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Good Ethiopian place?

I've had ethiopian food once, and didnt find it appetizing at all. We went to Adis Ababa in downtown Silver Spring. But I've heard nothing but good things about ethiopian food which is making me think that it might have just been the restaurant. Does anyone know of any quality ethiopian restaurants in the metro area, with moderately inexpensive fare? And what do you reccommend we try?

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  1. Two suggestions. First, do a search onthe Chowhounds board. You will find many discussions on this topic. Second, take a look at the restaurants and their menus at http://washingtondc.menupages.com/res.... The local favorites are Etete and Dukem.

    1. You should check out other posts to this board about Ethiopian restaurants. My reccomendation is still Etete

      1. I've found Addis Ababa to be consistently good. If you really didn't groove on the food there, it's always possible they had an off night, but maybe you just don't like Ethiopian.

        Can you tell us more about what you didn't like?

        2 Replies
        1. re: DanielK

          i found the spices really strong and the bread was something i had to get used to (i understand that it is fermented after i looked it up, but while we were there, we thought that they served us bad bread). we got a big platter with a variety of meats and vegetables on it since we didnt know what to get. the meats just tasted like they had been cooked and sitting out way too long and the spices permeated everything so that you couldnt taste much else. i really want to try it again, can you recommend a specific dish for beginners? i just find it so hard to believe i dont like it because i'm the one around that usually likes EVERYTHING

          1. re: blkorean777

            Try getting one of the vegetarian mix offerings (most Ethiopian places have them). They're usually not as spicy, and most of the items will be somewhat familiar (lentils, split peas, collards, potato salad, carrots, etc.). The vegetarian items usually aren't overspiced (but look out for occasional green chilis, if you don't like "hot"). They strike me as being "healthy," but there's probably a ton of butter in some of those portions. You still have to eat with your fingers, though, and use the bread as a combination utensile and sauce soaker.

            I happen to like Axum, on 9th, but Etete, Madjet, Dukem and others in the 9th and U area are good, too. (I haven't tried Lalibella on Columbia Pike in Arlington, but the one on 14th St. in DC is okay.)

        2. It's quite possible you don't like it -- when I first moved here I had to try it, and while I liked it well enough, it's not something I look for. More an experience than anything else as far as I'm concerned.

          1. My first (and only time) for ethiopian was at Etete. Even for my palette (chinese/vietnamese/american), I found the flavors very strange and different. Flavors were well balanced but unusual. I haven't been back since only because the food service is so slow.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hungryT

              Love Etete, and if you've been searching this board you'll find lots of others do too. my experience there did not include slow service. warm, casual, inviting place with great food - what's not to like?

            2. I've eaten at Addis Ababa in Silver Spring twice (as well as the close by Cafe Lagano). Both times I had the vegetable platter (I'm a vegan) and found it to be average to above average and leaning towards the spicy. The gomen (collard greens) were particularly good with a strong jalapeno bite and notes of garlic and ginger. I was a little dissapointed with the miser wat (red lentils) which were spicy but one dimensional. This owes to an unbalanced berbere mixture (the spice mixture which is also a base for many of the meat dishes). Berbere like curry is a mixture of anywhere from eight to upwards of twenty spices and if prepared well is a delightful and spicy marriage of each of its constintuents.

              Ethiopian done well has bold flavors which you might not be accustomed to yet or will never like. The bread, injera, is like like you noted supposed to be sour. If made according to traditional recipes, the teff flour base is laid out for two to three days to ferment. Teff is the only grain that has its own symbiotic wild yeast which gives it its sour character after fermentation.

              I suggest you try some other spots in DC before you give up on what is a wonderful cuisine (and my personal favorite). As others have noted Etete is known to be one of the best and Washington Post's food critic Tom Siesta's top pick. I found it to be good and the setting was unique, even hip, compared to other local places. Dukem has long been held to be the best though that reputation has been in question recently. Madjet is a newcomer and quickly finding a following. If you're close to Georgetown, Zed's is surprisingly good if overpriced. At any of the above I would suggest ordering the vegetarian platter, especially Etete and Dukem which are known for theirs.

              1. Don't know if it's an "uphill alert," but the last two orders of kitfo I've had from Dukem have been among my best Ethiopian meals ever. The injera was particularly thin and delicate.

                1. I always like to go to Meskerem, in Adams Morgan. They have consistently good food, and the service is pleasant enough. Here's their site: www.meskeremonline.com