5 Best Restaurants in L.A.´s Little Ethiopia

Little Ethiopia is a neighborhood located in the Mid-Wilshire District of Central Los Angeles. This street is dedicated to the Ethiopian culture and food in Los Angeles. Little Ethiopia has restaurants, thrift stores, and coffee shops. The neighborhood represents the main things Ethiopia is known for, such as the amazing food and coffee. Here’s a taste of some of the top 5 most popular restaurants in Little Ethiopia.


A little further into the neighborhood, Awash is a well-known Ethiopian cuisine. The restaurant is known for its beef specialty. From dishes like raw kitfo mixed in with species and butter to tibs sauteed with onion and garlic. The restaurant is in a small space and always busy. So grab a drink at the back bar while you wait for your tasty food.

Meals by Genet

Meals by Genet is a favorite in Little Ethiopia. Chief Genet Agonafer’s 20-year-old restaurant has received recognitions like James Beard Award semi-finalist, Michelin Bib Gourmand, and featured in the LA Times’s 101 Best lists. Agonafer’s warmth and the depth of her flavors keep the restaurant intimate and inviting. The spicy Doro wat, a chicken stew, is the popular food here. The vegetarian combination on the menu is a great sampler of Agonafer’s flavors. 

Messob Ethiopian Restaurant


Messob is named after a traditional breadbasket used in the Ethiopian culture where everyone comes together to eat. Opened in 1985 by Rahel Woldmedhin, Messob is a classic staple of the neighborhood. It is the perfect spot for a date where people engage in ‘gursha’, hand-feeding one another as a loving gesture. For those who love to try different foods, Messob has nine samples of entrees. In these dishes, we can find Misir Wot, a lentil stew, and sauteed Zelzel Tibs, steak.

Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant and Market

Photo: Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant and Market on Facebook

Merkato is named after a huge street market in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Merkato is a restaurant and partly a food market. If you love the food and would like to recreate it on your own, Merkato has all the authentic seasonings you can buy. The adjoining market is stocked with fresh injera, incense, species, and coffee. This restaurant is most known for its vegetarian combo and awaze tibs. 

Buna Ethiopian Restaurant & Market

Photo: Buna Ethiopian Restaurant & Market on Facebook

Buna (Coffee) lives up to its name and brings the rich history of Ethiopian Culture to LA. The coffee plants that are used at this restaurant are native to Ethiopia. It is famous for authentic dark coffee, and for being a place where people come to drink coffee and chat. It is also known for the delicious breakfast menu. Buna maintains this culture with regular traditional coffee ceremonies, coffee tastings, and an espresso bar.

Written by Lidia Teshome
Featured Photo: Zeynep Sumer on Unsplash
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