good food, slow strange service. First, in the old tradition of constructive criticism I would like to mention the positives. The food was good (even coming from someone with impaired taste). Now, on to the constructive criticism part. It was a weird time of the day (around 4:30) so we were the only customers in the place for a while. The waitress did not seem to understand any English at all, so even for the simplest menu questions she had to fetch someone else to translate. Hence, she could not recommend anything when asked. One of the dishes we initially attempted to order was lamb, which was the only part the waitress did seem to understand, and told us there was no lamb today. But when a different dish we did end up ordering contained lamb (at least it looked like lamb), this led us to believe that the waitress did not understand that part after all. The bottle of beer that - I am told - is normally supposed to be served with an accompanying glass and a slice of orange came only in a bottle. The side salad, called Ye'Abbysinia Salad, which according to the menu description was supposed to contain an array of vegetables along with "special Ethiopian dressing" turned out to be nothing but tomatoes and lettuce with some oil and vinegar. It took at least an hour after the salad and the drinks came to get the main meal, even though the place was virtually empty. The meal finally came, and it was enjoyable, however when we attempted to order ginger ale, we were told (after some time) that it was flat, i.e. not available, so we had to settle for Coke. Because the entire experience took so long, we almost didn't order dessert (which strangely was listed under "appetizers" in the menu), but due to my fondness for baklava, we took the plunge. It was the first time I ever had Ethiopian baklava... and it turned out to be a pleasant surprise because it was quite good. A little denser than the Middle Eastern variety, the piece was large enough for 2 people, and a great value for the price. We even overlooked the fact that it only came with one fork even though we made it clear we were sharing :). The decaf coffee I specifically ordered turned out to be the caffeinated variety, and so I came very close to being awake all night (because that’s what very strong caffeinated coffee does to me when I drink it after 2pm). Luckily I thought to double check and was then told that they do not have decaf. The coffee was taken back and I got a Lipton teabag with hot water with some Ethiopian spices, which unfortunately I couldn’t really taste. The only thing that came rather fast was the check. I definitely would not recommend going there if you are on some sort of restricted time schedule because you just never know when you will get your food.
The wait is gone.. I have been a long time customer of Abyssinia. In my mind the food and service have always been top notch. However, in the last couple years, the waiting time for food did migrate to the ridiculous. Well, Good News. In the last couple months, sanity has been completely restored. Once again, teaming heaps of the finest Ethiopian offerings to be found in Philadelphia arrive with near alacrity. The dining experience has resumed its' all round excellence. Once again, I'm a thoroughly satisfied patron.
has been a faithful customer since. My first experience with Abyssinia was very pleasant. I sat in the bar area and was entertained for the wait of the food though was over 20 min I expect that from any restaurant with ethnic foods. When I tell you i was an ethiopian food virgin you would never had guess the way i ate. I crave this food everyday and would eat it for dinner everynight if i could. Its also great you can call for pick ups if you dont like to wait order from home then pickup when ready . I recommend this place to anybody with patience. I find in better to eat in the bar area then the seated area.
Service terrible, food merely bad.
A lot of reviews on here seem to say that even though the service is bad, the food is worth it. Well, they're right about one thing - my group honestly waited an hour and a half for our food, and that was after waiting half an hour to order. When we finally did order, they were out of 3 of the dishes we wanted (although they didn't tell us that until 45 minutes later).
As for the food, I would have to say that it is mediocre at best. It wasn't terrible, but it was the worst Ethiopian I've ever had. I honestly don't know whether the place as undergone significant changes since someone wrote that the food was "exquisitely prepared," because we found the dishes poorly spiced and often too liquidy to even pick up with the injera. The injera itself was cold, as was a green pea dish that tasted only like yellow mustard (may have been a little more palatable if it was warm). If anyone knows where to find good Ethiopian in Philly, please let me know! But skip this place - the wait is DEFINITELY not worth it for the crappy food.
What a way to spoil an evening!. Awesome Food. Awful service. I love the place for its food although that has deteriorated over the past few months. Service is THE worst ever I have come across. I have always had to wait at least 40 minutes for the food and last time I was taken aback when the waitress asked for at least a 15% tip. I rounded up the amount to a couple of dollars to make it close to to 15% but slightly below - turned out it was 13% - and the lady started doing calculations to let me know out how much I had paid and how much I "should" have paid. Granted the food is good but it is a sure way to spoil an evening. Not worth it!
Great food, slowww service. I'm not covering any new ground here if you've read the other reviews. Anyone that's been to Abyssinia will tell you the service just flat out isn't good. If you're looking to eat in a hurry this is not the place for you. If you've got some time to spend though then by all means give Abyssinia a shot, because the food is exceptional. If you're looking to have a few drinks though, I recommend ordering them two at a time unless you're content with the slightest buzz. It's also a great spot for breakfast, I forget the name of the dish some friends ordered for me once, it was soupy with sour cream and you ate it with rolls. Really the perfect breakfast; hearty and filling to get you started on your day. A glass of mango juice on the side is strongly recommended. This is a tough area to find a good parking spot most of the time, so if you're driving allow some time to hunt for a spot as well. Basically, if time and patience are on your side, then by all means have a wonderful meal at Abyssinia.
Mediocre food; dreadful service (plus terrifying restrooms and stairs to access them!).
As other reviewers have indicated, the service at this restaurant is abysmal. While our group of four was seated promptly and our orders were taken fairly quickly, that's all that was fast about the service. Seriously, we waited a good 45 minutes for the food after placing our orders (and the restaurant was not crowded). Water-refilling visits from our server were scarce. It was all I could do to get an additional plate of injera, after five minutes of having none to eat with. Taking care of the check, from start to finish, also took far too long--perhaps 20 minutes. The server was friendly enough, but that's almost beside the point, as I see it.
We all ordered combination plates. I for one was momentarily mystified by the fact that the various combinations offered differ from each other in VERY slight ways--just a dish or two out of six or so--but finally we managed to select four different ensembles. Mine was a rather standard vegetarian assortment, which I normally love, but at this restaurant I found myself searching for flavor. The lentil dishes which should always be delicious were quite bland! Not only that, but they arrived at the table luke-warm, and things went downhill from there. My companions' meat dishes stayed warm longer, and they were also more flavorful.
While everything was quite edible and nothing tasted truly terrible, there was also nothing outstanding about any of the food at Abyssinia. I've eaten at many Ethiopian restaurants thoughout the country, and rarely has "bland" been the first adjective to come to mind when describing this food, but the word certainly suits the food here. I am from out of town and left it to my local friends to select this restaurant out of Philly's selection of Ethiopian places; in other words, none of us knew any better (although we read positive-enough reviews of the food online that we weren't immediately turned off). In retrospect, I'd recommend that prospective diners check out the other local options.
good food, poor customer service.
based on my first visit: very good food, horrible service. we ordered and waited at least 45 minutes for our dinner - maybe an hour.
I lived in washington DC for two years, so I know my ethiopian restaurants well, and I know that a basic veggie dish (where everything is already cooked) and a meat dish (most of it is prepared well in advance) shouldn't take more than 20 minutes to get ready (and some places in DC will have it at your table less than 10 minutes after you order it). the kitchen was extremely slow, and I'm sure that our server was helping out in the kitchen, as we hardly saw her in the dining area.
was the food worth the wait? not really. the food was fine, but it wasn't the best I ever had, and it certainly was the slowest in over 30 ethiopian restaurant visits in the past 3. the injera was also cool instead of fresh baked, and thus more sour than would be expected. if you are an ethiopian diehard like me, that's not a big deal, but for someone who is new to the flavor of injera, fresh baked is the best introduction.
the restaurant has a good reputation in the area, so maybe I just went on a bad night.
overall recommendation: give it a try. you may be impressed, and you may want to send the manager to the nearby wharton school to learn about management and staffing levels.
Good Food, Low Prices. I have eaten at Abyssinia on two occasions, but with a large gap in between. On my second visit, I ended up here after a huge letdown at Dahlak, so my review is comparative based on my experiences at both. First, let me say that Abyssinia offers a variety of food at a low price. I would recommend one of the combo dishes they offer (there are several). There is enough food in one of these dishes to feed a couple. The cost for a combo dish varies, but does not exceed $11 or $12. I ordered the meat combo and received 3 meat dishes and 3 vegetarian dishes. For comparison, Dahlak offered one combo that included 1 meat and 3 vegetarian dishes for $15. The food at Abyssinia was very tasty. My only complaint is that service is slow. The dining room was probably 1/2 full, but they only had one server. She took her time getting to us and we had to seat ourselves as well as grab our own menus.
My favorite place for Ethiopian. Sure the service is a bit slow but the food makes it well worth the wait. Their platters, both veggi and meat are amazing and CHEAP! It's the best ethiopian food I've tried so far.
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