Roll up your sleeves and dig in. This is the one place you can eat with your hands and still have manners. The District is home to a growing Ethiopian population estimated by some to be around 200,000. So you can rest assured with a community this large there are sure to be some amazing authentic restaurants nearby.
If you are looking for an Ethiopian restaurant, you have your pick of any of the fifty-plus restaurants in the metro area. But if you are looking for a traditional Ethiopian eating experience then your choices are limited to a handful.
Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant in Adams Morgan is amongst our top Ethiopian experience picks. It is one of DC’s oldest Ethiopian Restaurants, named for the first month in the Ethiopian calendar, September, which is the end of Ethiopia’s rainy season and the beginning of its New Year.
The large three story building is adorned with Ethiopian paintings and instruments on display, although the full traditional eating experience can only be had on the third floor. There, you will be seated at a basket table, messob, on a hand carved wooden stool with a leather-bean-bag type top. The food is served as a large shared platter and is presented and eaten with a sourdough crepe-like pancake called injera. There is no silverware your injera is used to cup and scoop food into a burrito like fashion. Meskerem caters to its first time patrons offering a variety of sample platters both meat and vegetable based.
Some must trys are the:
- Meskerem Tibbs: tender chopped lamb sautéed with onion, green chili, seasoned butter and herbs.
- Kitfo: freshly minced, very lean beef mixed with mitmita, a spicy powdered seasoning and butter, best served raw, like steak tartar.
- Gored Gored: morsels of choice lean beef dipped in awaze, a traditional sauce of milled pepper thickened with honey wine, butter and spices, also best served raw or very rare.
Don’t leave without trying the Tej, pronounced T’edge. The name is a generic term for Ethiopian Honey Wine. The sweet yet bitter dry tone serve as a perfect compliment to the spicy food.
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