8 must-try Ethiopian restaurants and cafes in Philadelphia

Our favorite Ethiopian restaurants in the city for freshly roasted coffee, tibs, fresh injera, collard greens and lentil stews.

Alif Brew & Mini Mart | Facebook

From a culinary standpoint, there is so much to love about West Philadelphia, but we’re especially fond of the variety of Ethiopian restaurants to be found west of the Schuylkill. Many of these businesses have been around for decades, and many are essential community gathering places. Whether you are a newbie or have enjoyed these restaurants for years, let it remind you to eat more injera, tibs, sambusas and more. These are our favorite places in West Philadelphia to eat Ethiopian food.

If you’ve heard of an Ethiopian place in West Philly, it’s probably Abyssinia. It is beloved for so many reasons, including the upstairs cocktail bar Fiume, which has not reopened since the COVID hit (but will hopefully make a comeback in the near future). University students and West Philadelphiaers flock here for affordable food, friendly service, and large portions perfect for sharing.

Alif Brew & Mini Mart
Alif is a place for all hours. In the morning, stop for a coffee prepared with their house roasted beans and accompany it with foul, a bean stew that will fill you up all morning. For lunch, grab an injera wrap stuffed with chicken, beef or vegetables. Stop for dinner and grab a platter of spicy chicken stew, served with rice and your choice of vegetarian sides.

Cafe Buna
Buna is a newcomer. They opened in 2020 and have carved out a place for themselves by serving a vegan and vegetarian-heavy menu. But we’re especially obsessed with their brunch, which features Ethiopian classics like stewed injera with a BLT breakfast and chicken and waffles.

Dahlak is an Eri-Ethiopian place where you can have an excellent cocktail to accompany your tibs, and where they regularly host live music. The outdoor patio invites you to go out on a summer evening.

Philly loves a cheesesteak. We also love a riff on a cheesesteak, which is why the Ethiopian version of Gojjo on the beloved sandwich is so popular. The juicy beef sandwich is sprinkled with an Ethiopian spice blend and served with fries. Oh, and they’re also making a chicken version that rivals the original.

Cafe Salam
A brand new combination of Middle Eastern / Ethiopian restaurant with scrambled eggs with spices in the morning, plates of okra and lamb stewed for lunch and for dinner, giant and colorful plates of injera and stewed vegetables . (Plus, there’s a dedicated retail space and cafe for all your typing and moving needs.)

Kaffa crossing
Another place that does it all day is Kaffa Crossing – great fair trade Ethiopian coffee in a cozy environment with strong wifi, plus an all-day breakfast menu of simple dishes like boiled eggs. injera, a spicy, homemade vegetable stew – made injera. They also serve an extensive dinner menu, with tons of vegetarian and vegan options.

Almaz Cafe
We’re breaking our own rule here to include Almaz Cafe, which is a favorite with lovers of Ethiopian food, but is also found east of the Schuykill. Their chili powder-based kitfo (which they describe as “Ethiopian steak tartare”) stands out, as do their freshly made smoothies, perfect for cooling off the heat after a spicy meal.

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