Food Scene

Spotlight on: Anibal Abayneh, GM of Cafe Lalibela

The smells of the delicious food served at Cafe Lalibela greets you with a warm welcome. And is complemented by the warm welcome we received from GM of the restaurant, Anibal Abayneh. We had the opportunity to sit down with Anibel to learn about the unique story of the restaurant, and the food they bring to Tempe locals and visitors everyday.

Opened in 1996, Cafe Lalibela was the first Ethiopian restaurant opened in Arizona. 21 years later, it’s still humming with the tastes of Ethiopia by the original chef, Abayneh’s mother-in-law. A favorite among locals and ASU students and professors, everything that comes of out this kitchen is not only delicious, but also gluten free, sugar free, nut free and preservative free. But, you would never know how healthy this food really is. Every bite is rich with intense flavor and spices. It warms your belly and your soul. Guests will experience eating in the traditional Ethiopian way as well – no utensils. You eat using your fingers by scooping your dishes up with the spongy bread provided with your meal. Don’t let that intimidate you though – everyone there is so nice and welcoming – and ready to give guests a quick tutorial. It took about 5 seconds for me to dig in after being shown the way to best enjoy my meal.

Cafe Lalibela is located in Tempe on the SE corner of University and Hardy, just minutes from Downtown Tempe and Arizona State University.

Cafe Lalibela
849 W. University Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 829-1939

Amy Griglak
Written Amy Griglak

Originally from California, Amy loves to travel, go for runs, read all kinds of books, enjoy all things Disney, drink caramel macchiatos and explore new places and old favorites with her husband and two kiddos.