Young and Hungry

Young & Hungry Dining Guide by the Day: Meaza Ethiopian Cuisine and Cafe


Meaza Zemedu at her namesake restaurant

One by one, we’re running through the 50 restaurants that made the cut on this year’s Young & Hungry Dining Guide. If you have visited the day’s featured restaurant, let us know what you think. If you’re planning to visit for the first time, tell us about your meal when you return.

Because the Ethiopian community has historically been tied to the District, whether in Adams Morgan or the U Street corridor, the suburbs typically get overlooked as a source for fine injera-based food. Yet I can’t escape the simple fact that Meaza is often far superior to the restaurants on that strip of 9th Street NW known as Little Ethiopia. There’s a reason for that, and her name is Meaza Zemedu, a veteran restaurateur who, for years, supplied homemade injera to every Ethiopian eatery that mattered in D.C. She still makes her own injera at her namesake restaurant, including an all-teff version, which has basically disappeared at most Ethiopian eateries. But her place has many other pleasures besides these spongy sour pancakes. First among equals is a sizzling platter of beef-rib tibs, all charred meat and veggies, which is essentially the Ethiopian version of fajitas. But don’t overlook Meaza’s doro wat, either, a covered pot of chicken that’s been simmered in a sauce as dark and complex as Oaxacan mole. Finally, a version of Ethiopia’s national dish that lives up to its lofty title.

 Meaza Ethiopian Cuisine and Cafe, 5700 Columbia Pike, Arlington, (703) 820-2870

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Pingback: Young & Hungry Dining Guide: Meaza Ethiopian Cuisine at Tadias Magazine

  • Johnny

    Me and my Ethiopian wife were once good customers of this restaurant until my wife and her friends were totally mistreated with a horrible customer service. Compared to other Ethiopian restaurants in the area, this restaurant is spacious and cleaner. I was not too crazy about their food however, nothing extraordinary. Until I finally decided not to go to this restaurant after this bad experience my wife had with one of the servers and the Owner, I heard from others and also experienced myself frequent billing 'errors' in a number of occasions. So if you dare to go and check this place out, my advice to you is make sure you check your bill carefully before paying. You might find some extra additions here and there. And if you have any comments of dissatisfaction with the service, do not ever try to go talk to the owner, she will try to convince you it was your fault.

    We now frequently go to Eyo restaurant in Skyline area which by all standards is a better one, excellent customer service, food and cleanliness than Meaza.