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Tufnell Park

Lalibela charms from the moment you cross the threshold and smell the coffee beans roasting by the bar. It resembles the home of an eccentric africophile uncle: full of carvings, figurines, textiles, instruments and portraits of elegant Ethiopian luminaries. The smiling and attentive manager is keen to recommend dishes and explain how they can be served (on a very fine circle of injera).

Unlike most Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurants, Lalibela doesn’t offer sharing platters, but the menu is long and there are plenty of adventurous house specials. To start, Lalibela salad – beetroot and potato served warm – was tangy and sweet, and spiced chicken salad packed a punch. For mains, we tried fried lamb with spinach and spring greens, as well as a little separate pot of spiced couscous, just in case we developed injera fatigue. Tofu spinach tibs (tibs are sautéed dishes) was deliciously savoury, if very oily.

Fried fish tibs, with tomatoes and peppers, was delicately flavoured with rosemary and lemon juice and went well with shiro (peas, shallots and hot spices). It was a hot and steamy night, so we eschewed the coffee ceremony in favour of a couple of cold St George beers (from Ethiopia).


Venue name: Lalibela
Address: 137 Fortess Road
Opening hours: Dinner served 6-10pm Mon-Sat; 6-9.30pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Tufnell Park tube or bus 134
Price: Main courses £10-£11.99

Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:1
1 person listening

This was my first introduction to ethiopian food and has remained the stand out best. Warm welcomes, great atmosphere, fabulous food and a unique decor make this restaurant an unforgettable experience.


When we went to Lalibela there was just one problem - but what a big one! We arrived at 8.30pm and left 3 hours later, having received our dishes at 11. The solitary waiter explained that there was just him and a chef on staff, two others having not turned up. He was very polite about it, but the whole restaurant seemed pretty disorganised. Tasty food (particularly the aubergine wot) - fragrant and rich - served in a unique way, interesting decor and a warm welcome; but the wait really spoiled the experience for us. Try the Queen of Sheba down the road for Ethiopian with better service.


Just got back from probably my worst experience in a London restaurant. We've waited to order for about 30 minutes, and another 1:45 minutes to get our food. and they havent served the whole table evenly, 2 friends had to wait another 15 minutes to get their dishes... food was cold extremely salty all this time i couldnt get them to serve me a single glass of tap water. i could get the jar but they never brought a glass for me. service was not only negligent, it was rude. so of course, SERVICE IS INCLUDED. im never coming back and i advise you to look for another ethiopian restaurant. this one is def not worth it


Not as good as the Ethiopian restaurants in the States but still a good choice in London. The restaurant has a nice intimate atmosphere and the food was pretty decent. A little known gem in London

Sonal Tarneja

I can't believe this restaurant has been awarded more stars than Addis in N1! I've been here once, and thought the service was very very slow (and staff was pretty disinterested as the other reviewers noted), the food was very mediocre - there were no distinct flavours in the 3 main dishes we ordered. The place is very well done up, but in general it just wasn't as authentic - other Ethiopian places I've been to in Rome, Chicago and London, insist on eating with your fingers and serve all the food on the injera. Here they didn't do that, and we had to pay separately for the injera! It was definitely more expensive than Addis, and nowhere as good! And there was not a single African customer...which tells you a lot about how authentic it is.