photo credit: Amy Sinclair

Desta Ethiopian Kitchen  image

Desta Ethiopian Kitchen


Upper Westside

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerLiterally EveryoneWalk-InsSerious Take-Out Operation
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We all have those friends who change their diet just as often as the IT department forces us to change our system password. Just three months ago, they were on keto, then they’re vegan just on weekends, and now they only eat things that start with an L. Who knows why? But here’s what we do know: Desta is the best place to meet that friend for a satisfying meal you can both love. 

Located in a shopping center, Desta’s Westside Village location is a casual scene, reminiscent of any old-school neighborhood restaurant. There’s not a lot to focus on—just a few framed photographs, booth seating along the walls, and tables in the middle for large parties. Afrobeat or R&B hits play in the background to set the scene. But diners aren’t here for the aesthetics; they’re here for their favorite Ethiopian staples like Kitfo and Gored Gored, which come quickly out the kitchen.

Desta has a menu to appease everyone–vegans, low carb dieters, and even your friends who can’t handle much spice. It’s even perfect to take a first date because sharing a basket of injera is probably how Pixar would re-envision the Lady and the Tramp scene. But Desta also serves big bowls of pasta, so you can still do the spaghetti kiss thing if you’re really invested.

Food Rundown

Desta Ethiopian Kitchen  image


These spring roll wrappers are stuffed with either savory lentils or minced beef, then fried for a perfect crispy shell and served with a sweet chili dipping sauce to dial up the heat. Sadly, these are just an appetizer, so only two come with the order, but we double up every time.
Desta Ethiopian Kitchen  image

photo credit: Amy Sinclair


Whatever your choice of protein, from lamb or salmon to filet mignon, that meat is going to be cubed, seasoned and sauteed with tomato, onion, and pepper. We like our tibs to be laid over shiro–a stew of pureed chickpeas, which is a thick sauce we’d gladly eat by the spoonful.
Desta Ethiopian Kitchen  image

photo credit: Amy Sinclair

Vegan Platter

All the vegetable sides are well-seasoned and cooked without meat or animal products—though the shiro can be made with butter or olive oil, so ask about that one. But everything from the mushroom stew to the gomen are so satisfying that they may make you consider a foray into veganism.


If you are in a carb mood, find your way to the pasta options for a big serving of spaghetti drenched in Ethiopian flavors and your choice of protein. We like it with the salmon or with Kifto, a seasoned, raw minced beef (or done well if you also prefer).

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