Ethiopian is the only cuisine I’ve never tried cooking at home, though I would love to learn how to make cabbage with root vegetables and spicy red lentils. I’ll save that for the day I move to the country when walking two blocks for some injera is no longer an option. Until then, here are the places I like to eat. You should know that Marcus and I always get the same thing: spicy lamb tibs and a vegetarian platter.
Etete - The vegetarian platter here is lighter than others I've tried. Order it with a whole fried fish. The service is inconsistent, but I think the food is worth it. I would rate Etete the highest in DC for the vegetarian platter. It's about $40 for two with drinks.
Lalibela - This is where we eat most frequently. It's cheap ($35 for two with drinks), the service is prompt and friendly, and Marcus thinks the lamb tibs are the best. He describes them as greasy, spicy and perfect. At Lalibela he usually doesn't talk to me while we're eating dinner, a sure sign he's paying attention to the food. The vegetarian platter is heavier and spicier than other places. Don’t expect much from Lalibela in terms of décor (unless you want flat screen TVs).
Dukem - This joint is tough to get into some nights. I've never had to wait for a table at an Ethiopian restaurant until I ate here. Service is friendly, but a bit slow. The food is good, but the draw, for most people, is the entertainment (offered seven nights a week). If you are up for music then Dukem is your place.
Zed's - This place is tasty, but expensive. It used to be that Zed's had the nicest decor of the Ethiopian restaurants in DC, but Etete and Dukem changed that. If you are in Georgetown, it's worth a stop. It will cost you, though. A check at Zeds for two hovers around $50-$75 with drinks.