Enat Ethiopian Restaurant, Alexandria, VA

4709 Chambliss St
Alexandria VA 22312
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by Danielle Bussone

We knew Enat Ethiopian Restaurant in Alexandria, VA, promised to be an excellent and authentic Ethiopian restaurant when we walked in and did not see another white face in the crowded room other than our own. Enat didn’t disappoint.  The room has the ambiance of a family sports bar.  A wide screen TV is fitted against a large wall; a soccer game was on when we first visited. Families were situated around the tables with linen tablecloths covered with glass and many eyes were glued to the screen.  As you walk in you will see a large granite bar with a young bartender expertly mixing drinks. Well behaved children shared bites of Wat with injera on a communal plate with the rest of their family. Relaxation and comfort is the name of the game here. You see businessmen in suits and others in shorts, t-shirts, jeans and sneakers.

Abiye Bisrat is the owner.  He’s an affable man with an ingratiating charm who immediately made us feel welcome. The name Enat means “mama” in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia.  This is exactly how we were made to feel, as if we were eating Mama’s cooking in the family dining room.

The food was served a bit differently than other Ethiopian restaurants we have visited.  The injera (spongy, slightly sour Ethiopian flat bread) is brought to your table and spread out on a stainless steel tray.  Small portions of Wat, or stew, are also brought out in what looked to me to be 2 oz. stainless steel custard cups.  They are then individually emptied onto the injera in a precise pattern by the waiter (determined I assume by the color and weight of the ingredients) as you enjoy the process.  While the individual portions are a little smaller than other restaurants we’ve visited, there are a greater variety of dishes. We ordered the combination plate which contained 9 different vegan dishes for the modest price of $10.95. We also ordered the Timatim Fitfit, a cold salad of torn injera, tomatoes, jalapeños, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice for $7.95. Everything was cooked to perfection and tasted delicious. What we tasted of the Fitfit we enjoyed, but having ordered it as an afterthought, we were so full from the main course we could barely eat a few bites.

Enat offers many of their vegan dishes as stand alone dinners should you only crave one particular thing.  The Engudai Tibs, pan-fried mushrooms in spices, are more expensive to prepare and cost $11.95.  This was a new treat for us and we found it particularly yummy. The  Shiro, a puree of split peas, chickpeas and spices, are $9.95.  The Gomen (fresh collard greens simmered in a mild sauce), the Tikil Gomen (cabbage and carrots simmered in a mild sauce), the Messir Wat (split lentils simmered in a spicy sauce), and and the Kik Alecha (yellow split-peas simmered in a mild sauce) are all $8.95.

Accompanying this post will be a video of Abiye Bisrat cooking Fosolia, a green bean dish of Ethiopia.

Your carnivorous friends and family will be well pleased with the selection of meats and fish Enap has to offer.

The photos we took of the food didn’t turn out as we hoped so until we can revisit Enat on our next visit to the D.C. area, we have taken the photographs directly from the restaurant’s website.  They accurately depict the food we were served.



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