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Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 41 reviews )
Contact 323-937-8401

1047 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, California, USA, 90019

Traditional Ethiopian cuisine in Los Angeles Fairfax district. Food is all vegan. Small and cozy space in area also known as "Little Ethiopia". Order lunch and dinner a la carte, or try the lunch special where a plate of assorted veggies, lentils, and special of the day are brought to you (free refill). Special beverages made from flax and sunflower seeds, plus vegan desserts. Open Mon-Thu 11:00am-10:00pm, Fri-Sat 11:00am-11:00pm, Sun 11:00am-10:00pm.

Category: Vegan, Take-out, Catering

Reviews (41)

First Review by Mimi710

Rude Customer Service, mediocre ambiance but Good Food - Edit

I went out to dinner here for the first time recently with two friends.

We ordered a platter to share as well as one additional dish. When the platter arrived we politely asked if the other dish was on the way but the server (owner I think) replied extremely defensively "you didn't order anything else!!!" But the three of us all remember that it was definitely ordered. She repeated several times that we did NOT order anything else instead of apologizing and fixing the mistake. This rude response took the joy out of the meal a bit.

The food was delicious! But poor customer service, uncomfortable chairs and poor decor would be some cons.

Updated from previous review on 2016-09-21

Pros: Delicious

Cons: Customer service , Uncomfortable chairs, decor and ambience

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A buffet is always a smart move - Edit

I hadn't tried Ethiopian food before this visit, but was pleasantly surprised by how good everything was. I wasn't always clear on what I was eating, but it filled me up and I have few complaints.

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Finger food - Edit

We loved most of the food that was served but the trouble I had was that you have to eat it with a wrap instead of forks , all would of been fine but I found the wrap very bitter so whatever you would take it would give that bitterness/ sauerkraut like taste... Big fan of those lentils though.

Pros: tasty vegan food/ home made , not greasy food /not oily , friendly owners and servers

Cons: decor needs updating , wraps , forks would of come handy

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vegan buffet - Edit

A menu and a lunch buffet. Good varieties, a lot of choices and a very kind staff. All the sabors of ethiopian cuisine.

Pros: Ethiopian specialities!, vegan, eat as much as you want

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red lentil love - Edit

Went with a group and ordered a sampler with sambussa to share with 5 people. My favorite is the red lentil dish, but everything is delicious and it is fun to be able to taste different things and mix and match flavors. Sat in the hut, which was shipped over from Ethiopia and reassembled in the restaurant. Beautiful presentation and very friendly service.

Pros: friendly staff, abundant servings, authentic hut dining

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Ethiopian first time - Edit

Never had Ethiopian before so not sure how representative this is of Ethiopian food generally or just this place. We had the buffet. Mixed feelings.

It's all stews - great if you like that sort of stuff, otherwise could be boring. It reminded me of mild Indian curries with less bite and more aroma. I must admit there was one particular red stew that I ended up really liking and filled up on - but I was hoping for a more diverse meal. I tried the injera and was was NOT impressed! My partner OTOH couldn't stop raving about all the food (except injera) at this place.

A highlight is that the staff are clearly devoted to vegan living and sport "vegan power" t-shirts. Loved it.

Not sure I'd come back unless my arm was heavily twisted. I really only want to give 3 stars but I'm averaging my and my partner's experience and adding a star for the vegan power theme.

Pros: Vegan staff, Some flavoursome foods

Cons: Stews, stews and more stews, Injera - yuk!

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Our favorite restaurant in LA! - Edit

My husband and I eat here literally every time we come to Los Angeles. Service is wonderful, atmosphere is wonderful, most importantly, it's the best Ethiopian food we've ever had (and we eat Ethiopian almost once a week.) We've eaten here a dozen times over the last few years. Order the veggie feast and eat your heart out!! :)

Pros: Best Ethiopian food ever, Great atmosphere, Friendly service

Cons: Parking sometimes takes a few minutes

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Hearty, Healthy Ethiopian Cuisine! - Edit

My husband and I ate here over the weekend for the all you can eat lunch buffet. It was SOOOOOOO good!

All vegan Ethiopian cuisine sans fake meats. This food is the real veggie deal.

Great price for the all you can eat buffet. I loved the lentils and split peas, as well as their sauces and dressings. The mango cake was to die for!

Highly recommend if you are int he mood for hearty, healthy, Ethiopian food!

Also very attentive service, even for a buffet. One waitress was manning a pretty busy room and didn't let a water glass go empty or a request unanswered.

Pros: All you can eat buffet, Hearty and healthy, Great Service

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Tasty Meal! - Edit

Very tasty food. We were in a rush and had to scarf down the food. I wish I had more time to enjoy the food. I went with a flexible vegetarian and a guy that was very meat and potatoes and only ate American food (he had never tried any ethnic food before this experience). I was a bit worried that he would not be happy but everyone loved their food. The samosas were probably the best samosas I’ve had in a very long time. The food was very delicious and I didn’t have to worry about any hidden clarified butter. Great food, great service. Next time I’m in LA, I will have to try the buffet.
Updated from previous review on Saturday May 17, 2014

Pros: Great food

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A feast for the senses - Edit

Hands down my favorite restaurant in L.A., vegan or not. Consistently delicious with spices and flavors that jump off the injera and into your mouth. Get a combination platter of course - try as many dishes as you can. The red lentils are divine and the greens are always perfect. Try the pure teff injera, made with only this ancient grain (no wheat/gluten) that is reminiscent of buckwheat. Its tanginess offsets the deep rich flavors of the stews. FIrst time eating Ethiopian? This is the place for you! Say hello to Rahel herself, a most gracious host. Coffee lovers: ask about the coffee ceremony. I don't even like coffee and I LOVE this.

Pros: wildly good food, eat at traditional tables if you like, excellent staff and service

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Excellent experience - Edit

It is rare to be able to eat vegan african food in a restaurant. That makes this one really nice, food is really excellent and you will find it nowhere else. Portions are big and they serve you different sorts of food in an ethiopian traditionnal pancake. You also can eat directly with your fingers, which is really appreciable. Staff is friendly and the restaurant has a pleasant atmosphere. You should absolutely try it!

Pros: excellent food, friendly staff, nice place and atmosphere

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Excellent Vegan Food, Gluten Free if needed - Edit

I've been to this restaurant several times and rate it highly. Excellent food, friendly people. They can serve gluten free injera (the spongy pancake-like bread that is used to soak up the food when eating) upon request for those who are gluten sensitive.
One time, visited on a Sunday and the food wasn't as good. Perhaps the main chef isn't there that day, not sure.

Pros: Clean, Pleasant ambiance, Excellent vegan Ethiopian food

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Won't be back - Edit

I give this a 3 stars, only because it is an all vegan restaurant. But yikes, I did not like it all, and ultimately I don't like Ethiopian food at all.
The food was bland and boring, and lukewarm (maybe that's supposed to be that way) and we could not even finish it. We had the feast and could not enjoy a single bite of it.

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Great food, greater buffet - Edit

I love Ethiopian food, and this place really does it well. Additionally, they have a buffet during lunch times, and it doesn't get much better than that.

If you're looking for something ethnic, try this place. It's all-vegan, and that's always a good thing to support.

Bring change for the parking meters, and expect to park a few blocks up or down the street.

Pros: All-vegan, Buffet

Cons: Difficult parking

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Tasty and Filling - Edit

I had read about this place on happycow when it first opened some years ago, and have eaten here several times. Here's my Rahel Ethiopian Vegetarian Cuisine review.

It's located on Fairfax Blvd in a section known as Little Ethiopia - lots of restaurants serving Ethiopian food. Rahel's is the only pure veg (vegan) establishment, as of this writing.

The food is tasty and flavorful, lots of lentils, dal, potatoes, and some dark greens. Food is served with injera bread that you're supposed to eat with your hands.

When eaten in moderation, I felt good. But on the occasions where I ate a bit too much, the spices and the heaviness of the food did not settle well.

A good dining adventure if you'd like to try Ethiopian food.

Pros: authentic flavors, good variety, Ethiopian coffee ceremony

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Excellent Ethiopian - Edit

I wasn't hungry, so I just ordered a bowl of lentil soup and baklava. I was excited for vegan baklava, but it was a little disappointing. My friend ordered a feast and she seemed to enjoy it. She had leftovers, but it still seemed a little overpriced. Nice atmosphere.

Pros: all vegan

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I love Rahel! - Edit

Rahel has a wonderful atmosphere and great food. You can also often see Rahel herself at the restaurant, which I always enjoy. I think it's nice to be able to meet the owner and make a connection. There is a real sense of community. The combo platters are wonderful to share and it's some of the best Ethiopian food I've ever had. The drinks are also delicious and there's great variety like spiced tea, Ethiopian coffee, and wonderful unique traditional drinks made from barley or sunflower seeds. They also have a all-you-can-eat lunch buffet everyday until 3pm. I love the Yeatkilt Wot. Mmmmmmmm!

Pros: Great atmosphere, Delicious food, Friendly service

Cons: Sometimes they have the t.v. on

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great lunch buffet - Edit

We have been hearing about Rahel's for years and finally got a chance to try it today. This was our first time eating Ethiopian food, so I cannot comment on authenticity, but it was damned good vegan food. All the dishes were naturally vegan (no faux-anything), constantly replenished, and delicious. The choices were heavy on lentils and varied in spiciness from not at all to somewhat.

On a whim, I ordered a glass of Besso (drink made from barley). It was sweet and creamy and just the thing if I ate a little too much spice at once.

Cannot wait to get back there for dinner sometime.

Pros: tasty, good value

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Best Vegan Ethiopian Food - Edit

I haven't tried a whole lot of Vegan Ethiopian food, but this is my favorite Ethiopian place so far! I was happy to see descriptions of what each dish was composed of, since it's usually a little hard to tell... For the $9 lunch buffet, you can get a good deal of food for your money! They even have gluten free injera for those avoiding gluten. It's just too bad they're only open for lunch, or I would have gone back for a second try during my vacation in California.

Pros: all vegan, good value, delicious

Cons: only open for lunch

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Too much of a good thing - Edit

The food is really good. Too good, in my opinion, because I always eat too much. Yes, I know that I could take it to go, but I wish they could just sell some smaller portions for cheaper prices instead. The balance of flavors is very subtle and good. For a while they were even selling some kind of lentil wrap in Whole Foods, but unfortunately that seems to have ended. Also be warned that you will almost definitely need to park on a side street, but that's to be expected in this neighborhood.

Pros: yummy, ambience

Cons: portions too big, bad parking

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Vegan Ethiopian Buffet?! - Edit

Being a lover of Ethiopian food for quite sometime, I was excited and apprehensive about eating at this restaurant because of the buffet. Needless to say, I was satisfied, but not overly ecstatic about the results.

At the buffet line, the injera is premade, rolled up on top of each other in an Ethiopian closed basket. Down the row of metallic food covers included the green and red lentils; the potato stew, rice; split-pea stew; string-beans with carrots; kale stew; and barley (an ingredient I never knew was used in Ethiopian cooking).

The red lentils were full of flavor, a hint of flaming spice, but not hot enough to distract the pallet from the other selections. The potato stew was another favorite and the yellow base stew was enjoyed more so on my finger tips, but the other options weren't overly impressive. Of course, this might be the results of eating from the buffet, but the advantage is you get to see what options are available in vegan Ethiopian dining.

Surprisingly, even the buffet option comes with a side option: lentil soup or house salad. The lentil soup was a bit on the bland side for my liking, but the "3D" juice, a combination of barley, flax and sunflower seeds, was fantastic. The drink wasn't too grainy; it tasted great with the meal.

Service was very attentive and the atmosphere is alive with pictures, art, and other Ethiopian decoratives. And parking is not difficult on a Sunday afternoon when the meters don't run on South Fairfax.

In sum, the buffet is a hearty option for those who've never experiences the colourful flavors of Ethiopian spices. But next time, I'm in LA, I'll pass on the buffet and order fresh from the menu during dinner as I'm sure it will complete the experience.

Pros: Excellent Service, Inexpensive, Wonderful Red Lentis

Cons: Buffet quality hit or miss.

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Vegan Ethiopian! - Edit

For the uninitiated, I would say Indian food is the closest thing to Ethiopian, in that it consists largely of spicy stews eaten with flatbread. I have been here several times and I love it. I recommend getting one of the dinner combos where you get several items all on one plate so you don't have to choose one thing. However, you will get a lot of food, but that's not a problem for me.

Pros: High quality, Huge portions

Cons: Terrible parking

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Affordable Ethiopian buffet! - Edit

I love this place! Finding Ethiopian food was the most exciting food discovery for me in the past year, finding this all vegan Ehthiopian place? Even better! The buffet is cheap and all you can eat! I tricked some of my non-vegan friends into going here and they loved it too! I can't wait for my next trip back to CA so I can go here!

Pros: great food, nice staff, all you can eat!

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wonderful place - Edit

Ethiopian food is my favorite, and I'm vegan, so it's no wonder that I loved this place.

Our server came out with a pitcher and bowl so that you could wash your hands before eating--that was neat (of course we had already washed our hands, knowing that we'd be eating with them).

The food was very flavorful, but I noticed it wasn't at all spicy-hot--that may be good or bad, depending upon your tastes.

I tried the Ethiopian tea. It was good--it smelled like Christmas spices. The cup was small, but they refilled it later.

The lights were dimmed, and there were candles on the table. It was almost TOO dimly lit, the night we were there.

Pros: great food, quiet restaurant

Cons: not super cheap

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Really GREAT!! - Edit

I went here with my mom and we loved it! The food is so flavorful and they bring it out pretty quickly. The waitress was nice and patient as this was our first time eating Ethiopian. It was a unique experience and really fun. The one draw back, and also really funny moment of the evening, was when we realized you eat with your hands. I had to beg my mom not to ask for a fork. If you're slightly germaphobic as we are I recommend bringing hand sanitizer since they just pour water over your hands before you eat. Overall I think this is a great cute place for families and dates. My mom is hard to please as she is a health inspector for LA county and she really liked it. This was so worth the long drive!

Pros: GREAT food, Unique experience, Kind waitress

Cons: Can't think of anything bad!

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Get the coffee! - Edit

We go when I get an overwhelming craving for Ethiopian. All the items on the veggie combo are good, but the red lentils in particular are what I crave. And I really like the injera bread made with real teff, not some other flour. But the best part is the coffee. Granted you really have to like black coffee (which we both do). Coffee is originally from Ethiopia, so it's a nice treat to have them perform the coffee ceremony. They bring the roasting beans out for you to smell, they light incense and bring the coffee in a clay pot. You get little cups of black gold!

Pros: coffee , variety of veggie stews

Cons: parking

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Tough review for me!@!! - Edit

I think this is a great place to go for a fun experience with a family of 4 or a date. My girlfriend really liked the food. I've gotten their prepared food a few times at the Santa Monica Co-op. Its best to order the Meal for 2. I think they pretty much bring you out what ever they want, because the one we choose didn't have some of the things the menu mentioned. The service is slow, but the food comes out fast because I think its all prepared that day in advance. I have no desire to return, but hey it was free from a raffle I won. I've had vegan Ethiopian before and I didn't like it the first time around, this was much better than the place I ate in St.louis. I don't think anyone will be disappointed if you go here with 4 close people (you eat with your bare hands) its fun in that regard. I'm just more into spicey food and not bland ethiopian cuisine. The parking is horrible. On the side of the street opposite Rahel you can try to park in the neighborhood if there isn't a meter available.

Pros: unique, 100% vegan

Cons: no parking

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delicious, addicting food - Edit

We love the place. The food is really good and it feels right for our stomachs. We would recommend to try their combo (so you get to taste everything), samboosas (of course!) and coffee. Their coffee is extraordinary, I would go there to have a cup anytime.

Pros: delicious food, pleasant atmosphere, totally vegan

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Pretty darn good Ethiopian food - Edit

First time eating there had a big vegan feast with two friends and still had leftovers--wow! Huge and beautiful portions. The food is so colorful! Enjoyed the lentils most. Some of the foods in the vegan feast were blandish or rather, tasted too similar to other foods, but still all good.
Slow service, but it's worth it since it's the only all-vegan Ethiopian restaurant in the country.

Pros: good food, healthy cuisine, good value

Cons: SLOW/inattentive service

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Great Food! - Edit

This is incredibly delish food. Very different and that is a pleasure. Great spices used. Love to eat the food with the bread. Very friendly service. Tolerant of and friendly to my 4 small children who think the food is too spicy and therefore sit and wait with a smoothy while mom and dad enjoy the food.

Pros: Great food, interesting spices, nice service

Cons: small & cramped, hard to park

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Worth a Try - Edit

I've been here many times for the lunchtime meal. The food is generally good and very filling, but sometimes, I don't feel so good afterwards. It's heavy food with lots of spices, potatoes, and lentils all mixed together, and the injera bread expands in the stomach I think... Cute little place though, and it's all vegan.

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yummmmmmmmmm - Edit

This was my first time trying ethiopian food and it was wonderful. When you order the veggie plate you get to try about nine different items. The waitress was very helpful and answered all of the questions we had about what to order and how we should eat the food. It was a great experience and I definitely recommend it.

Pros: delicious food, excellent service

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Great Restaurant! - Edit

I loved this place! The Vegan Feast was something like $14 (April 2007) and had 12 different dishes to try. The food was excellent, service was great, fabulous prices. My only complaint would be that even traditionally spicy ethiopian dishes were very mild. I'm sure they would accomodate if asked to make spicier though.

Pros: inexpensive, great food

Cons: a little too mild

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great choice for a low-key vegan date - Edit

i adore rahel. the food is amazing. sharing a giant two-person combination plate gives you the pleasure of sampling like 9 or 10 different dishes - plus you eat with your hands and it's all very sexy. you get a lot of food for not much money, and they always bring out more injera if you need it. the collard greens are fantastic, and everything is well spiced but not too spicy. try the different juices like the flaxseed or sunflower seed - very interesting.

Pros: unique beverages, friendly staff, awesome combo plates

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my first ethopian experience - Edit

I thought the food would be spicer based on what others had told me about ethopian food. it was in fact very mild. the food was good though, and the bread was gluten free which was good as the friend i was with can't eat gluten. the food is reasonably priced and there is an all you can eat lunch special. funky atmosphere. i loved the waitresses "VEGAN POWER" shirt - and want one!! *lol*

Pros: price, atmosphere

Cons: not very spicy food

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