All about food. All about Edmonton.
There are many reviews throughout Urbanspoon and Yelp saying that Habesha is the best hookah bar in the city and, well, they’re right. I don’t have a huge experience with hookah bars, having only tried Habesha, Co Co Di, and a place in Manchester while on my Master’s year, but Habesha delivers on everything the discerning shisha-lover could want. A wide variety of flavours, delightfully spicy food, and an atmosphere to match a Chinese opium den.
Granted, the tables are placed much too close together, forcing conversations to mingle and creating the awkward situation of being caught staring, even though you just happen to be looking in a person’s general direction. The restaurant itself isn’t situated in one of the best neighbourhoods in Edmonton – 118th Avenue – which might scare some people off from attempting a night-time hookah endeavour. And it isn’t exactly a classy joint, so you don’t need to bother getting dressed up.
Despite all of that, it is, in fact, the best hookah bar in Edmonton. Sunday was the first time I’d tried the food there and I was pleasantly surprised. I had the sirloin cubes (for the life of me, I can’t remember the name), which came with vegetables, injera, and a beautiful spice that left my mouth happily burning. My boyfriend and I shared the Apple Mint shisha, which appears to be one of the most popular, and deservedly so. Habesha is very reasonable for a hookah bar – hookahs are about $13, and most dishes are around the $10 mark. This restaurant definitely gives Co Co Di a run for its money: it has a larger selection of shisha flavours, and the shisha itself is much more ‘potent,’ so you don’t have to inhale as hard (although I’m sure you can if you want to).
One serious complaint: they need to invest in some Tabasco and Worcestershire (pronounced wooster-sher) sauce…for such a spice-conscious restaurant, my gin caesar was woefully underspiced.
Habesha Ethiopian Restaurant
9515 188 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5G 0N7
Mon – Fri 4pm – 12am
Sat 12pm – 12am
Sun 12pm – 6pm