D.C. is home to, by far, the largest concentration of Ethiopians outside of Africa. And while the diaspora has now spread to population centers in Silver Spring, Maryland and Alexandria, Virginia, there are plenty of tasty East African restaurants—including a few cited by the Michelin Guide—where you can try spiced stews, spongy injera and strong coffee right in the heart of downtown.
Occupying a townhouse in Georgetown's M Street, this elegant spot offers a white-tablecloth take on Ethiopian cuisine and received a Bib Gourmand designation in the 2020 Michelin Guide. Grab a spot on the patio and enjoy traditional and newer recipes, paired with a bottomless supply of spongy injera.
1201 28th St. NW, Washington, DC; dasethiopian.com
Chercher Ethiopian Restaurant
Another entry on the Bib Gourmand list, this restaurant is a great place to try specialties like ye’mitin shero we’t (hot chickpea flour sauce) and tej (a regional honey wine). It also includes a market, so you can bring home East African spices and coffee.
1334 9th St. NW, Washington, DC; chercherrestaurant.com
The first Ethiopian restaurant on the H Street Corridor takes its name from a classical language and ancient script—its letters are now used to decorate the sleek dining space. A standout dish here is the lamb tibs, which are served “sizzling hot” in a small stone bowl over a flame.
401 H St. NE, Washington, DC; ethiopicrestaurant.com
Keren Restaurant and Coffee Shop
This Adams Morgan mainstay is technically Eritrean, but the flavors of the neighboring nations are very similar. Don’t miss breakfast here, such as ful, a stew of mashed garlicky fava beans topped with yogurt, which is best served with a strong cup of Ethiopian coffee.
1780 Florida Ave. NW, Washington, DC; orderkerencafeandrestaurant.com
This Bib Gourmand–designated spot in Adams Morgan reopened in 2018 after a destructive fire. It was one of the first places in D.C. to make its own injera in-house back in the ’90s, and the tangy flatbread makes a perfect base for its traditional stews and vegetables.
2420 18th St. NW, Washington, DC; zenebechdc.com