99 Essential Restaurants 2014

Meals by Genet

photo by Anne Fishbein

There’s a beautiful paradox to dinner at Meals by Genet, Genet Agonafer’s Fairfax Avenue restaurant in Little Ethopia. You’re eating perhaps the best Ethiopian food in Los Angeles, which means that you’re eating with your fingers, scooping up portions of stunningly good doro wat and foul and kitfo with torn bits of injera, the teff-based flatbread that operates as both plate and utensil. But you’re doing so in a gorgeous dining room, dimly lit, white-tableclothed, your napkin having once been folded into your wine glass, a votive candle illuminating the giant platter holding your dinner. This surprising elegance will continue happily past your dinner and into dessert, if you order — as you should — the affogato, that lovely Italian combination of ice cream and espresso. Why an affogato? Apparently Mussolini is to blame. (Perhaps the least of his offenses.) Ice cream history lesson aside, it’s a great way to conclude a fantastic meal — and you’ll get a spoon, too.

-- Amy Scattergood