Ethiopian Food in Washington, DC

by Valerie on June 9, 2009 · 8 comments

Update June 2010: I wrote this post before I started on a gluten-free near-vegan diet.  Since then I have discovered that injera at most Ethiopian restaurants in the U.S. is made with wheat and teff, rather than just the traditional teff, so if you eat gluten-free, please be aware of this. 
I discovered Ethiopian food when I first lived in Washington, DC in the late 1990s. I love how it is a communal dining experience. Dinner generally consists of a large platter with delectable dishes distributed on a flatbread called injera:

Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant, Washington, DC

Above is a very typical assortment of what husband and I usually order when we get Ethiopian food – an array of vegetable dishes and some lamb. The flavors are both unique and reminiscent of Indian food, because spices like cumin and turmeric are used in both Ethiopian and Indian cooking. Clockwise from top: yellow split peas, lentils in a spicy red berber sauce, potatoes and carrots, collard greens, a dish made of pureed peppers and peas, cabbage and carrots, more pureed peppers and peas. In the center is a delicious dry-roasted/fried lamb called tibs. Your main ustensil is more injera:

Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant, Washington, DC

Ethiopian restaurants in Washington, DC are Etete just off U Street and Meskerem in Adams Morgan. For a more upscale experience, there’s also Zed’s in Georgetown.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
General Disclosures & Disclaimers

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melita June 9, 2009 at 5:35 pm

looks fantastic! i think there is a ethiopian restaurant in pittsburgh, pa. the next time i go up there i'll have to try it out!


2 Lauren June 9, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Dukem on U St is really good too! I love their veggie platter.


3 The Curator June 9, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Oh, I love Ethiopian food. Have you been to Dukem on U Street? They opened one in B'more a few years ago. I'd be curious to see how they compare…the first (and last) time we went to the one here we ended up leaving after waiting to be served for an hour and a half! I'm hoping the service is better at the one in DC. 😛


4 City Girl June 9, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Melita – it's so tasty. A must-try

Lauren & Curator – have not personally had the best experiences at Dukem in recent years, so have steered away (esp because Lalibela is like right by where I live) but good to hear it's been good.


5 AnalieseMarie June 9, 2009 at 7:34 pm

I LOVE Etete. My boyfriend and I are regulars. Several times, the owner has come out and tried to offer us more food even after we had already devoured our platter! She literally tried to give us "free refills" of the dishes we had ordered. I have found the staff there to be exremely hospitable and generous. And, of course, the food is delish! Good to know about Lalibela…i will have to check it out.


6 Lola June 9, 2009 at 8:39 pm

The Ethiopian restaurant in Rome (we have only one truly authentic Ethiopian) is actually one of the city's overall best. Love the spicy element.

Ciao and thanks for this fun post, reminded me to book a table at Sahara…

Lola xx


7 Susan @ SGCC June 9, 2009 at 9:54 pm

I love Ethiopian food! We used to have a really good restaurant here, but it fell victim to the economy. Now, the closest place is about a half hour away and they only serve Ethiopian on Tuesday nights! You're so lucky to have a place close by!


8 Pink Heels June 10, 2009 at 2:34 pm

You are evil! : ) I LOVE ETHIOPIAN and despite the selection of restaurants in my neck of the woods to indulge in such fabulous food, NONE OF THEM compare to my favorite joints in D.C. Looking at your picture made me salivate. It just isn't fair! I need to finish this PhD ASAP so that I can move back to D.C.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: