1. Habesha 2000
It’s a little touristy, but worth going to at least once. Order the beyayenat (meat or vegan option) which has a sample of different types of traditional foods. Around 7pm they start live music and dancing that features the tribes of Ethiopia. Don’t make eye contact, or they might pull you up on stage! (One meal is around 300 birr but you can share it.)
You need to eat pizza at least once, right? This is the spot. My favourite one has potatoes on top. Carbs on more carbs. You’ll love it! Go to the Bole Atlas branch that is across from the Washington hotel. It has a rooftop view of Addis. (One pizza is around 150 birr).
3. Tsgie Shiro
This has my favourite Ethiopian food, and will delight both the meat & veggie eater. I usually eat at the one in Bole by Addissinia Building, but you can also find other locations in Merkado, Kera, and Lideta. I recommend ordering the Tegabino (chickpea stew) and Messerwat (lentil stew). (Each meal is around 90 birr).
4. Fruit Shops
There are hundreds of darling fruit shops around the city. You can order a fresh juice, a bowl of fruit (called fruit punch), or a salad topped with an array of fruit & veggies. If you’re new to Africa or get sick easily, the raw vegetables might upset your stomach. Personally, I’ve always been fine, and if you go at lunch it will be extra fresh. Space is limited so you’ll probably be cozying up to some new friends. (Each item is around 35 birr).
This has the best burgers in town. They also serve a delicious tofu sandwich, American style chocolate-chip cookies, and super good ice cream. It’s located in an old warehouse in Kera that has an eco-friendly vibe on the inside. It’s the kind of place where you could spend all day, drinking coffee, laying on their comfy couches, writing your long procrastinated blog articles. (Around 120 birr per meal).
This hotel was built by Empress Taitu over 100 years ago. They have a daily vegan lunch and dinner buffet that’s super popular. It’s located in Piassa which is the old downtown. I recommend coming in the afternoon to enjoy the cute cafes, boutique jewelry stores, & the few obnoxious drunk locals who will give your day a small adrenaline rush. Enjoy the Taitu buffet for dinner then walk next door to the jazz night club.
7. Road Runner
This is a great chill bar if you want to meet locals. It’s where my husband and his friends go. There’s nothing spectacular to see, but it’s sure to be a good night. Order Yeshakale Tibs which is grilled beef that is served at your table over a small charcoal fire. You can also sit next to the bonfire, watch a football game on tv, and hang out with their super friendly pet dog. (Around 50-150 birr per meal, 14 birr per beer).
8. Loving Hut
I’m biased because this is the only all vegan restaurant in town. But it’s also one of the cheapest places to eat in Bole which is most likely where you’re staying. It’s near Edna Mall, and offers local food, Asian dishes, and a really delicious Mexican wrap. (Between 40-100 birr per meal).
This is the best & cheapest traditional breakfast in town that no one knows about! I go with friends, and we order the following: Ful (fava bean dip), Kita (teff bread), Chichipsa (fried teff bread in a spicy tomato sauce), and Yebula Gunfo (falsa banana porridge that tastes okay, looks disgusting, and makes for some great pictures). It’s closed on Sundays, and you may have a hard time finding this spot since it’s not that well known. Take a taxi to Legahar which is near the old stadium. Head towards the old yellow train station, and Chochay will be on your left. (Between 12-35 birr per meal).
This is expensive & slightly far. Not to mention, it’s usually only open on Thursdays and Fridays. But the food is terrific, and the wifi is even better. This is the hub of entrepreneurs, innovators, and influencers. There’s even an investment firm upstairs. If you’re interested in business or the market potential of Ethiopia, you’ll meet the right connection at lunch here. (Around 150-200 birr).
To be totally honest, my favourite place in Addis is my in-laws. You’ll find the best hospitality, tastiest homemade meal & memorable coffee ceremony inside a local’s house. Chances are if you become friendly with some locals, they’ll invite you. Say yes! While they’ll host you out of sheer hospitality, it’s always nice to bring a gift like a bottle of wine, a kilo of unroasted coffee beans, a bag of candy, or some fruit.
I hope you enjoy Addis Ababa (and it’s food!). The whole country is quite a special experience so make sure you add Ethiopia to your bucket list!
Valerie’s first time backpacking was when she traveled from Cape to Cairo solo using only public transportation. It was the best 7 months of her life! She now lives in Addis Ababa, and is passionate about travel in Africa. Her ebook, Backpacking Africa for Beginners has inspired hundreds of individuals to safely explore the African continent. Pick it up today, and get your journey to Africa started!
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