By: Rebecca Feigelsohn
There are very few places in the city where two can dine for less than $10, and there are even fewer places where the food is not only ridiculously affordable, but also fresh, authentic and not of the fast-food variety. This rare species is Nazareth, a small Ethiopian restaurant and bar on Bloor that is known for its relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff and widely popular vegetarian meal. This hotspot is a hidden gem to most that don’t live in the Bloorcourt area, but their loyal neighbourhood devotees ensure that the 20-person restaurant is always packed with a line-up out the door. I seemed to arrive at the perfect time and only had to wait 15 minutes for a table, and was greeted by a friendly woman who I presume to be the owner, Nazareth herself.
The menu is simple and to the point, and with only ten items (ranging from $10-$12 and serving two people each) it is easy to decide. Not much of a carnivore myself, I chose the vegetarian platter to share with a friend. Our meal was on the lengthy side, but I felt the unhurried service was in tune with the overall vibe of the restaurant. However if you are looking for a get-in-get-out kind of place, this one certainly isn’t for you. Having eaten Ethiopian food once before, I knew better than to ask for a fork and knife to eat my meal, and scooped the lentils, beans, lettuce and assorted vegetable purees with my injera, a spongy and moist flatbread. I willingly embraced the rare experience of eating with my hands and enjoyed the perfect balance of neutral and spicy seasoning, nothing too overpowering for a novice Ethiopian food eater.
Although I had heard that one platter was more than enough for two hungry eaters, I was still surprised to find leftovers on my plate at the end. The food is rich, flavourful and hearty – you are left feeling full and satisfied, but without the nauseating feeling you get after eating food that is bad for you. Nazareth is a great spot to unwind after a long day of work without breaking the bank or sacrificing your taste buds.
Nazareth Restaurant and Bar is located at 969 Bloor Street West. 416 535 0797
Rebecca Feigelsohn is a Toronto based editorial intern for Good Food Revolution. She recently completed her BA in English at McGill University and loves all things sweet. Follow her as she profiles Toronto pastry chefs @GoodFoodRevInt