You lucky, lucky souls…you’ve either just stepped off a plane (Welcome to Ethiopia! Lucky you!) and can experiment with your first genuine Ethiopian meals, or you’ve just arrived from several weeks in Ethiopia’s wilds (How amazing was that?! Lucky you!) and can now say goodbye to repetitive injera and wat (stew) and sloppy pasta. Middle Eastern or Italian? French or Ethiopian? It’s all here for you to enjoy.
For an insider's take on the capital's eating scene, take a tour with Go Addis Tours.
Bole Road & East Addis
This area, taking in Bole Rd, Cameroon St (sometimes called Namibia St) and environs is the undisputed culinary centre of the capital. This is where the city's well-to-do and expats like to hang out, so you can expect high quality and higher than normal prices. Food types from around the world are represented here as well as flash Western-style coffee shops by the dozen.
Eating Out in Addis
Eating out in Addis Ababa is a pleasurable affair, but there are some tricks worth knowing.
For a start, many restaurants, particularly the smarter ones, add a 15% tax and 10% service charge to their bills; check before you order.
Some restaurants also offer a ‘traditional experience’: traditional food (called ‘national food’) in traditional surroundings with traditional music in the evening. You sit in short traditional Ethiopian chairs, eating from a communal plate on a mesob (Ethiopian table).
If you feel more adventurous, try a kitfo bet, typically ignored by tourists. These restaurants usually serve little other than kitfo (minced beef or lamb like the French steak tartare, usually served warmed – but not cooked – in butter, the red, spicy powder berbere and sometimes thyme).
If meat isn’t your thing, you’ll love Wednesdays and Fridays when 'fasting' food (a variety of vegetarian dishes) is served by all Ethiopian restaurants.
Cafes and pastry shops are omnipresent in Addis, and you’ll find them perfect for an afternoon or early-morning pick-me-up.