Cheap Eats 2011: Etete

Large groups flock to this Ethiopian bistro, drawn by the prospect of feeding so many people so well and so cheaply, while couples on dates gravitate here for the soft-lit ambience and mixed drinks. At prime time, the mood and the mix give Yared Tesfaye’s place the air of a trendy lounge, but the cooking–under the direction of his mother, Tiwaltengus Shenegelgen, the grande dame of the local Ethiopian restaurant scene–provides the soul-warming satisfactions of great diner food, from the crusty tibs (a stir-fry of cubed lamb or beef, onions, peppers, and chilies) to the rich, warming wats, all spooned atop a big sourdough pancake called injera. Etete may come on like an up-to-the-moment spot, but it offers something ancient and enduring.

Also good: Sambusas; yebeg wat (lamb); doro wat (chicken and hard-boiled egg); kitfo (beef tartare); kik alicha (split peas); gomen (collards); azifa (green lentils).

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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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.