| Lists |

Doro Wat for Days: A Guide to the Best Ethiopian Restaurants in Dallas

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

For hungry people in a hurry, East African cuisine typically isn’t the right decision — same goes for anyone planning to spend a meal on an iPhone. Ethiopian food is served communally, similar to the way all orders are typically combined at a sushi restaurant. But instead of using chopsticks, Ethiopian food is eaten with your hands.

The food is served on a thin, spongy bread called injera. Diners tear squares off additional rolls of injera to use as an edible utensil of sorts. At Ethiopian restaurants, coffee is strong and espresso is usually more like what most people would consider Turkish coffee. Dessert is rare, but black tea typically comes with a luxurious blend of spices like cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Many cities only have one or two places to get Ethiopian food, if any. But the Dallas-Fort Worth area is lucky to have several solid options.

Ibex Ethiopian Cuisine and Bar
12255 Greenville Ave.; 972-234-4239

Doro wat is probably Ethiopia’s best-known dish, and it was a highlight here. Essentially a chicken leg or thigh in red pepper paste, the recipe is hard to master, with the goal being tender meat in rich gravy. The doro wat at Ibex had lots of onion, garlic and ginger. Another traditional Ethiopian dish, tibs, was an absolute standout here. Tibs are tender cubes of beef or lamb marinated with onion, rosemary, jalapeño and garlic. With shining examples of the biggest staples in East African cuisine, Ibex is a great introduction to Ethiopian fare.
12101 Greenville Ave.; 214-575-9004

Desta's atmosphere is both fashionable and comfortable. It's perfect for an Ethiopian restaurant, especially if you want to get comfortable for dinner and enjoy some good food and conversation. They occasionally have someone playing gorgeous music on a piano, providing the perfect background for dinner. The beef tibs were good, sautéed in a simpler sauce to put more of an emphasis on the meat itself. The doro wat was spicier here, but just as savory, and the vegetarian combination was particularly strong. The menu at virtually every Ethiopian restaurant has several options that can be ordered as side dishes or made into full meals for vegetarians: house salads, misir wot (red lentil stew), kik alicha (yellow split pea stew), collard greens, ayibe (homemade cottage cheese) and timatim fitit (a spicy salad made out of chopped injera, tomatoes and jalapeño).

9191 Forest Lane; 972-792-8442

This is a highly recommended option, often considered one of the best in the city. The atmosphere is cozy, full of Ethiopian art and often with great Ethiopian jazz blasting from the speakers. Lalibela really mixes it up when it comes to spice level. After chatting with a server, we agreed that medium was the way to go with a combo platter that included doro wot, yebeg wot (a spicy lamb stew) and minchetabesh (chopped beef in a red chili sauce). With a warm, welcoming atmosphere, this is another great place to start.

City Cafe & Bakery
12101 Greenville Ave, Ste 103; 972-238-9988

An Ethiopian place with great desserts made in-house, City Cafe & Bakery has great coffee and tea but also cream puff cakes, cheesecakes and baklava. It’s a quicker option, more akin to a diner. This place has the essentials, like tibs and veggie combos, but they also threw some hamburgers and sandwiches on the menu. City Cafe also has breakfast options like scrambled eggs with sauces, vegetables and seasonings.

Addis Abeba
100 S. Central Expy, Richardson; 972-480-0100

Addis Abeba is stuck in an odd corner of a Richardson shopping plaza but is well worth the trouble. The menu has all the bases covered, and the bar is known for great cocktails. This is a particularly good place to try kitfo, another traditional Ethiopian dish consisting of minced raw beef, a spicy blend with a chili powder base and butter infused with herbs. It's served with ayibe and collard greens. Addis Abeba was a particularly good place to try this dish because the menu listed it available as raw, medium or well done. Other establishments seemed to just offer the dish raw, but here the options made me question the classic order. The server wisely suggested medium for my first attempt, as raw would have been a bit hard to stomach. This is a dish I crave later on — the intense spices on the meat are perfectly countered by the mild flavors of greens and ayibe.

Maru Grocery
8353 Park Lane; 214-373-6278

Want to find out for yourself just how difficult it is to perfect these recipes? Maru Grocery has you covered. The deli is stocked with meat and lamb, should you want to make tibs, and there are bags of injera aplenty. They even sell green coffee, for those who want to roast their own beans, which is a ceremony common in Ethiopia. There are bags of lentils and spices, plus Ethiopian literature and music.

Arif Cafe
8367 Park Lane; 469-232-9977

For Ethiopian food fast or takeout, Arif Cafe is the place. There are no chairs — there's not even a menu — but a veggie combo and tibs are available every day, with other staples of Ethiopian cuisine making regular appearances. They don't skimp on injera, either, and the food is flavorful and a bit spicy, as well as quick and authentic.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.