Addis Red Sea is a place where you can eat with your hands. In fact, you have to eat with your hands- you won't be given a fork or knife or even a spoon. If you haven't been to an Ethiopian restaurant before, let me give you a quick primer on how they work. First, you and your dining companions will be seated at low stools around a very small, round straw table called a mesob. You will not be given any utensils, which is okay because the protocol here is to scoop up your food using delicious thin, spongy bread called injera. After you order, everything that your table orders comes on one large plate, and everything is served on top of injera, which soaks up the sauce and is very good to eat afterward.
At this particular restaurant, you can tell that you are in for an exotic experience the minute you step down into the restaurant. The rooms are dark, yet cozy and inviting, and are decorated with ethiopian art and strong colors. The small tables and stools dot the room, giving an intimate feel to the place. You smell warm and exotic spices, both sweet and spicy.
For drinks, Addis Red Sea has a fine selection of familiar wines and beers, but I would recommend branching out and sampling one or more of their Ethiopian wines. My favorite Ethiopian wine that I've tried is made from honey. Be warned: they are most likely not what you are used to and are, in fact, quite sweet. But if you keep in mind that you are trying something different and exotic, then you will most likely enjoy them, as I do, and find that they complement the food very well.
For an appetizer, I would recommend the sambus, which are fried pastries that are filled with lentils, vegetables, or beef. The appetizers cost between $3-$5.
All of the entrees are different varieties of stews, made either with meat or vegetables or a combination of both. If you are a vegetarian, then you are in luck, as there are many meatless options here.
Can't decide or are overwhelmed by the menu? The waiters are extremely friendly and are happy to explain the menu to you and make recommendations. There are many "combo" options available, where you can order smaller portions of a number of dishes. The combination dishes are very reasonably priced from about $11 to $16, and you can try a number of different dishes this way. When I go with a friend, both of us usually order a combo and then share- this way, we get to try lots of different dishes.
A couple of warnings: even though the waiters are very, very friendly, the service is always slow, no matter how empty or full the restaurant is when you are there. So don't go if you are in a hurry. The ambiance of the restaurant is very pleasant, so you probably won't mind the leisurely pace. Also, parking in this part of Boston is quite difficult, so plan to look around for a space and walking a bit.
That said, this is a really fun place to take friends and I have had many enjoyable meals there. I'd imagine kids would enjoy the restaurant- what kid that you know doesn't like to eat with his or her hands? If you're looking for something fun and different, then give Addis Red Sea a try!