An Exploratory Guide to Addis Ababa's Authentic Cuisine

An Exploratory Guide to Addis Ababa's Authentic Cuisine

An Exploratory Guide to Addis Ababa's Authentic Cuisine


Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, is not only known for its rich culture and history but also for its diverse and tantalizing cuisine. Ethiopian food is a delicious blend of flavors, spices, and textures that will leave your taste buds craving for more. In this guide, we will take you on a culinary journey through the streets of Addis Ababa, introducing you to the city's authentic cuisine.

Mesir Wat

Mesir Wat is a traditional Ethiopian dish made from red lentils cooked in spicy berbere sauce, which is a combination of chili pepper, garlic, ginger, and various spices. The lentils are slow-cooked until they become tender and the flavors meld together to create a rich, flavorful stew. Mesir Wat is typically served with injera, a spongy fermented flatbread made from teff, an ancient grain widely consumed in Ethiopia.


Tibs is a popular Ethiopian dish consisting of sautéed meat or vegetables with aromatic spices such as garlic, ginger, and berbere. The meat or vegetables are typically cooked until tender and served with injera or bread. Some popular tibs variations include Doro Tibs (made with chicken), Kitfo Tibs (made with minced beef or lamb), and Mushroom Tibs (made with sautéed mushrooms).


Kitfo is a traditional Ethiopian dish made from minced raw beef, marinated in spices, and served with injera. This delicacy is often enjoyed by locals as a special treat during celebrations. It is typically prepared with mitmita, a spicy chili powder, and niter kibbeh, a clarified butter infused with herbs and spices. Kitfo can be served either lightly cooked or completely raw, depending on personal preference.


Injera is a staple food in Ethiopia and plays a significant role in Ethiopian cuisine. It is a unique flatbread with a spongy texture and a slightly sour taste, thanks to the fermentation process. Injera is made from teff flour, a gluten-free grain that is native to Ethiopia. It is often used as a utensil, with small pieces of injera used to scoop up the various stews, meats, and vegetables that make up a traditional Ethiopian meal.


Shiro is a flavorful Ethiopian stew made from ground chickpeas or lentils. It is seasoned with onions, garlic, ginger, and a blend of spices. The dish can range from mild to spicy, depending on the amount of berbere or other spices added. Shiro is often enjoyed with injera or bread and is a popular vegetarian option in Ethiopian cuisine.

Where to Eat Authentic Ethiopian Cuisine in Addis Ababa

If you're craving an authentic Ethiopian dining experience in Addis Ababa, here are some restaurants and kitchens to consider:

  • Yod Abyssinia: Located in the Bole area, Yod Abyssinia offers a vibrant cultural show alongside a buffet-style Ethiopian dinner.
  • Lucy Restaurant: Situated in the heart of Addis Ababa, Lucy Restaurant serves a variety of traditional Ethiopian dishes, including kitfo, tibs, and injera.
  • Habesha 2000: This renowned restaurant offers a cozy ambiance and serves up a wide range of authentic dishes, from mesir wat to doro tibs.
  • Tomoca Coffee: For a taste of traditional Ethiopian coffee culture, head to Tomoca Coffee, where you can enjoy freshly brewed coffee accompanied by traditional Ethiopian pastries.


Addis Ababa's authentic cuisine is a delight for food lovers and culinary adventurers. From the fragrant spices of mesir wat to the bold flavors of kitfo, the city's culinary landscape offers a unique and flavorful experience. So, don't miss the opportunity to indulge in the diverse and delicious Ethiopian cuisine during your visit to Addis Ababa!