The aroma of Berbere is heavy in the air. It is a modest space, tables, chairs, a buffet table.
On the wall, Ethipian prints have been hung and framed. Couples, friends, sit quietly as they enjoy the delicious food.
This is my first Ethiopian Buffet. The food, is vegan, satvic, delicious. The food is local and organic. Hot injera is folded in a basket beneath a cloth napkin. It is a simple spread. Rice that looks to be seasoned with saffron, collard greens, lentils, cabbage and beets.
Despite the simplicity, the buffet is aromatic, complex.
I pull apart the spongy injera bread and scoop up a pinch of Gomen (collard greens). I scoop and scoop, each bite is refreshingly mild, balanced and mysteriously savory. Delicious.
Sated, I lean back watching Ohm tinker away at the piano lining the far wall. Natural Oasis is a welcoming tot friendly establishment. One of the bonuses when it comes to vegetarian Ethiopian food, is that it is baby friendly. The food at Natural Oasis it is not spicy, making the perfect meal for beginning and emerging eaters.
Natural Oasis is so much more than a restaurant, it’s a community wellness center. Just through the front doors, you’ll find a herb shop, where you can pick up Ayurvedic products, tinctures, teas, and other wellness products.
Upstairs, you can receive Ayurvedic treatments, take a Kundalini Yoga class, get a massage, and be treated with herbal medicine.
Rochester, New York is a suburban city, with its fair share of chain restaurants and food options, but if you know where to look, you’ll find a vast and diverse selection of local restaurants and alternative offerings. If you’ve never had Ethiopian food before and you’re curious, go to Natural Oasis. If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan in search of a new place to eat, go to Natural Oasis. If you love Ethiopian food, but always order the same items on the menu (guilty as charged), try the buffet at Natural Oasis and feel free to explore. If you live in or are passing through the Rochester area and are in search of a healthy plate of food from a locally owned establishment, go, go, go, to Natural Oasis.
Natural Oasis’ Vegan Ethiopian Buffet is open Monday through Saturday from 1pm-4pm and 5pm-8pm.
Are there hidden health food or Ethnic restaurants in your neighborhood that you’d like to shout out? Let us know about them in the comments section!
288 Monroe Ave (near Alexander Street)
Rochester, NY 14607