On a visit to Overland Park, I want to share with you my favorite restaurant stop. It was Elsa’s Ethiopian Restaurant. For me, it served two purposes. Elsa’s was able to offer me dishes that I couldn’t find in Wichita and secondly, it was a locally owned family restaurant. Those are my two biggest boxes to check when I travel outside of town.
8016 Santa Fe Dr, Overland Park, KS 66204
As you can guess from their name, Elsa’s serves Ethiopian food. They are located near Thompson Park. One of the biggest draws from them besides serving dishes like Veggie Samosa, Beef Tibs, Tikil Gomen, and Veggie Soup is the fact that it’s the perfect restaurant for any Vegan diners.
I took the family there and it was something completely new to everyone. They took a look at the menu and had no idea where to begin. Fortunately, the staff was extremely helpful in guiding us through the menu and offering suggestions. We started off our dinner with veggie sambosa which were triangular-shaped crispy pastries stuffed with lentils and herbs. At first glance, you might think it’s like an egg roll or mandu but it’s pretty different. I found the pastries to be softer in texture and obviously different in flavor. I love lentils, so this was a no-brainer for me. The spices really stuck out as well to give each bite an intense flavorful aftertaste.
The biggest challenge was deciding what to eat for dinner. Our server suggested we get a meat and vegetarian mixed platter. He said it was great for groups of people to share a meal. The platters came with an assortment of different vegetables and meats like lamb, beef, lentils, potatoes, cabbage and more.
We had two platters brought out for the five of us which may have been too much food. I think one platter would have been more than enough.
It was served with injera which is a spongy pancake-like flatbread made from fermented tef which is a gluten-free grain. Or you can simply call it Ethiopian bread which I was told was OK as well. The injera came rolled up and spread out on the plates.
The injera is meant to be eaten with your hands. We were shown to tear small bits of the bread and use it to scoop the bits of stews and various meets, forming a bite-sized food parcel to eat right away. It made for a fun communal dinner where we all ate with our hands (well tried to, the kids ended up using forks).
I loved the experience and more so, loved the food. Everything tasted fresh and incredibly unique to all the foods I’ve been eating in town. It was a nice to finally dine on a cuisine that was not just delicious, but new to me. I was able to learn about another culture and enjoy my favorite pastime, eating.
To make the evening even better, the family who owned Elsa’s walked us through the process and did a great job of explaining everything. We didn’t get any sort of preferential treatment because they were helping so many other diners as well.
Definitely check out Elsa’s Ethiopian Restaurant if you’re in Overland Park.
Here’s the menu:
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