Best Ethiopian Restaurant

Abay Market
3811-A S. George Mason Dr. (in the Build-America at Skyline center), Falls Church, VA, (703) 998-5322

It occupies the last storefront in a grubby strip center, where cars endlessly circle the parking lot looking for spaces. It has about 20 seats, four tables, and zero atmosphere. And yet Abay Market remains my favorite spot for a real taste of Ethiopia. The market side of Yonas Alemayehu’s operation hawks a few items, including freshly butchered beef, but what attracts me is his tidy menu of meat dishes. Yonas doesn’t do vegetarian stews, doro wat, or many other Ethiopian staples. His specialty is tere sega, in which raw, purplish slabs of grass-fed cow round are unapologetically arranged around a platter of injera. Ethiopian transplants, heavy on men, flock here for the dish. They sit around tables, listening to Amharic-language broadcasts while neatly slicing the meat, dipping the injera-wrapped pieces in awaze sauce, and gobbling them down raw. No place in D.C.’s Little Ethiopia feels as pure and unfiltered as Abay Market.

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