Letena Ethiopian Restaurant

4.7
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40 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Ethiopian

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Good Vegetarian Options
Letena (pronounced as Lá.Tey.Nah), located in the heart of Columbia Heights, DC, is an Ethiopian Restaurant that offers authentic, premium quality dishes, with special attention to vegetarians, vegans, health conscious, and adventurous customers.
Our menu options cater to vegetarians, vegans and meat lovers alike at reasonable prices. Our dishes are freshly prepared from quality spices imported from Ethiopia and locally sourced naturally grown ingredients, raised and grown without pesticides or antibiotics.
We serve desserts, coffee and specialty drinks, 7-days a week. We source our coffee from Counter Culture coffee, a certified-organic roaster with two decades of history working on coffee quality and coffee farmer sustainability.
What 40 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.5
service
4.7
ambience
4.7
value
Noise · Quiet
100% of people would recommend it to a friend
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TH
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Letena was an unexpected charmer. The ambience is wonderful. The food delicious. The prices reasonable. And the service great. Our waitress was very helpful and friendly, with a constant smile. I'd definitely go back again.

KJ
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love this place! The meat and vegi platters are a great deal and delicious! Highly Recommend.

You can order Gluten Free (Full Teff Flour) injera, which I always do.

You have to ask for the traditional plating on the injera, otherwise the platters will come in small sides.

CL
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love good Ethiopian food and therefore love Letena! The food is delicious and definitely is less oily and greasy than other Ethiopian places (yet equally tasty if not better!). We got the kik wot ("infinity thumbs up" from my daughter), lamb tibs and the kitfo dullet (which was incredible). We also love their veggie sides, like the yemisir wot, cabbage and mushroom tibs. The food is also very reasonably priced because with each main dish, you get a side dish to to with it, so you can try a lot of different dishes. The restaurant is very comfortable and the service is super-friendly. It is also very kid-friendly. It is always our go-to place when we are in Columbia Heights or nearby. Tip--it is a bit confusing but the restaurant is actually located on Park Road versus 14th Street (close to the parking garage entrance)!

KK
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

I love that the restaurant is woman owned!! I enjoy coming here with friends to share this cultural treat in food and in ambiance!

OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on September 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing! Amazing service too!

OT
Washington DC
69 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

The Yebeg Wot was good. The Ethiopian beer was tasty. The rest not so much.

DS
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience4

The food was excellent and the coffee martini was percect

j
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent service. Food was delicious. Good selection of beer and wine

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Extraordinary in every way.

JR
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Terrific food, helpful staff, and good value! Very enjoyable. Cold Ethiopian spiced tea was a new treat for me. Entrees were excellent.

A
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Amazing food for very decent price. I highly recommend the meat platter, as one can try different variety.

W
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food and service were amazing! Do not miss the opportunity to enjoy this restaurant!

NS
Washington DC
32 reviews
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always delicious and the service is great.

V
1 review
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Dining at Letena is always great. The food is excellent and inexpensive; you get a lot of bang for your buck. Our server was very friendly and helpful. Great for large and small groups alike.

NS
Washington DC
32 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Second time here and the food was just as delicious as I remembered. Highly recommend!

AW
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on May 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The staff delivered great customer service! This was my first time there and the food was delicious. I had the vegetable sample and enjoyed every bite. I will definitely go back.

C
1 review
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Really enjoyed this restaurant! Easy to share, yummy food, nice vibes. Would go back again.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food is beyond amazing as is the service. I cannot recommend this enough as my new go-to Ethiopian restaurant in DC.

LT
New York Area
14 reviews
Dined on April 22, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Should have written this a few months ago when a friend and myself visited. Really lovely experience. Food delicious. Lovely, friendly staff. I would recommend this restaurant to try out for authentic Ethiopian cuisine.

e
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Letena was a lovely surprise. I’ve been eating Ethiopian food for years and it was wonderful to dine at Letena - not only is the food delicious, but the ambiance and service are fantastic too. The restaurant is stylish and elegant.

The injera was very good, I kept wanting more. We had the meat sampler and chef’s special tibs - everything was flavorful and tasty. We were visiting from NY and I wish we had an Ethiopian restaurant like Letena in the city.

BJ
Miami
3 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience4

It was lovely inside and the food was fine. While the waiter was friendly and helpful in ordering, our meals were not all served at the same time and our drinks didn’t make it to the table until we were nearly done eating. They seem a bit disorganized.

M
1 review
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall2food1service4ambience5

Dear Letena,

The setting is fabulous. You have A+ for the decorations and design. Unfortunately, our food had very little taste. It was well cooked but had almost no flavor. PLEASE make the food as if all your customers were Ethiopians. DO NOT DILUTE IT. Though it is the fanciest place in town, we will not come back if you do not serve authentic flavoring. We have been in small Ethiopian restaurants where the food was more authentic. My husband worked in Ethiopia and our family has visited your beautiful country. We have eaten there some of the most delicious food in the world. So we are not Ethiopians but we know the difference.

Kind regards,

Madie

Letena Ethiopian Restaurant
Responded on April 11, 2019

Hello Madie, We are sorry you did not enjoy your food experience at Letena. We are committed to offering our customers healthy Ethiopian dishes without compromising quality and authenticity. We use high quality ingredients (including imported spices) and fresh and natural produce. We do not use flavor enhancer chemicals. We are grateful to all our customers (including Ethiopians) who appreciate the authenticity of our offerings. A more specific comment would have been more helpful.

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P
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on March 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Letena lived up to its good ratings! The food was delicious, and my vegetarian companion in particular appreciated the wide range of choices. Service was friendly and attentive from the moment we were warmly welcomed when we first walked in. The decor was attractive and authentic. It was also a rare pleasure to be able to hear ourselves talk - the acoustics were great. The location is also handy, just a block from the metro.

BG
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is a hidden gem in Columbia heights, it’s my second visit and I was blown away by the authenticity of the food , the creative cocktails that represented the best of both worlds, great ambience and service. The place is extremely clean, with gorgeous and tasteful decors. Loved our server Yamrot, will definitely recommend and be back!!!

JV
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Excellent food, service and value. Friendly staff. When we first got there the noise level wasn't bad but when music was on and place was full, it was loud. This would be very attractive to us if it were quieter.

MB
Washington DC
18 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We have eaten at many Ethiopian restaurants, and on this evening, took visiting relatives from overseas who cannot get upscale Ethiopian food where they live. The service was excellent, the room more elegant than the typical Ethiopian restaurant in the area, and the food was delicious. Our server was patient explaining the menu to us, and the staff were very attentive (filling our waters when we ran out, supplying us with more injera when we needed), but not overly solicitous or in the way. We had a sampling of vegetarian and meat dishes to share, and had a feast for four for about $65 that included Ethiopian spice tea, and Ginger/lemon tea for the table. Since we live in NW, we have been looking for another close alternative to our usual Ethiopian favorites, and we will definitely revisit Letena very soon.

KK
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on February 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love the distinct flavors. All the better it is woman owned!

S
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Great food and nice atmosphere. Service was a little slow, but not so bad that it took away from an otherwise very enjoyable experience. A great place to bring someone who hasn't had much experience with Ethiopian food before - it's cleaner and more accessible than the traditional DC mainstays.

NS
Washington DC
32 reviews
Dined on February 11, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Hands down the best Ethiopian food I've had in DC, and even the less traditional items (like avocado and broccoli salad) were DELICIOUS. Also, they had Armenian wine on the menu, which I highly recommend.

OT
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall5food5service4ambience5

My wife and I are very fond of Ethiopian food. We took a group of people to Lethena on Saturday night and in the good loved the food, the wine and that atmosphere in the restaurant.

OT
New Orleans
12 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It is hard to choose which was better at Letena, the food or the service. We were warmly greeted by various staff people who clearly love this restaurant and are so happy to offer you a chance to love it too. I had the vegetable sampler and my companion had the chef’s special beef dish. Each dish was prepared to order, delicious, and of course, the injera “bread” was perfect. Ethiopian cuisine is unique, but first timers should not be frightened away by the way that you eat with your hands or the unfamiliar dishes. The food can be mild or spicy (the menu clearly indicates which is which) and the flavors are warm and subtle. I try to enjoy Ethiopian food when I can, and Letena is authentic, cheerful, and by far my favorite!

OT
Baltimore
3 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Got the vegetarian sampler and it was enough for three people. Really really good food. My friend got the Ethiopian honey wine and wasn't a fan. I would recommend asking for a taste before you get a whole glass.

JU
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on May 16, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food and service here are still excellent. We came shortly after it opened, and have continued to come occasionally when we have the time. Best of its kind that we have found in the area. Hopefully it will continue to stay that way!

NC
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined on May 6, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience4

My food was very flavourful and the service was great!

OT
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food and very friendly staff. Highly recommend this place!

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 7, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We have loved Letena since we first moved to DC (6 months ago) and thankfully were able to introduce our two friends to it as well! The service is excellent and the food is delicious. Try the Alicha Siga Wat and Mushroom Tibs!

M
Washington DC
27 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2018
Overall3food3service2ambience4

I was excited to try this place. The atmosphere is great but the food was just ok. The waitress seemed annoyed when we asked questions. She ended up being nice so maybe an off day. Not my favorite Ethiopian place but it’s not bad. We got the meat sampler. Maybe stick with tibs.

JN
Chicago
17 reviews
Dined on March 11, 2018
Overall5food5service4ambience4

What a gem! We were warmly greeted by the owner and seated in an out of the way area which was wonderful. The server recommended dishes as this was our first experience with Etheopian food. The recommendations were spot on. There was a birthday party that had live music and we were invited to partake in the festivities. What a great experience. When back in the DC area this will be our first stop!

I
West Lothian
14 reviews
Dined on March 11, 2018
Overall5food5service3ambience5

This was my second time at this restaurant and I like the food very much!
The service is a bit slow, though. This is where Letena could improve.
The servers are very nice but maybe not enough servers. However the servers are very nice!!!

I
Detroit
2 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Letena made my Valentine’s Night so special! The food was delicious and quick, everyone on the staff was awesome, and the atmosphere was both chill and intimate. I highly recommend this place!