Unlike Asian and European cuisine, African restaurants are woefully underrepresented in Tokyo. Pizzas and dumplings abound, but if you’re craving a hit of kik alicha, mesir wat, and injera, head over to Queen Sheba in Nakameguro. This little hideaway is one of the only places in Tokyo – nay, Japan – to get your Ethiopian food fix.
Coming off the main drag in Nakameguro, this basement joint is colorful and comforting, with murals and tapestries adorning the walls – though we hope the zebra skin is fake. African music issues from the gleaming, crowded bar, and simple wooden tables seat about 25.
Fragrant sauces and homey stews are great scooped up with your fingers on a morsel of the spongy sourdough flat bread. Dining a la carte leaves something to be desired, so for the most delicious experience, we encourage ordering family style, with an array of brightly colored, pungently spiced dishes arranged on a large platter of bread for sharing. Courses come with eight to ten dishes, but be careful – injera expands in your stomach and may leave you groaning from overindulgence. From lamb to lentils, the menu caters to both omnivores and herbivores, and is friendly to the wallet as well – courses start at ¥2,750 per person.
Wash it all down with a cold Ethiopian beer, or try a creatively named African cocktail from the well-stocked bar: Crocodile in the Sky or River of Babylon tempt. Ethiopian-style coffee and tea are also on offer.
You’ll leave wiping your hands and planning your trip to the Horn of Africa.
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