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Located in Bushwick, beween the Jefferson and Morgan stops is one of the city’s best Ethiopian restaurants, Bunna. The menu is vegan but even the strictest carnivores will be won over by their Lentil Sambusas and Shiro (Chickpeas simmered with garlic, ginger and herbs). We recommend the Feast for Two — a shareable sampler of nine dishes that really is a feast. (There will be leftovers.) All entrees are served with their homemade Injera – a spongy, sourdough-risen flatbread. Check their calendar for live music events.
Theere are some New York restaurants that you can mention in any social setting and someone will invariably nod and intone, sagely, “Oh, yes, I go there all the time.” Somewhat remarkably for a vegan Ethiopian spot—in Bushwick, no less—Bunna Café is one of them. What’s more, Bunna is well, and rightly, loved. It’s one of those vegan restaurants where the absence of meat and dairy isn’t obvious while you’re there, but when you venture out the door your step has a new spring in it.
Soulful, vibrant, surprising vegan Ethiopian fare… There’s a pronounced emphasis on freshness in Bunna’s stews and salads: raw vegetables are mixed with cooked, bringing lightness to the meal, and sharp notes of garlic, ginger and onion punctuate the softer flavors of curry powder and sunflower-seed milk. Bunna has a focused menu of three appetizers and nine mains. In the Feast for Two ($28), you can sample all nine mains arranged on one heaping platter lined with injera, that spongy teff-flour flatbread that acts as your serving utensil throughout the meal. Bunna’s version is soft, nicely seasoned and tangy but not too tangy, a flavor that can sometimes turn people off of injera.
The brick-walled joint honors Ethiopia—widely hailed as the birthplace of coffee—with traditional coffee ceremonies and live Abyssinian music. Java is made in a jebena pot and infused with cloves and cardamom, served with snacks like ambasha bread or cooked barley. Those looking for heartier options can dig into vegetarian plates, served on a bed of injera bread, like misir wot (red lentils in berbere sauce), keysir selata (sautéed and chilled beets) and shiro (garlicky ground chickpeas). Along with pureed juices (mango-avocado-papaya), beverages include Ethiopian beers (Castel, Harar), tej (honey wine) and cocktails, such as a whiskey-spiked Shai spiced tea.