1942 Ninth St., NW
Washington, DC 20001


Neighborhood: U Street/Shaw

Cuisines: Vegetarian/Vegan, Ethiopian

Opening Hours:
Open daily 11 PM to 1 AM.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Nearby Metro Stops: U Street/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.

Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible, Valet Parking Available

100 Best Restaurants 2011: Etete

Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.

Ethiopian cooking is home cooking—to look for finery is to miss the point. But this two-story cafe is more exacting than any in the area, making it an excellent entry point for those new to wats and tibs as well as a rewarding stop for diners eager to experience the depth of the cuisine at its best.

Tiwaltenigus Shengelegne runs the kitchen, as she did for many years at the late, great Fasika’s in DC’s Adams Morgan, spooning her signature doro wat and crusty-edged lamb tibs onto rounds of injera, the spongy, sour bread that serves as both plate and utensil. Those stews are as rich and concentrated as a wine reduction, rendering the occasionally chewy meats in them almost beside the point.

Owner Yared Tesfaye, Shengelegne’s son, has created a bistro-like setting (cocktails, mood lighting, polished wood floors) to play against the rusticity of his mother’s cooking. Modernity and tradition have seldom fit so well.

Also good: Sambusas, crispy lentil pastries; yebeg wat, a fiery lamb stew; vegetarian platter, including kik alicha (yellow split peas), mesir wat (red-lentil stew), gomen (collard greens), and azifa (green-lentil stew with Ethiopian mustard and jalapeños).

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Inexpensive.

>> See all of 2011's Best Restaurants