Alexandria / Ethiopian / $$
Classical piano music tinkles away as you sip sparkling wine. You order a raw tuna dish and then finish with intensely flavored coffee. Sounds like a fine night, no?
While most Ethiopian restaurants are resolutely casual, even homey, Makeda seeks to be a cut above and hits the heights to which it aspires. It’s not fancy, but from the helpful service to the unabashedly spicy food, Makeda proves itself to be a destination in an Alexandria strip mall.
Those unfamiliar with Ethiopian food should try a combo to get acquainted, but diners who are well-versed in the cuisine will have uncommon options, including a breakfast menu and the aforementioned tuna kitfo, a raw fish dish filled with cardamom and piquant mitmita spice mix.
See This: Colorful modern art decorates the walls. For more of a distraction, sit at the fully stocked bar, where TVs play CNN.
Eat This: Tuna kitfo, veggie combo, Taste of Makeda
When to Visit: You feel like eating with your hands but still want drinks and exceptional service.