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6 Essential Ethiopian Eateries in the Twin Cities

Find loads of cozy stews, an array of soft spices and plenty of vegetarian options

Tear off a hunk of injera and tuck into this
Ghebres/Facebook

The Twin Cities’ vibrant East African restaurant scene offers a wealth of flavors for food lovers to discover. Local restaurants reflect the region’s renowned hospitality. Often food is served communally on a large round of injera, a spongy flatbread similar to a sourdough pancake. Instead of using utensils, tear off a piece of injera and use it to pick up a bite of sautéed meat, lentil stew, or cooked greens. While the names and flavors of the dishes may be unfamiliar, there will some recognizable notes—berbere, the cuisine’s distinctive spice blend, is made with dried ground chili peppers, garlic, ginger, and an array of warming spices that can include cinnamon, cardamom, and fenugreek. Intrigued? Here are the Twin Cities’ best places to try this cuisine.

Shega Foods

While primarily a grocery store stocking spices, legumes, and other staple ingredients of East African cuisine, Shega Foods also offers to-go servings of hearty meat and lentil stews from a take-out window. Complete the meal with a bag of fresh injera, baked on site.

2111 E Franklin Ave

Minneapolis, MN 55406

(612) 341-4373

The veggie combo at Dilla’s
Dilla Ethiopian/Facebook

Dilla’s Ethiopian Restaurant

With a 2:00 am closing time, Dilla’s Ethiopian Restaurant is the place to satisfy a late-night injera craving. Try the popular awaze tibs (beef marinated with tomato, jalapeño, garlic, and spices) or sample a range of dishes at the Thursday and Saturday lunch buffets.

1813 Riverside Ave N

Minneapolis, MN 55454

(612) 332-2898

Zil zil tibs
Red Sea/Facebook

The Red Sea

Thanks to an encyclopedic menu of Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine, the biggest challenge at The Red Sea is deciding what to order. Recommended dishes include the siga wat (a spiced beef stew) and the yegeb alicha (slow-cooked lamb seasoned with spiced butter). In addition, there’s a full bar serving several Ethiopian beers.

320 Cedar Ave

Minneapolis, MN 55454

(612) 333-1644

Add Bolé to the date night list
Bolé Ethiopian Cuisine/Facebook

Bolé Ethiopian Cuisine

The cozy ambiance at Bolé Ethiopian Cuisine makes it perfect for date night. While most dishes are served traditionally atop a piece of injera, they also offer sushi-style rolls of injera with vegetarian fillings like red lentils, yellow split peas, or ground chickpeas. One of the house specialties is kitfo, a flavorful mixture of ground beef, chili powder, and spiced butter, traditionally served just slightly cooked.

490 N Syndicate St

St. Paul, MN 55104

(651) 917-9332

A wide, round injera is piled with curried lentils, braised goodies, rich sauces, bright greens, creamy sauce and more Fasika/Facebook

Fasika

Fasika is a beloved institution in the local Ethiopian restaurant scene, with a variety of meat and vegetarian entrees. The best option is the “Ultimate Combination” sampler, which includes all of the menu’s beef, lamb, chicken, and vegetarian dishes. It easily serves four or five people, so gather some friends and arrive hungry.

510 N Snelling Ave

St. Paul, MN 55104

(651) 646-4747

A huge spread of vegetarian dishes
Ghebres/Facebook

Ghebre’s Restaurant

Specializing in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine, Ghebre’s Restaurant stands out for its welcoming atmosphere. Recommended dishes include the red lentils and potato curry. While doro wat (chicken stew) is a popular menu item at most East African restaurants, Ghebre’s version is distinguished by its emphasis on the richly flavored sauce.

512 Snelling Ave

St. Paul, MN 55104

(651) 493-4324