Meals by Genet (Los Angeles, CA)

You will never taste anything better

There was a time when you could say: “Hey, let’s go get Ethiopian Food!” and 99% of the time I would say “YES!!!”

Since eating at Meals by Genet my answer has unilaterally changed to: “Only if we go to Genet’s…”

Chef Genet Agonafer has ruined all other Ethiopian restaurants for me. Her food is heaven; all other Ethiopian food is earth. I avoided her for years, thinking the white table cloths, professional wait staff and candle lit dining room signaled a watered down “for white people” rendition of Ethiopian cuisine.  A tragic mistake.  Portions here seem small compared to the other 20 or so Ethiopian places on this block, but this is truly a case of quality verses quantity. As Genet explains, she’s the only restaurant on Fairfax that doesn’t cook their lentils in water. Instead she cooks her lentils down into a sultry stew in clarified butter. Seriously, I cannot even write this without salivating.

The Vegetarian Combo ($14) is the most expensive in Little Ethiopia—but it’s worth the extra scratch! Each dollop is distinct, with bold layers of complex flavors, not the monosyllabic gruel served across the street.  The injera—the lightly sour fermented teff grain crepe used as your primary eating utensil—is supple and thick like the heavy pile velvet of a dog’s tongue.

Every single morsel is my favorite! (Clockwise from the 12-o-clock position)

  • MESIR – Red lentils cooked in butter (okay, this one is my favorite)
  • ALITCHA KIK – Mild yellow split peas blended with onions, ginger, garlic and turmeric
  • SHIMBIRA ASA –  Sauteed garbanzo beans  in berbere sauce (chili peppers, garlic, ginger, korarima, rue, white and black pepper, and fenugreek)
  • GOMEN – Sautéed collard greens
  • TIKIL GOMEN – Sweetly braised cabbage and carrots with ginger and turmeric  (no wait… this one is my favorite too)
  • SHIRO – Ground orange split chickpeas with kicking red pepper
  • ATKILT – Sautéed potatoes, green beans, carrot and onions
  • ETHIOPIAN SALAD – Tomatoes, onions, jalapenos in a pequit and spicy dressing served with a Yeqarya Sinnig (a stuffed jalapeno – often eaten with beef tartar)
  • SOUF FIFIT – Pureed sunflowers with jalapeno, onion, olive oil and lemon juice, served cold
  • TIMATIM FIFIT – Tomatoes, jalapeno, red onions, olive oil and lemon juice, also served cold
  • AZIFA – Green lentils with Ethiopian mustard and a rich dose of lime

Meals by Genet
1053 South Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90019

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