Desta – Approachable Ethiopian
Atlanta has a surprising number of Ethiopian restaurants. If you are not familiar with the food, it can seem overwhelming. For a first experience with this cuisine, Desta is a good choice. It is clean, has great food, the servers help you negotiate the menu. Unlike many other restaurants that serve this African cuisine, Desta has a full bar, serves breakfast and appetizers and has a good dessert selection. If you’ve never eaten Ethiopian before, read my article on how to order and eat Ethiopian food.
Desta is the Ethiopian word for happiness. It is located at the corner of Briarcliff and Clairmont Road, near I-85, in the Williamsburg Shopping area, with other Ethiopian restaurants nearby. The restaurant started off as a take-out only place and has progressed into a modern, full service restaurant. While it isn’t set up like a traditional Ethiopian café, the differences will be appreciated by most Americans. They prep food in advance which means you are served quickly. Unless you request otherwise, food is served on individual plates for each person rather than one large platter for all. Seating is in booths or tables, rather than the traditional small woven table. And you can still use the drive-up, take-out window for both prepared food and spices for cooking at home. Desta also has an outdoor patio and occasional live jazz music.
I recommend you go to this restaurant with friends and order the vegetarian or meat platter. While I seldom see fish on an Ethiopian menu, Desta serves a wonderful tilapia that is very spicy and melts in the mouth. Try the Te’j, a honey wine that is traditional to Ethiopia.
For more information, read Ethiopian cuisine and where to find it in Atlanta.
3086 Briarcliff Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Inside Williamsburg Shopping Center
Hours of Operations
Sunday – Thursday: 10AM – 10PM
Friday – Saturday: 10AM – 11PM
The last word: Desta also does catering and has a small Ethiopian market onsite for your home cooking needs. There is lots of parking available.
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