Cheap Eats 2010: Shagga Coffee and Restaurant

100 places that offer great food at low prices.

Why go: Twenty minutes from Little Ethiopia, this storefront is one of the area’s best outposts of Ethiopian cooking, from spice-laden wats to peppery stir-fries to vivid veggie stews. Owners Kelem and Adamu Lemu also make one of the richest, mellowest cups of coffee around.

What to get: Sambusas, crispy three-cornered pastries filled with either ground, spiced chicken or spiced lentils; doro wat, a stewed chicken leg and hard-boiled egg in a robust red-pepper stew; Shagga special kitfo, an Ethiopian beef tartare (order it lightly cooked so the meat arrives just past medium-rare but not quite raw); the beef-and-injera stew called firfir; vegetarian platter, including the creamy, yellow split-pea stew kik alicha and gingered cubed beets.

Best for: A midafternoon pick-me-up of coffee and sambusa; a convivial meal.

Insider tip: An off-menu item, scrambled eggs with tomatoes, onions, and chilies, makes a satisfying breakfast or lunch. The bread called injera is superior to most, lighter and less inclined to weigh you down.

>> See all 2010 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.