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Nov 22, 2009 09:50 AM

Best Ethiopian or Eritrean or related in D.C.?

We will be visiting D.C. from New York (which is a city not necessarily known for good Ethiopian food). Since I have heard a few things hear and there about Ethiopian in D.C., I thought I would run it up the flagpole. Does anyone have any particular recommendations?

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  1. It's hard to go wrong with any of the places in the 9th and U St NW area. Etete is usually first on most of the Chowhounds' list, Queen Makeda and Dukem are close behind.

    1. You'll want to find yourself at Etete (with a reservation, it's a popular place) or Queen Makeda right across the street.

      At Etete, go for the vegetarian platter and add the fish. Also the Derek Tibs are real good.

      At Queen Makeda, I like the red lentils, the greens, and the gored gored, lightly cooked.

      Etete is excellent, very professional cooking and Queen Makeda is more homey.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Steve

        Steve is right on with Queen Makeda (he's the one that convinced me to go there!)

        I'm on a mission to eat at every Ethiopian place in DC and am about halfway through. Right now, Queen Makeda and Dukem are still at the top of my list. I like Etete, but I'm not crazy about it because the vibe is a little too formal for me, especially for getting Ethiopian food. I don't think the food is leaps and bounds better than my other favorites, either.

        So, I say: if you want a cute, relaxing atmosphere, hit up Queen Makeda. If you want noisy and fun (dancers on the weekends!), hit up Dukem. And if you want to go to the popular place, and don't mind a more formal atmosphere, go to Etete. In this case, popular doesn't mean it's overhyped --- it's popular because the food is damn good. Just prepared for a crowd and a wait.

        1. re: SouthShore

          What do you find formal about Etete? I always thought it was very casual---jeans are ok. Not stylish in terms of decoration. Just good food with straight forward servers. I haven't been there in at least 5 months though so maybe they have changed something.

          1. re: Elyssa

            Maybe formal is the wrong word to use. For me, the ideal Ethiopian food environment is at Queen Makeda or Little Ethiopia, where there are really comfortable places to sit and very a cute atmosphere. Gives you the impression that you can linger for a while (and I have!) See photos of Little Ethiopia here for an example:

            Etete is just a standard table layout, so no lounge vibe. Just what you said --- good food with straight forward servers. But for me, lacking in atmosphere.

            Steve, I've been waiting to try Zenebech! Last I checked, it was closed for (I hope) renovations. That and Axum are next on my list.

            1. re: SouthShore

              i passed by Zenebech Injera recently, and they were open.

          2. re: SouthShore

            There used to be a vegetarian Chowhound with the handle of Professor12, IIRC, who methodically went to every Ethiopian place in DC. Professor12 claimed the best to be Zenebech Injera at 6th and T. Have you tried it?

            1. re: Steve

              I've never even heard of that one...interesting.

        2. I really like Etete. The food is delicious and the prices are very affordable.

          I also hear great things about Dukem. Seems to be the favorite among DC's Ethiopian cab drivers. I hear it's a more festive environment. I've never been but have been wanting to check it out.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Elyssa

            I really didn't like Dukem on my one visit. The flavors were not distinct; I hard a hard time telling the difference between the lentils and the split peas and other items as well. Everything seemed to be pureed to the same consistency.

            When I was there, they had a big screen set up for projection of Ethiopian music videos. I was pretty glad it wasn't in use.