(Photo credit: http://www.expedition360.com/journal/church_lalibela3.jpg)
Lalibela, named for the holy city located in northern Ethiopia, is my weekly/bi-weekly/multi-weekly go-to place when I'm not sure what I want to eat. It is family-owned and operated and the best Ethiopian food I've had in Nairobi (and yes, I have been to Habesha). It is a hole in the wall, but the food is good, inexpensive, and you get personalized service. I showed up at 8pm one Sunday night after they had already shut down for the evening and were on their way out, but they insisted on reopening the restaurant to serve my friend and me.
Location: Wood Avenue behind the KRep building (about half a block off of Arwings Kodhek)
Price: I usually get out of there with a bill for two people (including drinks) of 700-800 KSH.
Atmosphere: Inside, for your viewing pleasure, they have a tellie showing the soap opera-esque Kenyan tv shows and any movies old enough to make it to Kenyan tellie (9 months with Hugh Grant and Tom Arnold has been my favorite watching experience thus far). There is also seating on the patio for those non-rainy, mosquito-less days which is pleasant and you can watch cars attempt to navigate down the narrow alley in reverse if you grow bored.
I'm no culinary expert and I am never the one to order since I have no idea what half of the items on the menu are, but my favorite meal consists of shiro (an orange paste) and alicha wot (green with meat and a hard boiled egg). And yes, I did have to find out the names of those in order to write this blog. I tend to ask for things based on what they look like so it's a good thing the staff and my dining buddies know me and can figure out what I'm referring to pretty quickly. I also tried kitfo, a raw beef dish with a spicy chili powder for dipping, which was quite good. (Disclaimer: It is risky eating uncooked meat in Africa, but I am proud to say my intestinal friend, Harvey, has not made an appearance once since I began dining here which is reason enough for me to continue).