Zenebech Injera Restaurant
608 T Street Northwest
Washington, District of Columbia 20001
United States of America
Monday – Sunday: 10:00 A.M. – 11:00 P.M.
This is hands down my favorite place for Ethiopian food in all of D.C., and that’s saying a lot, because there is no shortage of Ethiopian restaurants here. (I first came here with my friend Corey sometime in 2013.) In fact, D.C. is home to the world’s largest population of Ethiopian expatriates, so it’s no surprise that Ethiopian restaurants are everywhere in the area. You can find them dotting the cityscape in Falls Church, Virginia (off the orange line) or up in Silver Spring, Maryland (off the red line), as well as in the more well known U Street Corridor near Columbia Heights that I’ve heard other people say should be called Little Ethiopia.
Zenebech serves up a whole host of delicious options — they specialize in the meat dishes, so if you’re looking for vegetarian food, you can absolutely get it here, but mostly you’ll want to get the Vegetarian Combo (comes with every vegetarian dish ever) and lentil sambusa (exactly what it says on the tin — a sambusa filled with only lentils inside). Zenebech also allows you to choose from a selection of Ethiopian beers as well as the always-present Tej (honey wine). Better still, for the true lovers, Zenebech sells injera (including the all-teff kind) and a host of Ethiopian spices (shiro, berbere, mitmita, etc.) and ambasha (different type of bread, that can be plain or have other things in it).
Here are some of my absurd number of photos from the place:
From a visit in July 2016 with a friend, this is his dish. I think it’s the goden tibs (beef ribs in a sauce with tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños), and then it has the kik alicha on the side.
From a visit in June 2016, I ordered banatu. Banatu consists of tibs firfir on the bottom, a hardboiled egg mixed in, kitfo on top of the tibs firfir, and ayib (the cottage cheese like cheese) on top. This was AMAZING and I was shocked that I’d never thought to order it before.
From a March 2016 visit, again with many friends joining — doro wot and kik alicha; 50/50 (half portions each of two meat entrees) of tibs firfir and very raw kitfo, with gomen, kik alicha, and a pile of mitmita on the side; vegetarian combination including yemesir wot, kik alicha, shiro, tikkil gomen/atakilt wot, gomen, and timatim salad; and another shared platter with kik alicha, shiro, tibs firfir, and what appears to be tibs, maybe lega tibs.
From my first visit back to Zenebech in 2016 (we went in February), I
dragged invited a group of over ten friends out with me, including a few folks who’d never tried Ethiopian food before. Pictured are some of the dishes, including two enormous piles of tibs firfir, a bowl of alicha wot, a bowl of nech tibs (I think), a vegetarian combo (featuring yemesir wot, shiro, timatim salad, kik alicha, tikkil gomen/atakilt wot, and gomen), and sides of kik alicha, gomen, and timatim salad.
From a trip in November 2015 — my partner Shain Neumeier was receiving the Leadership in Advocacy Award from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. So we made sure to visit Zenebech while in D.C. Photos show my plate with tibs firfir and alicha wot (in the bowl), with a side of kik alicha and amazing injera folded on the side of the dish.
Me smiling with a plate of alicha wot and a small bottle of Mira-brand mango nectar. (They sell both small and large bottles.) This visit was during May 2015, right about as I was going to graduate from college, so I knew it could be my last time at Zenebech for a while. (I designed the shirt logo; it says Martian Intelligence Service, service and leadership, with the image of a dragon.)
Me during a November 2014 visit with a plate of half kitfo, half tibs firfir, and a side of kik alicha, with a small pile of mitmita on the platter. Zenebech allows you to order 50/50, where you get a half portion each of two meat dishes. (The shirt is from Syracuse University’s Institute on Communication and Inclusion, and says, “got communication?”
I love injera. It’s so stimmy. These are pictures of me enjoying my large piece of injera before digging into a plate of tibs firfir in April 2014. (This was my only visit to the place in all of spring 2014, and I went with Shain and Corey while Shain and I were in town to testify at a federal regulatory hearing.)