100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 34 Zaytinya

The dining room at Zaytinya restaurant in Washington, DC. Photograph by Chris Campbell.

More than ten years on, the space—a soaring vision in white—has a little nick and wear, but José Andrés’s mezzeteria continues to come up with fresh, compelling interpretations of Greek, Turkish, and Lebanese dishes. Also, and more impressively, to spin new dishes from time-honored Mediterranean combinations.

Andrés’s protégé, Michael Costa, reimagines bakaliaros, a Palm Sunday staple for some Greeks, with an ouzo-battered blue catfish, which he fries to a light, golden crisp and sets atop skordalia, a zingy purée of potatoes, garlic, and olive oil. Kale is matched with a rich fava-bean purée, smoked olives, and pistachios for a salad of rare distinction.

There might be no more versatile restaurant in all of Washington: You can come for a light meal before or after a game or for a quick or leisurely lunch, or settle in for a tasting-menu blowout or a great brunch.

Don’t miss:

  • Chilled cucumber soup
  • Red-pepper-and-feta spread
  • Taramasalata
  • Imam bayildi (stuffed eggplant)
  • Arctic char with tahini
  • Shish taouk (grilled chicken thigh with sumac)
  • Kibbeh nayeh (beef tartare)
  • Turkish-coffee/chocolate cake
  • Greek yogurt and apricots
  • Turkish-delight sundae

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.