Ethiopian Food Al Fresco
Tucked into the vibrant nook where Florida Avenue meets U Street sits a stretch of first-rate restaurants with prime patio real estate. This upper section of the Shaw neighborhood is home to buzz-worthy establishments like Right Proper Brewing Co., the excellent Shaw’s Tavern and its catty corner neighbor Bistro Bohem. Anchored by the newly renovated Howard Theater, this cluster of restaurants provides great opportunities for outdoor dining minus the hustle and bustle of the nearby U Street corridor.
Although all these restaurants offer a quality experience, my pick for the crown jewel goes to Zenebech Restaurant, an unassuming Ethiopian place that dishes out the wat like nobody’s business at 608 T St. NW. Though every metropolitan eater likes to name check the latest dining hot spot, its important for the well-rounded epicure to have a handful of no frills restaurants that serve amazing food without much fuss. Zenebech is one such place. With a winning combination of authentic and well-priced Ethiopian food and abundant outdoor seating, Zenebech makes the perfect place to drop in, eat up and chill out.
The plastic patio tables and open closeness to the area’s foot traffic add to the neighborhood feel of Zenebech’s outdoor section. On the menu, vegetarians and carnivores alike will enjoy hot and flavorful curries, stewed vegetables and tender protein. The thrifty will also find the menu appetizing as its very possible to get up from the table with a full belly and not have spent more than $10. And I challenge anyone to find craft beers like DC Brau and Dogfish Head for the beer at their $3.50 price point.
The central location makes Zenebech a great place to grab a bite to eat before heading out for a night on U Street or catching a show at the Howard Theater. So place Zenebech Restaurant in your back pocket for the next time you need good food without a reservation.