Habesha culture has blessed Colorado with some great tasting dishes over the past few decades or so. Traditional Ethiopian food has been gaining prominence around Colorado as the Ethiopian and Eritrean community continue to grow and flourish throughout the state. Academics and activists estimate the Denver-metro area’s Ethiopian and Eritrean population to sit at around 30,000 or more. However, not only does Colorado’s growing number of Ethiopian restaurants serve the abundant Habesha community, but because of the cuisine’s inherent tendency towards vegetarian dishes, they have also become a frequent stop for Colorado’s vegetarian community.
So in recognition of their contribution to Colorado’s cuisine scene, here are 15 Ethiopian restaurants in Colorado you need to try the next time you’re craving something delicious.
You won’t be disappointed!
“Absolutely incredible!!! This was my first time trying Ethiopian food and my experience could not have been better! First of all, the kitchen is run almost entirely by the sweetest little Ethiopian woman who made us feel more like a guest in her home than customers at a restaurant. The space is small and welcoming but the food is the best part. I ordered The Vegetarian Combo, a giant plate of delicious and perfectly flavored, interesting dishes featuring lentils, greens, potatoes and veggies. Rather than eating with utensils, you break off a piece of this simple dosa-like bread and pinch the different dishes. As a vegetarian, it felt like a culinary adventure! We even tried the honey wine which tastes exactly as it sounds and was surprisingly delicious. This was hands down the best meal I’ve had in a very long time. If I lived in Denver I’d be here weekly!” – Nicole B. (Chicago, IL)
“Absolutely amazing!!! My wife and I ate here for the first time tonight. It was our very first Ethiopian experience, and a fabulous one. The food was delicious, fresh, and authentic. This is the first meal I’ve ever eaten one hundred percent with my hands! The owner checked on us and ensured we were satisfied with our meal! If you are looking for an authentic restaurant this is a must!” – Kirk H. (Baton Rouge, LA)
“Yum! This was my first time trying Ethiopian food, despite living a 1 minute walk from Abyssinia. I loved it! The inside is very homey – and I think the family who runs this great restaurant lives in the upstairs of the building. The food was wonderful, the service was well-paced, and the honey wine didn’t disappoint (thanks Yelpers). I ordered the curry chicken and my date got the zilzil tibes (which was a thin sliced beef). We both agreed that our dishes were great. And how fun to eat with your hands!” – Kelli H. (Denver, CO)
“Very authentic! Good value for the prices. Great selection for vegans! Service is attentive and personable. The seating in the back provided great ambiance. Great for a romantic or intimate night out.” – Sara N. (Timnath, CO)
“I have always been curious as to what Ethiopian food entailed. I had no idea coming in what to expect. I’ve wandered by this place many times on Colfax and always wanted to try it, and came in with a few other curious friends to finally try it out this past weekend. What can I say..it defied my expectations! We decided on the Combo #2, which had lamb, chicken and assorted veggies. I have to admit, I was a little afraid because I didn’t know what to expect. The chicken and lamb had this flavor that I have never experienced before. Same goes for the veggies. The best part-you eat with your hands! It’s ok to be sloppy! The meal comes with this bread type substance that you dip into your food to pick up and eat with. The bread filled me up though so then I was just eating with my fingers.” – Kathleen A. (Denver, CO)
“This was my first time trying Ethiopian food, and I thought it was delicious! Tried the shiro….and it’s perfect for a first-timer. Everything is a good portion of food…be prepared to dig in with your hands! :)” – Jennifer B. (Denver, CO)
“I had my folks out to dinner, and there was a great deal of skepticism when I suggested Ethiopian food, as neither of my parents had ever tried it. We got the lamb, and a beef dish. It was STELLAR! I highly recommend that if you have never tried this interesting cuisine, you drop by Arada some day soon! Fantastic staff, too!” – Peter M. (Denver, CO)
“I was in town for business and decided to give this place a try. The restaurant is huge. They have a full bar and an area for singers and bands. The service was great. Super nice girls. I ordered the combo platter (not the veggie) but the one that has all the items on the menu. Great way to try everything they have. And in top of that it was only $13.99. Food came out in 10 mins” – Justin M. (Los Angeles, CA)
“Absolutely delicious! I was skeptical at first, but i can not stop thinking about this place ever since i first went there…over a month ago. I’m thinking tonight’s the night to finally go back! The service was outstanding-our server (who i believe is also the owner) was warm, welcoming, and full of very helpful suggestions for wary diners who are new to Ethiopian cuisine (as i was). The food was ABSOLUTELY TO DIE FOR- full of flavor and very affordable! 3 shared plates was plenty for four people. We had the vegetarian combo, a beef dish, and a lamb dish featuring lamb prepared two different ways. The vegetarian sampler featured about ten different tastes, and the meat dishes were served in the middle of the vegetarian “ring” of tastes occupying the perimeter. everything was on one large plate to on top of Ethiopian cuisine’s traditional utensil- deliciously tangy and spongy-in-a-good-way bread, that you use to pinch your food and deliver all the deliciousness to your mouth. Don’t be scared away by the sparse decor- this place is not to be missed!” – Isa A. (Denver, CO)
“Fantastic vegetarian lunch. Yesterday returned to one of my favorite Ethiopian restaurants ever. It never disappoints. The food is fresh and delicious, the staff is welcoming and relaxed. Took a friend who had never eaten this food and she is now a convert. Low key, welcoming and delicious!” – Jane P. (Irvine, CA)
“Delicious. I got the meat sampler and my wife (vegetarian) got the veggie sampler. We were both stuffed and delighted by the end of our meal.” – Jason H.
“I ate here while visiting some family on vacation. It was the first time I had eaten african food. Very flavorful and huge portions. I’m looking forward to returning.” – Bill K. (Long Beach, CA)
“Was here tonight for the second time. Went with a large group of 10. Besides my wife and I, none had had Ethiopian food before. Some were a little hesitant, fearing it would be too exotic or too spicy. You can get spicy dishes but many are not. The food is superb and not at all unusual, just really good! Very pleasant atmosphere, faster service than other Ethiopian restaurants we’ve been to and the food is excellent. This is our go-to place for excellent and authentic Ethiopian food in Denver!” – Benji G. (Englewood, CO)
“Last night was the first time I’d ever had Ethiopian food and it was as delicious as the other reviews promised. We moved right down the street from this place last summer and were always interested in coming here, but never seemed to find the time. I’m so glad we finally did. We ordered beef, lamb and chicken dishes and all three were very flavorful and well prepared. It was a little disconcerting to eat with our hands at first (especially because I’m kind of a neat freak), but we quickly got the hang of it. We can’t wait to come back and try the other options on the menu.” – Cait G. (Denver, CO)
“Great atmosphere and reasonably priced. Got an order of awaze tibs and a selection of veggies and lentils. Everything was really nicely spiced. Generous portions too. The staff is very friendly and their grocery store next door is nice too.” – Pamela S. (Denver, CO)
Learn more about Ethiopian cuisine: “CAN ETHIOPIAN CUISINE BECOME MODERN?”