Ben Abeba

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Lalibela, Ethiopia
033 336 0215

Ben Abeba Lalibela Reviews

Bluenose Bluenose
25 reviews
Ben Abeba Restaurant May 22, 2017
I overheard a conversation by one tourist to another whilst I was boarding my flight about a "weird restaurant with a chimney" in Lalibella, "everyone knows it in town, you must go there".

Chimney ? Well it was more like the Starship enterprise meets the Teletubbies.

The Ben Abeba is a restaurant owned jointly by a Scottish lady (former NGO) in partnership with a Ethiopian man. "Ben" the Scottish term for hill or mountain and "Abeba" the Ethiopian name for flower. The restaurant sits on a ridge and gives a 360 degree panorama of the Simien Mountains and valleys.

Whoever designed it, take a bow. I won't even try to attempt to describe it, I wouldn't know how, just take a look at the photographs. It's popular at sunset and the tables start to fill up around 4:00pm. Word of gets cold and windy, I was pre warned and took a jacket but still used the blankets they provided. There are tables however on the lower levels sheltered from the cold and wind.

The food is good too, they pride themselves on their hygiene, Vegetables and salads are washed in purified, boiled water so you don't have to avoid anything on the menu.

I visited both nights I was there. The first night I tried a traditional Ethiopian "fasting" meal served on the ubiquitous Injera bread, a grey porous pancake-like doughy bread that's sour in taste. There was enough on my plate to feed 3 and only cost 100 Birr (less than 5 dollars) I only ate half of it. The second night I opted for a more familiar Shepherds Pie dish only to learn that this too can be found all over Ethiopia and served in an Ethiopian-stylee.

With my parents head on, it would scare me to death if I had young children with me. Some of the windey pathways that lead to the upper levels have no barriers (and so they shouldn't it looks great) and a youngster falling over the edge would come a cropper. It's also perched on the edge of the hill and I only get scared of heights when children are around. But after saying all that kids would love it and I think that's the problem, it would resemble a playground to them. So don't get too pissed either, you may fall !

Also I did not see any of the other restaurants in Lalibella patronised at all. I'm sure the competition is too much for them. Maybe give another a try when you're there, although I didn't take my own advice this was just an afterthought. The Bajaj (Tuk-Tuk) drivers would disagree, they are doing well as its right on the edge of town and you will most likely use one to get there.
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