Nile Ethiopian Restaurant offers kind service and delicious food presented in the Ethiopian tradition with injera; e.g., a spongey, crepe-like bread. Injera is then used to eat the food from your plate without any other utensils. The injera itself is very filling, so keep in mind to tear off conservative pieces during the meal. The best way to eat Ethiopian is with a big group of food-loving friends, which is why Nile was the venue for the June 2011 Foodspotting Eat-Up.
Droolius took the reigns for this event and let the good people at Nile know about the fourteen hungry foodies that were going to visit for dinner. Eat Local Orlando, Mega Yummo, Sandi, and others gathered around several adjoining tables. Foodies at the ends of the table ordered separate plates, and those of us bordering the middle of the table were able to share a large injera-lined plate with the Nile Meat Combination and the Nile Vegetable Combination. Our closest table-mates ordered a Vegetarian Taste of Nile.
The Nile Meat Combination included portions of chicken, shredded beef, and cubed beef flavored in a slightly different ways. The overall look and flavor of this combo was like a hearty stew in a mild red pepper sauce. The entrée also included a boiled egg, salad in a house-made vinaigrette, and collard greens, which cut through the strong flavors of the meats. The texture of the other beef portions were similar to ropa vieja, but all the portions included in this plate tasted like a luscious mix of spices like cardamom, ginger, garlic, and turmeric. Fans of Indian food can feel right at home in Nile Ethiopian Restaurant. I also ordered a carafe of honey wine, which was intensely sweet and acidic, but refreshed my taste buds after all those spices.
The Nile Vegetable Combination and Vegetarian Taste of Nile also had similar flavors and textures to the meat combination, but instead of chicken and beef, servings of minced lentils, cabbage, tomatoes, and split peas rounded out these entrées. A few portions on the Vegetable Combination had a stark red pepper flavor, and while I love spices, those who want milder spices in their meals should work closely with their server.
Lastly, there was a wonderful coffee ceremony. A hostess roasted coffee beans nearby, and the aromas of coffee and incense wafted around the whole restaurant. The hostess carried the small metal roaster around the table to let us take a peak at the smokey beans. Then, the coffee was brewed in a beautiful pot and served in small cups much like Eastern sake or tea cups. This medium blend coffee was so aromatic and flavorful that no milk or sugar were necessary. The coffee helped settle dinner and was a treat all its own.
There are two constants I’ve noticed during my visits to Nile Ethiopian Restaurant over the years; delicious food and wonderful customer service. The staff are always happy to demonstrate how to eat with injera, how to hold a honey wine carafe, or even lay out silverware upon request for their more conservative customers. One height that I have never seemed to achieve at Nile is ordering from the dessert menu. When I don’t get sidetracked by never-ending baskets of injera, I will write a celebratory post of Nile’s desserts.
Join in the fun and attend the next Foodspotting Eat-Up! Follow Droolius on Twitter and keep an eye on the Orlando Foodspotting Meetup Community for updates on July’s eat-up, which may be a local Turkish restaurant.
T: (407) 354-0026