We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Get your expectations straight!!” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of habesha restaurant and bar

habesha restaurant and bar
Ranked #166 of 2,184 Restaurants in Manchester
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: African, Ethiopian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Dining on a budget, Families with children, Large groups, Kids
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Television, Waitstaff
Manchester, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Get your expectations straight!!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 10, 2014

Was drawn to this intriguing and homely oddball of a restaurant this week thanks to the overwhelmingly positive reviews on here.

Might I add, my choice was vindicated! This place is an honest, warm establishment, providing hearty yet flavoursome Ethiopian cuisine at rock bottom prices. So what were those negative reviewers expecting? Michelin starred offerings? Opulent surroundings? How realistic is this?! The place operates out of a top floor above a takeaway - be sensible, it is not going to be Le Gavroche, now, is it?

Now, what can you expect from Habesha? Well, the vegetable dish of Yetsom Beyeynetu was beautiful, served on a solitary Injera, with flavoursome lentil dishes, cabbage etc. Not bland at all as some have stated.

The Awaze Tibs were spicy, in an onion and tomato-based fiery sauce. Likewise, the Kitfo (minced beef) was tasty, but more delicately spiced (read bland for those who can't discern).

The experience itself was perfectly judged - the waiter, a young, friendly man, did as others have mentioned and guided us through the correct Ethiopian way to eat (with hands). It was pretty liberating just throwing an Injera like a net over your desired food and scooping it up! Yes, it was messy, but satisfying. The St George beer was refreshing, but not what you would call artisanal, but it's £2 a pop!! My wife's Ethiopian wine was a sweet red which, I am told, complemented the dishes perfectly.

Finally, the decor is colourful, inviting and charming, so much so you linger longer than you anticipate in this place. If a cheap, eye-opening and friendly experience is what you require from dinner, come. If it is not, please do not criticise something that never purported to be fine dining!!

  • Visited January 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Magpie_in_Mancunia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

188 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    108
    61
    15
    1
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Loved my first Ethiopian experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 17, 2013

As previous reviewers have stated, please don't go here expecting fine dining. What you can expect is fantastic, friendly, helpful customer service and really delicious food.

The restaurant and facilities are 'rustic' and it isn't the easiest place to find. You access the first floor restaurant, which is on the corner of Sackville Street and Richmond Street, via a spiral staircase in the Istanbul takeaway. We visited on a Saturday evening. It was quiet with only a few tables occupied by what seemed to be members of Manchester's Ethiopian community - always a good sign.

Our waiter was fantastic. He gave us a choice of tables and provided us with the menu. I ordered an Ethiopian beer which was great. The menu is small - you can find it on their website if you're not sure about this. There are about 4 lamb dishes, 3 beef, 2 chicken, and 1 vegetarian. That's it. No starters, no sides, no rice, no dessert. I loved the simplicity of it and when we asked the waiter what he'd recommend, he was so helpful, explained everything to us, asked us what we preferred, and even helped us to pronounce some of the dishes. We went on his recommendation and chose the vegetarian option, 'Yetsom beyeynetu', plus a spicy lamb dish, 'Awaze tibs' (now you see why we needed help with pronunciation!).

The food came very quickly and was hot (temperature). The vegetarian option is impressive. It arrives on a very large silver dish lined with an 'injera' (a thin spongy pancake). Spread across the middle of the pancake are 5 different mounds, 1 each of lentil, spinach, spicy cabbage, potato, and salad. These are each delicious by themselves or mixed all together. Along with that came a small dish of the spicy lamb in a rich, meaty gravy.

Our wonderful waiter gave us a brief bit of advice on how to eat the dishes. You spoon a small amount of the lamb onto the large platter with the pancake and veggies, tear off some of the pancake, and scoop up what you want to eat in the pancake with your hands. We weren't offered any cutlery, but again, we were more than happy to eat like this. You get extra pancakes served on the side that are included in the very reasonable price (£6.50 for each dish we ordered).

The flavours were fantastic and even though we only ordered the 2 dishes for 2 of us, we were so full by the end that we couldn't quite finish everything. If I hadn't been going out afterwards, I would have definitely asked to take the rest home with me.

I can't speak highly enough of this undiscovered little gem, and I will most definitely be returning to take my husband because I know he'll love it too. If you're up for something a bit out of the ordinary with a sense of adventure, please do give it a try. At less than £20 for a delicious, satisfying meal and drinks for 2 of us, I really couldn't complain.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
2 Thank glowworm13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great little Ethiopian place in the Village”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 7, 2013

Don't expect bells and whistles but do expect a small friendly place serving delicious Ethiopian fare - complete with njera. The vegetarian option is great (£6.50!) and you can get a big plate to share where you all just dive in (top tip - you can ask for free 'top ups' of your favourite bits if you want). Don't come here if you're looking for fine dining with a long menu or not willing to go with Ethiopian flavours and ambience. This is about tasty food to share in unpretentious surroundings including groups of Ethiopian men drinking tea and watching the footy. Totally worth every penny.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Tomas F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
28 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Gorgeous!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 4, 2013

This place is a real treat! The food is fantastic - especially the slow cooked lamb dishes and the vegetarian option - and the spongey bread that goes with it is lovely. There's something very pleasing about eating proper food with your hands and dolloping it up on pieces of spongey bread pancake type things (they give you a spoon and a napkin, though). The beer is nice and there aren't many places with such a well-balanced combination of attentive service and laid-back-letting-you-get-on-with-it service. What's very surprising is that when the bill arrives, the damage is much less than you might have been expecting.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
2 Thank hotelfan828
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lockerbie, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“The worst food I have ever experienced”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 4, 2013

The question has to be asked as to how an establishment such as this can become so highly rated on trip advisor? I had asked my husband to book something 'different' for our dinner while staying overnight in Manchester. We always check out trip advisor and he opted for Habesha based on the excellent reviews. He had mentioned that it was up a stair, but I wasn't overly concerned until we arrived only to find that it was actually accessed by way of a spiral staircase inside the entrance of a kebab shop. I should say that the floor at the entrance was filthy but hoped that would not be a reflection on the restaurant itself. The interior was very cheaply done and there were shelves on view next to the entrance of the kitchen that were clearly a storage area. Beside these were two tables where were sat some Ethiopian men with their carrier bags of shopping who were clearly just sitting passing the time of day as the staff and the cook from the kitchen kept coming over to speak to them. There was also a very loud television on the wall that they seemed to be channel hoping on.

On to the menu, or lack of it. We were handed one of those cheap plastic menus that you would find in a truck stop cafe, only it wasn't as extensive. Approximately 11 items in total to choose from, 3 beef dishes, two of which were raw, 3 chicken, a couple of lamb dishes and a vegetarian option. No starters, no sides, no dessert. I opted for the less spicy lamb dish (there was limited description) my husband for a chicken dish. It stated that these were accompanied by a corn and wheat flour pancake and as I am trying to avoid wheat I asked if I could have mine without. To be honest I had really expected there to be rice in the menu, but was told that they couldn't make it without wheat and that if I had wanted rice I should have phoned ahead!!!

Our dishes arrived, an enormous circular plate lined with the thinnest pancake imaginable. My husbands small bowl contained some brown sludge with the bone of a chicken leg (which was tiny) and a hard boiled egg sticking out of it. Mine was just very small lumps of indiscernible meat in a thin tomato gravy, which tasted of the watery juice that comes from tinned tomatoes, nothing more except a hint of chilli powder. I am always eager to try new things but a couple of mouthfuls of the meat was all I could manage. It didn't taste of lamb, and was incredibly tough and sinewy. We were also brought a basket of what appeared at first to be hot towels but turned out to be yet more pancake this time rolled up. We left fairly quickly and I stopped at the toilet on the way out. I didn't use it, as it was too dirty and there was bizarrely a measuring jug on the floor in the cubicle (see photo). I awoke during the night with severe stomach pain and subsequently experienced symptoms that I won't go into here that were quite severe and I still have mildly four days on.

I can only surmise that some of the reviews have been written by people who are familiar mainly with this type of food. Or students short on cash (it's pretty cheap £6.50 per meal) and quite drunk. I wouldn't have minded the limited choice, had it been good. But the resulting effects would seem to indicate poor standards of hygiene and that is unforgivable. I would not recommend this experience to anyone.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank helen k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed habesha restaurant and bar also viewed

Manchester, Greater Manchester
Manchester, Greater Manchester
 
Manchester, Greater Manchester
Manchester, Greater Manchester
 
Manchester, Greater Manchester
Manchester, Greater Manchester
 

Been to habesha restaurant and bar? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing