Hidden away in the upstairs unit of a property just South of Division on SE 50th Ave is a restaurant called Bete Lukas. Without knowing about its existence or hearing about it on the internet, you could casually pass it day after day without ever knowing it was there. That would be unfortunate, as you would be missing out on the best Ethiopian Food in the Portland area and one of my personal favorite restaurants in town. Not only is the food carefully prepared and fresh, but it is also a great value.
To people unfamiliar with Ethiopian food, it is often stewed meats or vegetables served on a crepe-like flatbread called injera. The injera is made out of a grain called teff and is gluten-free and high in fiber. The dishes are served on top of the injera and you eat the dishes by breaking off small pieces of it and scooping up the entree with your hands. Bete Lukas offers a wide array of vegetarian entrees as well as fish, lamb, and chicken. They also have a few beers on tap, a full bar and affordable wine selection.
Restaurateur/Proprietor, Peter, has helped revamp several restaurants around the Portland area, but Bete Lukas is his crown jewel. He is always on the floor getting orders from customers, running food, and chatting up the regulars. He has a fiery sense of humor and will keep you on top of your game. He gives great attention to his customers and truly cares about their dining experience. It shows in the food.
The food at Bete Lukas is consistently fresh and delicious. My go to order is the veggie combo, which features several stewed vegetables and legumes. Everything is cooked to order and the veggie combo can be prepared vegan. I also usually add on an order of eggplant tibs or ye-doro tibs (chicken). The eggplant tibs are stewed and spiced until they are remarkably tender and delicious. The ye-doro tibs are succulent chicken cubes seasoned in a lingering spicy sauce. All of the items I have tried have been delicious.
Bete Lukas is truly one of the best restaurants in town. The food is healthy and high quality. It is cooked with care. The value is also one of the best in town, where two people can get a high quality dinner for $20 or less before tip and drinks. Bete Lukas can accommodate people with dietary restrictions. There are a multitude of reasons why Bete Lukas is one of my favorite restaurants in town, so go there and see for yourself how great it is!