2023 Chefs

Yamrot Ezineh

Letena Ethiopian Restaurant


Saturday, May 20, 2023 at the Grand Tasting

Health and culture are at the root of Letena which means “for health” in Amharic, so to live up to the brand’s name, only natural and premium ingredients are used throughout its offerings. With special attention given to quality ingredients, vegetarians, vegans, meat lovers and adventurous diners alike are offered authentic Ethiopian and inspired original dishes that have won accolades from various publications and review platforms.

With oversized windows, high ceilings, modern open kitchen design, walls adorned by an impressive collection of traditional Ethiopian artifacts and paintings, the interior combines the feel of an art gallery with an intimate and cozy dining space. Up to 60 people can be comfortably accommodated in the front section and a further 20 people may be seated in its private space that is decorated and designed with upscale urban Ethiopian dining rooms in mind.

Letena’s founder, Yamrot Ezineh hails from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and gained valuable experience working in a family-owned restaurant in the United Kingdom. This experience would later play a crucial role shaping her outlook of the restaurant business. After living in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington DC since 2008, she concluded that there was an unmet need of offering quality Ethiopian cuisine to further contribute to the diversity and vibrancy of the neighborhood. After four years of hard work in recipe development, securing financing, management of design and build-out, and planning start-up operations, Yamrot’s dream was made a reality when Letena opened its doors in October 2016.

To uphold authenticity and quality in enhancing Letena’s family-based recipes, Yamrot went back home to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to consult with renowned Ethiopian chefs.