The Best Ethiopian Restaurants in Los Angeles

Ethiopian cuisine
Ethiopian cuisine | © avry / Flickr
Juliet Bennett Rylah

Ethiopian food is excellent cuisine to enjoy with friends while gathered around a table, scooping up flavorful vegetable and meat stews with soft, spongey injera. It’s just as nice to begin the day or follow a meal with a cup of hot coffee, perhaps prepared via a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Here are six fantastic restaurants for Ethiopian fare in Los Angeles, most of which are in Little Ethiopia.

1. Messob Ethiopian Restaurant

Restaurant, Ethiopian, Vegetarian

Messob in Little Ethiopia offers both vegetarian and meat-centric Ethiopian cuisine, including lamb, chicken, and beef stews as well as 100% vegan collard greens, yater alictham, and more. Messob also encourages its patrons to participate in the Ethiopian tradition of Gursha, feeding friends, family, or romantic partner by hand. Guests can also enjoy traditional Ethiopian coffee at this casual restaurant.

2. Awash Restaurant

Restaurant, Ethiopian

Awash is known for traditional Ethiopian dishes. Customers come for the tibs (savory meat dishes) but can’t go wrong with the vegetarian combo, which is large enough for sharing. Service can be slow, so book time to enjoy a honey wine while waiting to scoop up Awash’s well-spiced dishes.

3. Lalibela

Cafe, Restaurant, Ethiopian, Vegan, Vegetarian

Family-owned Lalibela serves vegetarian, vegan, and meaty Ethiopian fare as well as juice, smoothies, and coffee. Breakfast items include simple yet flavorful dishes like enqulal fir-fir (eggs with Ethiopian spiced butter and jalapeños), or bula (a porridge made from ensete plant). Come dinnertime, guests can order stews or a kitfo sandwich, or perhaps the vegetarian combo with a fried whole fish.

4. Meals by Genet

Restaurant, Ethiopian, Vegetarian

Ethiopian bistro Meals by Genet, named for Chef Genet Agonafer, is a light and airy space that offers a small menu packing significant flavor. According to celebrated Los Angeles food critic Jonathan Gold, guests must try doro wat, a savory chicken stew. There’s also kitfo (steak tartare), fried trout, and, of course, plenty of vegetable sides.

5. Palm Grove Ethiopian Restaurant

Restaurant, Ethiopian

Palm Grove Ethiopian is one of the few contenders for great Ethiopian food outside of Little Ethiopia. Meals here start with injera and a dipping sauce, followed by your order. Portions are large and perfect for sharing, and should guests decide to follow their meal with a cup of coffee, the beans are roasted fresh on site.

6. Buna Ethiopian Market

Cafe, Market, Restaurant, Ethiopian, Vegetarian

Buna Ethiopian Market sells a variety of spices and other sundries, and the café found in the back offers authentic Ethiopian coffee, food, and desserts. Regulars often stand by the vegetarian platter or a whole fried fish for dinner, while simpler breakfast dishes are available in the mornings.

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