100 Best Restaurants 2012: Ethiopic

Restaurants On the Rise


Ethiopian restaurants aren’t unusual in DC, but this is the place to experience spicy, long-cooked stews and the sizzling theatrics of the meat-and-onion stir-fries called tibs.

The airy, brick-walled room feels casual, and diners settle in for lessons in the deployment of spice–some dishes singe, others release a more diffuse heat. The wonder is that cooking this robust speaks with such clarity. Anyone tempted to drop in for a quick meal before a show should know that Ethiopian culture regards our grab-and-go world with the same incomprehension as the French. In other words, prepare to linger.

What to get: Butcha, garlicky chickpea dip; azifa, lentil salad with mustard; doro wat, chicken leg braised in red-pepper-and-onion stew; lamb tibs, marinated leg of lamb, pan-seared with onions and peppers; kitfo,a beef tartare; veggie sampler, including kik alicha, a yellow split-pea stew.

Open Tuesday through Thursday for dinner, Friday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. Inexpensive.

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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.