Cheap Eats 2010: Etete
100 great places that offer great food at low prices.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Rina Rapuano, Kate Nerenberg
Comments () | Published June 11, 2010
Cheap Eats 2011 100 Best Restaurants (2011) Cheap Eats (2010) 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Etete
Address: 1942 Ninth St., NW, Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-232-7600
Neighborhood: U Street/Shaw
Cuisines: Vegetarian/Vegan, Ethiopian cuisine consists of various vegetable or meat side dishes and entrees, usually a wat or thick stew, served atop injera, a large sourdough flatbread, which is 50 cm (20 inches) in diameter and made out of fermented teff flour. One does not eat with utensils, but instead uses injera (always with the right hand) to scoop up the entrees and side dishes
Opening Hours: Open daily 11 to 1.
Nearby Metro Stops: U St./African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo, Shaw-Howard University
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes Sambusas (lentil or beef turnovers); wats such as chicken-and-egg doro wat and yebeg wat, a lamb stew; vegetarian sampler of azifa (green lentils), yekik alicha (yellow-lentil-and-onion stew), and yemisir wat (red lentils); gomen (collard greens); kitfo.
Price Details: Appetizers $2.75 to $5; entrées $10 to $14.99.

Why go: This terra-cotta-painted dining room sits in the heart of the few blocks known as Little Ethiopia. Although it has plenty of competition, it remains the standard setter for long-simmered meats and brightly flavored vegetarian stews, all crafted by the owner’s mother. All the while, servers keep the baskets of injera—bread used in place of silverware—coming.

What to get: Sambosas, wide pockets of fried pastry filled with lentils; vegetarian platter with the red-lentil stew yemisir wat, a cool and spicy mash of peas called yekik alicha, a mustardy mix of green lentils known as azifa, and the collard greens called gomen; the area’s definitive version of the chicken dish doro wat; beef-tartare-like kitfo with cottage cheese and a sprinkle of fiery mitmita powder.

Best for: Communal dining with a group—most everything is eaten off large single platters of injera.

Insider tip: Ethiopia is known for its coffee, and the strong cups here can be had until 2 am nightly. In the afternoon, incense wafts through a relaxing coffee ceremony.

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