Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Jan 21, 2009 12:02 PM

Etete or Dukem??

I'm going out to dinner with my vegetarian cousin and his friend tomorrow and thought it would be fun to take him to an Ethiopian restaurant (especially since he is from MN and might not have easy access to this type of food).

Problem is I really know very little about Ethiopian food. I actually had it yesterday for lunch (at Zed's) because it was the only place we could get into after the inauguration. Before that I had only tried it once or twice a number of years ago.

Which place is better, especially for vegetarians: Etete or Dukem?

We are going to be going tomorrow night around 6:30pm. I'm pretty sure both of these places are walking distance to the U St metro, so that's not an issue.

Thanks for your help!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've only been to Etete so I can't really compare the two, but Etete was delicious and the servers were really helpful as I was pretty inexperienced with Ethiopian food!

    1. i've only been to Dukem once and found it unexceptional, as where Etete is a great choice, especially for the first timer. Order the fastening food platter (it's vegetarian). Add the fish for a couple of bucks if you want. Another good order, if meat is a possibility for you, is the derek tibs.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Steve

        Sounds like Etete is the place to go. Do you think 3 people around 6:30pm will have a problem getting a table on Thursday?

        1. re: Steve

          I've only been to Dukem and it's been good when I've been. But if Etete is that much better, should that be the gateway? nowhere to go but down is a sad place to be...

          but pretty much anything is far better than Zed's (sadly).

          any Ethiopian place is going to be easy for a vegetarian. my intro was a strict Coptic family neighborhood place that wouldn't even serve half the menu on certain days. learned to love that spicy potato/lentil mash on Fridays.

          1. re: hill food

            I went with meat eaters and everything was glopped onto the same plate and since they couldn't tell me which was meat and which wasn't, I basically didn't eat anything.

            (This was at Dukem). I never found in all my attempts (I keep trying, but alas, think I might have to give up) that Ethopian was a good veggie choice. It all tasted blah and I couldn't even tell what I was eating.

            But, I guess the experience of eating it is fun so that's what you get.

            1. re: Jeserf

              generally it does all touch when served (and I gotta admit it can be hard to differentiate one bit from another), so one would want to be specific on the no-meat issue (although to pass up the kitfo is a loss in my book).


              1. re: Jeserf

                My favorite place, though, is still Queen Makeda, where they will serve you family style in bowls, if you want. That way you can distribute the food as you see fit.

                There was a vegan Chowhound, Professor12, who posted a rather authoritative series about the all the Ethiopian choices in town. He favored a place called Zenerbech Injera, but he liked Queen Makeda, Etete, and Dukem as well.

                Here is the link to his most recent post:


                1. re: Steve

                  I agree. Queen Makeda trumps Etete (crowded and cramped) or Dukem (service is hit or miss).

          2. Etete beats Dukem all categories. The service is better, the staff is friendlier, the food is tastier. I used to only go to Dukem. Now, I don't bother to eat Ethiopian unless it's at Etete.

            1. Looks like we will be going to Etete. I'll make sure to report back.

              1. I''ve been to most of the Ethiopian restaurants around 9th St.(Dukem, Etete, Queen Makeda, Lalibela) as my wife is Ethiopian, and hands down, Etete is the all-around best. We frequent Dukem as a late-night haunt, when there are no other options, but the food and service can be inconsistent. Etete has the best service, and cooking, Speaking for vegetarians, they have a very full and cheap vegetarian platter, and don't forget the lentil-filled sambusas as an appetizer which come out piping hot. Also, they have a basic wine list(California, and South American), but I've brought in my own bottles for a $20 corkage fee, and 4 or 5 different Ethiopian beers. Only drawbacks is that its the most popular Ethio restaurant and the tables are small on the bottom level, and the top level doesn't have much ambiance. Queen Makeda, directly across the street is also a good option, but they seem to run out of items frequently. I know you had said vegetarian, but the Special Etete Kitfo is the best I've ever had, perfectly seasoned, with the right amount of butter and berbere and with 3 different cheeses.