Best restaurants in Northern Ethiopia

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Gonder

    Four Sisters

    Now here's something special. One of the best places in northern Ethiopia for both food and atmosphere, Four Sisters has brilliant traditional food (order 'national food' for an overview of what it's capable of), a lovely, leafy setting with stone walls and Debre Berhan Selassie–inspired paintings and nightly traditional music and dance. It also has European food (if you must) and occasional lunchtime buffets (Birr172). Owned and operated by four sisters, the service is good, as is the coffee. It’s pricier than other options, but makes for a fun evening and even locals come here for a special night out, but lunch is also excellent. The road is unlit, so take a taxi or bajaj if coming after dark.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Lalibela

    Ben Abeba

    Easily one of Ethiopia's coolest restaurants, this Ethio-Scottish-owned, Dalí-esque jumble of walkways, platforms and fire pits is perched on the edge of the ridge for 360-degree views. The food is tasty – we especially like that the restaurant makes its own traditional bread and uses it to make an excellent goat burger. Stop by at 11am to see injera being made.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Mekele

    Black Rose

    This stylish outpost of an Addis lounge bar is one of Mekele's more intriguing dining options. Downstairs it serves excellent pizza, pasta and Ethiopian dishes in a quietly sophisticated setting with world music playing in the background, while upstairs it shakes cocktails (Birr48 to Birr199) until late.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Bahir Dar

    Wude Coffee

    For high-class Ethiopian fare in a chic city-style garden cafe, come to Wude Coffee, although it's just as good for a stiff macchiato. While the indoor tables are intimate and cosy, we prefer the outdoor perches.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Mekele

    Karibu Kitchen & Bar

    This garden restaurant is the first choice for faranji food, with a pleasing garden setting where the wood-fired pizza is the star of the show.

  • Restaurants in Mekele

    Geza Gerlase

    This cultural restaurant within a cavernous traditional tukul is a great place to enjoy excellent Ethiopian dishes. Specialities include zilzil tibs (strips of lamb, fried and served slightly crunchy with mustard-and-chilli awazi sauce) and kitfo. Vegetarians steer clear – it's all about meat here. There’s a cultural dance show at 7.30pm on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday nights. With meat only and no fasting food, it closes on Wednesdays and Fridays.

  • Restaurants in Lalibela

    Unique Restaurant

    This basic but cosy little restaurant (‘bad house, good food’ is what the charming and irrepressible owner Sisaynesh tells people who hesitate outside her door) serves the usual mix of national and faranji (foreigner) dishes. It's the kind of place you'll wonder about as you enter, then find yourself staying to take cooking classes.

  • Restaurants in Lalibela

    Old Abyssinia Restaurant

    The combination of excellent food (mostly Ethiopian with a few European dishes), fine views and an on-site cooking school means you can take care of all of your culinary needs in one go here. It's lovely and quiet, not least because it's a fair hike out of town (downhill on the way here, uphill the way back…).

  • Restaurants in Simien Mountains National Park

    Limalimo Lodge

    High on a hilltop north of Debark, with some of the best views you'll find in the Simiens, the stylish and uber-contemporary Limalimo Lodge opens its restaurant for non-guests and it's well worth the trip. The cooking (from a menu that changes daily) is accomplished and the service excellent. For dinner you'll need to book and see if has room.

  • Restaurants in Lalibela

    XO Lalibela

    With a classier dining area than most (but with no views), XO Lalibela serves up a fresh modern menu that does have some Ethiopian dishes, but it put most of its attention into its roast chicken, burgers, fajitas and paninis. It's one of Lalibela's better dining options, especially for dinner when you can't see anything outside anyway.

  • Restaurants in Bahir Dar

    Lemat Restaurant

    You don't see many tourists in here and the menu is only in Amharic, but that's precisely the point. Excellent local food bring the locals here in droves and you won't find better tibs, kitfo or doro wat anywhere in Bahir Dar. It's a simple place, but it's all about the food.

  • Restaurants in Simien Mountains National Park

    Simien Lodge

    The best place for passing travellers to eat in the park, the restaurant at Simien Lodge does lunch set menus and dinner buffets most nights, with an emphasis on well-prepared international dishes in the lodge's agreeable stone-and-thatch tukul restaurant.

  • Restaurants in Aksum

    AB Traditional Restaurant

    Decorated with bamboo and crafts and with traditional low-stool seating, this restaurant is calm, peaceful and a great spot to dig into shekla tibs, with goat fresh from the butchery inside the dining room (don't look too closely at the flies…), or doro wat (chicken stew). Give the pasta and rice dishes a pass: they can take forever to prepare and can be disappointing.

  • Restaurants in Bahir Dar

    Castel-Kuriftu Wine House

    Right by the water and affiliated with the Kuriftu Resort, this fine place does excellent Ethiopian dishes with all the usual suspects – tibs, firfir, kitfo et al – present and nicely prepared. The soaring ceiling of the main dining area is an architectural stunner, but we prefer the more intimate, open-sided pavilions overlooking the lake from the garden.

  • Restaurants in Rock-hewn Churches of Tigray

    Fisseha Hotel

    The main reason to come here is not the large and loud TV screen in the dining room, but the roast goat served with rice – it's a great meal and easily our favourite dish in town. Get your hands all greasy, pick it up and tuck in. The rooms here are rather nondescript, and if you can work out the pricing system (rooms from Birr400), let us know.

  • Restaurants in Rock-hewn Churches of Tigray

    Tesfay Restaurant

    Opened in 2016, this friendly place is a good, simple choice. It does all the usual Ethiopian staples, as well as sandwiches. It's not signposted: take the road heading south down the hill off the main road through Hawzien, around 100m east of the local guide association office; once on this road, it's 200m down the hill on your right.

  • Restaurants in Bahir Dar

    Desset Resort

    This popular restaurant really makes the most of its long landscaped shoreline. Both the habesha (Ethiopian – try the fish firfir) and faranji (foreigner) dishes (try the roasted lamb or pizza) are quite good and the menu is bigger than normal. It's immediately northwest of the Grand Hotel.

  • Restaurants in Bahir Dar

    Misrak Special Food

    Out in the west of town, far from the main tourist trail, Misrak Special Food has a lovely traditional setting on the 1st floor and excellent Ethiopian cooking. It does everything from tibs wat to meatball curry, and while there's not much English spoken, there is great coffee and a real air of authenticity.

  • Restaurants in Aksum

    Antika Cultural Restaurant

    Dimly lit and with a nightly 7pm show of traditional music and dance on stage, Antika is a welcome addition to Aksum's culinary offerings. It does some international dishes, but stick to the Ethiopian specialities and it's difficult to go wrong – the shekla tibs, served spicy, is a good choice.

  • Restaurants in Bahir Dar

    Lakeshore

    Down a rough dirt track and right by the lake, Lakeshore looks a little past its prime, but still serves what some locals claim to be the city's best seafood – order the grilled fish or fish kitfo and make up your own mind. Grab a table in the garden rather than the cavernous main dining area.