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A pile of awaze tibs — an Ethiopian braised beef dish — is served in a bowl with two rolls of injera and a small salad.
Awaze tibs at Abyssinian Kitchen.
Daniel Barnett/Eater Portland

Where to Find Exceptional Ethiopian Food in Portland

From misir wot to house-made ayib 

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Awaze tibs at Abyssinian Kitchen.
| Daniel Barnett/Eater Portland

Tucked among Portland’s countless food carts and restaurants, a handful of Ethiopian and Eritrean kitchens craft thoughtful stews, collard greens, and lentils fragrant with the region’s spice blends, like earthy berbere or piquant mitmita. As the weather chills, the warm, layered stews and sauces of the countries’ cuisines make for exceptional fall fare. Portland’s Habesha or Abyssinian enclaves reside primarily in the Northeastern corridor along Martin Luther King Jr between Fremont and Ainsworth, but also include a few spots just south of the hub. Regardless of location, expect to order an eclectic mix of dishes to scoop with injera, the quintessential spongy flatbread. Those looking for more East African fare can check out Somali restaurant Alleamin African Kitchen, within the food hall Rocket Empire Machine; alternatively, the new Kenyan cart Maisha is a smart choice for vegans.

Note: Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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E'Njoni Cafe

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A must-visit for the newbie or the indecisive, this Killingsworth Ethiopian and Mediterranean spot’s bright atmosphere, with sunny yellow walls covered in art, matches the restaurant’s cheerful use of spice and aromatics. Visitors should try the curried cabbage alicha, an aromatic stew, and chickpea-laden bamia, an okra stew, alongside a mix of falafel.

Enat Kitchen Restaurant

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Just a stone’s throw from E’Njoni Cafe, Enat Kitchen dishes out an extensive mix of vegan, vegetarian, and meat-centric entrees, from the garlicky collard green dish gomen to buttery minced beef. The traditional stewed lamb arrives rich with berbere, a spice blend of red chili powder, garlic, nigella, and fenugreek. Enat also offers a nice scale of combination plates, ranging from individual samplers of wots to full-on family meals.

Queen of Sheba Restaurant

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The casual-but-lively Queen of Sheba introduced unfamiliar Portlanders to Ethiopian food when it opened in the ’90s, quickly snagging local accolades and distributing injera, berbere, and other Ethiopian imports at markets around town. While a good number of Ethiopian restaurants in Portland hew cautious with their use of spice, Queen of Sheba doesn’t play around; all dishes arrive at a solid medium-hot. Those who can’t handle the heat should order mild dishes like an aromatic alicha. Conversely, heat-seekers can expect a real kick by ordering dishes like tibbsi kinttishara, sauteed mushrooms in a spicy berbere sauce.

Sengatera Ethiopian Restaurant

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Sengatera celebrates Ethiopian culture through food and drink service, but the spot was also known as a place to see live Ethiopian music on the weekends. Menu highlights include bozena shirobeef stewed with ground chickpeas, spicy berbere, and various aromatics, as well as the vegetarian chickpea dish shiro. 

Aberus Restaurant

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This no-frills Ethiopian spot comes with welcoming and attentive service from the get-go. Ethiopian incense looms throughout the restaurant as the family-run kitchen turns out traditional platters, like the Aberus combination sampler with a taste of the most popular meat and vegetarian options. The Killingsworth restaurant also offers a variety of preparations of kitfo, an Ethiopian spiced, minced beef often served raw; beyond the raw preparation, visitors can find it with sauteed collard greens or dulet kitfo, which combines the dish with other offal, jalapeno, and onion.

Bole Ethiopian Restaurant

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One of Portland’s older Ethiopian destinations sits snugly on Alberta Street with a bright green exterior. While the color grabs attention, the mere 28-seat Bole, formerly known as Gojo, is a cozier space laced with brightly colored dresses and scarves hung from the ceiling and walls. Start with the restaurant’s version of kitfo, which arrives alongside house-made ayib cheese. Both the key wot and alicha wot here make for worthy successors, earthy and just a touch sweet with a nice nuance of spice.

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Our takeout meal from Bole Ethiopian Restaurant in the Alberta Arts District was delicious and nourishing. The split peas and lentils provided plenty of protein and all those rainbow colors filled us with a multitude of health-promoting phytonutrients. ⁣ ⁣ We enjoyed this wonderful vegan dish:⁣ ⁣ Vegetarian Combo, which consisted of the following (clockwise from top):⁣ ⁣ Defin Miser Wot – whole brown lentils simmered in a mild sauce and seasoned with spices and herbs⁣ ⁣ Pureed Beets – not on the menu but sweet and delicious⁣ ⁣ Gomen – fresh collard greens simmered in a mild sauce and seasoned with spices and herbs⁣ ⁣ Shiro Wot – pureed split peas cooked with red onions and garlic⁣ ⁣ Fosolia - green beans lightly spiced and sauteed with carrots⁣ ⁣ Atakilit Alicha – fresh cabbage and carrots simmered in a flavorful mild sauce⁣ ⁣ Miser Key Wot - pureed split red lentils simmered with onions, spicy berbere, and seasonings (center)⁣ ⁣ For more ideas on dining out in Portland, Oregon and beyond, here are some resources: www.pdxveg.org/dining-out. *Link to website in bio*⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #BlackOwnedBusiness #blackownedbusinesspdx #supportblackownedbusinesses #supportblackowned #ethiopianfood #ethiopianeats, #ethiopianrestaurant #injera #veganfoodshare #whatveganseat #ethiopian #pdxvegchallenge #veganforhealth #veganfortheanimals #veganfortheplanet #portlandfood #eattherainbow #vegancommunity #veganethiopian #veganlifestyle #eatportland #pdxeats #veganpdx #pdxvegan #veganethiopianfood #veganeats #quarantinetakeout #shoplocalpdx #supportlocalbusiness

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Abyssinian Kitchen

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She’s back, baby: Once an Eater Portland stalwart, Abyssinian Kitchen closed in its Southeast Portland home in 2020, but the restaurant has reopened on Northeast Alberta, serving many of the dishes that made it famous. While the restaurant is now in a more traditional dining room, the restaurant’s kilwa beggie — sauteed lamb and onions, ideally served with the restaurant’s layered berbere sauce — is as good as ever. Shiro b’Tsahli, or ground, roasted chickpeas slow-simmered in a clay pot, is another must-order.

Bete-Lukas Ethiopian Restaurant

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Just above street level, Bete-Lukas was known for its fine-dining feel with white tablecloths and linen napkins. The eggplant tibs — a term for sautéed or stewed cubes of meat and vegetables — are a distinct switch-up from the typical vegetarian suspects. The asa goulash is a hit, too, with smoky berbere coating pieces of tender white fish.

Gebeta Ethiopian Bar & Restaurant

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Off the beaten track near Portland Meadows, this black-and-neon bar also serves a strong lineup of Ethiopian standards, including tender beef and collard green dish gomen besiga and an allium-laden alicha wot. Gebeta’s take on bozena shiro is particularly nice, layered with berbere, as is the kitfo — for those who want theirs cooked.

Sisters Ethiopian Restaurant

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While Sisters doesn’t offer an extensive menu, it more than makes up for it with the amount of flavor packed into each dish. The restaurant’s veggie combo is an excellent way to try both its spicier misir wot, creamy with red lentils, and the mild alicha kik, sunny with yellow split peas. A rich take on minchet abish is another strong option.

Try Me Ethiopian Cuisine

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Located in Gresham Town Fair, Try Me Ethiopian’s cozy space is a respite within the hustle of the busy outdoor mall. The kitfo can be ordered raw, medium or well done, served with gomen and mitmita, and is a worthy partner to Try Me Ethiopian’s house-made ayib. The restaurant’s yebeg wot, a spiced and braised lamb, is certainly worth an order, for those who like lamb.

E'Njoni Cafe

A must-visit for the newbie or the indecisive, this Killingsworth Ethiopian and Mediterranean spot’s bright atmosphere, with sunny yellow walls covered in art, matches the restaurant’s cheerful use of spice and aromatics. Visitors should try the curried cabbage alicha, an aromatic stew, and chickpea-laden bamia, an okra stew, alongside a mix of falafel.

Enat Kitchen Restaurant

Just a stone’s throw from E’Njoni Cafe, Enat Kitchen dishes out an extensive mix of vegan, vegetarian, and meat-centric entrees, from the garlicky collard green dish gomen to buttery minced beef. The traditional stewed lamb arrives rich with berbere, a spice blend of red chili powder, garlic, nigella, and fenugreek. Enat also offers a nice scale of combination plates, ranging from individual samplers of wots to full-on family meals.

Queen of Sheba Restaurant

The casual-but-lively Queen of Sheba introduced unfamiliar Portlanders to Ethiopian food when it opened in the ’90s, quickly snagging local accolades and distributing injera, berbere, and other Ethiopian imports at markets around town. While a good number of Ethiopian restaurants in Portland hew cautious with their use of spice, Queen of Sheba doesn’t play around; all dishes arrive at a solid medium-hot. Those who can’t handle the heat should order mild dishes like an aromatic alicha. Conversely, heat-seekers can expect a real kick by ordering dishes like tibbsi kinttishara, sauteed mushrooms in a spicy berbere sauce.

Sengatera Ethiopian Restaurant

Sengatera celebrates Ethiopian culture through food and drink service, but the spot was also known as a place to see live Ethiopian music on the weekends. Menu highlights include bozena shirobeef stewed with ground chickpeas, spicy berbere, and various aromatics, as well as the vegetarian chickpea dish shiro. 

Aberus Restaurant

This no-frills Ethiopian spot comes with welcoming and attentive service from the get-go. Ethiopian incense looms throughout the restaurant as the family-run kitchen turns out traditional platters, like the Aberus combination sampler with a taste of the most popular meat and vegetarian options. The Killingsworth restaurant also offers a variety of preparations of kitfo, an Ethiopian spiced, minced beef often served raw; beyond the raw preparation, visitors can find it with sauteed collard greens or dulet kitfo, which combines the dish with other offal, jalapeno, and onion.

Bole Ethiopian Restaurant

One of Portland’s older Ethiopian destinations sits snugly on Alberta Street with a bright green exterior. While the color grabs attention, the mere 28-seat Bole, formerly known as Gojo, is a cozier space laced with brightly colored dresses and scarves hung from the ceiling and walls. Start with the restaurant’s version of kitfo, which arrives alongside house-made ayib cheese. Both the key wot and alicha wot here make for worthy successors, earthy and just a touch sweet with a nice nuance of spice.

View this post on Instagram

Our takeout meal from Bole Ethiopian Restaurant in the Alberta Arts District was delicious and nourishing. The split peas and lentils provided plenty of protein and all those rainbow colors filled us with a multitude of health-promoting phytonutrients. ⁣ ⁣ We enjoyed this wonderful vegan dish:⁣ ⁣ Vegetarian Combo, which consisted of the following (clockwise from top):⁣ ⁣ Defin Miser Wot – whole brown lentils simmered in a mild sauce and seasoned with spices and herbs⁣ ⁣ Pureed Beets – not on the menu but sweet and delicious⁣ ⁣ Gomen – fresh collard greens simmered in a mild sauce and seasoned with spices and herbs⁣ ⁣ Shiro Wot – pureed split peas cooked with red onions and garlic⁣ ⁣ Fosolia - green beans lightly spiced and sauteed with carrots⁣ ⁣ Atakilit Alicha – fresh cabbage and carrots simmered in a flavorful mild sauce⁣ ⁣ Miser Key Wot - pureed split red lentils simmered with onions, spicy berbere, and seasonings (center)⁣ ⁣ For more ideas on dining out in Portland, Oregon and beyond, here are some resources: www.pdxveg.org/dining-out. *Link to website in bio*⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #BlackOwnedBusiness #blackownedbusinesspdx #supportblackownedbusinesses #supportblackowned #ethiopianfood #ethiopianeats, #ethiopianrestaurant #injera #veganfoodshare #whatveganseat #ethiopian #pdxvegchallenge #veganforhealth #veganfortheanimals #veganfortheplanet #portlandfood #eattherainbow #vegancommunity #veganethiopian #veganlifestyle #eatportland #pdxeats #veganpdx #pdxvegan #veganethiopianfood #veganeats #quarantinetakeout #shoplocalpdx #supportlocalbusiness

A post shared by PDX VEG (@pdxvegchallenge) on

Abyssinian Kitchen

She’s back, baby: Once an Eater Portland stalwart, Abyssinian Kitchen closed in its Southeast Portland home in 2020, but the restaurant has reopened on Northeast Alberta, serving many of the dishes that made it famous. While the restaurant is now in a more traditional dining room, the restaurant’s kilwa beggie — sauteed lamb and onions, ideally served with the restaurant’s layered berbere sauce — is as good as ever. Shiro b’Tsahli, or ground, roasted chickpeas slow-simmered in a clay pot, is another must-order.

Bete-Lukas Ethiopian Restaurant

Just above street level, Bete-Lukas was known for its fine-dining feel with white tablecloths and linen napkins. The eggplant tibs — a term for sautéed or stewed cubes of meat and vegetables — are a distinct switch-up from the typical vegetarian suspects. The asa goulash is a hit, too, with smoky berbere coating pieces of tender white fish.

Gebeta Ethiopian Bar & Restaurant

Off the beaten track near Portland Meadows, this black-and-neon bar also serves a strong lineup of Ethiopian standards, including tender beef and collard green dish gomen besiga and an allium-laden alicha wot. Gebeta’s take on bozena shiro is particularly nice, layered with berbere, as is the kitfo — for those who want theirs cooked.

Sisters Ethiopian Restaurant

While Sisters doesn’t offer an extensive menu, it more than makes up for it with the amount of flavor packed into each dish. The restaurant’s veggie combo is an excellent way to try both its spicier misir wot, creamy with red lentils, and the mild alicha kik, sunny with yellow split peas. A rich take on minchet abish is another strong option.

Try Me Ethiopian Cuisine

Located in Gresham Town Fair, Try Me Ethiopian’s cozy space is a respite within the hustle of the busy outdoor mall. The kitfo can be ordered raw, medium or well done, served with gomen and mitmita, and is a worthy partner to Try Me Ethiopian’s house-made ayib. The restaurant’s yebeg wot, a spiced and braised lamb, is certainly worth an order, for those who like lamb.

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