Cheap Eats 2009: Etete

Great food, low prices, lots of fun

Why go: Ethiopian is one of the city’s defining cuisines, and this stylishly appointed, bi-level cafe is the best place to appreciate it. The complex, spice-laden stews shimmer with the taste of loving home cooking.

What to get: Sambusas—crispy turnovers of lentil or beef; hearty stews called wats, including chicken-and-egg doro wat and peppery yebeg wat, a lamb stew; vegetarian sampler of azifa (green lentils in a spicy mustard sauce), yekik alicha (yellow-lentil-and-onion stew), and yemisir wat (red lentils in a rich, fiery sauce).

Best for: Big groups; late-night eats; vegetarian dining; an introductory course in the charms of Little Ethiopia.

Insider tip: If you call in advance, Tiwaltengus Shenegelgn—known as Etete—will prepare her shrimp wat, a dish made famous at the late Fasika’s and a favorite of Stevie Wonder’s.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

>> See all 2009 Cheap Eats restaurants here  

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.