Cheap Eats 2009: Shagga Coffee and Restaurant

Great food, low price, lots of fun.

Why go: This converted doughnut shop dishes up some of the best Ethiopian cooking outside of Little Ethiopia—rich stews that steer clear of the heaviness or greasiness the cuisine is prone to. Husband-and-wife owners Adamu and Kelem Lemu also brew one of the darkest, smoothest cups of coffee in the area.

What to get: Sambusas, crispy turnovers filled with chicken, beef, or lentils; doro wat, braised chicken and hard-boiled egg in a peppery sauce; kitfo, Ethiopian beef tartare (we like the raw beef very lightly cooked and sided with house-made farmer’s cheese and collards); firfir, a casserole of torn injera, cubed beef, onion, tomatoes, and chilies.

Best for: Takeout; group dining.

Insider tip: At lunch, you can have a main course and two veggie sides for $6.95. Though the menu lists the name of the place as Shegga—“good” or “beautiful” in Amharic—the sign says Shagga. A new sign is coming soon to resolve the confusion, the owners promise.

Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

>> See all 2009 Cheap Eats restaurants here

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 Petworth.