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Ethiopian recs for kids

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I have a 5yo and 2 yo and have been trying to make an effort to expose them to all sorts of different foods (nothing disappoints me more than going out w/friends who have a very limited palate).

Anyways, both will try anything and I think they would enjoy Ethiopian simply b/c it's different and you get to eat w/your hands. However, my younger one doesn't handle spicy food yet.

Any suggestions for kid friendly restaurants w/decent Ethiopian food? If so, what are some favorite dishes there (All but my youngest handle enjoy spicy food)?

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  1. Depends what you're near, of course.

    I see kids (belonging to Ethiopian families) all the time at Meaza, 5440 Columbia Pike in Arlington.

    Since dishes are shared, get a sampler and let them try numerous things. The large veggie platter is big enough for more than one person, and the tastes are vivid enough and varied enough that I can't picture not finding something to please any taste.

    You can also ask the server what children tend to enjoy.

    If they ask what it is like, I usually suggest likening it to various curries - far from exact, but 'down the same alley'.

    1. If you go to an Ethiopian restaurant, ask if they do some kind of coffee ceremony. My kids enjoyed that. Basically, they bring out a bunch of cracked beans on a sizzling platter for you to enjoy the aroma. Maybe in some places they make a bigger deal out of it. They did that for us at Lalibela in Arlington, although the food itself is mediocre.

      Queen Makeda in DC prepares some of the least spicy Ethiopian food around. It's also a favorite of mine.

      It's always a good idea to start them off young on eating at different kinds of restaurants as well as getting them used to all food types, especially whole seafood such as a whole fish or crab. You can never predict what they will like or how their tastes may change. But if you can get them to dive into a fish or crab at an early age, then maybe they won't be picky later on.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Steve

        Thanks for the tips.
        We're lucky so far since my 5yo favorite food is sushi (we limit his raw fish intake to just tuna for now) and he's at least learned the concept of a "no thank you" bite so that he will taste everything once.

        1. re: ffxjack

          ffxjack: what a cool kid, at least he tries.

          the SO's Nana would say something to the effect of "that was wonderful, but I could just not have another bite" if something disagreed.