Ethiopian-Eritrean culinary delights – Karls Café & Weine

The restaurant  “Karls Café & Weine” in Hamburg Ottensen serves culinary delights from the Ethiopian-Eritrean cuisine. From the outside it doesn’t look like much, but inside an adorable dining-room-like decorated restaurant is hidden where you can eat magnificently!

Karls Café & Weine doesn’t sound very “African”? There’s a very simple reason for that: A long time before he even thought about opening his restaurant Alemayehu wanted to return to Ethiopia. “But then I met my wife. Mrs. Karl.” and with a background in gastronomy one thing led to another and one day he opened his restaurant, even though Alemayehu Karl had originally studied medicine.

Karls Café & Weine - Das Restaurant

But back to the food at Karls Café & Weine

The menu at Karls is very overseeable, but has everything a complte menu needs: Starters, main courses, desserts, coffee, tea, soft drinks and wine.

The main course are specialities with injera. You can order it in vegan, vegetarian or with chicken leg and egg.

Injera (Amharic: ənǧära እንጀራ [ɨndʒəra]; sometimes transliterated as enjera; or “taita” Tigrinya: ጣይታ) is an East African sourdough-risen flatbread with a unique, slightly spongy texture. Injera is usually made from the tiny, iron-rich teff.
From wikipedia.org/injera

For the injera they use teff flour which they import from Ethiopia. Teff is lovegrass, belongs to the family of Poaceen (grasses) and is completely gluten free.

“We have only used teff for our injera since two months.” Mr. Karl explains, “Before that we used normal millet, but never wheat.” Wheat doesn’t even grow in Ethiopia, since it is too hot there for it to be cultivated.

The injera is served with several sauces, dips, vegetables and, if you like, chicken.

Karls Café & Weine - Injera und Rhabarberschorle

Before you eat you wash your hands directly at the table, over a bowl and with water from a can which is brought to the table. In Ethiopia that is the duty of the youngest at the table who is able to do it.

Afterwards the injera is served. On one flat bread the sauces are served, on a second plate there more injera rolls. I ordered the version with chicken and egg. Before you begin eating, when you’re there for the first time, they explain what is what and how you gather the sauces and dips with the injera. Which looks a lot easier than it actually is. While I was eating I was told I was using way too much injera and if I kept doing it I would be full very soon and wouldn’t be able to enjoy the refill.

Karls Café & Weine - Hauptgericht I had a Chai Tea with that and rhubarb-lemonade. An Ethiopian Chai is very different from an Indian Chai and isn’t served with milk either.

Karls Café & Weine - Nachschlag und Chai TeeSince I liked the Ethiopian hummus and the red lentil salad best I got a refill of those and truly didn’t have enough injera for all of the sauces.

But with the refill came spoons 😉 and when I visit next time I already know better and can improve my gathering technique.

The offered dessert, a self made chocolate cake, is also gluten free, since it is made with almond flour. But since I am also allergic to almonds I couldn’t try it.

When the weather is good enough, like on the day when I was there, you can sit outside in a small sitting area.

Karls Café & Weine - Außenbereich


You can find the website of Karls HERE

Karls Cafe&Weine
Keplerstraße 17a
22763 Hamburg-Ottensen

Opening times
Monday: closed
Tuesday till Saturday: 5pm bis 10pm
Sunday: closed


If you’ve been here before or you go here soon, I would be delighted when you leave a comment.

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