Do not pass Gohe

Hidden gem of the West End offers Ethiopian fare and friendly atmosphere

The West End and especially Sargent Ave., is home to many amazing restaurants best known to local residents and their friends. Gohe Ethiopian Restaurant is no exception.

Gohe is an average five-minute walk from the University of Winnipeg. Look for the bright green sign between Langside St. and Young St..

Gohe’s decor is muted and unassuming and the service is warm and friendly yet minimal. Sports fans will appreciate the wall-mounted TVs, but there’s also many tables not super close to the screens if you’d rather chat. I popped in on Superbowl Sunday, so football inevitably took the third seat at the table.

The food came quickly, but it was clear that timeliness didn’t mean cutting any corners. We started off with a pair of veggie samosas filled with lentils and paired with a deceptively (but delightfully) spicy mint sauce. 

The veggie and meat combos are a great place to start if you’re looking to sample the many menu offerings and my date and I ordered one of each to share. Each combo comes with a sampling of dishes served on injera, a thick, spongy, pancake-like bread. Don’t bother looking around for cutlery, just grab a piece of injera and scoop up as much as you can with it. 

The veggie combo includes Misir Wot (lentils), Kik Alicha (split peas), Azifa (green lentils), cabbage and beets. These are complemented by potatoes, house salad and some spare injera. Altogether the combo is priced at a modest $11.99.

If your first reaction to lentils is “meh,” prepare to be pleasantly surprised. These dishes are so tender and well-spiced that the lentils are pretty much just the canvas that the flavour is painted on, especially the Misir Wot, featuring the distinctive Ethiopian Berbere sauce.

With the meat combo added into the mix, we also tasted the Doro Wot (chicken with Berbere), Qeye Wot (beef with Berbere) and Alecha Wot (beef with turmeric), which came with some veggies, salad and even more spare injera. I went back and forth between the three while trying to choose a favourite and if anything, the Berbere-sauced selections edged out the Alecha Wot just slightly. On its own, this would be a generous serving for one person and was only $12.99.

The combo platters are a good amount of food to share between two people. We were definitely full and had a small snack to take home for later. For a lighter meal, one combo would be enough to share. 

If you find - or already have - a favourite dish, then you’re welcome to order just one, spread over the injera and bask in it. Try the combo platters if you want to experience the fun conundrum of ranking a gorgeous selection of well-prepared dishes.

Published in Volume 69, Number 20 of The Uniter (February 11, 2015)

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