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Our Story

Massawa is a family-owned business founded by Almaz Ghebrezgabher and Amanuel Tekeste. Almaz, an Eritrean immigrant, spotted the location Massawa now calls home on Amsterdam Avenue while driving a cab in the 1980s. Inspired by her love of cooking and desire to serve authentic East African food to residents of Harlem and the Upper West Side, she opened the restaurant with the support of her family in 1988. 

Massawa is New York City’s oldest African restaurant, known for its unique split pea shiro and friendly service. Our vegan-friendly menu features Ethiopian classics as well as Eritrean seafood dishes.

In 2019, the family renovated and expanded the restaurant to create a more comfortable and modern space for hungry locals, large groups and special events. 

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Our Name

Massawa Restaurant was named after Eritrea’s historic coastal city. Massawa is the largest natural deep-water port on the Red Sea, known for its hot climate and lively bars & restaurants. 

Thanks to our Eritrean roots, our menu features seafood dishes as well as the beef, lamb, and chicken you’ll find in most Ethiopian cuisine.

Our Food

Many Eritrean and Ethiopian dishes are traditionally eaten by hand with injera. We offer both injera and rice on our vegan-friendly menu.

Injera is home-baked flat bread—with no added sugar, salt or fat—made from teff. Teff is the smallest grain in the world, found only in the high mountains of East Africa.