Rendez-Vous Ethiopian and Eritrean Restaurant
By Hanieh Khosroshahi

A Little Taste of Africa

With the smell of roasted coffee beans, hut-like decorations and orange, red and brown colour schemes, it's no wonder people feel like they’re truly experiencing a little bit of Africa when they walk into Rendez-Vous. The restaurant is filled with Ethiopian art: paintings and photographs depicting the vast and vibrant culture the country and its people have to offer are on display as visitors relish the unique cuisine.

Staying true to its translation, Rendez-Vous is named after a famous spot in Ethiopia known as a meeting place where people come to socialize and have a good time. The Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurant has been serving the East Toronto neighbourhood since its opening in 2001. Banchi Kinde, the owner at Rendez-Vous, took advantage of Toronto’s multicultural environment after moving to the city, deciding to offer a bit of her ethnic roots through its cuisine. “Ethiopia is very rich in culture. We are unique in the way we eat and in the way we take care of our guests,” she says.

Banchi’s passion for cooking and hosting comes from her mother, whom she always helped around the kitchen. Growing up in a big family, she was surrounded by relatives and a culture of cooking and hospitality, skills that became ingrained in her very early on. “Whenever I cooked, everyone loved it! That was a great motivation for me,” she says. “We really make sure our guests are satisfied. We take a lot of pride in that,” she adds.

We really make sure our guests are satisfied. We take a lot of pride in that. - Banchi Kinde, owner
Rendez-Vous - Ethiopian food, injera, coffee, vegetarian, and vegan dishes
Banchi Kinde, the owner of Rendez-Vous, grew up in a big family, quickly becoming passionate about cooking and serving authentic Ethiopian dishes.

Spongy and Delicious

The most significant and unique part of Ethiopian cuisine is “injera,” a spongy and sour flatbread, made mostly from the iron-rich grain teff. After the bread has been fermented, it is baked into large, flat pancakes. Stews and dishes are then served on top of the bread.

In Ethiopian culture, a person would then take a piece of injera with their hand and scoop stew with it before putting it in their mouth. It is a custom to feed friends and loved ones with one’s hand, often referred to as “gursha,” which is an act of friendship and affection. “When you eat with your hands, it’s like going back to your childhood. It creates a lot of intimacy,” Banchi explains. “That’s one way we express our love.”

Rendez-Vous - Ethiopian food, injera, coffee, vegetarian, and vegan dishes
The restaurant is located on the east end of the city, is decorated with Ethiopian art and serves organic coffee imported from Ethiopia.

Ethiopia’s Signature

Coffee lovers will be pleased to know that not only did coffee originate in Ethiopia, but at Rendez-Vous, it is organic and imported directly from the country of origin. The coffee ceremony is vital to Ethiopia’s culture, as is the traditional serving of the beverage.

Like the coffee they serve, Rendez-Vous' menu reflects Ethiopian culture and cuisine.  The breakfast menu offers traditional Ethiopian meals such as Enqulal Firfir, scrambled eggs with tomatoes and hot peppers. Entrees include anything from lamb and poultry to beef and vegetarian dishes. A famous selection at the restaurant is Doro Wot, a national dish with chicken in a red pepper sauce and served with boiled egg. With endless appetizers to choose from and a drinks menu that offers exotic Ethiopian beer and honey wine, there is something for everyone at Rendez-Vous.

After a big meal, coffee beans are roasted and passed around amongst guests so everyone can enjoy the aroma. The coffee is then grinded and put into a jebana, a clay coffee pot. It is then boiled with water and served in small cups. Add to this the burning of frankincense and popcorn as snacks, and it’s not surprising why Ethiopians love to gather at Rendez-Vous.

Rendez-Vous is open late every day, and also delivers.
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