Judging Restaurants – Ethiopic

Ethiopic is located at the corner of 4th and H St, NE (a bit obstructed by streetcar construction at the moment). You can see their menu here. I was talking to a friend who didn’t know that H St, NE had an Ethiopian place (they’ve been open for a number of months now) so I wanted to see what folks thought. I feel kinda bad that they have to deal with the construction but hopefully in the long run it’ll help them out. So any fans?

36 Comment

  • Never been. Most of the new restaurants are further up in the 2x digits, so I haven’t explored this far down yet.

    I’d hope that the property owners were giving their tenants a break, but that could be wishful thinking.

  • not a fan. The food is ok but way expensive for ethiopian food in dc. really fancy. i like the u st ethiopian rest. feel. Would rather go to U st any day instead of this place.

  • i’ve been.
    i’m a vegetarian and nearly every ethiopian place i’ve been is about the same.
    i’ve been to maybe 10 different places in dc and only the decor and the coffee makes the difference for me.

    whats fantastic is that there is no ethiopian in NE that i’m aware of, so its great for the area.

    • I agree on the sameness of veggie offerings but find Dukem to be the best of the bunch. A friend who lived in Ethiopia some years ago also claims it’s the most authentic (though many others may cast their vote for Etete).

      Ethiopic was good but surprisingly pricey compared to its NW competitors. A bit stingy portionwise, and I’m really not into giant honkin plates of food.

  • We’ve been twice and it’s really good. The interior is artsy and cool (much nicer than it looks on the outside) but the tables are TINY. With just two of us, we were still balancing drinks on the window ledge beside us and couldn’t have both a beer and a water glass each. The wait staff was really friendly. We’re vegetarians, so I can’t speak to meat dishes, but what we had was delicious.

  • I was just there two weeks ago. The food, including meat dishes, is good. You are really paying for the decor and service. U Street restaurants are far cheaper for the same quality food or better. It also is pretty far detached from the rest of H Street nightlift, so you have to drive to the bars.

  • I thought the food was pretty fantastic. I’d agree with others that U St Ethiopian places are probably less expensive on average, but I had lunch here with 3 other people and, even with a round of beers, we got out for around $16 a person. I work in one of the new buildings in NoMa on 1st Street NE, and this is probably the best spot within short walking distance from there.

    • crazy that NoMa hasn’t scored a decent restaurant yet.

        • Huh?
          are you attempting to say there is a restaurant in NoMa called Toscana?
          is there?

          • Toscana is really good. I’ve never been for lunch, but it’s excellent for dinner and I’ve heard the lunch sandwiches are great. It’s not really in NoMa, but it’s definitely within easy walking distance of the southern part of NoMa. (It’s at 2nd & F, NE.) I’ve heard it gets quite crowded with people from the SEC and some Senate staffers during lunch.

          • cool. i hadn’t heard of it.

          • I hadn’t either until I moved to the area. I guess the previous restaurant in the same space (also an Italian restaurant) was not nearly as good.

  • I got take out a couple weeks ago and wasn’t much of a fan. $40 for a veg. sampler and beef tibs. plus, there weren’t that many items on the veg. sampler, the potato dish was undercooked, and everything was unpleasantly spicy — much more spicy than similar dishes at the U street ethiopian places. i would give it a second try, but my first experience was disappointing.

  • I’d read good reviews and had high hopes for this place. Went last week and thought the food was good but not outstanding. The vegetable dishes were better than the meat, the atmosphere was nice but not particularly cozy, and the service was fine.

    I’m glad I went, probably won’t hurry to go back again.

  • saf

    We enjoyed it. The tables were too small, and the food was very big. But the food tasted good and the service was good.

  • i went about a month ago and enjoyed it. i thought the vegetarian sampler was tasty – the food seemed better seasoned than at some of the u street ethiopian places. definitely spicier. i’m not a huge fan of spicy food, but i was able to handle most of the items on the sampler. one of the lentil dishes was too much for me to handle, and the chickpea patties were…odd. tables were tiny and it was ridiculously loud in there. enjoyed the food overall and it’s more convenient to me than the u street places, so i’ll be back.

  • I love Ethiopic! To be fair, I live in the area, so proximity probably plays into this for me. I’ve always gotten good service, I don’t think it’s that expensive, and I prefer the food to the other Ethiopian food in the District. (Prior to Ethiopic opening, Dukem was my favorite, just to give a frame of reference.) It is a bit spicier, but I prefer that. And, my Ethiopian friends say it’s the most authentic! (Of course, my three friends don’t comprise any sort of statistically significant sample, but their word is good enough for me!)

  • I’ve been twice and enjoyed the food and the service. I’ll pay the extra $2 or $3 (Per dish) not to have to drive to U street and fight for a parking spot for Ethiopian food since I live near H street. I honestly think the price difference is really only an average of 2 to 3 dollars. Worth it to save on gas and energy.

    • I wouldn’t care about the $ difference if the portions were not shrunken. The veggie platter for 2 was literally the same amount of food Dukem serves for a single portion of a smaller platter at a fraction of the cost.

      It’s less the amount of food than the feeling of questionable value. The decor and staff were nice and the food was reasonbly good.

  • Have been one and like it. The staff are extremely friendly and the food was great. I wish the food was a bit cheaper, maybe that will be my second wish when I find a magic genie lamp.

  • Please stop calling the construction which is revitalizing the H Street streetscape “streetcar construction”. It’s not, it’s a total overhaul of H Street. They’re putting streetcar rails in ahead of schedule so they won’t have to tear up the street in a year or two.

    This is a huge common mis-perception, and fuels some of the anti-streetcar sentiment out there.

    • when its all done, people will realize just how different h street looks. thos new lights, the belgian block, the news signs. things are looking hot as hell along h.

      10 years, this will be the best stretch of retail and restaurants in the city. people will go to h just to walk along it. its already got the most buzz.

  • I’ve been a couple times and have had consistently good experiences. As Ethiopian food in the District go, this place is one of the best. Also, the staff is incredibly friendly and service is great.

  • Ethiopic– love it, love it, love it! Been three times. Will go many more.

  • I’m a big fan. Dining in, I didn’t find the portions to be small; in fact, my sister and I felt there was a ton of food. The only problem we had with the place was that the two-top tables were too small for all the dining + serving plates/etc.

  • As a person who loves spicy food, I adore Ethiopic because its food is a lot spicier than the tamer versions on U St. We bought a bunch of take-out from them for a party and everyone attending gulped it down. some of their veggie are better than others. the lentils are great.

    They’ve applied to get outdoor seating and I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

  • Ordered takeout and was surprised that the veggie sampler for one would be so expensive – $19! That being said, however, the portions were large, and it fed me for nearly three meals. And it was tasty! I enjoy the spiciness.

  • I adore Ethiopic! I’ve been in the neighborhood for about 3 years and LOVE that it’s at 4th and H..literally on my walk home from work. The portions are plentiful! We always have two meals worth of leftovers when we walk out. Outdoor seating would be amazing for this fall. We usually get the veg platter and one type of meat..always totally satisfied. Plus the owners are incredibly friendly!!

  • Ethiopic was pretty pricey and the food wasn’t all that great compared to some of the other venues around town. Although, the restaurant looks cool it certainly doesn’t fit for an ‘authentic’ Ethiopian place. As others have mentioned, the tables are rather ridiculously small too. All in all, I would much rather go to Dukem or some place on U Street before I go back to Ethiopic.

  • Big Fan! I would pay the extra $1 or $2 for a better service, clean environment, and better food than going to Dukem or other place on U Street. I am a 20 year veteran on Ethiopian food and I found the food to be well seasoned.

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