It’s been years since I have eaten in an Ethiopian restaurant that I wasn’t sure what to expect. Abyssinia in Edgewater is right next door to another Ethiopian restaurant. So you might get confused, they are not connected and although both Ethiopian they are very different. The restaurant next door has live music and was pretty crowded. Abyssinia is quieter and has soft music. However, the place did fill-up pretty quickly.
Unfortunately the night I was there (with 7 other friends) was the night some of the wait staff were gone (unexpectedly) and so there was one waitress for the whole place. The first round of drinks and appetizer of beef and chicken sambusas did come quickly and were very good.
Dinner: *Tibs Sampler: A combination of zilzil tibs (beef ), doro tibs (chicken), yebeg tibs (lamb), tikel gomen (sliced cabbage and carrots ) and misser (lentils) and gomen (collard greens). Everything that came with the sampler was very good. The meat was cooked perfectly and juicy. Each type of meat was in its own marinade, chicken with fresh lemon juice, garlic sauteed with onion, tumeric and green pepper. The tumeric giving it the bright yellow color. Beef with fresh garlic, sautéed with peppers an onions. Lamb with garlic, ginger and other spices.
You eat with your hands using the injera bread. Injera is a “flatbread made from the grain, teff, native to only Ethiopia, use it to scoop up your food by tearing off pieces of the spongy bread. Usually served in a colorful basket, it also sits under your food to soak up all the delicious juices.” The bread by itself is a bit sour but when combined with food it completely makes sense.
*Tibs are sautéed chunks of strips of Poultry, Lamb or Beef. It has been likened in style to fajitas.
If you are not familiar with Ethiopian food getting a sampler platter is the best way to go. They have a vegetarian platter as well.
The entrées took forever. The owner (or manager, not sure which) did come out and explain that they were short-staffed and everything is cooked to order so takes longer. I was glad to know what was going on and that the food would be fresh. The food is worth trying but the wait was really too long so I can only recommend this place dependent on the time you go. I would say go to Abyssinia for breakfast or lunch rather than dinner. If you go for dinner Mon-Wed would probably be your best bet.
They have wine and a variety of beers from Ethiopia and Kenya. It is also BYOB. I liked the Tusker beer I had from Kenya. The St. George seemed to be a favorite at the table.