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[Photographs: David Straight]

At last. Mount Roskill might have become an enclave for Ethiopians in recent years, but – possibly because many arrived here as refugees – until now there’s never been a restaurant. Believe me: I’ve looked. Then, the other day, a hopeful Google search threw up Cafe Abyssinia, and I got very excited indeed.

It’s worth the wait. You’ll find it in the Muslim district on Stoddard Road, down the back of a spacious arcade so new your shoes squeak on the tiles. It’s delightful, painted brightly in green, orange and red with a tasteful collection of Ethiopian handcrafts, loud Ethiopian music and a few old boys hanging about. It’s fun. The owner wore a Haile Selassie T-shirt and a gold earring: we said tell us what to eat, and he did.

And it was good. One of our favourite discoveries of 2012. We ordered up a mixed plate of stews and curries – they’re $15 for one, or they can give you a variety, and it comes with enjera, the classic Ethiopian unleavened bread, slightly sour, perfect for mopping up sauce. There is no cutlery. There was menchat abish, mince in a spicy sauce, and kitfo, Ethiopian beef tartare mixed with herbal butter which is very good. There is kai sega wot, stir-fried lamb pieces, and doro wot – chicken marinated with fresh lime juice and simmered with onions and berbere, a savoury, almost sour mixture of spices that is characteristic of this food. There was a vegetarian selection too. In short? Please go, please go often, please order a lot, and may there be many more restaurants like this one. SFG

HOURS 10am to 9pm, seven days.

ADDRESS 6/190 Stoddard Road, Mt Roskill, ph 620-5599. Find them on Facebook.

IMPORTANT DETAILS Service can be slow – they make everything to order. Go with plenty of time, and go hungry.


  1. Louise wrote:

    wow this is so super exciting. Aucklanders were missing out not having an ethiopian restaurant.

    Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink
  2. Renee Lang wrote:

    That’s great news! And it’s almost in my neck of the woods – how cool is that?

    Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink
  3. May-Lee Wong wrote:

    OMG! This is the best news I’ve heard all year! Now I don’t have to wait till Auckland International Cultural Festival to have my injera!

    Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink
  4. Davey Gravy wrote:

    Have been googling ‘Ethiopian Restaurant Auckland’ for ages with no luck. Fantastic news. Also made a beeline for the Ethiopian at the Food Festival.

    Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Permalink
  5. Selomeworku wrote:

    Well done good job

    Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink
  6. Anna wrote:

    Some friends and I ate here today. We tried the first three items on the menu (I can’t remember what they are called). The food was delicious and we’d definitely go back again.

    Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink
  7. Dave wrote:

    So pleased to have Ethiopian in N. Z at last. !! We’d always try to find a restaurant overseas and now its here. Taking the extended family for doro kai wat this week for Dad’s birthday.

    Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink
  8. SFG wrote:

    Highly exciting indeed – let us know how you get on.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink
  9. Alison K wrote:

    Had a great dinner tonight: the doro wot (chicken) & tibs (we had lamb, but can also have this dish with beef) – quite spicy, delicious.

    The service was pretty quick, too. Friendly, pleasant & helpful (unlike some other commenters, we’re not familiar with Ethiopian food).

    Followed with Ethiopian-style coffee (from small jug into smaller cups), a good way to finish the meal.

    Will be back!

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink
  10. Emma wrote:

    OMG!! How exciting.. I go nuts having to wait till I go home to Melbourne to be able to eat some injera & tibs or doro wot! Awesome, found out about the restraunt today, going to come over for a feed this weekend.
    Well done guys, I hope you get a loyal patronage that serves you well.

    Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink
  11. Mandy wrote:

    Loved it! Unfortunately we rocked up on a Monday though and it was closed. I was determined to check it out though, so we went the next night, and then the following day for lunch. Thanks for the tip.

    Friday, January 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink
  12. SFG wrote:

    That’s so great, glad you liked it.

    Monday, January 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink
  13. Davey Gravy wrote:

    Was it just me or could I detect an Italian influence in the stews?

    Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Permalink
  14. Andi wrote:

    This place is AMAZING and never fails to impress. Each time we have gone we’ve ordered the combo of different stews served on the injera bread. The combination of flavours is out of this world, and who doesn’t love eating with your hands?! Also, if you love coffee you MUST order the traditional coffee after the meal…takes ages for them to brew it but it is divine. A meal you won’t quickly forget!

    Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink
  15. Valeria wrote:

    Nga mihi nui ki a koe. It was my first time and I wasn’t disappointed at all. Food was beautiful and I agree with ANDI love that you can eat with your hands, great company, beautiful hospitality. It was RAWE!!!

    Mauri Ora

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink
  16. Ingrid Frisk wrote:

    This restaurant is lovely! We’ve been a few times and have loved it every time. The food is very unlike anything else which makes it great. Thank goodness for eithnic diversity in Auckland! Will keep going back for the mixed meat platter!

    Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

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