10 Restaurants in LA’s Little Ethiopia

Little Ethiopia, the officially designated neighborhood in Los Angeles since 2002, is a hub of Ethiopian culture and food in Southern California. In the following feature the dining website Eater.com highlights ten restaurants from the neighborhood. (Photo: TADIAS)


10 Essential Restaurants in Los Angeles’s Little Ethiopia

For nearly 30 years now, the stretch of Fairfax Avenue between Olympic and Whitworth has been home to Little Ethiopia, and the second-largest concentration of Ethiopian emigres in the United States after Washington, D.C. And though the neighborhood has gone through changes over the decades, it remains a vibrant cultural center with an annual street festival, a host of art galleries, antique shops, and a rich dining scene.

Naturally, most of the restaurants in this neighborhood serve traditional Ethiopian cuisine but even that is beginning to evolve. From a soulful take on Ethiopian home-cooking that received a nod from the Michelin Guide, to a completely vegan Ethiopian restaurant, to a modern take on old school Italian food, here are 10 must-visit restaurants in Little Ethiopia.

1. Awash

5990 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
(323) 939-3233

While technically a few blocks from the official neighborhood borders, Awash is a heavy-hitter of Ethiopian cuisine. Beef is the specialty here, whether raw as kifto smothered in chile and butter, or sauteed with onion and garlic as tibs. The space is rather tight and nearly always busy, so grab a drink at the back bar and save room for some traditional honey wine with your meal.

2. Meals By Genet

1053 S Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90019
(323) 938-9304
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A perennial favorite in Little Ethiopia, chef Genet Agonafer has had heaps of praise bestowed on her 20 year old restaurant: Michelin Bib Gourmand, James Beard Award semi-finalist, and a fixture on the LA Times’s 101 Best list. The crisp white table cloths put this dining room in stark relief to the surrounding restaurants, but Agonafer’s warmth and the depth of her flavors keep the space intimate. The spicy doro wat is a popular order here, while the vegetarian combination is a great way to sample Agonafer’s range.

3. Messob Ethiopian Restaurant

1041 S Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90019
(323) 938-8827
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Named for the traditional Ethiopian bread basket that doubles as a table, Messob arguably created modern Little Ethiopia when the original owner, Rahel Woldmedhin, opened it in 1985. Today, Messob remains a staple of the neighborhood, and a classic date spot where couples engage in gushra — hand-feeding your partner in a loving gesture. For those looking to try a range of entrees, the super Messob exclusive offers nine samples of entrees including the split lentil Yemisir Wot and the sautéed beef Zelzel Tibs.

4. Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine

1047 S Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90019
(323) 937-8401
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After opening Messob over three decades ago, Rahel Woldmedhin left in 2000 to open her namesake restaurant serving a fully vegan menu. Find a gluten-free version of injera, a fava bean ful, and various stews based on lentils, zucchini, and mixed vegetables. The full Ethiopian coffee ceremony is a special treat.

Read the full list at la.eater.com »

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