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3.5
  • Food3.5
  • Service2.5
  • Value3
  • Ambiance3
  • Reviews25

Harambe

2149 Commercial Street
Vancouver, BC V5N4B3
Tel: (604) 216-1060
Neighbourhood: Cedar Cottage

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 25 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Come here when u're almost hungry
By hungryjo of Vancouver (174 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, May 21, 2009 - 10:08am [Dine in]

First time we came here, the owner was all by herself. She was the server/cook/bartender. Because of that, the service was slow. But the food I guess, made up for the lack of service. It's not the best but my s/o loved every bite of it. It tasted very authentic. He ordered some beef dish and I had the fish in a pot.
Second time we came here, she finally hired some helpers. But the service was still slow and nobody asked us how we were doing. The food took a long time again and we were starving. The food was consistent. We ordered the platter for 2. Once again, my s/o almost ate my portion of it.
I don't think they really care about service b/c their business is doing well anyways. We went here on a long weekend at 5ish and there were people coming in constantly.
When it comes to pay for the bill, I decided to walk up to the bar. The service was so lacking that I almost helped myself to pay through my debit card. I even grabbed the receipt myself.

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First time to try Ethiopian
By lindarose of Vancouver (172 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, October 25, 2010 - 11:57am [Dine in]

Family went bowling at my favourite lanes - Grandview Lanes - just a block or so away. Decided to make ourselves feel better after having such lousy bowling scores by having a light meal...

I have always been curious about Ethiopian Food - there are a few restaurants serving this type of cuisine around Vancouver - we went in.

The server was very welcoming and friendly. We decided to try the combination plate for two (the waitress advised that there would be plenty to share with the two kids as well). I opted for the specialty drink - a tej. Hubby had a beer and the kids each had a coke.

My tej (served in a traditional container) was interesting - kind of hoppy honey - it was not really sweet. I thought the traditional vessel was interesting - but it reminded me of drinking from a chemistry beaker.

The combination plate had a variety of stews served up on a large, spongy pancake type bread. There was additional bread to pick up the savory stews and then the large pancake (which would have absorbed all the juices from the stews) could be eaten.

I liked the spinach stew and the lamb stew the best. The rest were okay too.

The ambiance was fine - the washroom was clean.

I don't know if I would return. The food was fine for what it was. However, my kids thought that the bread was too sour. The bread was fine - it is suppose to have a slightly sour, fermented kind of taste. It's just that the kids palate isn't ready for this kind of food yet.

For others who might enjoy this style of food - I thought that this restaurant was fine.

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they don't care
By chasiubow of North Van (675 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, October 26, 2008 - 11:53am [Dine in]

Our usual dinner gang plus a couple of extra guests were on the Drive to see the Parade of the Lost Souls and to eat. We originally went to a Carthaginian place but it was so disgusting we immediately left. Deciding to stay with the African theme, we tried Harambe. The restaurant was plain inside but clean and welcoming. There was also live music which was a nice touch. Since we had a large group, we had to wait at the bar while they moved tables around. The friendly manager asked if we wanted a drink, and I replied that I wanted to try whatever the house specialty was. He immediately produced a jug of Tej which is a wine made from honey and hops. I've had tej before and I noticed that it was mixed with mango juice. Seemed like a good combo, so our group went with that. It was quite tasty.

When we were seated we decided to go for the chef combo platter. It was a big platter with bits of lamb, chicken, lentils, spinach and some other things on a carpet of spongy Injera bread that looked like a Dutch pancake. We also got little rolls of the same spongy stuff so we could pick up the lumps of food. I found the food to be somewhat underwhelming. It was an interesting concept, but the flavor just wasn't there, and the presentation was terrible. It was served as a kind of a sticky mess all smashed together. It looked like the cooks weren't really interested in making a decent effort. Real Ethiopian food has a bit of style.

Once the manager left the scene, service was truly awful. The server basically ignored us, and when we did corner her and ask for water, side plates, a spoon, etc., she would nod and disappear, and not bother to bring what we asked for. On one trip to the w/c (which was reasonably clean) I spotted our server gossiping with her friend by the kitchen. I guess it would be too much of an effort for her to actually do her job.

Overall a mixed experience. The bottom line is that if they don't bother to make an effort, I see no reason to give them more of my money.

Can't recommend.

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What I love about Vancouver
By epicurious of Burnaby, BC (507 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, July 10, 2008 - 2:20pm [Dine in]

...is the plethora of restaurants - Ethiopian, Peruvian, Asian, Westcoast, American - you name it, we probably have it!

While waiting quite some time for a seat at Me & Julio again, I spotted Harambe down the street and we decided to eat there instead. We got a seat right away.

We each ordered a dish and a mango juice. The mango juice is so delicious, btw. For first-timers though, it might look unappetizing because of its slimeyness. Get a large, because you'll probably regret ordering a small once you've tasted it.

My doro wot was deliciously spicy. The injera came flowing with the meal and as filling as it was, I could not stop eating. I have to say, Harambe is not as good as Fassil, IMHO, but really darn close.

The lady who served us, was super nice. I had a little bit of the sauce left and didn't want to bother packing such a small amount. She insisted I pack it to enjoy later on. I'm so thankful she did. I had the rest for lunch the next day with the extra injera that she included.

I'd definitely recommend Harambe for any one's first experience eating Ethiopian cuisine.

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. . . . meh
By ILOVE2EAT of East Vancouver (71 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, October 17, 2008 - 11:48pm [Dine in]

The delivery of the food was incredible! Never saw such a large platter . . . but I found the placement of each thing kinda strange. It was a little bit here of that, and little bit here of this, and over here the samething as way over there.
I arrived late, so everything was cold, but the taste was very good. So I can imagine what it would be like hot.
Service was non existent. The restaurant wasn't that busy but had to ask for everything. At one point I went around the corner to get change, and there she was folding napkins!!!! Not that it is a problem doing that, but we were not the only ones wanting something!!!!
I may go back . . I may not.
My portion for the platter, including the tip was $15.

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Not that great experience
By Rasputin45 of Kitsilano, Vancouver (97 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, March 20, 2010 - 10:23am [Dine in]

I love Ethiopian food and have eaten it very often in many different cities and restaurants. Five of us went to Harambe, we ordered the veggie combo for five. First of all, the food was not well cooked. Some of the lentils were still hard in the middle. Secondly, it was not enough food, we had to order two more full dishes and even then left a bit peckish. Also, the service was not good, although they did go out of their way to get us a table without a reservation, they never brought the wines we ordered, extra injera bread took forever, and they did not fill the waters in a timely fashion.

I have been here a few years ago and had remembered this place as the best Ethiopian in Vancouver -- now I will only remember to stay away from this place in the future. Other places have better service, with better food.

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not bad
By intrynsic of Richmond B.C (10 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, January 31, 2010 - 2:23pm [Dine in]

This was the 1st time my friend and I both had Ethopian food, so we didn't know what to expect. We decided to share an appetizer and go for a platter which had a variety of things to eat.

We shared the peanut soup, which was very delicious...I was very impressed. Very savoury with a kick of spice. I ordered a glass of Ethopian honey wine, and it tasted ok...better to sip it with some food. We ordered the chef's platter which had a variety of lamb/chicken/beef and veggies. The beef was very dry as it did not come with any sauce. The chickpeas I found hard, but the lamb and chicken was very moist and delicious. I thought the injeera tasted a little vinegry, but that is probably due to the fermentation process of them making it. They gave us a lot of injeera, and eventhough the platter was for 2 people, we probably only finished about 2/3 of it.

The service was very slow, and I didn't find the server very helpful or make any suggestions of what was good and how to eat it unless we asked. But I really liked the ambience of the restaurant.

Overall, it was nice to try Ethiopian, I wouldn't mind trying this cuisine again sometime later in the future.

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The best Ethiopian in Vancouver
By davidallworth of west vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Sunday, June 8, 2008 - 10:37am [Dine in]

I've been to most of the Ethiopian restaurants in Vancouver, I'm pretty sure, and there's one that stands out: Harambe. The food, naturally, is what I like most about it. Their injera is the softest and yummiest I've had. I've had actual day dreams about their doro wot (chicken stew). (In fact, i think i am right now!) Their kitfo is also something to dream about. Another thing I think sets it apart is its appeal to the local Ethiopian comunity. It has an authenticity to it I like. The owner, Daniel, is very chummy, as is everyone else who works/hangs out there. I always recommend it to friends and hope you'll try it too.

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Go here for Ethiopian, skip the other places
By Emileigh of Point Grey, Vancouver (26 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, June 21, 2008 - 10:11pm [Dine in]

Food: Harambe offers the usual Ethiopian dishes such as tibbs and watts, but also some more unusual ethiopian foods. The food arrives warm and nicely flavoured, and you are provided with plenty of injera bread to grab up the stews.

Service: We were greeted pleasantly, seated promptly, water was brought right away and the waitress didn't rush us while we took our time figuring out what we wanted to order. However, after the food came, we were mostly ignored, and had to flag down the waitress for things like more water. In fact, they left us for so long that we finally gave up and had to walk to the back in order to get our bill and pay out.

Value: vis-a-vis other Ethiopian restaurants, Harambe is superior in terms of getting quality for what you pay. The food is not cheap, but rather about middle of the road for what one can expect to pay for a meal out in Vancouver. What Harambe really has over other places of its kind is the beautiful interior and variety in menu.

Ambiance: the walls are painted with vibrant colours and decorated with pictures of Ethiopia and African-style art. The tables are tastefully appointed and everything looks very neat and clean.

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Best Ethiopian Food in Vancouver
By nomvula of Kitsilano (10 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, January 10, 2010 - 12:50pm [Dine in]

Whether you love Ethiopian food or have never tried it before, I highly recommend Harambe! It even got rave reviews from my parents, who are not particularly adventurous eaters. I have been many times and always order the combo platter - you can order it for as many people as you want. It comes with injera (traditional Ethiopian bread which is soft and flat) that you use with your fingers to scoop up the various samplings of meat and vegetables. It is all delicious, but be prepared to get your hands dirty!

I must say the service is consistently mediocre (at best), although I have never found this to interfere significantly with my experience at Harambe.

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Yummy!!! Gr8 Service... Beautiful
By childoftheworld of Burnaby (13 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, November 9, 2007 - 11:55pm [Dine in]

When I first tasted Ethiopian Food... I went to Nyala and tried their Buffet. They've moved from their W. 4th location to Broadway I think. When Ethiopian eateries opened up on Commercial... the first and only one I tried is Harambe.

My first time there is a bit confusing. I ordered the 'Taste all Dish' where you get a bit of this and that... Then I looked at the other tables and saw people just ordering 1 or 2 meat dishes... they serve you lotsa Injera and when you run out, they give you more.

My second time... oh boy!!! I knew what to order. I love the spicy chicken that is served in a claypot that has hard boiled eggs. I forget its name. You only get a few pieces of chicekn but oh boy!!! I could gulp that sauce over and over again.

My third, fourth and fifth time, I brought guests from overseas here. This time around, Harambe has expanded. Service is great as usual. The girl who usually served me has moved to a Moroccan eatery in Gastown...

Oh!!! I could just fall in love with their food over and over again. It's a bit pricey but what isn't nowadays in Vancouver?

I would recommend this...

I tried cooking chicken myself with Berbere Spice... I failed... so I just come here. I love to cook and love to create new recipes never heard of... and if I fail at making something... I go to the best place that would remind me of the wonderful flavours that I miss so much.

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Great Experience
By Jester of Vancouver (6 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, February 9, 2010 - 5:16pm [Dine in]

This was our first time trying this restaurant and it was a pleasant surprise!. We arrived a little after 7 on a Saturday night and were seated promptly.

I have to say the decor was a lot better than I expected, it was warm, friendly, and clean.

The waitress came to take our order, however, being our first time we were unsure of portion sizes, what to expect, etc. So after ordering a wine and a beer, we decided on the combo platter for three people (my other half is a BIG eater. The food was very tasty, and presented nicely on the platter. There was actually some food left over after our meal, and we were stuffed(very rare that happens!). so to me that says good value for price.

The service was a bit lacking during the meal. After trying to catch our server's eye numerous times, we resorted to going up to the bar a few times for refills of water, napkins, etc. The place wasn't that busy, so I am unsure why the service was lacking.

All in all, a very decent experience.

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Favourite African restaurant
By friesenm of North Vancouver (4 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, February 2, 2010 - 3:58pm [Dine in]

Whether you're interested in trying African food generally or Ethiopian food in particular I would highly recommend Harambe. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is pleasant even if the service usually leaves something to be desired. (But that's part of the experience too!) There are lots of different dishes to try, but your best bet is the Chef's Platter which you can share with several friends. Harambe is also a great restaurant if you're a vegan (like me) or a vegetarian. There is an excellent Vegetarian Platter that is completely vegan and will leave you full for hours. My only other advice is to visit Harambe more than once. Ethiopian food (like sushi) is an acquired taste and takes time to build up. Once you develop a taste though you'll find yourself wanting to snack on Ethiopian at least once a month. And for this purpose, Harambe's your best bet!

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Good experience overall
By Willis of Vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, July 7, 2009 - 7:13pm [Dine in]

Went to Harambe with some friends after doing a search on Dinehere.

Dispite some of the reviews, we tried out Harambe.
Overall it was a good experience from the service, food and atmosphere.

The service was great, first time going to this place, but the server made us feel like regulars, he gave some suggestions on what were good combinations and the suggestions did not disappoint. The Tilapia was well made and stood out in the dish.
The atmosphere was cultured with art pieces and sculptures, nice warm colours on the wall and the lighting just fit the ambiance.

I would go back with different friends and give them the experience i had at Harambe.

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Never fails to please
By krissy of Commercial Drive (9 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, June 29, 2009 - 10:19am [Dine in]

I have been to Harambe about 5-6 times now and have never once been disappointed. I usually go with at least one other person and we always have either the vegetarian platter or the chef's selection platter, which has both meat and vegetarian food on it.

The injeera is soft and spongy and always good, especially the bits that have soaked up the meat and vegetables on the platter. My partner and I enjoy taking small pieces of the injeera, stuffing them with meat and vegetable and feeding them to each other - a very different experience and very fun!

The variety of curries and vegetables they serve are always a great mix - spicy, not spicy, lentils, beef, chicken - I really enjoy the variety and different tastes.

We will continue to come back to Harambe as the food is always good, the service is always good and the experience is great!

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Worst Dining Experience
By Pam_Dim of Vancouver (15 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, October 12, 2010 - 9:11pm [Dine in]

The food was pretty good. Nothing really stuck out but I didn't leave hungry.
The service was horrible. The woman who was cooking as well as serving was very rude to my wife and I. It took us up to twenty minutes just to get water, and our food took over an hour. No one came to check up on us. And the woman running the restaurant had a friend whom she was visiting with, which normally I wouldn't care if we hadn't been completely ignored. Definately won't be recommending this place to anyone!

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Used to like this place
By dawnrachele of E. Vancouver (3 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, March 27, 2009 - 6:04pm [Dine in]

We were going here every 2 weeks for a couple months. We love the food. I found the ambience to be a bit too classy for my liking. Candles, table cloths, stem ware, and they keep turning the lights down for a 'romantic' feeling I guess. I think I'd just rather it be more casual since I'm eating with my hands.
The last two times we went the service was unthinkably horrible. One time, the cook was all by herself, cooking AND serving, with a full house of customers. The second time it took over an hour and a half to get our food. And multiple times our order has been wrong, even though we order the same thing every time.
Since the bad service we have started going to the Ethiopian place up on 12th and Commercial. The food is 'almost' as good as Harambe, but the service is WONDERFUL!

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I really like this place!
By uberkelly of Coal Harbor, Vancouver (5 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, August 6, 2008 - 10:24pm [Dine in]

Before eating here, I'd only had Ethiopian once, several years ago, and I didn't like it and never tried it again. Until tonight, when I decided to give it another shot.

We ordered a chicken dish and a lamb dish. The chicken was similar to an Indian dish but the injera bread complemented it perfectly - it was delicious. However, the lamb was not as described on the menu and was not good. Very chewy and not flavorful. But the chicken was SO good that I would go back and try other things on the menu.

The waitress was sweet but once we got the food we had to ask for more water when we ran out. She was the only waitress for the whole restaurant.

Foe 2 entrees we paid only a total of $23. Not bad for a filling dinner!

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A great place for Ethiopian
By greatcitytoeatin of Vancouver (6 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, July 10, 2008 - 11:50pm [Dine in]

Hopefully my review won't be deleted whenI say that I'm from Toronto, but c'est la vie. And Toronto has Ethiopian that is absolutely transcendental - like, your mouth is on fire, you're sweating, but it's so delicious you keep diving in for more and washing it down with ice cold $2.50 beers. I haven't found that in Vancouver yet, which isn't no problem by me because of places like Harambe.

One caveat: not everyone likes Ethiopian. It's messy, you eat with your hands, the flavors are strong, and it's spicy. Personally, I love all of those things.

Harambe's food is great. Lots of flavor, good quality, good value. The service is laid-back, which is the norm at Ethiopian places - you'll get it when it comes, and you'll be happy. Where it tops some of the Toronto spots is the ambiance - it's a very nice place - and when you get a group of friends together, with the aromas of cinnamon and frankincense floating in the air and a cold beer in your hand, there's no way you can't enjoy it.

Highly recommended.

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Great experience, so-so food
By grouser of Vancouver (5 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, June 19, 2009 - 8:41pm [Dine in]

We had been wanting to try Ethiopian food for a while and came to Harambe at the suggestion of friends. The ambiance and decor is simple, with the focus apparently being the food. The lady and gentleman running the restaurant were warm and welcoming, though a little brisk when it came to taking our order. We ordered a selection for two and loved the presentation. However, the food arrived barely lukewarm instead of hot. It was also not delicious, just plain. I wouldn't come back to eat myself, but I might bring visitors who are new to Ethiopian food just for the novelty of the food layout and presentation.

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