The Smart Village Eritrean Restaurant in Nairobi, Kenya

By Mark Wiens 8 Comments
The Smart Village Nairobi
Platter of Ethiopian Food

Whatever you do in Africa, don’t EVER get between a hippo and water, an elephant and her offspring, or Migration Mark and Ethiopian food!

I am a raging fanatic of eating Ethiopian food. Ever since I had my first bite of Doro Wot at an Ethiopian friend’s house in Nairobi back in the late 90’s, I’ve had a chronic addiction.

The medley of colors, the mouthwatering combination of spices, the pungent aromas, and let’s not forget that ever so creamy Ethiopian butter…the list could be everlasting.

It had been many months since my previous Ethiopian encounter (tragically the only Ethiopian restaurant in Bangkok shut down…) and I had developed a near sickness for the craving of this world-class cuisine.

We arrived at The Smart Village in Nairobi, I could smell the scent of berebere spices penetrating the parking lot as I exited the vehicle.  At this moment, I knew I was willing to throw down my entire bank account or even sacrifice something important in order get my hands onto a platter (it wasn’t necessary this time, but I was willing).

There are a number of seating options and we quickly chose an open air table near the bakery.

Note: The Smart Village is actually an Eritrean restaurant, but it is essentially the same as Ethiopian food.

Injera, Ethiopian Bread
Eating Ethiopian Food
Glorious Bite of Ethiopian Food

Ethiopian food is served family style, a large communal platter in the center for everyone to share.   Utensils are unnecessary as pieces of injera (white pancake looking bread) are used to transfer food from the platter to your mouth.

Most dishes at the Smart Village range in price from 400 – 600 KSH ($4.97 – $7.45 USD).  We ordered a mixed dish, which included the normal repertoire of vegetables and stews, along with a few extra supplementing dishes like Shiro Wot (spicy chickpea curry), fish, and Tibs (roasted meat).

Shiro Wot
Ethiopian Fish Dish
Fish and Tibs
Mix Plate at the Smart Village
Ethiopian Honey Wine

I was so intoxicated with fullness, that the only logical thing to do next was to relax and order Ethiopian coffee.

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony
Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

It arrived at our table in the normal fashion, brewed in a clay pot and accompanying a basket of freshly popped corn and burning sap incense to set the mood.

Ethiopian Coffee
Amazing Coffee after the Meal!
Coffee is Served with Popcorn
Coffee is Served with Popcorn

At the end of the meal we paid a little less than 600 KSH ($7.45 USD) each.  I can safely say we ate as much as we possibly could.

The Smart Village left that so familiar fill that only injera and Ethiopian butter can provide.  The food was exceptionally delicious, I simply couldn’t have asked for more.  If you are searching for Ethiopian food in Nairobi, The Smart Village can accommodate to all your wants and needs.

The Smart Village Restaurant Address and Directions in Nairobi, Kenya

View Smart Village Ethiopian Restaurant in a larger map

8 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

  • Humble Eritrean Dangola

    7 years ago

    I don’t always give these kinds of posting much thought…but this guy went way out of his way to discredit the very people who have fully satisfied his addiction. The strangest article I have my time on ….enough said.wasted.soon he will declare that he is the first to d discover injera…get this dude in a boxing ring and ….” say the Name…E.R.I.T.R.E.A

  • Henok Solomon

    7 years ago

    Interesting article. I appreciate your love of the food but your knowledge of the cultures that eat this food seems a bit skewed. The food is not just Ethiopian and it is rather Habesha food and the fact that you ate it at an Eritrean restaurant should tell you something! Would it hurt you to write and say something about Eritrea? Please note that I don’t have any problem about your writing of Ethiopian culture that would be unique and different from Eritrean culture.

  • hewan

    7 years ago

    I have a big question to you Mark. The restaurant was Eritrean. And the food was Eritrean too. Yes our food is similar with Ethiopia. But still you ate at Eritrean restaurant an Eritrean food. Why didn’t you write that? Why did you jump and chose to write about Ethiopia???????

  • Fish

    9 years ago

    pleased to read such a nice comments about our food. In Ethiopia/Eritrea we have got very unique food and the only place you can get is either in Ethiopia or in Eritrea or in their restaurants.
    Btw I lived in Nairobi and there are 2 nice restaurants, Smart Village belongs to an Eritrean family and Habesha restaurant belongs to an Ethiopian family.

    It is my dream to open one, someday somewhere.

  • michael kranzler

    10 years ago

    Ethiopian food is back in Bangkok! It’s on Nana Soi 3, (just as the last one that closed was, but across the street and nearer to Sukhumvit) just near the ‘Africa’ street culdesac. They have a vegetarian option, with about 6 curries on imported Enjira for 300 baht. Great Ethiopian music too!

  • Jade

    12 years ago

    Sigh…it sucks that there is no Ethiopian restaurant in BKK. I have giant jars full of Ethiopian spices at home and every year I make Ethiopian food for Christmas. Do you where I can find Injera in BKK? I’m desperate. (p.s: I’m Thai and I grew up in Ethiopian and Kenya 🙂 ).

  • selamawit

    13 years ago

    Smart Village doesn’t only have the best Tradtional food,but you should also try the pasta and the Pastry there is wonderful I recommend the Vanilla Cake makes you come back for more.

  • paulo

    13 years ago

    Oh man do I love Ethiopian food. I love that bread they serve it on.