Fassil serves traditional Ethiopian cuisine including meat and vegetarian options.
Finally had the opportunity to taste some Ethiopian food last week - it was yummy!!! Be sure to write down the address before coming here, I had such a hard time finding this small place!!
I was a tiny bit uncomfortable at first with the thought of no eating utensils, but it's a must for the full effect! The platter we ordered came on top of the weird sourdough everyone talked about - I really liked it! It was like eating a sourdough crepe. Delicious! My favorites of the platter were the spinach, the lentils, the chicken and especially the fish!! I could eat 2 full orders of those!
The server was really kind and friendly and the owner/chef came out to talk to us about the food.
I would love to go back for more!!
Before we moved here, my wife's ex-coworker is actually Ethiopian, so we have actually tasted what she considered to be really good and authentic Ethiopian food at the best restaurant in town.
Fassil is pretty darned close to that gold standard (which is unfortunately not in Canada). We've tried another one in Vancouver before, and it's not close to being as good. It's hard to describe what Ethiopian food is like. Some of the flavours are familiar, yet at the same time, there is nothing quite like it.
It's eaten with your hands along with the spongy, sour bread. Be warned, it can be VERY spicy!
If you've never tried Ethiopian food before, Fassil is a great place to start. If you like Ethiopian food, well, Fassil is a good place to go back to. Service was friendly, not quick but not slow.
I've noticed a lot more Ethiopian places opening up here, so maybe Fassil's crown won't last long. It's tough to give it 4 stars, since I think we've had better. But the bottom line is, it's worth a return trip.
This is our second time trying Ethiopian food and we wanted to compare this place to another.
I picked this place b/c of the amount of good reviews I read here on dinehere.
Unfortunately, we did not see the owner/chef like what other reviewers got to experience. I was hoping to learn more about the dishes. Our server was a nice lady that could speak limited English.
I don't remember the name of the dishes but we had a beef dish and a chicken dish. When they arrive, the dishes look very similar, both chopped into strips. I was a little hesitant. But once I put it in my mouth, I changed my mind. The taste is very good but it didn't feel as authentic as the other place we tried on Commercial dr. I was expecting some unknown spices or flavors. The taste reminds me of good Chinese food. My partner loved it though which is important.
I think this is a good place to try for first timers.
I called the restaurant last Friday asking them what time they closed... because I wanted to go for lunch... I got there around 2ish and a couple of guys came in about 15 minutes later for a video shoot. Then another 4 people came in for the same shoot... on top of that, they were doing some minor construction in corner of the restaurant... Bad Marks for Ambiance... the owner could have warned me about this when I called earlier. The owner is a friendly sort of guy... told him I heard his kitfo was great but I was going to go with the Gored Gored... Didn't know if this was the name of the dish or how the cow was butchered. Anyway, it a half pound heap of warmed raw beef with ghee and spices. It was delicious but it's a little lacking for a single dish. I wish I could have split three or four dishes with some lunchmates... Too bad there aren't any lunch specials so that a single person can enjoy a variety of food. Lesson learned... next time, bring friends...
I took my girlfriend here on Valentines day and we were seated and greeted promptly by Fassil, the chef who cooked our food but also served our food. The place is small but as alot of people have said, food is what matters and this place's food is very good. Although it was my first time eating Ethiopian cuisine, I thought the food was very hearty and reminded me a little bit of my mother's cooking - and we're from Taiwan! The method of the foods that were cooked were simple, nothing french-like and the menu seemed to have a moderate amount of choices. However, despite that, the portions were very good and more than enough for the average joe. This place has no desserts so that was a downer :(...but than again...authentic Ethiopian cuisine, like they said, have no dessert because sugar was unknown until recently lol...
I'd definitely come back here again in the future although it's not a place I'd personally visit regularly. I'd probably bring friends here to wow them because it's so rare to find good Ethiopian cuisine in this city.
ate one of the beef dishes.
it was good. the owner was super friendly. and was checking that I know how to eat with my hands... :)
the prices in general were a little bit higher than it's neighbors at the red sea caffe.. and in addition on another occasion I came by at 2:00pm and the place was closed- so maybe phoning in advance to check that it's open would be a wise thing to do.
This is my favorite restaurant in Vancouver.
The food is the most flavorfull and delicious African cuisine in town. As well it is the most authentic.
Deresse, the owner and chef provides fantastic service. Ensuring every customer is well fed and well served.
The value is the best in town. 2 people can easily feast for under $20.00 (try to vegetarian combo with an extra miso wat).
It is located in East Vancouver, which is a great neighborhood contrary to what other reviewers have said. The restaurant is small, but clean, with great paintings.
Hands down, best African food in Vancouver, and always a pleasure to support such a wonderful business.
I've been to Fassil once, and have fond memories. The owner (who was also our sever) never stopped smiling, and we felt very welcomed and comfortable. I've seen him leaving the restaurant mid-day on a weekend (the restaurant wasn't open), and his smile was still there! He seems like a genuinely happy guy, and it's hard not to wear a smile just thinking about it. It was my first experience at an Ethiopian restaurant, and he was very good at explaining the traditional way of eating the food (no utensils). As other people have mentioned, he disappeared for a while, presumably to cook our meal, but that is a respectable feat in itself. It was a wait that didn't feel like a burden.
Initially we were going to order a few dishes, but he convinced us to try some different things and we were glad he did. We had a good variety of flavors, whereas what we would have ordered was a few dishes that were similar to one another. The lamb was to die for, and the vegetarian dishes were fantastic as well. My girlfriend and I were fighting over the leftovers the next day!
We've tried several other Ethiopian restaurants after Fassil because they had been well-reviewed and Fassil seemed like a bit of a hole in the wall. None of the others measured up in terms of spicing, flavour, low oil, friendly service, and made to order. The lady cooking and working the tables at Fassil seems to make all the meat dishes from scratch after you order them, so this is not fast food, but is always served hot and fresh. The injera bread is the only exception - like a giant thin sourdough crumpet, but delicious and soaks up the sauce from the various stews served on it wonderfully. Some of the stews are extremely spicy, but you can order around it. There are never leftovers when we bring people here, vegetarian or non. Only one person has been uncomfortable with eating with their hands.
We have been back here many times, with family from out of town, my book club, and local friends. Once when we ordered a round of coffee for our table of 6 and the restaurant wasn't busy (rare), the owner who has explained the ingredients of her dishes to us (and who's english has improved enough over the last 3 years to do so!) made us coffee from scratch, roasting the beans, pounding them in a pestle and serving it in a little clay pot. It was really excellent, like espresso and so fragrant.
The prices here are extremely reasonable, and the decor (paintings of ethiopian historic buildings and landscapes, with authentic enamel pans and basketry, tablecloths covered in glass) is nice. Too bad they put in a tv, but this place serves all kinds. Service can be very slow when the lady serves and cooks, but the food is worth it.
I had heard from a friend about what fun Ethiopian food was so decided that we would give it a try.
The walls are brightly painted with some older type pictures but it was clean and the server was pleasant. She asked if we had had this kind of food before, made some suggestions and as I told her based on other reviews I should try the fish, we decided on a fish dish and the Fassil's platter as it contained veg and meat items.
The food looked interesting on it's big pancake platter with the mounds of the various items. She put the dish of fish into the middle of the platter. When she brought the food the server detailed how to break off a piece of the bread and use it as a scoop. There were numerous rolls of the pancake for the scooping (too many for us to finish). I would have preferred that it be warm, but it was OK and not as vinegary as I had expected. We did eat some of the fish which was delicious just by itsself with our fingers which was a treat as we had never eaten this way at a restaurant. It was spicy, but not too spicy. It was hilarious to see my bf try to fold up part of the pancake that was under the salad and try to make a wrap. It certainly did not work as the spongy pancake had soaked up some juices by then.
Near the end of the meal, the owner??? came out and asked us how we had found out about the place. We talked about the lijeera pancake and she told us that if you had gluten issues(we don't) and called ahead, she could make it without the flour.
She seemed a little disappointed that we didn't want to take home the two leftover pancake rolls so maybe we should have.
We were the only ones in the restaurant until one other couple arrived just as we were paying our bill which was about 7pm. Perhaps it gets busier later in the evening as when the other couple arrived, they were asked if they had a reservation. The bathroom door sticks and there was cardboard on the ground near the toilet which seemed a little strange, but we would go back and try this place again.
My friend, her mother and I went to try this place out last night after I discovered it on dinehere.ca.
We loved every minute!
They ordered a domestic beer, but I took a chance on the traditional drink with honey and hops. It was refreshing, not too sweet. Very nice, especially with the bit of spice in the dishes we ordered.
The owner came over and was incredibly helpful, showing us which dishes he suggested that we share, and then how to eat with the really yummy soft buckwheat crepes served with the communal dishes. The lamb was really nicely done, and both it and the chicken was well spiced (they give you an option when you order of how spicy to make the dishes). The vegetable combo plate was our favorite- we couldn't decide which of the dishes was our favorite, we enjoyed them all so much!
In terms of ambiance, it's not bad at all for a small family-run restaurant. Everything (even the bathroom) is super clean, the paintings on the walls were ethnic without being kitschy, and the music they played in the background was the perfect level.
I highly recommend this restaurant for anyone to try.
First this restaurant is not in Kitsalano, it is on east Broadway. We wanted to try something different so my wife choose this. Unfortunately she didn't tell me how to prepare until we were there. There are no utensils. It might have been good to have the hand wipes before we ate and after.
We went on a Saturday night and there was a large party at another table. The place is not huge so with one waitress response was a bit on the slow side. The waitress was pleasant. I had no idea what to pick so thinking the combo's on the menu might give us a sampling I looked to see what was there. The combo's are just your choice of how many vegi and meat dishes you can choose from the regular menu so no help there. I didn't notice if there was a sampler. We asked the waitress for her recommendation and she didn't seem all that enthusiastic about helping us choose. In the end we got two vegi items one spinach based and the other I forget then a beef and a lamb to round out the dinner.
The food arrived on a platter of a sponge like tortilla and there was a plate of rolled up ones too. The texture was soft and one tears a piece then uses that to pick up the items on the plate. The proportions looked small but were more than adequate as I left feeling very full. The dishes were excellent on the taste side, interesting spices and fun to eat. The only complaint here was the salt content, a little high for us, so I'd ask for less salt next time. I couldn't tell the difference between the beef and the lamb as the spices were dominant. I'm a wimp when it comes to hot stuff but tried the green color peppers in the meat dishes, which turned out to be very good.
This place met our expectations for a food adventure.
The food was good, but maybe it was the daytime menu it did not have any garnish. I was hoping for more ambiance but it was tv and no music. There is no separate lunch menu pricing which is too bad. I will try again with friends for the dinner menu to see if the evening dining has more ambiance.
My boyfriend and I have been here for dinner twice, as I live about two blocks away. It's the only place I've been for Ethiopian, but my boyfriend has been to a few places and says he likes it best.
We had the vegetarian platter with the fish (basa). I crave this all the time!! The first time we went the chef took our order and essentially told us what to order and we've had it twice. Not overly spiced, not too oily, so tasty and filling! It's basically lentils and such served on a large piece of sour bread, with side of the bread and you rip off bits of the bread and pick up the food with it. No utensils, just sour bread! It's fun.
The service is good and the vegetarian platter is only $11. The fish, however, is $15. I really enjoy going here, it feels very cozy and it's fun to feed other people! If you haven't been for Ethiopian, come to Fassil!
I like fassil restaurant its a place you can go for good ethiopian cuisine. The service is really good, and the food is consistent. Some other ethiopian restaurants I go to have at times maybe forgotten a spice or something one day and it tastes different the next time. This place is never dissapointing for vegetarian food. It's spiced nicely and they will try to customize orders a bit for you too. I also really enjoyed the red sea cafe (down the road) for ethiopian my fave ethiopian meal was at the red sea before.... but I went back and the food tasted bland the next time! I prefer Fassil overall for consistency and I know it will always be good.
This restaurant was great! Amazing value, which works out to around $10 per person if you have enough people for a couple of platters (5 per platter). Its communal dining, so be prepared to get your hands messy. The place is small, clean and relatively nice to hold a small party. The best part of the meal was the history lesson we got fromthe owners, and the wait staff. Overall I would rate this 3.5/5
I found Fassil last year on Dinehere.ca, decided to try it out and have been impressed over and over again!
I have tried other Ethiopian Restaurants in Vancouver, but none have measured up!
It is my restaurant of choice to introduce to friends and family! Everyone leaves feeling satisifed and excited about the experience.
I love the fact that it is a family affair, the Owner, his Wife, and Daughter all do their part in making this experience better everytime. It is evident in the way they remember faces and interact with all guests!
I love it and would HIGHLY reccommend it to all!
I had arranged a surprise birthday dinner for my boyfriend at Fassil with his friends. I had been to the restaurant before after reading the reviews on dinehere.ca, and decided to come again because my boyfriend wanted to have some Ethiopian food. When everyone had arrived, the owner had given us some recommendations for dishes to try. Since a lot of people haven't tried Ethiopian food, it was great that he suggested specific dishes to try. The service was prompt and fairly attentive, with the food was delicious. We had a selection of meats (lamb, beef, chicken) and vegetables (curried chickpeas, cabbage and carrots, salad, spinach, and lentils). Everything came out to around $12 per person (for a group of 10) with a bit of food leftover, including tip and the birthday boy's share. Highly recommended!
I've never had Ethiopian food before (as it seems with most of the reviewers haha) and I was in for a different experience!
The waiter that served us turned out to also be the chef and the owner! He was a very, very friendly jolly guy but the small issue that this possesses is that when he goes in to cook our food there's nobody else to get us anything else we need (water, napkins, etc.) Me and my friends told him it was our first time here and he was more than willing to explain how everything works! Basically you order whatever you like, choosing between meats and fish. I had no idea what to get so I just asked him to recommend and make whatever is good for the 4 of us!
I can't even remember what I had anymore but it was really good! (Just ask the boss to recommend you the favourites if your not sure either) The sauces and flavours were savoury delicious and the meat was quite tender! The fish was a little dry but improvise by scooping some of the sauce from the other dish (I believe it was the spicy beef) and voila! The sour bread you roll it in was not really my preference but it was still pretty good and I can easily imagine how others would really enjoy the meal! It's interesting that you basically eat everything with your hands only, you can appreciate this different method of dining instead of the regular cutlery you get anywhere else.
The decor was very bland, almost feels family-like but nothing to write home about. There's some pictures framed up along the walls and you kind of see the kitchen.
This is just my personal opinion but it felt pretty expensive for the food that you get and they didn't spend any money on renovations or any other staff that's for sure. It's about $10+ per dish and it's not that big. Our bill came out to over $70 and for a handful of dough and meat.
I'm not sure if I would come as a regular but it's a neat place to take people that have never had Ethiopian food before! Definitely worth a try just for the novel experience!
My sister was visiting from out of town and I wanted to take her for a totally different dining experience. She's vegetarian, so after browsing some reviews on this website I decided on Fassil, since previous reviewers had mentioned a great selection for vegetarians. We made reservations for a Friday evening but when we arrived it turned out to be totally unnecessary - there was only one other table dining. The place is on the small end and slightly dingy-looking, but in a homey sort of way.
My dear sister ordered the special vegetarian platter, while I ordered a chicken dish and my boyfriend selected a beef dish. Service was EXCELLENT - the gentleman who was helping us (perhaps Fassil himself?) was so kind and helpful, explaining everything in a non-overbearing way. Our food came hot and fresh and I quite enjoyed it. There were certain items included in the vegetarian platter that my sister wasn't fond of but my boyfriend LOVED his beef. Ultimately I think it's a matter of personal preference, but I would recommend at least giving this place a try if not just for the warm and friendly service.