The popularity of Ethiopian food has exploded, particularly in recent years as its unique flavors and hearty dishes have quickly become favorites of diners across the globe. Enterprising restaurateurs have set up shop all over to bring the best of the best to diners and to transport the flavors of Ethiopia wherever they may be. Of course, some of the best restaurants remain in Ethiopia, but there are some definite contenders outside its borders as well.
Sources: TripAdvisor.com, NewYork.CBSLocal.com, Travel.CNN.com, UrbanSpoon.com,
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Starting in the homeland itself, Yod Abyssinia does its country’s cuisine magnificently. Particular favorites include the doro wot (chicken leg in spicy sauce, served with a hard-boiled egg, often called the national dish of Ethiopia); beef and goat tibs (refried meat); some of the best injera in town (unleavened sourdough bread used as a plate and utensil); and fantastic tej (honey wine). Though it’s a bit touristy, most say that it should not be missed.
Cape Town, South Africa
You can be sure to find excellent Ethiopian cuisine even heading further south on the continent, and Cape Town has one of the best. Renowned for its traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony in which many participate after meals, it also has incredible zilzil tibs (sliced strips of meat); yebeg alicha, and prawns alicha, not to mention excellent vegetarian options.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Delicious food in a cozy and beautiful environment — what more could you ask for? Rohobot in Dar es Salaam brings it all, and notable dishes include fish tibs, shiro wot, and injera as far as the eye can see. There’s also the added bonus of it being a family-run place, increasing the community feel for your meal.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
If you want to boil Ethiopian cuisine down to its pure, delicious roots, you’ll need to head into Dashen to taste the delectable food delivered without any need for flair. Fantastic doro wot, a wide variety of vegetarian options (and a great sampler platter so you can try them all), and some of the best tej in town. Though it looks like a hole in the wall, Dashen definitely has five-star cooking and should not be missed.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Among the unique flavors available in the UAE, this Ethiopian restaurant in Dubai is not to be missed. And if you’re only going to get one thing on the menu (although really, how could you order just one?), make sure it’s the doro wat, the chicken stew that makes the most of its tomato and egg base with incredibly zesty flavors and spices.
New York City, U.S.
It’s no surprise that New York City, one of the most diverse cities in the world, has a large Ethiopian population and an even larger population of Ethiopian-cuisine enthusiasts. This would account for the massive number of options, but Massawa is easily one of the best. Particular favorites include the spicy lamb tsebhi and the lamb alitcha, and the bottomless tej throughout the meal most definitely doesn’t hurt either.
Nairobi has an enormous number of dining options, but for Ethiopian cuisine, you need to check out Habesha. With fantastic vegetarian options, the shiro is a favorite, as well as the carrot and potato dish, hearty and spicy meat options such as the doro wot and zilzil tibs. Diners also have the option of sitting in the cozy outdoor garden on nice days, just to add some icing to the cake.
You wouldn’t necessarily pinpoint Australia as a hotbed of Ethiopian cuisine, but Shebelle Bar in Melbourne does it the right way. With a massive menu, there is something to suit everyone — from red lentil dishes to fish tibs and spicy eggplant to gomen, everything is cooked perfectly. The cozy atmosphere, reasonable prices, and excellent waitstaff top it off, making this definitely worth a visit the next time you’re down under.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
If you’re a tibs person, you’ll have to hit Bata Traditional Restaurant and Bar, which claims to have (and backs it up) the best tibs in town. Juicy and grilled just right, Bata also combines stellar atmosphere with music and dancing all night. The fasting menu is a solid option as well, as you’ll receive more food than you know what to do with, all without breaking the bank even a little bit.
This small Ethiopian place in London does what it sets out to do better than most, and many are taken with the unique version of injera served here (a bit less sour and yeasty, it’s hard not to eat the entire pancake plate on your own). The lamb dishes are especially popular, as are the crumbly cheese and doro wat, and many diners admit to traveling great distances just for a meal.