiter/cashier and he is crunky and rude. Some one even found him cheat b/s he charged him more. Some one else commented on the the attitude of this server (the braided hair server) when the customer pointed out about some issues with the food (veggie stew was not fresh). I know there are other Ethiopian restaurnts, number of them on the Bloor and Ossington area and also on Danforth once your passed Pape some where around Greenwood.
SB / February 23, 2011 at 04:25 pm
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Great FOOD! Clean!! Fast (outside rush times)!! Great service!! Good Coffee!!!
mike / August 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm
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Love the funky coffee picture
If you are interested, we are looking for coffee trenders would like to guest blog at on our website http://www.thecoffeelocator.com.

You can write anything from a one-off article, or become a regular blogger.
Please let us know by email or through the website.
If you are a photographer, we will also have a coffee photography gallery where you can sell images (launching in December 2012.
SarahArr / January 7, 2013 at 11:37 am
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I'm sorry to say, but the food at this place is quite bland. It is NOT good Ethiopian food. I suspect they have lowered the spice levels to suit what they think is Canadian test, but it has rendered the food very inauthentic, and not very delicious. I have lived at Ethiopian and eaten at a lot of Ethiopian restaurants in both Toronto and Washington, DC (where I used to live and which has a huge Ethiopian and Eritrean community) and this place disappoints every time. It should not be on this list.
Best Jumpers / March 7, 2013 at 04:23 am
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Annunci / March 15, 2013 at 09:39 am
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Tendai / July 2, 2013 at 06:55 pm
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Worst Ethipisn food ever. Food not fresh and certainly not authentic.
Tendai / July 2, 2013 at 06:56 pm
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Ethiopian house serves the worst Ethopian food.
Tendai replying to a comment from SB / July 2, 2013 at 06:57 pm
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Terrible food.
Tendai replying to a comment from SarahArr / July 2, 2013 at 06:57 pm
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It's the worst.
Sean / August 6, 2013 at 07:23 pm
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Inspected on: August 1, 2013
Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
Number of infractions: 4 (Minor: 2, Significant: 2)
Crucial infractions include: N/A

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