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Ethiopian Food in DC

  • j

Jim L. asked me to post something about the level of
quality of the Ethiopian restaurants in
the Adams-Morgan section of Washington DC. I am
chagrined to say that in my first "assignment" I must
report that I never eat Ethiopian food; I hope that
someone else can give more specifics.

I can report that most of the restaurants are still
open and that people still go to them..

Jim Zurer -- Washington DC

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  1. hmmm...I'd heard that the Adams Morgan Ethiopian
    places--once among the best in America--have
    gone downhill.

    Any other reports?

    By the way, I know a GREAT Ethiopian outside
    Denver in the high desert, sharing a dusty hut
    with a liquor store. Big sign says "Home
    Cooking", but the fine print above the sign
    reads "Ethiopian".

    It's actually run by an Ethiopian lady from
    Jericho, Long Island...

    3 Replies
    1. re: jim leff

      This place near Denver sounds great! Got an
      address/phone number?

      I used to live in Philadelphia and there were a couple
      of very good Ethiopian places there, especially Dahlak
      (on Baltimore Ave. near 48th St.). I'm pretty sure
      that's still there. There were also good ones at 45th
      & Locust and also near the University City Thriftway,
      but I'm not sure if those are still there.

      I ate at DC's Meskerem last summer and was somewhat
      disappointed. The food seemed kind of bland & flat.
      Red Sea used to be good, but I've heard that has gone
      downhill. If you walk down the hill on 18th St. in
      Adams Morgan (past the Merkato market, etc.) there are
      a few other places, but I haven't tried those. Also
      there were a couple interesting-looking places down on
      Florida Ave. or one of the streets down that way
      (sorry, can't be more specific).

      To be honest, I thought NYC's Meskerem (45th St. near
      10th Ave or so) was superior to its namesake in DC.

      1. re: Pete

        Used to live in DC about 12 years ago. "Mama Desta's" on Georgia Ave., I believe NE, was my favorite but it didn't last there too long. Zed's seems to be a G-town attraction, but The Red Sea was always a good choice. I now live about 50 min. outside of Philly. There are a few Ethiopian rest. there but my wife is petrified of the neighborhoods. She bargained that if I could find a recipe for Zilzil tibs (one of her favorites) that she would make an attempt at preparing it at home. Any suggestions where one might begin to search??? I believe I've noticed an African cookbook or two at the local Border's but never really opened them up. Thanks!

        1. re: Mark

          Hey, it might be easier to work on your wife's phobias than to have her learn to cook this stuff! Seems kind of confusing to try to make a dish from a cuisine you've never tried. Nonetheless, hopefully someone will have a book to recommend. If not, call Nach Waxman at Kitchen Arts Books...he's a serious authority on cookbooks (and you can order 'em from him via mail order... 212-876-5550).

          Will she at least let you go out and eat on your own? Breaks my heart to see you talk about Ethiopian with obvious knowledge and enthusiasm when you're not able to indulge!

    2. Meskerem is easily the best Ethiopian restaurant in DC, followed closely by Fasida across the street (18th St. in Adams-Morgan). Meskerem is also the prettiest, but there are several good alternatives in the neighborhood. you probably want to skip Red Sea, however, once pretty good but now touristed into all-tastes-the-same mode.

      6 Replies
      1. re: eve zibart

        Hi, Eve, thanks for posting

        "Meskerem is easily the best Ethiopian restaurant in
        DC"

        yes, I'd long heard that...but I also hear that it's
        gone downhill over the last year or so. I know that
        you don't have much chance to go back to old places,
        constantly scouting new stuff for your various DC
        columns, but have you heard any reliable info about
        the place's recent performance?

        JIM

        1. re: Jim Leff

          Well, I've been there (and to Fasika's) within the pat six months, I think . . . still great vegetables and high-quality raw beef, plus well-blended spices. Good injera, although there is truer tef at Zed's in Georgetown. The very best was a place above Dupont Circle, but long gone....

          1. re: eve zibart

            eve, jim dorsch works with an Ethiopian woman who
            swears by Addis, in Crystal City (Arlington)

            you know it?

            1. re: Jim Leff

              I am Ethiopian, and I have been all of the ethiopian
              restuarants (except Zed's) in DC, MD, and Va. But, the
              best Ethiopian restuarant in this area is Skyline Cafe
              Ethiopian restuarant in Crystal city in Arlington
              Enjoy it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              1. re: benyam

                Well people
                I have been every where in DC,MD,VA, I like meskerm
                resturant it have good hospiatlity and nice looking
                women with nice peorsenality. If you get a chance try
                to came to philadelphia if you are a reggae music lover
                you will have the best Ethiopian food and -----.

                "peace and love my ehthiopian brothers"

                1. re: samual kassa

                  i really like to know how to make igera for my hulbat
                  maraq and dora wat they u can use panckace or something
                  like that
                  thanks
                  i am in little rock, AR
                  Ethiopia tekdem

      2. Easily, the best Ethiopian restaurant is Entotto in Georgetown (Reservoir Rd/Foxall Rd area). There is outdooor seating, and the food will have you coming back again, probably later that week!