Traffic is constant, mosquito season is seemingly endless and there’s always something to complain about in Northern Virginia. But if we’re lucky in one thing, it’s the abundance of really good Ethiopian restaurants. Opened last fall, Makeda stems from a collaboration of two Ethiopian natives, one a restaurant owner in New York, and another is his longtime friend who lives in the area. The menu, from chef Senait Tedla, who is from Ethiopia but spent much of her professional career in Israel, brings together well-loved dishes of tender beef tibs, pull-apart chicken legs and the saucy, stunning signature spicy lentils, misir wot. The vegetables are fresh and vibrant here, and a mushroom puree lets the scent of cardamom linger in the air. The long room (there’s a separate bar area decorated in tiles and drop lighting) features bold, modern paintings with ironwork chandeliers, and a wall of windows, making Makeda not only a place to eat well, but celebrate too.
Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant
Ethiopian | $$
516-A S. Van Dorn St., Alexandria