Unlike the vast majority of international cuisines represented in the US, Ethiopian cuisine has predominantly remained under Ethiopian ownership. These incredible eateries are often family-owned and operated, gaining a loyal patronage of locals with never-ending injera and comforting vegetable and lentil stews. Here are just 14 of the many vegan-friendly Ethiopian restaurants across the US. Show your support of independent and Black-owned businesses and fill your belly with the nourishing food from your local spot. 

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1. Abyssinia, Anaheim, CA
Tucked away in the corner of a strip mall off a busy Orange County intersection, this spot attracts crowds for celebrations as well as intimate date nights. While there are multiple vegan options to choose from (everything labeled “vegetarian” is also vegan), the Vegetarian Special offers the most variety and bang for your buck. The highlight of this combination is the shiro—a silky smooth spiced blend of powdered chickpeas. You won’t find it at every Ethiopian restaurant, which makes Abyssinia stand out from the crowd. 


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2. Tadu Ethiopian Kitchen, San Francisco, CA
Despite having two locations, this amazing eatery often falls under the radar of vegan locals and tourists alike. If we lived in the city, we’d easily order takeout from Tadu at least once a week. Popular vegan-friendly items include the firfir (sliced injera mixed with berbere spices and vegetables), eggplant tibs, and the all-encompassing Vegetarian Combo. 


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3. Fedeel Bistro, Atlanta, GA 
Named by Atlanta Magazine as “one of the best vegan meals around,” this one-year-old Ethiopian restaurant hedges out its neighboring competition after becoming the third Ethiopian spot on a single intersection in 2019. It’s a bit fancier and the options (both meat and vegan) are slightly more limited in comparison to its neighbors, but the quality is unmatched. The Vegan Sampler is the obvious choice, but there’s one item here you won’t find elsewhere—Ye’shembra Asa—chickpea biscuits smothered in a spicy sauce. You’ll want a full order the second time you visit. 


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4. Tana Ethiopian Restaurant, Anaheim, CA
Injera is always plentiful at an Ethiopian restaurant, but at Tana, one to-go order comes with enough injera for two. We’re not complaining. Pro tip: the best way to save leftover injera is to freeze it. To thaw, the Tana owners advise to pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds or until warm. 


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5. Awash Ethiopian Restaurant, San Diego, CA
California’s southernmost county has its fair share of Ethiopian restaurants, but the vegans rave about the options at Awash. The Vegetarian Combination includes all the vegetable hits in addition to injera (which is also available gluten-free). The lentils, yellow split peas, shiro, collard greens, cabbage, and carrot dishes displayed on open-faced injera will make you crave Ethiopian like you never have before. 


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6. Awash Ethiopian Restaurant, Miami, FL
This isn’t a chain, it’s merely a coincidence. The name Awash refers to a significant river in Ethiopia, and it just so happens these two restaurant owners think alike both in naming their business and leaning into plant-based offerings. Order the Awash Vegetarian Combination to sample it all, and if you find that you favor a specific dish, you can ask for a side of that option instead of ordering a full entrée of it. 


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7. Azla Vegan, Los Angeles, CA
When a vegan restaurant appears on The Food Network hit show, Guys Grocery Games, it deserves to be on every foodie’s must-visit bucket list. The Abegaze family is at the helm of the operation. As of June 2020, the restaurant is limited to family meal-style takeout, so get your orders in! Pick-ups are on Fridays and Saturdays from Noon-2pm. 


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8. Bunna Cafe, Brooklyn, NY
Residents of all five boroughs flock to this vegan Ethiopian spot in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. The menu is extensive and offers both a la carte and combination platters for one, two, three, and seven people. Those unfamiliar with the cuisine can rest easy, as each menu item is accompanied by a picture and a detailed description. Every dish is delightful, but the kesir selata (chilled beets, carrots, and potatoes) and enguday tibs (cremini mushrooms sauteed with spices) are a must.  


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9. Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine, Los Angeles, CA
Right at home in the Los Angeles neighborhood known as Little Ethiopia, Rahel’s distinguishes itself as completely vegan. The menu does not lack for variety, though. Spare yourself the major indecision and sample it all with the Special Combination Dishes. You’ll get your fill (and then some) of the various stews, salads, and vegetable dishes that are available on the a la carte menu. If you can, choose to dine in instead of ordering takeout—the atmosphere is part of the experience. 


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10. Enat Kitchen, Portland, OR
Promising recipes “straight out of Mama’s kitchen,” Enat offers something for all diners. While meat is offered on the menu, vegan options make up about half of the choices—from the azifa fitfit appetizer (injera mixed with lentils, olive oil, chili pepper, and onions) to the dedicated vegan entrée menu. 


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11. Aster’s Ethiopian Restaurant, Austin, TX
Austin is home to a few vegan-friendly Ethiopian spots, but Aster’s has been a family-owned institution since 1991. The menu works a bit differently than other places—instead of offering a la carte options, customers choose one dish as the main and three others that serve as sides. No need to fuss over the decision, you can’t go wrong.  


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12. Major Restaurant, Indianapolis, IN
This burgeoning food city may not be known for its exhaustive vegan options, but plant-based eaters can find both exceptional quality and variety at this locally loved Ethiopian restaurant. The extensive vegetarian (and all vegan) selection is moderately priced and includes “spicy” indications for those with a sensitive palate. 


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13. Demera Ethiopian Restaurant, Chicago, IL
While Chicago-style pizza gets all the hype from out-of-towners, local vegans know some of the best plant-based eats are at Demera. Vegan-friendly offerings include the usual Ethiopian vegetable-based fare—misir wot, gomen, kik alicha, injera—but customers with a sweet tooth also have the option of ordering the basil-lime sorbet to complete the meal. 


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14. Bolé Ethiopian Cuisine, Minneapolis, MN
Co-founded by Solomon Hailie and Rekik Abineh, this vegan-friendly restaurant was named after the neighborhood the pair grew up in. Their menu provides plentiful options for the vegan crowd—from the classic combination platter to a la carte fasolia (green beans, carrots, and tomatoes), miser (split lentils), tiquel gomen (cabbage, carrots, and onions), house salad, and more. As versatile as its menu, the restaurant is great for takeout or a cozy date night.

Tanya Flink is a Digital Editor at VegNews as well as a writer and runner living in Orange County, CA.

Photo credit: Azla Vegan

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