100 Very Best Restaurants 2013: Ethiopic

Vegetarian sampler for two. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

The best of the area’s distinguished contingent of Ethiopian
restaurants, this low-lit, handsomely appointed haunt seduces with
gracious service and soulful cooking. Wats, or stews, which form
the backbone of the cuisine, have a cleanness seldom seen in such hearty
cooking. The adventurous vegetarian can assemble a satisfying feast but
will miss out on superlative renditions of lamb tibsand
kitfo, a beef tartare (to bring out its full flavor, order it
lightly cooked rather than raw) brought to life with berbere,
cardamom, and korerema. When it comes to your glass, bypass the
wines—the best partners for the spicy stews are Ethiopian beers, including
St. George and Harar.

Don’t miss: Butcha
(chickpea purée); doro wat (chicken and hard-boiled egg in
berbere-spiced sauce); shiro (red split peas in a
velvety purée); azifa (mustardy lentil salad); kik
alicha
(yellow-split-pea purée); vegetarian sampler.


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

100 Very Best Restaurants 2013

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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.