Ethiopian owner Meaza Zemedu's Meaza Ethiopian Restaurant, which has been featured in such press outlets as the Washingtonian and the Washington Post, was born of humble roots. Zemedu started her business by supplying local Ethiopian stores with her home-baked injera bread, a crepelike staple of Ethiopian cuisine. Demand for the tangy bread grew, allowing her to open her majestic restaurant, which welcomes guests to dine on traditional Ethiopian fare. Northern Virginia Magazine heaped praise upon the menu, including the doro wat stew—the national dish of Ethiopia—which includes chicken, red pepper, garlic, and hard-boiled eggs. Many of Meaza’s dishes are flavored with purified, spiced Ethiopian butter, from the ye beg kikil—lamb stew in spicy sauce—to the kifto—ground beef traditionally served raw or rare and mixed with cardamom and a mitmita spice blend. The chefs still bake Zemedu's injera from teff grain as an ubiquitous side and utensil alongside the fare.
The complex Ethiopian spice blends enchant guests throughout the 7,000-square-foot space—which comprises a dining room, grocery store, and banquet hall—as they admire portraits of Ethiopian emperors painted on lambskins along one wall. Throughout three elevated tiers, white and red cloths coat each table and patrons recline into patterned cushioned chairs. Sweeping bands of color swirl and draw eyes toward the ceiling, enhancing the dining room’s air of spaciousness.