April 2nd, 2007
Posted By:
Categories: Food/Recipes

As an adoptive mom, I like to incorporate our children’s birth culture into our lives when possible. Our homestown does not have any Ethiopian restaurants. When planning our Spring Break trip to the Oregon coast, we decided we’d really like to eat at an Ethiopian restaurant in Portland. A friend recommended the Queen of Sheba. It is located at 2413 NE M L King Blvd, which is downtown not far from the river, about 10 minutes north of OMSI. (Map here)

We went on a Saturday around 1 pm. The restaurant is in an older building with high ceilings. It was very quiet at that time; only one other group was eating. Our group of 10 was shown to a table immediately. Though the decor looked old, it was clean and decorated with fun Ethiopian art work and baskets.


I wasn’t sure exactly what quantities to order on the menu, so I asked the waitress to help me out. We ended up ordering double serving of Doro Wat and Aleche Tibs (beef stew) along with single servings of lentil stew, potato stew, yellow split pea stew and their special vegetarian stew.

We were all quite hungry and so were glad that the wait for our food was only fifteen minutes or so. We didn’t get a ceremonial hand-washing like at the traditional restaurants in Ethiopia, but I was grateful for the huge heap of very sturdy napkins. For those of you who haven’t dined Ethiopian-style before, the various stews are all placed on a generous layer of injera that covers a tray. Everyone eats with their fingers off the same tray, ripping off bits of injera to snag bits of food. Not exactly neat, but very fun.

As you can see, the presentation of the food is also fun. The alecha tibs (beef) is between 10 and 12 o’clock in this picture. Between 2 and 4 is the doro wat (chicken in a spicy sauce with boiled eggs). At 7 is the lentil stew, with the potato stew above it. At 9 on the clock is the vegetarian stew, with the yellow split pea stew just inside of it. In the center is a refreshing lettuce and tomato salad.

The spiciest food was the doro wat. We enjoy spicy food, and we downed two pitchers of water to deal with it. Next in hotness came the lentil stew. The rest of the dishes were fairly mild. Though we all would have happily eaten a dab more of the doro wat, it turned out to be a nice mix of foods for our family.

The serving tray sits on a lazy susan so people can turn to the tray to get to the food they want. Our tray went round and round, and we loved every single dish we were offered. We had to ask the waitress for more injera three different times, as the stuff went very fast with all of us eating. But we walked out feeling stuffed. It was delicious, and the whole meal cost us just a little over $60 – - not bad at all for ten people.

We’ve decided to make a meal at The Queen of Sheba a new tradition on our yearly trip to the coast. Just writing about all the delicious food makes me want to fire up my injera starter and plan an Ethiopian meal sometime in the next few days. I’ll be sharing new recipes soon too.

Have you been to any good Ethiopian restaurants in your area? If you can recommend a good place, please leave a note in comments sharing the name and address of the restaurant, as well as any pertinent points about the restaurant. When I gather enough recommendations, I’ll compile a list similar to my Ethiopian Adoptive Family Blogroll. I think this is just one more way we adoptive families can support each other and raise our children to be proud of their Ethiopian heritage.

15 Responses to “Restaurant Review: Queen of Sheba – Portland, OR”

  1. Stacie says:

    Great idea! That picture looks so yummy – I can’t wait to go back to our new Ethiopian restaurant! Here’s the address-

    3210 S. Grand
    St. Louis, MO 63118

  2. Brian says:

    I sent you an e-mail with the list from our Southern California group. This is a great idea for people traveling to different cities.

    Also, there’s some restaurants listed on the Ethiopian Adoptive families frappr map:

  3. buffra says:

    Columbus, Ohio has The Blue Nile on High Street. It was my first taste of Ethiopian food and I love it. They have a lunchtime buffet and the owner (?) walks around greeting customers and making sure new diners understand how to eat with the injera.

    There’s also one in Pittsburgh, PA that was started by the son of a friend. I’ll have to double-check on the name though! (I’ve not been there. Yet.)

  4. jen says:


    You just made my day! I’ve known that there is a new one in St. Louis, but I didn’t know where. Thank you!

  5. goorsha says:

    The Ethiopian Portal website,


    has a very comprehensive list of Ethiopian restaurants (just click the “Restaurants” button at the top right of the site, just above the 1950′s Ethiopian video) from around the world, categorized by country, including maps.

    Check it out here:

    The site also features:
    -Web Directory section at the bottom
    -Invitations and RSVP’s
    -Pen Pal page
    -Place-marked Addis Ababa map
    -Positive, politics free news
    -And many more …

    Enjoy it.

  6. fourgoingon7 says:

    Dalos Kitchen in Portland is the cheapest around. The restaurant is run by a family of 6. They have been very supportive of holding our adoption support meetings there and try very hard to keep the prices down. Some Ethiopians have said it is the best on the West Coast. This family has gone out of their way to bring the culture of Ethiopia to Portland with their art and music that they play. My four children can not get enough of Dalos in N. Portland– worth the try! We can feed our family of 6 for $18.00 with left overs.

  7. jennobrn01 says:

    We are Ethiopian food for the firs time this past weekend. DC holds the largest Ethiopian community outside of Ethiopian. U street holds a plethora of Ethiopian eateries, and businesses. We ate at Dukem. http://www.dukemrestaurant.com/

    Our state though tiny has one Ethiopian restaurant. Cafe’ Abyssinia. http://wilmington.diningchannel.com/id100919-cafe-abyssinia.htm We have yet to visit but have read great reviews.

  8. jennobrn01 says:

    lots of typos up there… sorry :-/

  9. Marian says:

    buffra, the restaurant in Pittsburgh is called Abay (www.abayrestaurant.com). It’s in the Shadyside/East Liberty area of town, and is very good. It is the only Ethiopian restaurant in Pittsburgh!

  10. jfouse says:

    I’m actually in Manhattan for the day and was intending to find an Ethiopian restaurant for dinner before I head back home. I’ll let you know what I find!

    Incidentally, I also discovered that Mobia (the Museum of Biblical Art) is having quite a few Ethiopia-related things going on. There’s an art display on now with various talks and a few coffee ceremonies throughout April and I think into May. Check out their website for info (http://mobia.org).

  11. buffra says:

    Thanks, Marian! I want to get there one of these days, both because I like the food and to support my friend’s son. I’m glad to hear that it is good.


  12. briannaheldt says:

    Fun!(Kind of off-topic but what did you think of Portland in general? Is the weather really as yucky as they say??)

  13. akheye says:

    Portland is great! There are definately those dark days…but I think the weather is not so bad and the scenery is amazing and very green! In Portland you have the rivers right in town, colleges, one hour to Mt. Hood, one hour to coast so there is a lot to do–zoo,OMSI, ice skating, malls, art, theater, and tons of trails to hike and roads to ride. We have been here 13 years and it did take me awhile to adjust coming from S. CA, but now I don’t think we could find a nicer place for our family.

  14. mmrobinson says:

    I live in Berkeley, CA and there are quite a few Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants in the area. My favorite is Finfine on Telegraph Ave. It’s small and clean and the food is the best.
    Second best is Ethiopia Restaurant also on Telegraph.


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    Restaurant Review: Queen of Sheba – Portland, OR -…

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