Best restaurants in Southern Ethiopia

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Awasa


    Run by an Italian-Ethiopian couple, this upmarket trattoria-like venue wouldn’t be out of place in Roma, and gets top marks for its flawlessly prepared Italian specialities. You’ll find it hard to choose between the wide range of salads, bruschetta, pasta, grills and woodfired pizzas. Wash it all down with a glass of Italian or South African wine, and leave with a smile on your face.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Dilla

    Lem Cafe

    Hands-down the best bakery/cafe in Dilla, with such a tantalising array of cakes and pastries that we almost made ourselves a nuisance here. It also has salads, burgers and pizzas, as well as excellent breakfasts and luscious fruit juices. An added bonus is the streetside open-air terrace, which allows for a dash of people-watching panache.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Lake Ziway

    Castel Kuriftu Wine House & Restaurant

    Surprise! Easily one of the most characterful restaurants in Ethiopia, the Castel Kuriftu is a huge venture built from stone, wood and thatch. On top of its eye-catching architecture, it is noteworthy for the superb selection of wines from the Rift Valley and the delicious food, especially the grilled tilapia. A winner.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Arba Minch

    Paradise Lodge – Abaya Restaurant

    Inside Paradise Lodge, the lovely ridgetop dining room, together with menu choices like poached fish or beef stroganoff, make this the most atmospheric restaurant and best sundowner spot in Arba Minch. There's outdoor seating.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Awasa

    Luwa Bar & Restaurant

    Far more welcoming than some of the other traditional restaurants around Awasa, Luwa attracts a predominantly local crowd who come for the freshly prepared Ethiopian food – their lamb tibs is a cut above average. Sit under the woven bamboo parasols or inside the traditional hut in the middle of the courtyard – it can't get more atmospheric than that.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Awasa

    Dolce Vita Bar & Restaurant

    Many people, apparently decompressing after a long time travelling in the south, rave about this Italian kitchen, and we share their unbridled enthusiasm. The food here (and the shady terrace) is clearly above average for Ethiopia, with an assortment of toothsome Italian dishes as well as delicious Ethiopian specialities. There's also a bright, modern dining area (in contrast to most places in town).

  • Restaurants in Sodo

    Day Star Cafe & Restaurant

    With few exceptions, the lunch stop of choice for tours passing through is this lively restaurant with an attractive courtyard, on the Arba Minch road. The menu boasts fairly standard fare (burgers, sandwiches, soups, pasta and steaks) but it’s the buzz and atmosphere that most come to ingest. The adjacent hotel section, which opened in 2016, features modern, clean rooms (Birr500).

  • Restaurants in Jinka

    Redu Café & Restaurant

    This restaurant-cum-cafe serves pastas, burgers and excellent Ethiopian fare – among the 15 or so local dishes, we recommend the kwanta fir fir (strips of beef served with injera). The walls are adorned with posters of various South Omo tribespeople, and there's an atmospheric coffee corner. It's on the 1st floor of an office block on the main road.

  • Restaurants in Awasa

    Hi-Life Bar & Grill

    On the ground floor of Hawassa Lakeview Hotel, this buzzy eatery is a great choice for a quick bite in modern surrounds. The generous chicken wraps and satisfying pasta dishes are best enjoyed at the tables out front, allowing premium lake views. Keep your fluids up with a juice concoction or a cold beer.

  • Restaurants in Jinka

    Besha Gojo Restaurant

    Right on the main drag, this popular place has won accolades for its eclectic menu, which includes Ethiopian classics – think shiro (chickpea purée) and tibs – as well as roasted lamb, salads and soups. The congenial outdoor dining area with covered bench tables boasts a kind of ramshackle charm.

  • Restaurants in Shashemene

    Bolt House

    Caribbean cuisine in Shashemene? Yes, it's possible at the Bolt House. Run by a Jamaican couple, this colourful eatery about 100m off the main road (it's signposted) has a wonderful green feel. It's noted for its selection of stews, fish dishes, goat curry and fruit juices. There's (theoretically) wi-fi here, too.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Arba Minch

    Arba Minch Tourist Hotel Restaurant

    Though the wait staff can be a touch clueless at times, this leafy compound with resident dik-dik roaming around looking for hand-outs is a great place to dine, and the food is tasty. Western dishes are popular, but the large menu makes this a good place to try some new Ethiopian foods.

  • Restaurants in Jinka

    Sipara Restaurant

    This attractive option slap bang in the centre of town is high on atmosphere, with an attractive compound and a verdant setting. The menu covers enough territory to please most palates, including salads, meat dishes, sandwiches and the best spaghetti this side of the Omo River.

  • Restaurants in Lake Ziway

    Ziway Tourist Hotel

    Towards the southern end of town, the Ziway is the lunch stop of choice for those on their way to or back from the south. It serves juices and draught beer along with an extensive selection of national and Western dishes that are best enjoyed in the shady courtyard.

  • Restaurants in Awasa


    If the cakes in the ground-floor pastry shop don’t sidetrack you, head upstairs to a very faranji (foreigner)-friendly menu. Specialities include ravioli with spinach, home-made tagliatelle, veal steak with garlic butter and grilled fish. A safe choice.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Bale Mountains National Park

    Harena Coffee

    There's no more pleasant spot to hang out and grab some food and drinks than this surprisingly snappy cafeteria on the main drag in Goba. Expect zesty salads, well-prepared burgers and sandwiches, toothsome pasta dishes and generous breakfasts.

  • Restaurants in Awasa

    Time Café

    A stylish cafe popular with young Awasians. Coy couples come here to giggle under the patio umbrellas and share luscious fruit juices and plates of fries. It also has good burgers, salads, omelettes and pizzas as well as appetising cakes.

  • Restaurants in Awasa

    What A Burger

    One of the best spots to chill in Awasa, this lively eatery near the main jetty boasts an attractive setting, with a large, shady courtyard. Foodwise, the emphasis is on burgers (easily the best in town), pasta and Ethiopian dishes.

  • Restaurants in Arba Minch

    Soma Restaurant

    This unassuming restaurant (charging much higher faranji prices than it used to) has made quite a name for itself with its mouth-watering grilled fish dishes, most of which are big enough to share.

  • Restaurants in Dilla

    One Net Cafe & Restaurant

    Step into this trendy, shady and airy spot for an escape from the busy street. Get things going with well-presented salads, soups, pasta or pizzas. There's also a pastry corner – hmm, the tiramisu…