Cheap Eats 2016: Dama


About Dama


1503 Columbia Pike
Arlington, VA 22204
Good for Groups Good for Vegetarians No Alcohol

The versatility of the place alone ought to earn it a spot in your dining-out rotation. At breakfast, it’s an easygoing antidote to greasy spoons or corporate cuisine. (Get the ful, a dish of stewed favas, garlic, and olive oil with warm, crunchy bread.) Midday, it’s a pit stop for coffee and an Italian-style pastry or cake from the adjoining bakery. Come dinner, its enormous value becomes readily apparent. Bring along a group of like-minded friends and watch the table bloom into a lavish and colorful feast of complex, powerfully spiced stews—50 bucks rarely brings so much warmth, comfort, or deliciousness. (If you’re more experienced with the cuisine, try springing for the teff injera, a nuttier-tasting alternative to the thin, lightly fermented bread that serves as both utensil and wrap.) Dama has in recent years made meatless cooking a priority, with another entire menu devoted to the Gondarian staples that make up the contemporary Ethiopian table—among them, a fascinating and tasty wat, or berbere-spiced stew, with tender, roasted garlic cloves.

Also good: Yebeg tibs (a lamb stir-fry); beef tibs; kitfo (a beef tartare); vegetarian combo.

See what other restaurants made our 2016 Cheap Eats list. This article appears in our May 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.