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Meaza Zemedu at her namesake restaurant

One by one, we’re running through the 50 restaurants that made the cut on this year’s Young & Hungry Dining Guide. If you have visited the day’s featured restaurant, let us know what you think. If you’re planning to visit for the first time, tell us about your meal when you return.

Because the Ethiopian community has historically been tied to the District, whether in Adams Morgan or the U Street corridor, the suburbs typically get overlooked as a source for fine injera-based food. Yet I can’t escape the simple fact that Meaza is often far superior to the restaurants on that strip of 9th Street NW known as Little Ethiopia. There’s a reason for that, and her name is Meaza Zemedu, a veteran restaurateur who, for years, supplied homemade injera to every Ethiopian eatery that mattered in D.C. She still makes her own injera at her namesake restaurant, including an all-teff version, which has basically disappeared at most Ethiopian eateries. But her place has many other pleasures besides these spongy sour pancakes. First among equals is a sizzling platter of beef-rib tibs, all charred meat and veggies, which is essentially the Ethiopian version of fajitas. But don’t overlook Meaza’s doro wat, either, a covered pot of chicken that’s been simmered in a sauce as dark and complex as Oaxacan mole. Finally, a version of Ethiopia’s national dish that lives up to its lofty title.

 Meaza Ethiopian Cuisine and Cafe, 5700 Columbia Pike, Arlington, (703) 820-2870

Photo by Darrow Montgomery