When we were in need of delicious Ethiopian food in Silver Spring, I turned to our trusty #1 recommenders of all things food/cooking related (especially if it involves MD), my brother- and sister-in-law.
Silver Spring is rife with Ethiopian restaurants, and you can definitely choose at your own risk—I’m sure they are all decent, but something about Abol sets it apart from the rest. I’ll try to elaborate.
1) The dishes are not served on injera (the spongy, sort of sour bread that is used to pick up the meat/veggies), but on a platter—injera comes rolled up in baskets, so none is wasted and it’s not soggy or saturated with sauce (yet!). Also, the divided sections for the food on the platter made the food easier to pick up. Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants customarily don’t give patrons silverware (that’s what injera is for!), but when food is in piles scattered over a large round tray of injera, it can be difficult or messy to pick up the food.
2) The service here is really great—a really friendly and homey atmosphere. Not surprisingly, a soccer game is playing on a large flat panel screen. While eating, one server approaches with a big basket to offer us “traditional Ethiopian bread”, big thick pieces of a wheat loaf, a nice contrast after so much injera. When we finished eating, we were offered some Ethiopian coffee (small cups of black coffee, think Turkish/Arabic style--just as dark but not as thick). Deeeelicious. We weren’t charged for either of those extras, they were offered to us in a friendly manner by our hosts in order to ensure our comfort and fine experience.
We were the only ones dining when we first arrive, but that doesn’t scare me, and it shouldn’t scare you either!
Of course, Ethiopian food is a great deal, especially for groups, and Abol is no exception. One meat and one veggie combination platter (each for 2) for 4 people was more than enough (we could have had another person or two probably) and with drinks we were barely at $10 per person.
My cousins were joining us, and for one, it was his first experience with Ethiopian cuisine. I'm glad Abol was the spot for the occasion!
8626 Colesville Rd (Next to Ray’s the Classics, across from the AFI Silver)
Metro: Silver Spring