When you’re thinking about where to go out for dinner this week, you can always head back to your usual neighborhood standbys. Or, if you are looking to mix it up, it might be time to try some tasty and full-of-flavor Ethiopian food. 

If you haven’t tried Ethiopian before, expect a mix of spicy and savory stewed vegetables and meats called wat served over injera, a spongy bread to scoop it up. Eating with your hands is part of the experience. Luckily, there’s no need to travel all the way to Africa for Ethiopian. There are plenty of options in San Francisco for where you can enjoy the cuisine. Here are five restaurants worth a visit. 

Tadu Ethiopian Kitchen

Courtesy of Tadu Ethiopian Kitchen

Tadu is a family-run business serving up delicious Ethiopian dishes at their two locations, one in the heart of the Tenderloin and the other in Mission Bay. Their specialty is kitfo, which is spiced ground beef, onions, and jalapenos sauteed with homemade butter and served with cheese. You can get kitfo as a stew or a sandwich. Either way, it’s worth a try. They also have gluten-free injera as an option if anyone in your party avoids gluten.

Cafe Ethiopia

Courtesy of Cafe Ethiopia

Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike will appreciate the wide selection of menu items at Cafe Ethiopia in the Mission District. The casual eatery serves up everything from beef, chicken, and lamb wat to spicy fish and shrimp, to giant vegetarian platters of spinach, zucchini, chickpeas, and tofu. You have the option of adding cottage cheese or yogurt to your meal to cool down the spice. Beer and wine are also available.

Massawa Restaurant

Courtesy of Eat 24 / Massawa

If you’re looking for a lunch option in Telegraph Hill that won’t break the bank, you’ll love Massawa. You won’t find anything fancy here, just a few picnic tables and delicious Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. Standout dishes include vegetarian flax silsi, an Eritrean stew of roasted flax seeds in spiced tomato sauce, and Zigni, a spicy beef stew made with berbere (a spice mixture). Not in the mood for spicy food? They also have burgers, pasta, and french fries on the menu. 


Courtesy of MOYA

Moya is located in SoMa just a block from Twitter headquarters. If you’re in the neighborhood for a meeting, be sure to stop by the cafe, which serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Owner Fana Alemayehu left Ethiopia for San Francisco in the 1980s and has been serving up colorful vegetable and meat platters at Moya since 2010. Don’t miss the shuro, a chickpea stew flavored with 15 Ethiopian spices. 

Club Waziema

Traditional Ethiopian Cuisine

You might not think a night out and Ethiopian food goes together, but you probably haven’t been to Club Waziema in Alamo Square yet. The restaurant features a full bar serving all your favorite drinks. On the menu you’ll find vegetable and meat platters for up to six people, so bring a crowd and get ready to sample everything. As a bonus, you can eat well here for $10-$15, so you’ll have more in your pocket for the rest of the night.