I'm pretty confident in saying that Ghion Cultural Hall is the absolute best in Ethiopian dining in ATL! The staff is friendly (and beautiful). The front dining room is set-up "homestyle" including two flat-screens showing Ethiopian news and music videos! Meanwhile the back dining room is a newly renovated banquet hall with an atmosphere that captures the warmth and zest of Ethiopian culture; including fabrics, traditional paintings and mosobs– traditional handmade woven serving tables where people gather to have a communal meals. The food portions are generous and I always leave feeling satisfied.
Does it help that the owners of the restaurant (the Asnake family) are friends of mine? Sure!
However, the food does speak for itself. My family and I fancy the veggie combo platter–which consists of 4-7 options (a way to taste a wide spectrum of dishes)... It's basically an assortment of lentils (MISER are red lentils and ATER are the yellow lentils), collards (GOMEN), stewed cabbage (TIKEL GOMEN), potato stew (DINECH WOT) and a tomato salad (TIMATIM SALAD)... OOOH- and the shuro (a stew of powdered chickpeas and seasonings) is to-LIVE-for!
Ignore that whole 'don't eat with your hands'-thing. Ethiopian food is a hands-on experience. You start by tearing a bite-sized piece of injera (a traditional Ethiopian bread) and use it to scoop up any portion of your platter you choose. PLEASE REMEMBER to eat with your RIGHT hand. Using your left hand while dining is considered disrespectful, as that hand is generally used to take care of some sanitary duties (or doodies *insert drum rimshot*), if you catch my drift!
If you're in the ATL area, I HIGHLY recommend Ghion Cultural Hall.
Head's up: this is not a grab-n-go type of joint. Be prepared to kick back, relax with a glass of TEJ (Ethiopian wine), learn a word or two in AMHARIC (one of the languages spoken in Ethiopia) and maybe even attempt the traditional "shoulder dance" (as I like to call it).
It's a great experience and one that'll have you coming back for more :).
(Located: 2080 Cheshire Bridge Road, NE Atlanta, GA 30324)