Originating in a country marked by monsoon downpours, Ethiopian cuisine evolved to great heights of tastiness in order to sate nature's torrential salivation. Anticipate your tongue's needs with today's Groupon: for $12, you get $25 worth of Ethiopian cuisine and drinks at Merkamo Ethiopian Bistro in Springfield.
A welcoming staff and well-dressed décor ease patrons' passages into Merkamo's exciting sanctum of authentic Ethiopian cuisine, brought to the United States by the head chef and owner's mother, Mulatwa Benti. The restaurant's menu is as starkly elegant as the Ethiopian landscape though considerably less sandy, flaunting a variety of perfected meat and vegetarian dishes. An appetizer of sambusa, a pastry dough stuffed with spicy minced meat or lentils ($3.75), provides a tender buffer for the flavorful onslaught of doro wett, a special occasion chicken stew simmered for hours with onions, berbere, and exotic spices ($13.99). Grazers can opt for the vegetarian sampler, a savory medley of produce from the plentiful horn of Africa, including red lentils, yellow split peas, string beans, beets, and more ($13.95).
The Washington Post commends Merkamo Ethiopian Bistro's focused menu and atmosphere:
- Merkamo is a tidy spot for beef sautéed with garlic and onions, and lamb tripe cooked in spiced butter. – Tom Sietsema, Washington Post
- I admire the shadow boxes, each set off with a light bulb in its center, as well as the smart Ethiopian art that punctuates the walls. – Tom Sietsema, Washington Post
Merkamo Ethiopian Bistro
Though they’re one of the main ethnic groups in Ethiopia, the Gurage people are primarily known across the country for their cuisine. So, it’s no wonder that Merkamo Ethiopian Bistro borrowed a Gurage word, “merkamo,” for its name. The term, which describes a beauty that “radiat[es] purity of heart and ‘Joie de Vivre’ for all,” has also been used to describe the owner’s mother—a woman who kept a warm, inviting house where friends and family gathered for decadent meals.
Inviting diners with decadent Ethiopian feasts and a welcoming ambiance, Merkamo Ethiopian Bistro also impresses with a lunch and dinner menu that flourishes with hearty vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. Patrons can sample lamb tripe with spicy beans, and doro wett—a simmering chicken dish typically served on special occasions such as successfully hot-wiring your car after losing the keys in a play-area ball pit. Merkamo also accommodates children with tasty dishes that range from mild beef stew to chicken nuggets.
7020 Commerce St.
Springfield, Virginia 22150Get Directions