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15 years ago, when I was an undergrad at GW, Zed's was where I went.

Then I discovered Adams Morgan, and until I moved to the burbs, Fasika's and Meskerem became my regular haunts.

About 4 years ago, I discovered Langano in Silver Spring, and that's where I've had most of my Ethiopian feasts recently. I know the U St. corridor is supposed to be the best these days, but I just haven't made it there yet. I do go to the AFI Silver theater frequently, so Langano is very convenient.

However, last night before catching a film at the AFI, I went again to Langano. Maybe it was just me, but I thought everything seemed off (except for the injera, which was great as usual.) Wats didn't seem as spicy as they've been in the past. Collards and other vegetable dishes just didn't have the same kick they used to. The lentil dishes, which are usually so interestingly spiced, seemed bland. The lamb was actually chewy, not tender.

Rocks, I know you've recommended Langano in the past - been there recently? I tried to ask one of the servers if the chef had changed recently, but didn't get a straight answer.

So where SHOULD I be going?

I've only been there once and I know it's Eritrean, but...

I really liked Harambe at 18th and U, which was very cheap but tasted just as good as Dukem, Zed's or Meskerem. (although I didn't order the kitfo). Other than that (and I'm sure people will jump all over me for saying this) I think Zed's is one of the better places in the city, mainly because the service is much better there than other places. I have to be honest though...I haven't been anywhere further east than 11th and U.

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07/05/05 - Queen Makeda (Halloween)

 

Enjera (cheezepowder)

Langano (DanielK)

Ethiopic (ppsailor1)

Axum (Waitman)

Walia (Simon)

Meskerem (cheezepowder)

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So where SHOULD I be going?

Near AFI there is a fairly new outpost of Addis Ababa. It looks nice, and even has rooftop seating, but I haven't tried it myself.

Best places are in the cluster on 9th just below U. My fav is Queen Makeda. Very family oriented, with Mama in the kitchen. If you go, ignore the menu---just ask her to bring out the good stuff she happened to cook that day. Sodere is also good.

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My cabbie yesterday said Madjet (down the street from Dukem, I think) and Etete are his favorites. He said the owner of Madjet is careful to get the right spices. Dukem is my current fav but I haven't been to Etete and think I need to go. Thanks for the informative post, giant shrimp.

---

06/21/06 - Dukem (MelGold)

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Thought I might add that for those of you looking for Ethiopian and find that you are in the Reston/Herndon area you should head to Warka.

Warka

275 Sunset Park Dr

Herndon, VA 20170

(703) 435-2166

http://www.warkaethiopianrestaurant.com/

It's hidden in the back of a business park. From Spring Street you turn in where you see China King and then drive back and I think it is the third drive on the right. Just drive around and you will find it. The place is small but they are eager to please. Tell them if you like things spicy as they will adjust the seasonings for you. I've only been there at lunch but they do have music some evenings. The place is small so at times so sometimes you find that everyone is in the back just at the point you want or need something. Be patient and you will be rewarded.

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My favorite is Lalibela on 14th St., at the intersection of straight lines from the dupont and mcpherson square metros.

This comes with a caveat- the food is not quite as good as etete or meskerem, as the meat isn't quite as high quality. What you get is a place that's still full of cabbies, however, which is probably what going out for Ethiopian felt like before places started having to take reservations. The staff is very happy to see you and damn impressed if you manage to finish your meal. It's enough off the beaten path that you can generally get a table on a Friday night, as well.

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I don't know if they are related to the Addis that recently closed on 18th Street but if they are, it should be pretty good. It was Nora's favorite Kik Alitcha.

According to the Post, "The owners of this popular Ethiopian restaurant closed its Adams Morgan sister to focus on the Silver Spring location." This is also validated on the Addis Ababa website.

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I tried the SS Adis Ababa roughly 2 months ago. It was pleasant to sit outside and the prices were good. My bottom line in leaving the restaurant was that I would return, but I probably wouldn't run back and I have certainly had better vegetarian (the best being roughly 10 years ago in Chicago). I have the feeling (from talking with my meat-eating +1) that the meat dishes were better than the vegetarian. A couple of the veggie dishes were good, but a couple just weren't, and I simply don't remember which was which. I apologize for how painfully vague that is and fully recognize that this isn't super helpful--I'm trying to give you the gestalt view!

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(liberally lumping Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine together...)

Addis Ababa is where I go for Ethiopian in SS these days. The injera could be better, but hardly anyone can afford to use 100% tef anymore; as I understand it, we're down to one producer now in the US. The food is good, slightly better than Meskerem I'd say. Gubeen, aka she-who-craves-kitfo-fortnightly, gives it a big thumbs up.

I haven't eaten at Langano in some months, but based on prior visits I haven't enjoyed it as much as Addis. The portions are huge and inexpensive, true, but temperatures have been inconsistent, and many of my veggies have been somewhat pasty.

Never been to the original Lalibela, but to Lalibela II off Glebe Rd. in Arlington. Some years ago, Phyllis Richman wrote a column on out-of-the-way Ethiopian restaurants that she'd found by canvassing her cabbies. The trouble with cabbie hangouts is that they're invariably full of chain-smoking cabbies, and the smoke interferes with my enjoyment. LII definitely fell into that category, as did the little place across the highway from Crystal City whose name escapes me just now. Here across the river, Montgomery County's smoking ban has been sort of a two-edged sword to these places...I see few cabbies in them nowadays, but my enjoyment of the food has improved.

Etete is still our current favorite. Their sauces achieve a concentration of flavor that I've yet to find in another Ethiopian place. Their bere-bere is wicked.

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Made it to Addis Ababa tonight.

Highs: Spice level was spot on - everything was full of flavor, and the wats had a good kick. Collards were some of the best I've had, as was the cabbage and the carrot/bean/veggie mix. Doro wat was phenomenal. And, contrasted to Langano around the corner, the A/C works. They have rooftop dining - in fact the rooftop is larger than the downstairs main dining room. Servers are pleasant, chairs are comfy, and the decor is quite nice.

Lows: Injera didn't have that sour kick, though the consistency was fine. The lamb had lots of bones and was very fatty, and all of the meats needed a few minutes to achieve the "fall off the bone" softness that is kind of necessary when you're eating with fingers.

Overall, it's definitely better than Langano and the places in Adams Morgan. I can't compare it to Dukem/Etete/etc. as I haven't made it to the U St. joints yet. Total, including tax and 20% tip (no drinks) for 2 was a laughable $30. The portions were actually reasonable - we walked in hungry and ate all we got, without feeling stuffed when we left (which is a more normal experience.)

They also advertise a weekday lunch buffet, and a Sunday Brunch. Worth checking out, for sure.

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Perhaps this should be a $20 Tuesday? Although the lack of sour in the injera sounds disappointing.

Did you happen to notice if they do carryout?

According to their website, they do.

This sounds very promising--thanks for the review, Daniel. I went for lunch shortly after they opened and experienced a real comedy of errors, including a language problem that resulted in my getting something that had very little to do with what I thought I'd ordered. But to be fair, they were still working out the kinks.

Lately I hear good things, so a lunch buffet may be in order this week.

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While walking down 23rd St. in Crystal City this weekend, I noticed a new Eritrean restaurant called Enjera (website) and, on the other side of 23rd St., an Ethiopian restaurant called Harar Mesob. Anyone tried either one yet?

We live in the neighborhood and have been to both.

Enjera is a lovely and lively place. The staff was pleasant and efficient. But I found the food a bit bland for our taste.

Harar Mesob is as good as any I've had locally. My current favorite is Dukem, but this is nearly as good, if not a little better. We were big Addis Ababa fans when it was on 18th, but the Silver Spring location has seemed a little dull.

My only wish from Harar Mesob would be sambussas, and a little more comprehension from the staff. Our favorite dish is Mesir Wat (the spicy red lentils); at first we tried to order the vegetarian combo "for two", but when it arrived it became clear that the server didn't understand that we meant two whole orders. So then we tried to order a "whole order" of Mesir Wat, but again, we couldn't get our point across. We also had trouble getting enough injera for the meal - when we requested a bit more (with more than half our dinner left on the plate), we received one half of one bread (for two people). I think they might all be new place issues that I assume will be resolved when the place is open a little longer. The server seemed shocked when we ordered the Wat, and more shocked when I asked for extra Awaze.

But the food was really, really good. The beef Wat was particularly amazing as well. We're Ethiopian food junkies, and at times have it more than once a week.

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Anyone know what's going on at 1414 9th Street NW? Tyler Cowen's web site lists it as an Ethiopian buffet called Habesha (albeit in 2006), but it looks loungier than any buffet I've ever seen and there's a sconce outside that may or not be a "V."

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My favorite is Lalibela on 14th St., at the intersection of straight lines from the dupont and mcpherson square metros.

Sister is coming to visit in a couple weeks and she's got a hankerin' for Ethiopian food. Anybody else recommend Lalibela (it's real close to my apt) or should we just walk up to Dukem?

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Sister is coming to visit in a couple weeks and she's got a hankerin' for Ethiopian food. Anybody else recommend Lalibela (it's real close to my apt) or should we just walk up to Dukem?
I used to eat at Lalibela when I lived in the neighborhood. It's not bad, but I prefer Dukem or Etete.
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I'm fairly current on area Ethiopian, but not up-to-the-minute current: Is there any reason I shouldn't go to either Etete or Queen Makeda tonight? Any other suggestions?

This has probably never been asked before, but do either allow BYOB with corkage? (Yes, yes, I know, there's this thing called a telephone...)

Thanks!

Rocks

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I'm fairly current on area Ethiopian, but not up-to-the-minute current: Is there any reason I shouldn't go to either Etete or Queen Makeda tonight? Any other suggestions?

This has probably never been asked before, but do either allow BYOB with corkage? (Yes, yes, I know, there's this thing called a telephone...)

Thanks!

Rocks

I had a very good meal at Etete this weekend, no reason not to stop by there tonight or any other.

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Any other suggestions?

I am quite partial to Madjet at the moment. Menu's short though, and all vegetable, lamb and beef - no chicken. (There may be fish, but since I don't eat it, I don't remember.)

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Zed's Ethiopian was the chef demonstration at the Penn Quarter market today and it turns out they've opened another location in Gainesville, VA:

Zed's Bistro/Wine Bar

6850 Piedmont Center Plaza (Bldg C)

Gainesville, VA 20169

571-261-5933

Menu here.

Too bad about Zed's. Possibly the first Ethiopian to have proper injera. Loved my kids. Serious spices.

Hasn't been worth a damn since they moved out of their original location, though.

We like to go to Zenebech these days, though the lack of on-license is unfortunate (sometimes they'll let you senak a beer in a Styrofoam cup) and the ambience could be challenging for some (you're basically eating in a convenience store).

On the other hand, the steady parade of convenience store and restaurant owners buying injera by the stackload, and the cabbies and the moms just stocking up on dinner in gredients and serious spices is reassuring. And the food's been quite good on recent visits.

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what's the best on 9th st. these days?

Any recent experiences worth sharing? 7 of us are going to hit an Ethiopian place for dinner this Friday night, either on 9th or U. I've always been happy with Dukem but my last meal there was a little dull. Besides Etete, what else is fresh and good in the area?

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Any recent experiences worth sharing? 7 of us are going to hit an Ethiopian place for dinner this Friday night, either on 9th or U. I've always been happy with Dukem but my last meal there was a little dull. Besides Etete, what else is fresh and good in the area?

Todd Kliman has mentioned another place lately that he likes. Despite the fact he's mentioned it more than once in recent chats, I can't seem to bring the information up, but I need sleep badly. Maybe a more alert person can find it by searching his chats. (He's the only person I've seen mention this place.)

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Todd Kliman has mentioned another place lately that he likes. Despite the fact he's mentioned it more than once in recent chats, I can't seem to bring the information up, but I need sleep badly. Maybe a more alert person can find it by searching his chats. (He's the only person I've seen mention this place.)

here's the exchange:

Alexandria, VA:

Hi, I know that you've recommended Etete for Ethiopian dining. Any idea if Meskerem is just as good?

Todd Kliman:

Meskerem is not just as good.

If you're looking for another Ethiopian restaurant in the city, I'd recommend Madjet, on U St. It's not as good as Etete, either -- the cooking tends to be heavier -- but it's good, and a fantastic experience in addition because of the tight quarters and the lively atmosphere. Service is more approachable and personable, too, than Etete.

I also like Axum, one of the stalwarts of DC's Ethiopian dining scene. Axum has been around a long, long time.

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For those in VA who don't wish to schlep into DC on a weeknight for good Ethiopian, try Caboose Cafe in Del Ray (run by Ethiopian family - they make small batches of Ethiopian food, so everything is really fresh-tasting) or Meaza @ Bailey's Crossroads. Of course, it's worth following that up with a trip to Dama for dessert. You'll have to jockey with the cab drivers for a parking spot, but sooooo worth it!

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Bumpity - what is the best place to go these days? Have a hankerin' for doro wat but don't know where in DC!

Since my post above, I've been back to Dukem twice and each time had very good food. Dukem has had its ups and downs over the years but I think they're putting out some lovely food these days.

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Bumpity - what is the best place to go these days? Have a hankerin' for doro wat but don't know where in DC!

I've been really enjoying Little Ethiopia lately - it's on 9th St NW, downstairs, on the west side of the street, between T and U Streets.

Madjet on U Street is still good too.

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Last night, I was chagrined to realize that I haven't eaten Ethiopian in DC for at least a year or more. But I've got people coming into town next week who I'd like to introduce to it. What's the scene like nowadays? Who's at the top of his game? Is Ethiopic really worth the extra cost? (And the schlep across the city??) (I'm so provincial.) Even though my guests are first timers to Ethiopian food, they won't need to be handled with kid gloves. Thanks!

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Last night, I was chagrined to realize that I haven't eaten Ethiopian in DC for at least a year or more. But I've got people coming into town next week who I'd like to introduce to it. What's the scene like nowadays? Who's at the top of his game? Is Ethiopic really worth the extra cost? (And the schlep across the city??) (I'm so provincial.) Even though my guests are first timers to Ethiopian food, they won't need to be handled with kid gloves. Thanks!

I really like Ethiopic after two very good experiences. They can really amp up the spice levels if you ask. The quality of the meat in their beef dishes seems really high. It's very tender. I don't find it very expensive, but I haven't been to Etete lately, which may be the closest comparison, so I'm not sure about pricing differences. Ethiopic had better service in my experience, and a better adult beverage selection. We take the X2 bus from H and wherever we are...McPherson Square, Metro Center or China town. It's pretty convenient. It's also just a few blocks from Union Station overe the Hop Scotch bridge, so you could park in Union Station and walk.
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Are there Ethiopian restaurants that do not use wheat flour in their injera? I was excited to see an Ethiopian restaurant open in Fairfax, only to be crushed when I read that they use wheat flour in the injera to make it more acceptable to American palates. As a gluten-intolerant diner, I would love to try Ethiopian cuisine (I never have), but I fear the bread.

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Are there Ethiopian restaurants that do not use wheat flour in their injera? I was excited to see an Ethiopian restaurant open in Fairfax, only to be crushed when I read that they use wheat flour in the injera to make it more acceptable to American palates. As a gluten-intolerant diner, I would love to try Ethiopian cuisine (I never have), but I fear the bread.

Upon request, Meaza on Columbia Pike will serve "brown bread", a mostly-teff variety.

Even an all-teff bread will have traces of wheat flour from within-restaurant contamination. It should help significantly, though, if you are mostly, but not completely, avoiding gluten.

P.S. Yum.

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Upon request, Meaza on Columbia Pike will serve "brown bread", a mostly-teff variety.

Even an all-teff bread will have traces of wheat flour from within-restaurant contamination. It should help significantly, though, if you are mostly, but not completely, avoiding gluten.

P.S. Yum.

I had it there a few weeks ago. I can't guarantee it doesn't have any wheat, but it sure is a nice change of pace from the DC standard.

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I too have been thinking about trying Ethiopian with my new-to-the-area in-laws. We'd also be bringing a 16 month old though - who's pretty good in restaurants, as long as it's the kind of restaurant where we can bring a young one: relatively quick service (or at least service that keeps the food/drinks coming), a room that's a little louder, tables not necessarily on top of one another (I mention the latter based on the "tight quarters" comment re: Madjet), etc. Not looking for anything trendy so much as authentic and welcoming to kids and novices...

FWIW - I'm sure we'd be early-birds - we always are these days :)

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I too have been thinking about trying Ethiopian with my new-to-the-area in-laws. We'd also be bringing a 16 month old though - who's pretty good in restaurants, as long as it's the kind of restaurant where we can bring a young one: relatively quick service (or at least service that keeps the food/drinks coming), a room that's a little louder, tables not necessarily on top of one another (I mention the latter based on the "tight quarters" comment re: Madjet), etc. Not looking for anything trendy so much as authentic and welcoming to kids and novices...

FWIW - I'm sure we'd be early-birds - we always are these days :)

There have been children in Ethopic both times we were there!
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What's the scene like nowadays? Who's at the top of his game? Is Ethiopic really worth the extra cost? (And the schlep across the city??) (I'm so provincial.)

I really like Ethiopic after two very good experiences. They can really amp up the spice levels if you ask. The quality of the meat in their beef dishes seems really high. It's very tender. I don't find it very expensive, but I haven't been to Etete lately, which may be the closest comparison, so I'm not sure about pricing differences. Ethiopic had better service in my experience, and a better adult beverage selection.

I found Ethiopic to be a bit expensive compared to Meaza or Etete (it's that darn price-to-portion ratio!), I think. However, this is based a single visit a few weeks back. I do agree the quality of their beef is higher than some of the other Ethiopian places, based on my friend's order of her kitfo, so go there if that point is very important to you.

The Ethiopian staff at my parking garage recommends Etete or Meaza (and Dukem still), fwiw.

There have been children in Ethopic both times we were there!

Yes! Little man was happily noshing the one time I went too and kept in good company with many families indoors and out on their outdoor seating area. Same at Meaza too. I really miss Queen Makeda, as the two times I went with little man when he was an infant/toddler, their staff happily played with him a lot.

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I too have been thinking about trying Ethiopian with my new-to-the-area in-laws. We'd also be bringing a 16 month old though - who's pretty good in restaurants, as long as it's the kind of restaurant where we can bring a young one: relatively quick service (or at least service that keeps the food/drinks coming), a room that's a little louder, tables not necessarily on top of one another (I mention the latter based on the "tight quarters" comment re: Madjet), etc. Not looking for anything trendy so much as authentic and welcoming to kids and novices...

FWIW - I'm sure we'd be early-birds - we always are these days :)

Most Ethiopian restaurants are pretty kid-friendly. The easiest that we have found, though, is Queen of Sheeba, and the most difficult is Etete.

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I want to eat Ethiopian food this weekend. But... Little Etihopia is closed. Last time we went to Queen of Sheba it was nowhere near as good as it used to be. Madjet is closed. Etete is fine, but a bit crowded. Same for Dukem. Ethiopic is fine, but crowded and we aren't really planning to be on that side of town.

So, help? We like kitfo (raw! They cooked it last time at Queen of Sheba. Not nice. Pile of ground beef.) Sambusas are also a favorite. Other things, well, we will try many different things. We like to try a variety of food.

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I want to eat Ethiopian food this weekend. But... Little Etihopia is closed. Last time we went to Queen of Sheba it was nowhere near as good as it used to be. Madjet is closed. Etete is fine, but a bit crowded. Same for Dukem. Ethiopic is fine, but crowded and we aren't really planning to be on that side of town.

So, help? We like kitfo (raw! They cooked it last time at Queen of Sheba. Not nice. Pile of ground beef.) Sambusas are also a favorite. Other things, well, we will try many different things. We like to try a variety of food.

I had good raw kitfo at Meaza in Bailey's Crossroads a couple months ago. (For selfish reasons, I'd like someone to try Langano in Silver Spring!)

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So, help? We like kitfo (raw! They cooked it last time at Queen of Sheba. Not nice. Pile of ground beef.) Sambusas are also a favorite. Other things, well, we will try many different things. We like to try a variety of food.

Had some great (raw) Kitfo at Dama in Arlington and the tibs were great too. A recent convo with a cab driver about the best Kitfo in town spurned the visit. Supposedly the region the owner is from is known for their Kitfo.

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Last night, I was chagrined to realize that I haven't eaten Ethiopian in DC for at least a year or more. But I've got people coming into town next week who I'd like to introduce to it. What's the scene like nowadays? Who's at the top of his game? Is Ethiopic really worth the extra cost? (And the schlep across the city??) (I'm so provincial.) Even though my guests are first timers to Ethiopian food, they won't need to be handled with kid gloves. Thanks!

I'm sorry I didn't report back on this, but I found out that one of my houseguests was a serious OCD germophobe, which ruled out eating with our hands, so no Ethiopian. But I'm excited to get back to eating it myself soon and will let you know (even if I don't end up schlepping my provincial butt out to H Street...).

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I'm sorry I didn't report back on this, but I found out that one of my houseguests was a serious OCD germophobe, which ruled out eating with our hands, so no Ethiopian. But I'm excited to get back to eating it myself soon and will let you know (even if I don't end up schlepping my provincial butt out to H Street...).

Yes, it's always nice when the OP follows up (much appreciated by me, as it makes a "complete" vignette), but even when something like this happens, future members will be able to use it as a resource. Thanks for answering back, qwertyy (and I'm still looking for a test rat for Langano - I haven't been in years).

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and I'm still looking for a test rat for Langano - I haven't been in years

It's been about 2 years since I've been to Langano. I tried both Abol and Addis Ababa around the corner, and found them both superior, so I stopped going to Langano. Then Abol seemed to slip, so Addis Ababa remains my choice in Silver Spring.

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I don't know good Ethopian food from bad, but as an FYI a new restaurant appears to have opened in the spot (briefly) occupied by Sangam on Columbia Pike a couple doors down from Thai Square. I have no idea how long it has been there, but sign says Ethiopian food so there you have it. I hope they have better luck then previous tenants.

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