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African, Ethiopian
Special Diets
Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options

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2.9 miles from Desert Botanical Garden
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Reviews (109)
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All reviews stew red lentil yellow split peas injera bread lamb deluxe platter shorba vegetable dishes dining experience wat flavor vegan
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Reviewed September 27, 2021

First time visiting here. I will be returning. A tried the sampler and each sample was delicious. Variety of meats and vegan friendly as well. The salad dressing is very peppery so beware, moreso than all other dishes combined. Friendly service.

Date of visit: September 2021
Reviewed August 6, 2021

You have promised to eat more plant-based foods for years. This is the place to learn and indulge that promise. They offer a variety of bean dishes: yellow split peas, rich and yummy, a refreshing lentil salad and my favorite, the misir wat, a spicy...red lentil stew. I've tried all the vegetable sides and I now always order the green beans. Get the shorba soup as an appetizer, the bowl not the cup. It's simple, but stunningly satisfying as are all the vegetarian/vegan options. The injera bread, which they serve in generous portions, is a perfect sponge for all these rich flavors. We've been here at least 10 times this year and leave satisfied and amazed at the consistency. It's now our favorite place in the greater Phoenix area.More

Date of visit: July 2021
Reviewed April 18, 2021 via mobile

We got the deluxe platter that had meat and vegetable dishes. There was lamb and chicken and two different beefs and then some vegetable dishes. Everything was so good. There were some really interesting spices that I've never tried before. One of the beefs that...we had was spicy and one was not spicy. Overall I'd say most of the food was not very spicy.More

Date of visit: April 2021
Reviewed February 14, 2021

A new dining experience. Tried the platter for 4 so got to try many different dishes both vegan and meat. Our waitress was super helpful and described all the food items.

Date of visit: February 2021
Reviewed January 18, 2020 via mobile

This place is such a hidden gem! It is very clean, the service is quick and friendly, and the food is rather filling and super tasty! We will definitely visit again :)

Date of visit: January 2020
Reviewed December 5, 2019

It’s a good Ethiopian restaurant. Serves host of food for taste lovers as well as vegetarians. Quality, quantity and service levels were excellent with a good value for money.

Date of visit: October 2019
Reviewed November 26, 2019

I visited Cafe Lalibela with my family and my ASU student son's girlfriend, and judging by how quickly the food disappeared, I'd have to say that everyone was satisfied. We had the main combination platter for 4, which amply fed five people. It had a...very nice combination of flavorful food items with something that everyone enjoyed. It even had a fish stew that I'd never tried before, and all was excellent. Our server was attentive and friendly, and I can say that this was the best Ethiopian food I've ever had.More

Date of visit: November 2019
Reviewed August 18, 2019 via mobile

Wanted something completely different. This is a small restaurant in a strip mall about half a mile from Mill Ave. efficient service. Hadn’t had Ethiopian food in years, so asked for recommendations. Split the manager’s special for two. Had a nice combination of veggies and...meats. Plenty of food for three. Worth a visit.More

Date of visit: August 2019
Reviewed August 3, 2019 via mobile

A total gem hiding in the city. The food was amazing and the service was phenomenal. Everyone was so attentive, even noticed I wasn’t drinking my sprite and came to ask why then replaced it of their own accord with a homemade tea. Will definitely...be returning!More

Date of visit: August 2019
Reviewed May 24, 2019

This restaurant is a little difficult to get to if you don't have a vehicle; but taking a combination of light rail and bus will do the trick. It is somewhat out of the way and a fair distance from downtown Tempe and it took...me about 30-35 mins to walk there from the light rail stop in downtown Tempe. The walk was well worth it as when I finally got there I ordered the veggie combination platter and despite the 15-20 minute wait I was rewarded. 4 different veggie samples with 2 extra folds of injera on the side. The only veggie dish I wasn't too fond of was the collard greens as they were on the bitter side; but it still was a nice contrast to the other dishes. When I say dishes it's more on the order of small mounds served on the injera. Still more than enough food and 50 mins later I was done. Food - excellent, Quantity - excellent. The only facet of the restaurant I would not give particularly high grades for was the service. My server was not particularly personable or friendly; but she was efficient. The restaurant was quite busy during my visit so I will give her a pass on my visit. The restaurant also has a small shop where you can buy some Ethiopian ingredients mainly spices. Recommend the Cafe Lalibela for it's tasty and quality Ethiopian fare and if you don't live in Tempe maybe use some technical help in finding it.More

Date of visit: May 2019
Reviewed April 28, 2019 via mobile

Nice casual atmosphere. Very good traditional Etheopian food. I had the spicy combination platter which had lentils, and two kinds of meat. We also had a tea specific for colds which was delicious. My companion had the meat platter which she finished. It is in...a strip mall but delicious.More

Date of visit: April 2019
Reviewed April 1, 2019

Over the years, I have eaten here many times and remembered that Cafe Lalibela was very good. Well this time (it has been several years since I was here) was even better than I remembered. Dinner with good friends, excellent service and great food is...memorable and this was everything I could have hoped for. We got the combination platter for 2 (it was plenty for 3 people), the cost was exceedingly reasonable and the food, was simply delicious. We had lamb, beef, chicken, collards, split peas, lentils, cabbage and potatoes in the classic Ethiopian sauces and spice mixtures and ate it with the wonderfully spongy, sour injera. I love Ethiopian food and Cafe Lalibela is one fo the best.More

Date of visit: March 2019
Reviewed February 28, 2019 via mobile

I’ve tasted several Ethiopian restaurants but this one is by far consistently the best. Service is great and food is amazing! The concept of eating with no utensils is new to me but I absolutely love it!! I brought my family here and we all...picked a variety of meats and veggies and we had them bring it out on a giant platter. It is so nice to be able to share and sample a little of each menu item. Everything is so flavorful that I don’t necessarily have a favorite dish!More

Date of visit: March 2019
Reviewed January 23, 2019 via mobile

Our friends have talked about this place for a couple of years and tonight we made the trip to Tempe to try them. Situated not far from the Gamage .theater, this place is in a little strip mall with plenty of parking. None restaurant is...mid size with plenty of larger tables for 8 or so people as well as a nice mix of tables for 4 or 2. The servers were friendly and helpful. The menu was not too large but we really appreciated the explanations and the very helpful reference numbers next to the combo dishes so we could easily find which dishes were which. Our friends chose one of the combo platters between them, we picked a smaller meat combo for one (3 portions of different meats in beautiful sauces) and we ordered a small order of baby cubes of lamb too. Both meals were served on big sharing platters on a huge piece of flat aerated bread that soaked in the sauces for an extra treat at the end. The meal was also served with a choice of breads, ironically one was called Gluten free, which is apparently more genuine and tasted better and a regular one as well. The bread was not familiar to us, it was very flat but also full of small holes. What took a little time to adjust to was it was served refrigerated cold, sounds like ‘so what’ but if you want to enjoy the full experience you use that to scoop up pieces of your food, no utensils are provided (you can ask for a fork). The food was so tasty without being spicy or over seasoned. There wasn’t a thing on the dishes that the four of us didn’t love, from the great meat dishes (beef, chicken and lamb choices) to the large vegetable selection of dishes too. The other great discovery is their drinks options, not huge but if you love cinnamon, cardamom etc. I strongly recommend the hot tea and they do offer it cold too. My friends love the iced tea but fell in love with the same mix I had which was hot, because the warm water released even more of the aromas of the spices. They also served a great coffee. What I particularly liked is they sell packs of the tea to go, so you may want to wait a day or two to buy any, because I bought the remaining 3 packs of them already! I can’t wait to visit here again, why did we wait so long? Enjoy.........More

Date of visit: January 2019
Reviewed January 16, 2019

Excellent service, excellent food. I'd suggest the large "sampler" plate (Lalibela Exclusive) which has a lot of everything. The spicy chicken (doro wat) was amazing. The "bread" (injera) to scoop up the food is interestingly delicious. Note: Since you are eating with your hands, wash...them before you eat and immediately after you are done or you will certainly smell the spices everytime you get your fingers near your nose...for a whole day later! This place is authentic and the real deal. Especially when we went with our super cool Ethiopian friends natives of Africa. :-)More

Date of visit: January 2019
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Frequently Asked Questions about Cafe Lalibela

Yes, Cafe Lalibela offers takeout services.

Cafe Lalibela is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travelers:
  • Food: 4.5
  • Service: 4
  • Value: 4.5
  • Atmosphere: 3.5