Unknown to most Dallas residents, the city hosts one of the largest selections of Ethiopian restaurants in the country. The highest concentration is loosely located in the North Dallas/Richardson area near 365 and Greenville. Eastern Africans are known for their hospitality and the way they treat strangers like friends, and these restaurants aim to provide that quality with their traditional ethnic food. Grab some injera and dig in to these local favorites.

Desta Restaurant (credit: Emilie DesJardins)

Hours: Sun to Thurs – 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri to Sat – 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.

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Desta, which means “happiness,” offers this feeling with its own contemporary twist on Ethiopian food. This does mean that Desta makes a few dishes with American flair and serves them American style (on plates instead of the standard injera bread), but also offer more traditional selections. Like many local Ethiopian restaurants, the unassuming strip mall location disguises the quality of the cuisine inside.

Hours: Mon to Sun – 10 a.m. to midnight

Lilibela is a casual place that concentrates more on the quality of the food than the decor, and prides itself on the organic and natural ingredients that create its dishes. It has been serving North Dallas for more than nine years and can even accommodate large groups.

Hours: Tues to Thu – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fri 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sat to Sun – noon to 10 p.m.

Since Ethiopia is located so close to Italy, Italian flavor often infiltrates Ethiopian cuisine, and Queen of Sheba is a product of this relationship. The restaurant claims “authentic Ethiopian-Italian cuisine,” and the varied menu offers the option to order sambusa (a lamb-filled pastry) followed by baked ziti. In business in the Metroplex for almost 20 years and currently in Addison, Queen of Sheba must be on to something.

Ibex Restaurant (credit: Emilie DesJardins)

Hours: Mon to Thurs – 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fri to Sun – 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

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Only open since 2010, Ibex quickly became an Ethiopian staple in Dallas. This Greenville locale offers a few extras with their African cuisine. At night the DJs and live music offer entertainment and an excuse to use the dance floor. On Sundays, Ibex offers an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet that includes American and Ethiopian dishes.

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Hours: Mon to Thurs – 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.; Fri to Sat – 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sun – 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

This hidden Richardson favorite could be called a hole-in-the-wall, but aren’t those always the best places to find surprisingly delicious food? Although Ethiopian restaurants tend to offer vegetarian options, Addis Ababa has a few more than most. There is also a full bar and it is open late on weekends, until 2 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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Emilie currently works in Dallas television and worked with KRLD Restaurant Week for several years before that. She is always trying new places around the Metroplex to find the best food and unique things to do. See her work here.

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