Taytu’s doorway opens to the mountain highlands of Ethiopia — Abyssinia as known of old — fiercely independent, the land of Prester John and ‘13 months of sunshine’, where spices abound and coffee grows wild. The traditions are authentic: tukul huts, mesob basket tables, hand-carved furniture, scenery, people, aromas, food, art, history, and culture of this ancient civilization. Empress Taytu is an unforgettable dining experience.

Traditional Ethiopian food:

Ethiopian food and service are as unique as the country itself.

We have been preparing traditional, home-style Ethiopian food continuously since we opened in 1992. Traditional basket tables (mesobs) are in the huts to fully experience Ethiopian communal dining if one chooses. Knives and forks are absent from Ethiopian dining (available on request): the food is picked up with pieces of injera, the T’eff-grain flat bread that will hold the various spiced meat and vegetable presentations known as wats. Moist towels for hand washing are brought before and after the meal. Foremost of traditional dishes is dorowat, chicken in an onion-sweet, spicy, red sauce –ber-bere –which has no tomato; it contains a sophisticated combination of spices: red peppers, ginger, garlic, rue-seed, sacred basil, cloves, cinnamon, cardamin and bishop’s weed among the 14 spices individually prepared and ground together in this exotic blend. A particular favorite is T’ibs, small chunks of beef, lamb, chicken, or shrimp, sautéed in onion, rosemary, and spiced butter. Our ‘if-you-dare’ menu includes Kitfo and gored-gored, also favorites among Ethiopians, consisting of choice raw beef mixed with awaze (spiced sauce). Vegetable dishes also are varied and exotically spiced, reflecting that Ethiopian Orthodox Christians are vegetarians for up to 200 fasting days per year. Combination platters are available for a broad spectrum of the food varieties. Deserts, not an original part of Ethiopia food culture, are available; sweets, not part of the culture, were introduced with the Italian re-invasion of 1935-36. Hence we call ice cream ‘Missionary’s Delight.’ However, tea (shai) and coffee (bunna) are part of the culture. The spiced-tea water hardly needs tea leaves, and coffee was born in the Ethiopian province of Kaffa.

We bring the food to your table, then Ethiopia speaks for herself.