Little Africa Ethiopian Cuisine in Grand Rapids, MI

Allow me to plug my favorite restaurant once again. The past two weeks I was hoping to go to Little Africa for lunch and it never happened, but finally on Saturday I got my wish.

201334 Little Africa
After Vespers, on a whim, I invited a friend to join me.

Okay, so going to Little Africa wasn’t a “whim” since I was thinking about it for several days, but I guess inviting a friend was the whimsical part. Or else I just didn’t want to be the weirdo eating the All You Can Eat special* alone.

Little Africa Ethiopian Cuisine. Grand Rapids | Orthodox and Vegan
Either way, I love it when I get to bring someone in for the their first time. I wish I got referral points.

Little Africa Ethiopian Cuisine, Grand Rapids | Orthodox and Vegan
*UPDATE: Unfortunately the All You Can Eat special is no longer available, but you can still get a combo platter for two or more people for $11.50 per person, and it’s a pretty decent amount of food! When you order the combo for at least two people, you get a taste of nearly everything. This platter is for a larger group. Starting at the top center and moving clockwise, it includes:
Alicha Cabbage, Potatoes, Carrots & Green Beans (mild)
Shiro Chickpea Flour and Spices (medium)
Seasonal Pumpkin (mild)
Azifa Green Lentils (mild)
Kik Split Peas (mild)
Soy Curry TVP and Spices (hot)
Mesir Red Lentils, this dish has a unique smoky flavor (medium)
Ethiopian Salad, with Romaine Lettuce, Tomatoes, and a Sesame Ginger Lime Dressing (mild)
Beets (medium)
Gomen Collard Greens (mild)

The one item not shown is Firfir, a wonderful dish traditionally made of leftover injera bread. The bread is combined with a tomato-based berbere sauce until it becomes a kind of thick porridge. It is heavenly, and usually a little hotter than the soy curry.

All of this goodness is served on injera, a flat bread that resembles a pancake covered with little air holes. For an extra $4, you can order the naturally gluten-free teff injera, made with only teff flour. Otherwise, your meal will come with injera made with a blend of teff, wheat, and barley flour. In both cases, the flour is simply mixed with water and left to ferment. This gives the injera its signature mildly sour flavor.

Don’t expect any silverware! The extra bread on the platter is torn into pieces and used to scoop. DO NOT fall into the trap of using a huge piece of bread to scoop a small amount of food! You’ll fill up quickly. Instead, use a small piece of bread to scoop as much food as you can without looking ridiculous 🙂 Don’t worry if your hands get a little messy, each person will be given a small bowl of water for hand washing.

Seasoned Tea is the most popular beverage at Little Africa, but if you’re worried about spicy food I suggest ordering a mango or guava juice. They work as well as milk at cooling your tongue.

Questions or Comments? Leave them below!

14 thoughts on “Little Africa Ethiopian Cuisine in Grand Rapids, MI

  1. Just for the record, you are the one who labeled it “a whim” and “whimsical.” (I have yet to share the label that I came up with for it.) By the way, are you suggesting that inviting your friend was weird?

  2. By the way, would you trade the referral points for a free meal? (If not, I’ll figure out a way to get you some points … but I will want my money back!)

    • Hmm…if you’re just getting a standard combo, it’s so hard to choose! I guess I’d go with tomato salad, soy curry and alicha or kik. Unless you really have a thing for beets, I would avoid those.
      If you’re really hungry, you can do the All You Can Eat and try one of each thing. You might also ask if there are any specials.

      For drinks, the spiced tea is great, but the juice might be more helpful if you have a hard time with spicy food.

Tell Us Your Thoughts!