Ethiopian cuisine is unarguably an acquired taste. And surprisingly, there aren’t many Ethiopian restaurants in the Orlando and Central Florida area. In fact, Nile Ethiopian Restaurant located on international drive seems to be one of only two that we have been able to track down. That said, we recently paid a visit to Nile and, of course, wanted to share all about it here.
Located in a small strip not too far from the intersection of I-Drive and Sand Lake Road since 2006, Nile offers its guests a quaint, quiet environment for their dining experience. (Pro tip: For those who like to “walk on the wild side” of life there’s a hookah joint next door.)
Once inside the dining area, guests can opt to sit–socially distanced–at either or table or a booth around the exterior. A typical Ethiopian dish consists of injera (a sour fermented flatbread with a slightly spongy texture, traditionally made out of teff flour) accompanied by a spicy stew, which frequently includes beef, lamb, vegetables and various types of legumes, such as lentils. Nile’s menu offers beef & steak (very, very many options), poultry, and fish, but on this visit we opted for lamb. The lamb options are very limited compared to the beef & steak dishes, but there’s still plenty of food to be had.
Ethiopian food–at least in our experience–doesn’t have the greatest reputation for being the most flavorful food, but can often be spicy. And you’ll definitely note by some of the images here, that it’s not the most photogenic food either. But, we thoroughly enjoyed what we ordered during this particular visit, and all of our dinner companions agreed.
The “Lamb Tibs” dish is comprised of cubed lamb marinated in yummy spices, and sautéed with sliced of red onions, tomatoes, and jalapeño peppers (we nixed those). (For those looking for a ton of food there’s also a “special” option which includes a vegetarian side dish.)
Now as is tradition in Ethiopian culture, one must eat their food with their hands. So at Nile this holds true…and there is no flatware provided to diners (it’s most likely available upon request, if desired).
One of the things Ethiopian culture is known for outside of the food is the coffee. Coffee culture in Ethiopia – considered to be the drink’s birthplace – dates back centuries, and continues to this day. In fact, according to the International Coffee Organization (ICO), domestic coffee consumption accounts for more than half of the country’s production. Fun fact, eh? And totally free of charge.
Several of the folks in our party opted for coffee post-meal, and the presentation of the coffee is quite the experience (the actual coffee ceremony in Ethiopia is quite ritualistic and lengthy).
Nile Ethiopian Restaurant
7408 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819
What do you think? Have you ever dined at Nile? Or would you ever be interested to check it out?