Enat Kitchen feels like eating in someone's home. The food is served on wide, ceramic platters. A TV in a corner plays Ethiopian music videos at a low volume. The long tables and chairs are inlaid with fabric cushions. And there's often someone who stopped by and sidled up to the bar to chat with an acquaintance.
And yet the food at Portland's best Ethiopian restaurant is opulent. As you should at most Ethiopian restaurants, order a family-style platter. Enat's platters are gorgeous and overflowing with colorful piles of stewy vegetables and meat on a massive sheet of spongy injera. Nestled between each you'll find another bundle of the bread, ready to be unspooled and used as a fork, napkin and salve from the occasional bite of crispy jalapeño. Enat's injera is so silky it's tempting to just bite straight into a roll instead of pinching it around the slow-cooked vegetables.
This is a restaurant where you can happily go vegetarian or vegan without missing much. The berbere sauce on the dinch wot potatoes is warmly spicy, richly earthy and the tiniest bit sweet. The kik wot split peas are creamy and deeply comforting, and the refreshing ground chickpeas are so fluffy they're almost the texture of scrambled eggs. Wash it down with one of Enat's malty Ethiopian lagers—we recommend the Meta—which pair well with the rich food.
And when you think you're done, there's still one last treat: Even after soaking throughout the meal at the bottom of the platter, the base-layer injera is still sturdy enough at the end of the meal to mop the platter clean.
Enat Kitchen, 300 N Killingsworth St., 503-285-4867. 11:30 am-9 pm Monday-Saturday. $.
Pro Tip: The $40 family platter easily serves five and comes with every vegetable option on the menu. For a decadent meal that serves two or three people, order one veggie combo and one beef combo.