The Best Ethiopian Restaurants In Seattle

The top 13 restaurants in Seattle for Ethiopian food, according to us.
The Best Ethiopian Restaurants In Seattle image

photo credit: Chona Kasinger

In Seattle, going out for Ethiopian food is as satisfying as correcting people who say "Pike’s Place." We have so many options, finding a neighborhood favorite can turn into a years-long, injera-filled quest. Through careful analysis (a.k.a. eating a remarkable amount of quanta firfir and wot), we bring you this list of the best Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants in town. You can tear into nine different dishes at once, experience a traditional coffee ceremony, grab a tibs sandwich, or all of the above.

Note: Not all Ethiopian restaurants serve gluten-free injera, but some of them will if you call ahead.


photo credit: Nate Watters



$$$$Perfect For:Date NightLate Night EatsVegans
Earn 3x points with your sapphire card

While most places tend to excel in the vegetable department, Star Coffee in SeaTac is known for great meat dishes, too. Case in point: the lega tibs, cubes of mildly sauced steak cooked with fresh vegetables, aromatics, and a spiced clarified butter called kibbeh. Their kitfo is a standout , whether you get it raw or with just a kiss of heat. Like the name suggests, they serve really good coffee, but you could also pop by the bar and grab a decent cocktail or glass of wine.

Ethiopian breakfast can be hard to find in Seattle. Massawa in Hillman City is where to go for an exceptional one, fueled by the best quanta firfir—a tomatoey stew of dried beef—in the city. For a complete Ethiopian breakfast, get here around 11am and ask very nicely for ga’at, a thick porridge that’s eaten with berbere and kibbeh. If they don’t have ga'at, get some spicy scrambled eggs known as enkulal firfir, or foul, which is casually the greatest way to eat fava beans. Are you going to have an easy time finding parking here? Probably not, but it’s worth it for a morning meal.

We could write a novel about the Delish special vegetable combo, and most of the chapters would be declaring our love for the fasolia, complete with green beans and potatoes in a smoky sauce, as well as their stewed beets. Many table settings here feature the traditional mesob, a colorful round table woven from sweetgrass, which encourages communal eating—the whole concept is treated like its own ingredient in Ethiopian cuisine. Most of the fun is reaching around the circle to take bites of different flavors, and the combos are perfect for that, whether you’re dining solo or with a group. Just don’t forget a round of Ethiopian wine or beer. Or both.

Set in a brightly decorated space with lime-colored walls, Jebena Cafe in Lake City is one of those places where you can expect the food to be great and the service even better. Our favorite dish is the green lamb, tender with plenty of spices, herbs, and chopped collards, which pairs really well with their curried cabbage. For something with a little more variety, go with the Jebena Combination, which contains their best meat and plant-based dishes on one platter. And if you need some Ethiopian pantry staples, like berbere and other spices, Jebena has you covered.

You can easily spend an entire afternoon at East African Imports perusing their spices, groceries, homewares, and other goods imported directly from Ethiopia. But you should stay for lunch, because there’s a restaurant hidden in the back past the store aisles. It’s one of the few local Ethiopian spots where you can get incredible dipping sauces like awaze, a spicy berbere paste thinned out with areke liquor, and senafitch which is a mustard similar to horseradish. These dips are traditionally served with tre siga—tender cuts of raw beef—but you can (and should) ask for them on the side of any dish. Dunk some tibs in the senafitch and wrap them in injera for a tangy, acidic bite.

This small, family-run Madrona restaurant is perfect for a last-minute catch-up dinner with friends or a quiet date night. The relaxed neighborhood atmosphere of the longtime spot is amplified by its brick walls, linen curtains, and big front windows that fill the dining room with soft light. Shareable plates like the smooth yellow split peas and soft lamb in a berbere and cinnamon-spiked ke’yi w’et will make everyone at the table happy. It all comes with a side of herby yogurt and a few slices of raw tomato dressed with pinches of olive oil, garlic, and lemon—yes, even the simpler sides leave a lasting impression.

Kezira does many things well, but our favorites are the mesir wot, spicy split lentils that you can order on its own or as part of a combo, and shiro, a thick stew of spiced chickpea flour. They also serve excellent appetizers centered around injera, the best one being the kategna, with rich olive oil and berbere rubbed on top. Vegetables are key here, so if you’re in the mood for a colorful plate with some vegan dishes, you should definitely try this Columbia City spot.

"Lentils and lamb" is not an acoustic duo performing at an open mic night near you, nor a wedding photography collective that specializes in 35mm film. They're our two favorite things at Adulis, an Ethiopian restaurant in Greenwood. We're particular to the defin miser, a brown lentil stew that truly shines in a city full of red and yellow versions. Alongside these excellent legumes should be the lamb tibs, bright and warm from awaze and red pepper chutney. Plus, it never gets too crowded in the colorful, booth-filled space.

Café Selam in the Central District succeeds in a neighborhood already full of Ethiopian restaurants because it's the most reliable and comforting of the bunch. The dining room is almost always packed with regulars, which is a good sign to begin with, and the food holds up. Most of their vegetable dishes are made to order, and their tibs always nail the perfect ratio of spice to onion to garlic. Their takeout operation is also a well-oiled machine, so if the restaurant’s full, just bring the stuff home to enjoy on your couch.

Zagol sets itself apart by offering a traditional coffee ceremony, complete with an in-house roast, three different strengths of brew served in ceramic mugs called sini, burning incense, and popcorn for snacking. Their menu is a delicious split between vegetable and meat combos, and—if you’re up for it (and really like lentils)—we recommend ordering all three misir dishes. Between the spicy red misir wot, alicha misir in its mild turmeric sauce, and garlicky difin misir, it’s a party for legume enthusiasts. Zagol is also ideal if you’re in the mood for seafood, and with three different fish dishes on the menu, your best bet is the asa gulash, a fish stew with ginger, onions, garlic, and berbere. Whatever you choose, take the time to end your meal with the coffee ceremony, smoking beans and all.

photo credit: Nate Watters

The beef tibs sandwich alone at this small Hillman City cafe and market makes it worth a visit. Tender beef chunks sit between a crusty baguette that soaks up all the liquid gold of niter kibbeh, berbere, and gingery juices from the meat. But diners shouldn’t miss the Habesha vegan combo that comes with a rainbow of garlicky collard greens, spicy red lentils, and earthy beets. Seating inside is limited since most of the space is taken up by Habesha’s market of Ethiopian spices, coffee, and other goods. But in the summer they put out a couple extra tables on the sidewalk, and everything tastes just as great to go. 

Agelgil is an institution, and their meat-forward dishes stand the test of time—like berbere-kicked key wot and collard greens stewed with short ribs. The dining room is huge, and it usually only gets crowded later in the night, so this is a perfect group destination for an earlier dinner. And don’t be shy about taking your leftovers to work the next day—”agelgil” means lunchbox in Ethiopia's spoken language of Amharic.

In Amharic, the word “enat” translates to “mother,” and Enat leans into the concept of serving the kind of food your mom would make. If it’s your first time trying Ethiopian food, start with a vegetable combo or just order atkilt wot for a satisfying mix of cabbage, potatoes, and carrots in a garlicky turmeric rub. If you're still hungry, go with the doro wot, a spicy chicken stew that gets its deep flavor from slow-caramelized onions, a generous heap of berbere, and a lot of cooking time. Doro wot is best enjoyed with friends, so invite some people you like for a meal in the perpetually busy dining room and tell them to come hungry.

Chase Sapphire Card Ad

Suggested Reading

Café Selam image

Café Selam

Café Selam is a casual Ethiopian spot in the Central District.

Agelgil Ethiopian Restaurant image

Agelgil is an Ethiopian restaurant in the Central District that you should prioritize for their meat dishes.

Jebena Cafe image

Jebena Cafe is a terrific Ethiopian restaurant in Lake City.

Star Coffee image

Star Coffee is an amazing Ethiopian restaurant in SeaTac.

Infatuation Logo


2024 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The views and opinions expressed on The Infatuation’s site and other platforms are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of (or endorsement by) JPMorgan Chase. The Infatuation and its affiliates assume no responsibility or liability for the content of this site, or any errors or omissions. The Information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.


Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store