100 Best Restaurants 2010: Mourayo
Comments () | Published January 1, 2010
100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Mourayo
Address: 1732 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20009
Phone: 202-667-2100
Neighborhood: Dupont Circle, Downtown
Cuisines: Seafood, Greek/Mediterranean
Opening Hours: Open Monday through Thursday for dinner 5:30 PM to 10 PM, Friday 5:30 PM to 11 PM. Open Tuesday through Friday for lunch 11:30 AM to 3 PM. Open Saturday noon to 11 PM, Sunday noon to 10 PM.
Nearby Metro Stops: Dupont Circle
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Keftedes; octopus with octopus-ink vinaigrette; moussaka with duck, eggplant, and kefalotyri cheese; grilled whole fish, especially the branzino.

Cuisine: It used to be that the flaming cheese known as saganaki—lit tableside—delivered most of the excitement in going out to eat Greek. At this cozy bistro, the drama is quieter but more intriguing. It offers a modern makeover of a traditional, often heavy cuisine—from the liberal use of Greek wines and ouzos in dishes to the focus on native cheeses. Even better, for all of the refinement, the cooking still retains an essential gutsiness.

Mood: A dynamic ceramic sculpture anchors the back wall, while flashes of dark Aegean blue, glossy wood, and servers dressed in captain’s hats and stripes lend the narrow room a nautical feel. With a recent expansion, there’s now a bar area plus a handful of additional tables. The best part about the renovation? A new entrance means no more blasts of frigid air in the main dining room.

Best for: A night of intense flavors and conversation.

Best dishes: Crisp butternut-squash keftedes, a sort of vegetable meatball with sesame seeds and raisin paste; nicely charred octopus with octopus-ink vinaigrette; an elegant moussaka with duck, eggplant, and kefalotyri cheese; grilled whole fish, especially the branzino.

Insider tips: Some platters, such as the symposium edesmata, a lineup of dips, are a mixed bag, with stellar (fava-bean purée; tzatziki; tyrokafteri, a spicy feta-and-hot-pepper spread) and not-so-stellar (hummus, skordalia, taramasalata) items. If you ask nicely, the kitchen has been known to let you order individual items or make substitutions.

Service: ••

Open Monday for dinner, Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. Moderate to expensive.

See all of 2010's 100 Best Restaurants

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/01/2010 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews