“What are the best vegan spots in Grand Rapids?” Of course, given that we run a vegan guide, it’s a question we hear a lot. The GR vegan food scene has evolved over the last ten years, but one spot that consistently shows up on recommendations is Little Africa. It is the first 100% vegan restaurant in Grand Rapids, and it’s also one of the very best.
Ethnic food is very often a good option for vegans. Many cultures around the world rely much less on animal driven products and maintain a diet driven mostly through inexpensive, accessible, plant-based foods.
That’s what you’ll find at Little Africa. The food here is delicious, filling, and such a wonderful cultural departure from most American diets that we find ourselves wondering why we don’t eat Ethiopian food every day.
You can order separate items from the menu, but the easiest, (and the best) thing is to order the group platter. A set price per person ($9.50), you’ll try a little bit of everything cooked up that day. The combo is definitely the way to go if you are new to Ethiopian food, as it allows you to try many items without having to choose.
The platter is served with generous helpings of injera (a spongy flatbread that will serve as your utensil for the meal). On top of the flat, large round of injera are all the stews, all made in-house. The food ranges from hot to cold, mild to spicy. But in our opinion, all delicious. The tea is a great accompaniment. It’s sweet as all get out, but it’s especially great to sip after a bite of the spicy stuff.
It’s not perfect. The service makes it a bad choice if you’re on the clock, and it’s not the prettiest restaurant in the city. For us, it’s just part of what makes Little Africa what it is. Eating here, sipping tea while waiting for your food surrounded by the most unique set of aromas set the atmosphere to enjoy conversation with friends without being rushed.
A very unfortunate thing is the lack of reliable hours. A good practice to call ahead – 616-222-1169 – to make sure they’re open. The worst thing is to be amped for Ethiopian, and get there to find they’re closed!