Click to read about the best places to eat on campus, freshman packing tips, and how to keep in touch with friends.

Feast fit for a queen

A barrage of colors and images welcomes patrons as they enter the Queen of Sheba restaurant. Walls dressed in colors of burnt orange and tables draped in lemon- and wine-colored cloths invite eyes to linger. On the walls are pictures and relics, examples of proud Ethiopian traditions and heritage.

When one notices the aroma of spices both sweet and hot swirling in the air, that’s when it becomes clear that the restaurant will delight not only your palate, but all the senses.

Queen of Sheba is a brand new Ethiopian restaurant on Henderson Boulevard in South Tampa. Owner Seble Gizaw and members of her family opened it in January.

The food served at Queen of Sheba is unimaginably delicious. For starters, the honey wine has an unexpected flavor – a harmonious mixture of subtle sweetness with a tinge of bitterness. One of the appetizers, sambussa, is a golden pastry-wrapped medley of spices with beef or lentils. The dish is small, simple and tasty.

While the appetizers are excellent, the entrées are where the real feast takes place.

Lesson No. 1: Don’t be surprised if there isn’t a scrap of silverware – that’s not their way. Everything is served on a type of spongy, sour flatbread called injera. The bread also serves as eating utensils. Dig in, and don’t be afraid to get a little messy.

For seafood lovers, the restaurant offers the shrimp wot. The shrimp is sautéed in spices, onions and wot, or ginger. Accompanying the shrimp is a side salad and split pea concoction, all served on injera. The combination of the shrimp wot and the injera is incredible and unexpectedly delicious.

If someone prefers beef to seafood, the tibs wot may please a patron’s fancy. This comes with a side of split peas and collard greens. One can add a bit of authentic hot sauce to the mix, but be careful – the hot sauce is definitely no joke.

For those who are indecisive – or just have a mammoth appetite – go for the Queen’s Eight Platter, served on injera. The Queen’s Eight is a convergence of everything the restaurant has to offer: three colorful vegetable dishes and three meat dishes in one. Typically, it’s a meal that can be shared with a friend or two, but even so, a doggy bag may be required.

To polish off a flavor-filled adventure, ask for a cup of coffee – it’s not your average cup of joe. Sweet, woody-smelling incense is presented with the coffee. It’s sensual, alluring and mesmerizing. The coffee itself comes in a traditional coffee pot and tiny cups, so it’s best not to gulp it.

Everything about Queen of Sheba is colorful, rich and full of tradition and heritage. It’s not your everyday dining experience. Come with an adventurer’s spirit and an open mind.