Good Ethiopian food at good prices.
I concurr pretty much with the previous reviewers. Although it may not be the best side of town, it's actually not too bad. It's a quieter side of the neighbourhood, parking is easy and once you step inside, you're greeted with a very clean, well organized restaurant. Okay, so some aspects of the decor may be funny to some, but I think that's part of the ambience. I like the fake grass patch in the middle of the table.
The cook/chef works right there, the kitchen is open to all the diners, so you can see how they work and that the kitchen is well taken care of and clean. The waitress (hostess, owner?) was friendly and helpful and did assist in selection of our dishes (though it is not our first time at this cuisine). It's a decent menu, though maybe just a touch smaller than some other places. However, all the "expected" items are all there.
If you're on a budget, yeah, believe it or not, the $10 vegetarian combo is actually enough for 2 people. But in addition, we also ordered the "spicier" lamb dish (sorry, can't remember the name, it's the first one). Absolutely delicious! We found later, in addition to the herbs and seasonings they use a special fermented butter, that was probably the "secret sauce". The injera was good, I think as good as the other places in town, though slightly less sour. (I don't know if they make it in-house or if they all get it from the same place). Big, big thumbs up on the food. Though we rolled out of the restaurant stuffed to the gills, we were happily and comfortably stuffed. The food was not greasy and neither was it too salty or overly flavoured.
Value? Yeah, the prices seem to _include_ taxes, so all in, we snuck in at about $11 per person, but as mentioned before, we would've been full at _half_ that.
We will be back, if for nothing other than to try the big Ethiopian coffee ceremony (it's $25, so bring a group. The beans are roasted in front of you apparently). Is it my favourite place? Not sure, I'd have to try Fassil back-to-back to be certain, but this place is a lot more accessible and is in the same league. If you've never had Ethiopian, this is a nice place for first try. Definitely recommended.
I went there on a whim and found the place to be sparkling clean, the service fast and friendly and the food very good. I have found that some Ethiopian restaurants use too much of that distinctive flavouring (some herb, maybe?) and it puts me off. Here the food, I had chicken, was flavoured just right. You get plenty of that fresh bread as well. The price is right as well.
Based purely on the rave reviews on here, we went to Axum all the way from Steveston.
We were the only customers in the place from beginning to end. The server/cook/cleaner/(owner?) was very friendly and warm, and helpful with the menu.
After ordering, we heard the beep-beep-beep of microwave buttons and a microwave door open and close several times. For me, this is a bit of a put-off - I can nuke some stuff at home - I don't need to pay a restaurant for that. But I decided to reserve judgement until we had a chance to taste the food. And, the server did fry the chicken and mushroom dishes fresh in a pan, because the main part of the kitchen is inside the dining area. So that was good.
The injera was beautiful, served on a lovely artisanal platter - but the plates were all cold, rendering the food cold almost right from the word go. Even though the chicken dish and the mushroom dish came on cast-iron skillets, they were nothing close to hot - they were maybe luke-warm at best.
We ordered a dish of portobello mushrooms, carrots, and spices, but the mushrooms were just button mushrooms, not portobellos. They were delicious, nonetheless (if too cold). I was promised lime with some perrier, I got lemon. No big deal - but to be fair, if you are running a restaurant and you offer (x) you must serve (x) - not (y). That's all.
Would I go back? Hmm...
If I were in the neighbourhood, I would. I would recommend if you live nearby to give it a try. But we didn't have the AMAZING experience that other reviewers seem to have had. I've had better Ethiopian on Commercial, and Nyala is much better, although Nyala is WAY more expensive.
After ordering a lot of food and being completely stuffed, we paid $34.00 including tax for two. So it is a heck of a good deal, I'll give you that.
I've always enjoyed Ethiopian food but my last experience at a certain restaurant had me disappointed. My sister found this place and my family went there for Christmas Eve dinner, which the owners very nicely stayed open just for us. The food was DELICIOUS and tasty, and very memorable. The prices were reasonable and the owners (seems like husband and wife team) were friendly and chatted to us about the food. Will definitely go back one day.
I had lunch there. the place is clean. the manager (?)/cook/server
was nice and friendly. the food is not expensive and was good. I ate in other Ethiopian restaurants and I think few of them were better. but I felt here in some of the meat dishes they are closer to the country dishes of raw-medium cooked meat. I had the veggi plate- all the four dishes were good. the Injara on the plate was cold and that wasn't very tasty to and the meal with it. to conclude- it's OK if you're around, but I wouldn't travel from far for this restaurant.
I used to live a few blocks away from Axum , and frequented it often. I went for the healthy and delicious food, the warm welcomes and exceptional value for your dollar. I now live halfway across town, and am still prepared to make the trip out there on a monthly basis; I would not do this for any other Ethiopian place in town.
The weakest link is the ambiance and location. Don't get me wrong: it's perfectly clean, good variety of African music on the speakers and accordingly decorated, just don't expect to be dazzled. And the mostly industrial location is a bit out of the way.
That being said, I for one don't spend my dining dollars on flamboyance and flair but on solid, nutritious and authentic food. Service is prompt, the feeling homely and cozy, and the food is almost impeccable ( very competitively priced too ! ) . The owner has a thorough understanding of proper and tasty nutrition and her food reflects this to my full satisfaction.
Have been to Nyala, Gojo Little Africa and another Ethiopian place on Commercial Drive : they are good places. But I would recommend Axum best of all. Best Ethiopian in Vancouver according to this reviewer.
Highlights: Vegetarian Combo, Fish Tibs, Red Lentils and Split Peas.
The food is so good here that we now eat here once a week (sometimes twice). We eat the vegetarian platter with the mushroom dish and it is outstanding! We have brought many people here since we found this gem and they all say how delicious it is.
And besides the food being fantastic, the service and warmth from the family that own and operate the restaurant is hard to find these days.
Thank you for existing Axum!!!
I can't get enough of this place. It quickly became the only Ethiopian restaurant I will go to in Vancouver. The staff is friendly, the food as shockingly good, and the value is amazing.
Sometimes the service is not awesome, but the food more than makes up for it. I recommend going on a weekday. The weekday staff server seems more on the ball.
I would thoroughly recommend visiting this restaurant. It's location probably means that it gets way less traffic than it should. You may find that there are very few people in the restaurant but don't let this put you off. All of Axum's food is freshly made, so expect to wait a little longer than you would in other restaurants - but it is well worth the wait. Absolutely fantastic home cooked Ethiopian food!
I have had Ethiopian food in various Ethiopian restaurants and I couldn't find one that is remotely authentic. Since Axum has been opened my craving for my staple Ethiopian food has been satisfied. It is the best. I have been to all the ones in town. This place is impeccably clean, the atmosphere is very inviting. The one thing I liked about the ambiance is that there is a lot of natural light coming into the restaurant, unlike the dim light of most restaurants and the food is cooked in an open kitchen where you can see it. The dishes that I had were all freshly made and not reheated unlike the other restaurants I have been to. I have taken a lot of my friends (non-Ethiopians), to different Ethiopian restaurants because they love our food (who doesn't?) They all said that Axum is the best for the food, the friendliness of the server/cook, they said they felt very much at home. My friends and family members keep recommending it to their friends and I have not heard any complaints from any of them. Now, whenever I crave for Ethiopian food Axum is the place I go to. I can recommend Axum restaurant with confidence to anyone with without any hesitation.
I have been to Axum five or six times and have had my expectations exceeded every time. Most memorable meals included the Kifto (raw minced beef with homemade cheese) and the Doro Tibs (chicken in ethiopian spices). The kitfo was extremely fresh, while the tibs were perfectly spiced and cooked tenderly. As far as value goes the vegetarian combo is more than enough food for two people, and features my favorite buttery tasting yellow lentil wat. The service is friendly if a bit slow, although the owner is often in attendance to greet and even cook for customers. I have seen the kitchen (always interested as I am a chef) and it is sparkling. I can't recommend this place highly enough to anyone, especially after repeatedly being dissappointed by some of the other ethiopian restaurants in the area.
Axum is the best thing to happen to east van in a long time.
My relationship with Ethiopian food has grown from a fondness to a full grown infatuation of late. We Vancouverites are lucky to have a number of good solid options for Ethiopian cuisine, many of which have become regular haunts for me. Until today, the one missing link has been Axum. Being a little further out of the way, I've yet to seek it out despite having heard good things. Since I found myself in the area, I finally made a point of dropping in for lunch and wish I had done so earlier. As mentioned in previous reviews, the premises are scrupulously clean. Not fancy by any means, but bright, spacious and immaculate with an open concept kitchen. Consistent with most Ethiopian restaurants I've frequented, service was warm, welcoming and attentive without being obtrusive. The owner/cook/server managed to juggle all three of her duties with masterful efficiency. The food arrived quickly and was wonderfully fresh, the Siga Wot being perfectly spiced and flavourful with a bit of a kick. Thankfully not toned down for the benefit of western palates. The vegetables in the Tikil Gomen appeared to by very fresh and were cooked to perfection, not overdone and slightly mushy as can sometimes be the case. The grand total for lunch came to $12 including taxes. Seeing as I left stuffed to the gills, I consider that great value for money. I look forward to paying Axum another visit soon and would rank it near the top of the pack for Ethiopian in Vancouver. Well worth seeking out!