Abyssinia: A Journey to Africa in Amsterdam's Oud-West
It's kitschy Africana at its best in Amsterdam's non-touristy Oud-West. Named for the Ethiopian Empire that reigned from the 12th century until 1975, Abyssinia's interior seems to represent an old African hut. Vibrant colors and flavors assault your senses in a culinary tradition influenced by Ethiopia's proximity to Asia's spice islands, featuring authentic African dishes once prepared by Ethiopian nobles.
Bring friends and eat with your hands, sitting on rattan furnishings plump with cushions, surrounded by baskets woven with geometric designs. If you like your beverages sweet, order a mango, banana or coconut beer served in a calabash shell—good for washing down the piquant dishes. Or indulge in Abyssinia's honey wine or dark Hakim Stout, the latter imported from Ethiopia. The restaurant also serves South African wines and a full selection of domestic and imported liquors, plus spiced teas and coffees.
Your feast arrives on a silver platter, layered on a giant injera pancake. The sourdough yeast pancakes are light and spongy—the perfect complement for highly spiced dishes. There's no cutlery, so yank a piece of injera from the basket served with your meal, envelope some meat or veggies and bring the morsel to your mouth. Savor Zegni, Ethiopia's national dish made with beef or lamb, and Doro Wat, a chicken dish served at weddings and other festive occasions. The cozy restaurant seats 35–40 guests, so reservations are advised if you're visiting on a weekend evening.