REVIEW: QUEEN OF SHEBA (RESTAURANT)

RATING: A-

WHAT: Ethiopian Restaurant

WHERE: 3636 Henderson Blvd, Tampa, FL 33609

PRICE: $48.66 for two, including tip. We had the Vegetarian Combo #2 (6 sample items, $13 per person), a tomato salad appetizer (highly recommend), and 2 hot teas.

ATMOSPHERE:
Traditional Ethiopian themed. The interior is dark brown, dimly lit (romantically lit, maybe?), and the decor is simple, with a mix of traditional seating and “traditional Ethiopian” seating for your preference.

HOW VEGAN IS IT?
Very! All “vegetarian” dishes are also vegan. No substitutions necessary. Appetizers are appropriately labeled, as well. There are no vegan desserts, unless you count the Honey Chips, which… have honey… obviously.

THE GOOD:
The food is great! Like, really great. It’s authentic (as compared to our experience at other Ethiopian restaurants across the U.S.). The staff is very friendly and genuinely seemed to care that we liked our food, but not in that overly creepy way, like when the owner of the restaurant hovers by your table and wants to talk more than you want to eat. You know what we mean.

THE BAD:
Well… the restaurant could be a little cleaner overall but it’s about what you might expect from a small family owned place. There is a good bit of dust around the place. The tables are covered in disposable paper and the lighting is quite dim. The outdoor seating is minimal, uncomfortable (metal lawn furniture) and on a loud, busy road.

The prices, in our opinion, are a bit high for the amount of food received, especially considering most of these dishes are extraordinarily cheap to make at home, if you know how. Still, they are not as outrageous as, say, Byblos, but certainly on the high side.

You might have to deal with a bit of a language barrier, too, if you have a complicated order or just like to talk to the wait staff. As far as the staff goes, the service is not what you would expect to find at most restaurants. During one visit, for example, our waitress (who was the only employee working), literally left the restaurant for 20 minutes, just trusting that we would be there when she returned.

THE SUMMARY:
This is a nice restaurant for a change of pace.  It is not every day that it is acceptable to eat with your fingers and share food with everyone at the table like it is when you eat Ethiopian.  There are so many menu options! Everything we tried has been good. Of course, we like some things better than others, but all great fresh food.

 

 

How our reviews work:
We accept no sponsors or advertisements so we can give honest reviews of everything we try. We are regular customers (but we don’t try to hide what we are doing–they can see us taking notes and pictures). If approached, we will explain ourselves and ask probing questions. We share our thoughts about the experience with each other and then each of us gives a letter grade (A to F). We take the average of both grades to create our rating and share our notes with you!

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