Review: Gojo Ethiopian Cafe and Restaurant in Nashville

Review: Gojo Ethiopian Cafe and Restaurant in Nashville

Well-established Thompson Lane restaurant serves exotic, delicious cuisine (and, they have a lunch buffet!)

My first experience with Ethiopian food was at the Mediterranean Festival in downtown Austin. It was love at first taste.

But finding Ethiopian restaurants in the US isn’t easy. They’re much less common than other international restaurants like Thai or Vietnamese. I was thrilled to learn that Nashville had Gojo Ethiopian Cafe and Restaurant when I arrived in the city.

Gojo, my long-time favorite Ethiopian restaurant, sits on Thompson Lane, just off Nashville’s famously eclectic Nolensville Pike, a hodgepodge stretch of international food restaurants, bakeries, food trucks, car lots, thrift stores, and immigrant-owned shops.

I was delighted to recently discover that Gojo serves a lunch buffet — and it’s amazing!

Plate overload from the buffet at Nashville's Gojo Ethiopian Cafe and Restaurant
Plate overload from the buffet at Nashville’s Gojo Ethiopian Cafe and Restaurant. The spongy injera bread can be seen along the left and right edges.

Reminiscent of Indian cuisine, without the emphasis on curry

Ethiopian food is spicy, reminiscent of Indian cuisine, but more African, without the emphasis on curry. Gojo serves beef, lamb, and chicken dishes, but they also feature a vegetarian section on their menu. Ethiopian cooking relies heavily on the use of butter, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, and lots of herbs and spices.

Central to Ethiopian cuisine is injera, a sourdough-risen flatbread with a porous, spongy texture. Injera is traditionally made out of teff flour. This soft bread can be pinched to hold the other ingredients, in lieu of utensils.

Here’s a sample listing from Gojo’s menu:

Doro w’et: Two chicken legs marinated in lemon juice, then sauteed in spiced butter & seasoned w/ pepper, garlic, onions, ginger & spices. Served with a hard-boiled egg.

Something funny about Gojo is their very specific menu pricing. Americans are familiar with the pricing strategy of shaving one penny from a price — for example a $14.00 menu item may be priced as $13.99. Gojo’s prices are all over the map with menu items priced at $13.12, $14.65, $13.60, $12.07, and $10.45.

Gojo Ethiopian Cafe and Restaurant, on Thompson Lane in Nashville.
Exterior view of Gojo Ethiopian Cafe and Restaurant, on Thompson Lane in Nashville.

If you’re in Nashville and want to try something truly exotic and quite delicious, give Gojo a try.

Thanks for reading!

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~ Keith

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