Nyala Ethiopian Cuisine
Hours of Operation
Tuesday to Friday
11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday
1 to 9 p.m.
2900 Harvard Ave., Unit A
The smell of garlic, onions and other exotic spices combined with incense fill the air in this elaborate eatery. Walls of red and yellow hold framed posters with images of Ethiopian culture.
The two choices of available seating, regular and traditional, offer diners the chance to choose what is most comfortable for them. However, to get the most out of this dining experience, I recommend sitting at the traditional seating, which is elaborately decorated with colorful cloth and located in its own area at the back of the restaurant,.
Nyala is fairly new to the Fort Collins dining scene, and this well-kept secret is a delicious alternative for any night of the week. While the menu can be overwhelming, just ask the wait staff for recommendations and explanations of any item, and they will gladly offer their services with knowledgeable information.
The restaurant offers a wide array of Ethiopian beverages including wines, beer, tea and coffee. The Nebit Ethiopian Honey Wine, also referred to as Tej, is a traditional honey-wine that is light and flavorful. Other wines include Dukem Red Wine, Axumite Red Wine and Kamilia White Wine.
Most of the glasses of wine range from $4.50 to $6.26 or bottles from $16 to $18.
Another great beverage option, if shying away from the alcohol, is the Ethiopian Spiced Tea, which offers a tangible treat for the taste buds with exotic spices.
On the appetizer menu, try the Sambussa (thin, crispy pastry shells with seasoned beef or lentils, onions and green peppers) or the Timatim Fitfit (tomatoes, red onions, jalapenos, house spices and injera bread, which is a flat, spongy bread made with wheat and barley).
Several different styles of entrees are offered, but the menu does cater to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. The beef, chicken and lamb dishes as well as the vegetable dishes are served as single items or in a combination platter. The combination platters are the best way to go if ordering for the first time. Each will offer a hearty sampling of the different options.
The different meat combinations available include the Beef Combo (Siga Wot, Beef Alicha Fit-Fit and Siga Tibs), Lamb Combo (Yebeg Wot, Yebeg Alicha and Yebeg Tibs), Chicken Combo (Doro Wot, Doro Alicha and Doro Tibs) and are all served with 2 vegetable dishes.
The lamb, beef and chicken are each served three different ways based on the style of cooking, which are noted as Wot (meat marinated and stewed with onions, spice butter, ginger, cardamom, red peppers and other spices), Tibs (meant marinated with olive oil, onions, garlic, tomatoes, green peepers, Ethiopian spices and spiced butter) and Alicha Fit-Fit (meat mixed with the injera bread, garlic, ginger and turmeric).
Personal favorites are the Beef or Siga Tibs and the Chicken or Doro Alicha, which offer an enticing spiciness that is indescribable but oh-so delectable.
The vegetarian combinations are available two ways. The first includes the Gomen (marinated collard greens), Yemisir Wot (lentils with onions, ginger, garlic, olive oil, Ethiopian chili sauce and other spices), Fosolia (spiced green beans and carrots), Yatkilt Wot (potatoes, green beans, carrots, green peppers, onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and olive oil) and Shuro (ground roasted split peas with onions, olive oil, garlic, red pepper sauce and Ethiopian spices).
Other delectable items on the menu served separately from the combination platters include the Kitfo (ground beef tenderloin with Ethiopian herbed butter sauce, hot chili peppers, farmers cheese and collard greens), Yasa Wot (slice of White Trout with olive oil, garlic, onion, red pepper sauce), Nyala Style Ruz (rice that is either steamed or spiced served with Engudai Tibs or mushrooms) and the Engudai Tibs (mushrooms marinated in red wine, red pepper sauce, spices, onions, olive oil, spiced butter, garlic, carrots and zucchini).
While Nyala can be a bit daunting at first because of the wide range of unfamiliar items, this experience will leave you satisfied and craving Ethiopian cuisine for weeks. It is an authentic adventure for everyone craving that little something out of the ordinary and it is an entertaining experience to be enjoyed on a night out with friends.