New York City is home to one of the largest Ethiopian diaspora communities outside of Africa. With over 200,000 Ethiopian immigrants living in NYC, it’s no surprise that the city boasts some of the best Ethiopian restaurants in the country.
From cozy mom-and-pop shops to upscale eateries, NYC offers various authentic Ethiopian cuisine. If you’re looking for flavorful stews, spicy meat dishes, and soft and spongy injera bread, here are some of the top spots to get your Ethiopian food fix in NYC.
Located in the heart of Brooklyn’s Little Ethiopia, Ghenet is widely considered one of the best Ethiopian restaurants in NYC.
The cozy and casual eaterie serves up all the Ethiopian favorites like doro wat (chicken stew) and kitfo (spiced raw beef), as well as vegetarian options like the acclaimed kik alicha (yellow split peas).
But what sets Ghenet apart is the injera – the spongy sourdough flatbread that is a staple of Ethiopian meals. Made fresh daily, Ghenet’s injera is delicately tangy with just the right amount of “eyes” or air pockets. Use the injera to scoop up the delectable stews and sauces on your plate.
With authentic flavors and reasonable prices, it’s easy to see why Ghenet is a perennial favorite among NYC’s Ethiopian community.
Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant
For a more upscale Ethiopian dining experience in NYC, head to Meskerem in Midtown West. With white tablecloths, prompt service, and an extensive menu, Meskerem brings a refined touch to traditional Ethiopian cuisine.
While you’ll find classics like doro tibs (sauteed chicken) and kitfo, you’ll also discover some harder-to-find dishes like chuko (beef tenderloin tips), tikil gomen (cabbage and carrots) and Kurt (smashed chickpeas).
The portions are generous, so come hungry. And be sure to order the signature honey wine, the perfect complement to the complex flavors. With authentic flavors in an elegant setting, Meskerem is ideal for a special occasion or to introduce newcomers to the richness of Ethiopian fare.
Queen of Sheba
Queen of Sheba in Harlem has earned a glowing reputation for its warm hospitality and vibrant cultural celebrations as much as for its delicious Ethiopian cooking. The cozy restaurant features traditional woven chairs, Ethiopian music, and colorful murals on the walls.
Any night, you may be dining next to Ethiopian cab drivers chowing down on comfort food from home, making for an inviting and immersive experience. The menu features well-executed versions of Ethiopian classics like gored (spiced raw beef), doro wat, and vegetarian platter combinations ideal for sharing.
But the highlight may be the freshly baked injera delivered straight from the kitchen – crispy, tangy, and the perfect scooping utensil for the flavorful stews. Queen of Sheba is a top choice for tasty food, vivacious ambiance, and an authentic taste of Ethiopian culture.
Goro Ethiopian Restaurant
In the East Village, Goro offers a hip, contemporary take on Ethiopian cuisine in a sleek and stylish setting. The expansive menu features over 40 vegetarian, chicken, beef, and seafood dishes, from standards like Shiro (chickpea stew) to unique fusion offerings like Ethiopian sushi rolls.
Make a meal out of the combination platters, which allow you to sample a variety of flavors, like the spicy awaze tibbs (grilled lamb) next to the mild atakilt wat (cabbage, carrot, potato).
Goro also offers Ethiopian coffee ceremonies, honey wine, live music, and dancing on select nights. So come hungry and ready for an immersive and upscale Ethiopian experience.
Massawa in midtown Manhattan is a great Ethiopian option for affordable weekday lunches or pre-theater dining. The cozy, casual restaurant serves filling platters layered with injera and sandwiches, salads, and specials of the day.
The menu covers all the classics and some dishes you won’t find elsewhere like kikil (sauteed beef tripe) and gomen besiga (collard greens and beef cubes).
Lunch platters are a bargain, especially during their $12 Wednesday and Thursday specials. Located on bustling 9th Avenue, Massawa is a convenient spot to get your Ethiopian fix before a Broadway show or while shopping in the area.
In addition to great Ethiopian food, Bunna Cafe in Brooklyn provides a unique cultural experience by integrating a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Customers are invited to participate in the elaborate ceremony involving roasting beans over hot coals, grinding, brewing, and serving in small handle-less cups. The ritual perfectly accompanies Bunna’s equally meticulous Ethiopian food offerings.
Standouts on the menu include yebeg alpha (a mild lamb stew), doro kekel (fried chicken), and tasty vegetarian dishes. For Ethiopian food paired with an authentic dose of its coffee culture, make a stop at Bunna.
Awash Ethiopian Restaurant
For over 30 years, Awash has served outstanding Ethiopian fare on the Upper West Side. The laid-back restaurant has a neighborhood vibe, with regulars flocking for their weekly injera fix.
The menu features well-executed Ethiopian staples like tibs (sauteed meat) and regional specialties from different parts of Ethiopia. Meat lovers will delight in the grilled lamb chops, while vegetarians have options like the gomen (collard greens).
And no matter what you order, ask for extra spongy injera for soaking up the delectable sauces and spreads on your plate. You can count on consistently delicious and authentic Ethiopians, from classics to regional gems, at Awash.
Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant
The crown jewel of Ethiopian restaurants in NYC might be Lalibela in Harlem. The upscale eatery encapsulates the rich culture and complex flavors of Ethiopian cooking.
The menu spans the diversity of the country’s cuisine, with over 200 dishes representing regions like Tigray, Amhara, and Oromia. Fragrant stews simmer with aromatic spices and herbs. Platters layered with injera make for a bountiful shared dining experience. And Ethiopian honey wine and beer provide just the right refreshment between bites.
The ambiance is as transporting as the food, with traditional music, art, and furnishings setting the mood. For an immersive and truly unforgettable Ethiopian meal, make a reservation at Lalibela.
Tips for Enjoying the Ethiopian Food Experience
Here are some tips to get the most out of dining at NYC’s stellar Ethiopian restaurants:
- Go family-style. Ethiopian food is meant to be shared, and many dishes come as platters to serve 2 or more people. Get a variety of meat, vegetarian, and fasting options to sample many flavors.
- Don’t skip the injera. The spongy flatbread is essential for scooping up foods and soaking up sauces. Enjoy its pleasantly sour taste. Ask for more if needed.
- Use your hands. Injera acts as edible cutlery. Tear off pieces and use them to grab food. Just remember to use only your right hand.
- Savor the stew. Slow-simmered Ethiopian stews like doro wat and key wot are packed with complex spices like berbere and niter kibbeh (spiced clarified butter).
- Try fasting dishes. The vegan/lent options offer unique flavors and hearty portions for meatless meals.
- Ask for recommendations. The servers often have great suggestions based on that day’s fresh ingredients and specials.
- Pair with Ethiopian beer or honey wine. The light, crisp beers, and honey-tinged wine perfectly complement the food.
- Go for coffee after. An Ethiopian coffee ceremony makes the perfect finale to your dining experience.
Ethiopian cuisine offers a truly unique culinary journey with its rich stews, flavorful meats, and healthy, gluten-free injera. NYC is home to many excellent Ethiopian eateries to explore. So grab some friends, expand your palate, and enjoy the vibrant tastes of the African diaspora right here in the Big Apple.
Taste of Ethiopia
- We’ve got the best vegetables, meat, and seafood cooked with fresh spices to make every dish flavorful.
- Our menu offers plenty of vegan options too! Pretty soon, you’ll be coming back again and again as we’re open late until midnight – that’s right, no matter what time you’re craving for your favorite Ethiopian dish, we’ve got it.
The Definitive Guide to Ethiopian Food in NYC
It’s hard to find the best Ethiopian food in NYC. But you should make an effort. There are over 80 different types of traditional dishes in Ethiopia alone, and some restaurants even have up to 150 on their menu!
This is primarily thanks to the country being in Africa for centuries before colonization. Which led many cultures worldwide to make their way into the country.
Best Ethiopian food NYC eater
It’s no surprise that in a city that never sleeps, many people need something to eat. And when you want to fill up on some good food, Ethiopian cuisine is your best bet! If you’re not familiar with it, then here are five reasons why you should try Ethiopian food:
- It’s excellent! And I mean GOOD. When you want to have a dish with your mouth water, Ethiopian is the way to go.
- You can eat vegetarian and vegan food at an Ethiopian restaurant which is excellent for people who are on restrictive diets or don’t like meat.
- Not only does it taste great, but it’s also good for you.
- Ethiopian food is so popular that the country has its fast-food chain called Lalibela! It has locations all around Europe and Asia as well.
- You get to eat with your hands which can be fun if you’re eating alone or want a more interactive experience.
What is a must-eat in New York?
Ethiopian food is a must-eat in New York, and there are two main areas to check out. The first area is Little Ethiopia on Broadway between W. 68th St and Pleasant Ave.
This area of the city has been nicknamed Little Africa with its many Ethiopian restaurants lining the streets. The other area is in the East Village on E.
12th St between First Ave and Second Ave, where Ethiopians have been living for decades now that they’ve immigrated to New York City from their homeland of Ethiopia. You can find a mix of both restaurants and markets here as well.
Queen of Sheba NYC
Queen of Sheba is the best Ethiopian restaurant in New York City. Best, because they have a wide selection and great food to try!
Ethiopians are among the nicest people you’ll ever meet, if not the absolute friendliest on Earth. The Queen’s staff is always happy and prepared for your visit with smiles and good food.
What’s the best pizza in NYC?
Pizza is probably the most popular food in NYC, and there are pizza joints on every block. Of course, everyone has their favorite place for a slice (or two). But if you’re looking for something new to try, these four spots will be worth your time:
- Franny’s Pizzeria: This pizzeria is known for its wood-fired pizza and Maine lobster.
- Roberta’s: This pizzeria has a delicious clam pie that you can enjoy in the outdoor seating area.
- Arturo’s: If you can only go to one place when visiting New York City, this is the place to go. Arturo’s is known for its authentic Italian pizza, and it has a cult following of people who swear by this spot as the best in NYC.
Where is the best steak in NYC?
When you want the best steak in NYC, this is where to come. We have a variety of cuts and types for your dining pleasure.
- Ribeye Steak: Superb, juicy, and succulent.
- Tenderloin Steak: Simply beauty at its finest, with a delicate taste that is incomparable.
- Strip Loin Steak: A classic cut that has everything you need from a steak.
- Porterhouse Steak: A marriage of two steaks in one unique dish for your enjoyment.
- Strip Steak: This steak is the perfect choice for any occasion with a robust flavor and texture.