Paradise Ethiopian and Canadian Cuisine

950 Danforth Ave
(416) 416-406-6342

Located right at Danforth between Jones and Donlands, this cosy Ethiopian restaurant serves up traditional Ethiopian dishes, most under $10.00. Wendy and I went for dinner last Friday night and we had quite the adventure.

First of all, it was quite amusing to see such a small menu (only 2 pages) that consisted of one chicken dish and mostly lamb dishes and one popular vegetarian dish. The whole menu was shameful since it was full of atrocious spelling errors. How funny and incredibly embarassing.

The other thing that we found out right away was that our waitress did not understand any English. She tried though, but she could not fool us. She did smile a lot and say “yes” very often but we could have asked her if we could bomb the restaurant and she’d smile and say YES. We could have asked her to give us all the cash in her register and Wendy and I could be sure she’s say YES. We expected the ambiance to be tacky and cheesy but it was not. With authentic acrylic paintings of typical scenes in Ethiopia and calm African-inspired music, the setting seemed perfect but was made slightly tacky by the big screen TV at the corner of the restaurant that featured basketball. How tacky!

Our dishes were served within 3 minutes so i suspect some microwaving was involved. I ordered the vegetarian special for $10- which included a split pea curry type dish, a spicy orange lentil curry, a cabbage and potato curry, a spinach type curry, salad, and tasteless salt-free feta cheese. When we asked the waitress what this mysterious dairy product was, she said “yogourt” and we looked at her in a weird way.

Her permanent smile remained locked and we asked her to check to see if it was Feta cheese. I was certain it was salt free feta cheese. Afterall, it’s on the Danforth and the Danforth is known as Greektown. When she came back, she told us it was feta cheese–according to Wendy pretty awful feta cheese.
Wendy ordered the Doro Wat, a dark chicken in a dark curry with a hard boiled egg in the middle ($10). Wendy was not impressed since she wanted chicken breast and not chicken leg and she hates eggs of all types.

Our food was fresh, healthy, tasty, and very filling. All dishes were served in injera bread, thin flat sour dough sheets that capture the food since cutlery was not used in Ethiopian cuisine. We ordered drinks Mango nectar ($2) and soda ($2). All prices include tax so our bill came out to $22 including drinks. Not bad. The only problem was when we received our bill, we got two bills, one with the prices before tax and one bill with the prices after tax. Both bills came out to be $28.14 but we added up the prices after tax to be $22.00
What a frustrating experience.

The waitress could not communicate with us as her English skills lacked considerably. She also could not add as our bill came out to a completely different price than expected. What a funny and frustrating experience. Wendy and I agree that we’ll probably not go back to Paradise Ethiopian and Canadian cuisine. Although the food was good, the service was out of the ordinary and the staff were slightly aloof and spaced out. I found that the waitress who did not speak any English made it difficult to convey what we wanted. Even in multicultural Toronto, basic English communications skills is somewhat important, isn’t it?