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May 31, 2009 02:36 PM

Best Ethiopian restaurants in DC?

Hi, I'm in DC for the summer (kind of all over the place, but near U Street for now), and I love Ethiopian food. What are the best places to go to?

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  1. Funny, I'm in DC and literally five minutes ago I just got out of a cab with an Ethiopian cab driver and asked him for this very question for DC (for great food quality, not atmosphere) and he said Meskerem...and I think he mentioned it's actually on U Street. I might be heading there myself tonight, unless I can find a great place for Soft Shell crabs.

    1 Reply
    1. re: razfamily

      Meskerem is on 18th Street, not U. Meskerem has a great atmosphere but my top pick is Etete, which is around 9th and U. It's consistently regarded as one of the best Ethiopian restaurants in the city (if not the best).

      Dukem is also supposed to be very good but I've never been.

    2. I really like Etete. I haven't tried all the Ethiopian restaurants around U St. But I have enjoyed my meals at Etete and find the food very affordable.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Elyssa

        I think Meskerem's the fanciest - I could be wrong, though. These days I like Etete best too. I haven't been to every restaurant either, but that said I've never seen the fish that they serve at Etete with the veg + fish platter anywhere else. And the meat is just wonderful - there's that charbroiled beef thing that's amazing.

        1. re: rarotonga

          Meskerem has been around forever, I first ate there in the early 80's and it was well established then. Fancier than some, and has a national reputation as it has been featured in several "foodie" magazines, including Bon Apetite. Etete is very good, as is Queen Makeda and Dukem. But the truth is, it is all a matter of taste, and there are lots to chose from. My current favorite is Addis Ababa in Silver Spring, but that is only because it is easier for me to get to than going downtown, but the food is good.

          1. re: dinwiddie

            'The truth is, it is all a matter of taste." Well, I suppose that is the case for everything on Chowhound.

            However, there is some reason to believe local Chowhound opinion over visitors from out of town/Foodie Magazine doing a feature. Amount of data, collected over a period of time, more up to date, with greater chance for comparison are some quick reasons why the Chowhound opinion is probably a more accurate opinion.

      2. Etete has the best, deepest menu. I love the vegetarian platter, add the fish for $1, and th e derk tibs. Many good offerings here. The best competition for Etete is Queen Makeda right across the street. I like the red lentils, the greens, the tibs wat and the gored gored, lightly cooked.

        1. The chowhound answer is always
          1) Etete
          2) Dukem
          3) Queen Makeda

          Has anyone been to any of the other U-Street Ethiopian places?

          In terms of the DMV, Abay (where Bourdain went) and Meaza have gotten some recent press. But I think there are about 45 in the DMV, or at least 45 in the Ethiopian Yellow Pages.

          5 Replies
          1. re: WestIndianArchie

            I was disappointed in Dukem.

            I've been to many Ethiopian places throughout DC and NoVa. None in Maryland.

            Etete is normally singled out because it really is delicious. Plus the menu is deep, so if someone is looking for a particular dish, they are more likely to find it there. I have had some fantastic experiences at Queen Makeda, so I mention that often as well. After that, there are some good places (like Meaza in its new form), but nothing that really touches the top two.

            Because Chowhounds are always looking for the best experience, there is no real need to mention the rest unless someone asks in the OP for a particular geographic region.

            Several of us recently tried to go to Zenebech Injera at 6th and T, but it was closed for renovation (forever?).

            1. re: Steve

              Were the poster to ask for DC's best Sushi, Thai, or French, would there be a 3 restaurant consensus?

                1. re: Steve

                  There is healthy debate for all 3.

                  A sushi thread is guaranteed to get at least 20 replies, and who has the best sushi in town isn't limited to Sushi Taro, Sushi Ko and Kaz. And DC is not known as a sushi capital.

                  But DC is well known for it's Ethiopian cuisine. Even if those 3 are the best, it says a lot when they are the only ones that ever seem to be considered.

                  1. re: WestIndianArchie

                    I don't think they're the only ones EVER considered, but they show up most often on foodie (and cabbie) best lists.