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Meskerem is a perfect example of what led us to create this blog. In my experience, vegetarians adore it while others think of it as just meh, so it typically gets meh reviews. Well, no more!

Meskerem’s Vegetarian Messob is the best Ethiopian meal I’ve had in DC. Check out the vegetarian section of their menu – which is actually all vegan! For some reason all of the online menus omit the Atakilt Watt, which is a dish made of string beans, sliced carrot and potato in a mild sauce.

If you’ve never had Ethiopian food, you’re in for a treat. Ethiopia’s population includes vast numbers of Orthodox Christians who abstain from meat on specific days throughout the year, so the cuisine incorporates an excellent repertoire of tasty lentil and vegetable dishes.

For $11 per person at Meskerem, you get to choose five dishes from the vegetarian menu. We like this combo:

  • Kik Alitcha: Pureed yellow split peas simmered in a mild sauce
  • Yemisir Watt: Pureed lentils simmered in spicy, hot berbere sauce
  • Tikil Gomen: Sliced cabbage, carrots and potato chunks in a mild sauce
  • Gomen Watt: Chopped collard greens simmered in hot and spicy berbere sauce
  • Shurro Watt: Seasoned milled chick peas simmered in hot and spicy berbere sauce

Clockwise: kik alitcha (yellow), tomato salad, potato salad, shurro wat, gomen watt, yemesir watt. Center: atakilt watt

(Sometimes I skip the Tikil Gomen and get a double-serving of Kik Alitcha…Mmmm!) On top of that, your meal comes with lovely potato and tomato salads.

And don’t forget the sambussas! They are a deep-fried pastry with a savory filling, similar to the Indian samosa, but with a crisper, thinner crust. The fillings at Meskerem are lentil, collard green/potato, and cabbage/potato/carrot. They’re all good but I looooove the collard green and potato…I think Ethiopians just have collard greens figured out, honestly.

Collard green and potato sambussas

Bring your appetite; it’s a LOT of food. It’s all served with injera, a flat sourdough bread made from teff, an ancient and tiny grain.


They bring you refills of this fabulous bread so that you can scoop up bite after bite of the lentil and vegetable dishes. Pace yourself if you can; the stuff seems to expand in your stomach as you eat (that’s purely anecdotal and possibly based on just Meera’s and my experience).

2434 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009