Lilu Cafe and Hookah Lounge


lilucafe-20100610.jpgLilu Cafe, June 2010

Former Location
1009 Clinton Ave S, Rochester NY 14620

See Gone, But Not Forgotten


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2010-05-16 21:31:34   Wandered in on Sunday for their coincidental grand opening, which was a buffet showcasing a variety of meat & vegetarian options. The options weren't labeled, so I'm not sure entirely what we ate, but am trying to match it up from the menu. Mild lentils were flavorful as expected, the greens (collard greens?) were delicious and just cooked to where they still had some of their texture, very lightly seasoned so they kept their delicious natural flavor. The water that they use for tea is spiced with clove & cardamom, personally we didn't think it needed anything else ( the tea bag that was provided). —DerekSung

2010-05-25 11:31:51   Had a great dinner last night with some friends. We had tibs, a fish dish, lentil wat and a few other things (including sides of spinach and collard greens and a tomato salad), and of course injera. It was all great, though the fish and tibs were especially good. Lots of flavor and fresh ingredients. The owner is also very friendly, and the service was rapid (but not rushed). Will definitely be a repeat customer. —ClaireHawkins

2010-05-28 20:49:09   We enjoyed a nice Friday evening. On the minus side, there is no air conditioning or good ventilation so it was quite warm for a spring evening in there (outside temp probably 10 degrees cooler), and the owner was short an employee so she was waiting, cooking and dmo/busgal. On the other hand despite this the food arrived for each table all at once, and she did a good job of getting around to everyone. In terms of the food we had Tibs, GoreGore, the raw meat dish (Can't remember the name) and the veggie assortment dish. There are no "Appetisers" per se, I'd recommend just getting a variety of dishes and sharing them all. They don't yet have a liquor license so it might be a good idea to bring your own until they do (5/28/2010). She said it would be at least 3 weeks. The service was pleasant if a little slow because she was doing everything! The tibs tasted like a philly cheese steak, without the cheese - yum! The GoreGore was very tender and rare beef tips in a hot berbere sause that got you in the back of the throat. My dish was probably the spiciest of the three - essentially semi cooked newly hamburgered meat mixed with a very spicy berbere style spice (but no berbere sauce). that one was hot in the front of the mouth so between that and the GoreGore you got the whole treatment. The Veggie assortment came with a potato dish which was mild, a cold chick pea and torn injira dish which was also mild and a spicy lentil wat dish (very good - not that hot). —LeeDrake

2010-05-28 23:06:41   Our table also had a great dinner-the woman was really doing it all, and she did a great job (service was better than at Abyssinia imho). We had the short ribs, goregore, kitfo (the raw meat dish although you can get it medium or well done also) and the tomato salad as well as a couple of lentil dishes. The food was all excellent. They could use a fan or a/c, but otherwise I strongly recommend this to anyone who likes or is interested in Ethiopian cuisine —MattHenshaw

2010-06-12 14:30:00   just went to this place- such great, healthy ethiopian food! It was not greasy at all, with a spongier, sourer injera than what I have had at other Ethiopian restaurants. I highly recommend the lentil sambusa as an appetizer. The shiro wat (pureed chickpeas) and mesir wat (red chili lentils) were excellent. Our waitress was also the cook, and was very friendly and attentive. a great addition to rochester's restaurant scene! —sparkly

2010-06-15 22:07:32   Attempted to have dinner here tonight at 8PM. Closed sign was up. No one there. What gives? —NightlifeCher

2010-06-24 05:48:06   Food, service, all good. Hope this place stays around. —ThomasPawlik

2010-07-23 11:41:56   My husband and I really like Ethiopian food and decided to try Lilu Cafe because it's close to our home. Unfortunately, we were not impressed with the food. We didn't see the vegetable assortment that was mentioned below, and the only meat on the menu was beef. We ordered the beef short ribs, which came with cabbage (tikil gomen), and the shiro wet, a pea stew. We found the injera to be very thin and bland, with none of the tang that we've experienced at other restaurants. The ribs had zero flavor on their own and depended very much on the spicy red sauce that came on a separate plate (which was the star of the meal). The meat was also a little tough and at times was hard to tear off the bones with the thin injera. The shiro wet was also bland and tasted heavily of tomato sauce. The texture was incredibly soupy and impossible to eat with injera, so we ate it with spoons. It did not taste of berbere spice and could have used more salt. The tikil gomen was quite bland and tasted like overcooked cabbage. All in all, Lilu Cafe did not measure up to our experiences at other Ethiopian restaurants and we were disappointed. We like to support small, local restaurants, but I don't think we'll be back. —Patricih

2011-03-25 17:54:21   It is tasty some days and not so much other days. When they're on, it feels like home-cooked comfort food ethiopian style. I hope they get some help, the one woman is probably having trouble doing it all herself —jberna

2013-05-30 19:35:33   Until very recently this place has had lively late night hookah action. But about a week ago the sign on the blue awning has changed to read: UN Cafe and Hookah Lounge. —jgerek