8 Amazing Ethiopian Restaurants in NYC That You Will Love

Ever found yourself cleaning your plate or bowl with bread during a meal? If so, Ethiopian food is something to investigate. This African cuisine also appeals to anyone with a taste for unique, affordable eats packed with flavor. Ethiopian meat and veggie dishes are generally served atop injera (fluffy, slightly sour flatbread), and you’re encouraged to eat every last morsel by hand. Try something new at one of these eight Ethiopian restaurants from Brooklyn to Times Square to Harlem.

Bunna Cafe

At Bunna in Bushwick, Brooklyn, guests are welcomed into Ethiopian traditions and culture not only through the food, but also through the frequent demonstrations of Ethiopian coffee ceremonies at the cafe. Bunna, in fact, means coffee in Amharic, the primary language of Ethiopia. Come day or night for the coffee, a glass of T’ej (honey wine), or a completely vegan offering of yummy dishes at lunch or dinner. They even offer gluten-free Injera if you’re off wheat! 1084 Flushing Ave., 347-295-2227,

Queen of Sheba

Make your own Broadway magic with a trip to Queen of Sheba! This Times Square-adjacent eatery invites you to sample chef Philipos Mengistu’s home cooking from his Ethiopian upbringing. Try the vegetarian or meat sampler platters for the best of Queen of Sheba’s dishes (there’s gluten-free injera available as well), and an Ethiopian sangria to top it off. What's more, they also offer lunch specials for local workers and visitors alike. 650 10th Ave., 212-397-0610,

Ghenet Brooklyn

asian man holding injera

Hot dog champion Takeru Kobayashi at Ghenet Brooklyn. (via GhenetBrooklyn's Instagram )

Park Slope’s Ghenet calls itself the place “Where Angels Eat.” That's plausible here, as the transcendent cuisine attests. This Brooklyn outpost has a funky, cozy dining room and serves especially wonderful kitfo, atkelt wett (cabbage, potato, and carrot), and gomen (collards). If you're feeling indecisive, they also provide sampler platters—including vegan options—and Ethiopian coffee. It's your moment to dine where angels have tread. 348 Douglass St.,

Awash Ethiopian Restaurant

injera at awash

Awash’s dining rooms range from the East Village to Harlem and Brooklyn, but that unmistakable aroma remains the same. On your injera, try the special kitfo (steak tartare marinated in clarified butter and spices) and doro wat (marinated chicken served with a hard-boiled egg). Veggie-lovers clamor for their collard greens in the gomen and the beet-carrot medley of the key sir alicha. East Village: 338 E 6th St., 212-982-9589; Harlem: 947 Amsterdam Ave., 212-961-1416; 242 Court St.,


Enjoy the people watching at Meskerem among the NYU students and Washington Square Park wanderers. This casual Greenwich Village spot delivers fast and filling Ethiopian classics. And combo platters atop injera rule here. The lamb dishes and avocado appetizer get particularly high marks. You can also enjoy a glass of honey wine or an Ethiopian beer before a show at the nearby Comedy Cellar. 124 MacDougal St.,


Close by Columbia University you’ll find Massawa, an exemplary Ethiopian and Eritrean eatery. Foodies will want to check out the vegetable sambusas and tebsi: beef with tomatoes and the traditional spice blend berbere. Unlike other places of its kind, you’ll also find seafood options, including the shrimp tebsi. With a full bar, you can also experience Ethiopian beer or t’ej. 1239 Amsterdam Ave., 212-663-0505,


Planning an East Village adventure? Haile should be on your to-do list. There, you'll find the traditional Ethiopian hot sauce berbere in their lentil-based yemisir wot, as well as spicy butter called kibe in the lamb lega tibs. It’s a pared-back menu of classic fare—and honey wine—all inside this cozy Alphabet City dining room, which is also great for dates. 182 Ave. B, 212-673-8949,


Benyam ethiopian dinner

At the top tier of great Harlem Ethiopian spots, you'll find Benyam bringing excellence to its flavorful traditional dishes, with a dash of atmospheric hipness. Much of the produce is sourced locally, including the lentils in the azeefa with jalapeno and mustard and the lentils in the sambusa, a savory stuffed pastry much like Indian samosa. Their beef dishes like the tibs wot and kitfo are tender, flavorful favorites as well. 2795 Frederick Douglass Blvd., 212-510-7353,

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About the Author

Merrill Lee Girardeau lives and writes in Brooklyn.

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