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Etete, Dukem, or somewhere else?

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Thanks to your responses to my post last year, we headed to Etete and had an excellent meal. We're in DC again for the holiday weekend and want to have Ethiopian again. Is Etete still the best? Should we try Dukem since we've already been to Etete or is there a new best in town?

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  1. Right across the street from Etete is Queen Makeda. It is newly renovated. I like Etete very much, so all I can say is that I think Queen Makeda is every bit as good but a different experience. It is truly family run, with the food usually served in bowls, rather than already apportioned on a platter (though they will serve it like that if you wish). To me, the food is more home-style. Enjoy.

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    Queen Makeda
    1917 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

    3 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      Queen Makeda is the worst dining experience I ever had. I haven't been able to eat Ethiopian for a year since then. It was greasy and slimy and gross. Plus, the service was abominable. Do not go to Queen Makeda

      1. re: ubjillin

        Sorry you didn't like it, but that has not been my experience in at least ten visits, plus I've sent many a Chowhound there who would not agree with your assessment. Two other Chowhounds onthis thread also seemed to have enjoyed their meals. Sounds like your experience was a rarity.

        1. re: Steve

          I'm with Steve - I adore Queen Makeda. The flavors are incredibly vibrant, and though the menu is smaller than other places, I haven't had a single miss there yet. Sure, the service is leisurely, but that's true of all of the Ethiopian places in that neighborhood. It's also incredibly friendly, and they love when non-Ethiopians want to explore the menu. And they always bring around more vegetables, like you can even finish what they put out in the first place.

          It's the only Ethiopian place I go to in DC anymore, and I send all of my Chowhound friends there. I always ask the Ethiopian cabbies where they go for homestyle cooking, and this place gets named an awful lot.

    2. I haven't tried Queen Makeda, but we love Etete. Dukem is good, but doesn't touch it. The only thing better about Dukem is the seating - at Etete, you basically sit on top of your neighbors, while Dukem is spacious.

      1. Etete has probably the best quality food, and perhaps the best setting, of any of the 9th street restaurants. Dukem does have a wider selection of options (particularly vegetarian dishes) than any competing restaurant and was for a long time considered the best in the area. I recently dined at Queen Makeda and I found the setting and staff charming and the food above average. It was also about five dollars cheaper than what you would spend across the street at Etete for a greater quantity of food. I will second Steve and recommend Queen Makeda but if you're ever in the area during the Christian lenten season, give Dukem a try. They have a special 12 and 14 dish vegetarian combo they offer during the lenten fasting season that has some pretty unique things to try.

        Another option is Zenerbech Injera, a take out market with a couple tables on T and 7th street. You can forget about decor here, but the food is great, the portions large and the prices competitive. Not the place for a relaxing chat with your spouse but definitely something to try.

        Here are my recents reviews of Zenerbech and Queen Makeda:
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/425911
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/425276

        2 Replies
        1. re: Professor12

          We went back to Etete and were the only ones there at 11:30. We ordered the vegi combo w/fish and the Doro Wat. The chef came out to see how it was, very nice lady. It was an excellent meal and we're glad we went back to Etete again. Thank you!

          1. re: Rick

            I had a great meal at Etete last night. The lamb was delicious. The injera was moist and had that sourdough acidity that works well against the fat of the beef and lamb. I wish I could help with the names of the food we ordered but we just told the waitress, who was very helpful, to bring us lamb and beef of a spicy nature. The short ribs were flavorful but a bit chewy but that could be because I prefer fall off the bone short ribs. The lamb was was perfect. The spicy beef dish had a bit of gristle that was a bit difficult considering the lack of utensils. The honey wine was sweet with a strong taste of fermentation. I would definately recommend this place.

        2. I'm a fan of Etete, but I really enjoyed my first experience at Queen Makeda. Sort of like eating at a doting aunt's. I can compare only the vegetable dishes, but QM's seemed more "prepared to order." I love those lentil and split pea creations. One of them (I forget which) was quite a bit hotter than the rest, so you might inquire about that if you don't like chiles.