100 Very Best Restaurants 2014: Cava Mezze
The dining room at Cava Mezze. Photograph by Scott Suchman.
Comments () | Published January 27, 2014
100 Best Restaurants 2014 100 Best Restaurants 2013

Cava Mezze
Address: 527 Eighth St., SE, Washington, DC 20003
Phone: 202-543-9090
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill, Southeast, Capitol Hill
Cuisines: Greek/Mediterranean
Opening Hours: Open Monday 5 to 10 PM, Tuesday through Thursday 5 to 10:15 PM, Friday 5 to 11:15 PM, Saturday 2:30 to 11:15 PM, and Sunday 3 to 10 PM.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Kid Friendly: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: Eastern Market, Capitol South
Price Range: Moderate
Noise Level: Rowdy
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes Spicy lamb sliders; watermelon salad with feta and mint; pork souvlaki; meatballs in tomato sauce; avgolemono soup; “disco fries”; Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts; loukoumades (Greek doughnuts).
Price Details: Mezze, $4.95 to $16.95, shareable platters $21.95 to $44.95.
Special Features:
Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly, Valet Parking Available

These Greek small-plates lounges don’t suffer from a dual identity; much of their appeal derives from it. The dark, noisy rooms may prime you for slick, conceptualized food, but the plates are imbued with a yia yia’s passionate soul. Avgolemono, the lemony chicken soup, is soothing on a cold day, while taramasalata, one of several party-starting dips, is as bright as it is light. The lamb sliders are so plump, juicy, and smartly adorned (with feta and spicy red-pepper spread), they just might revive your interest in mini-burgers. The rewards are fewer when it comes to larger plates, and in what’s becoming the norm at small-plates spots, you may find yourself playing waiter—rearranging dishes and handing empties to the staff. Skip dessert, but not a cocktail: The smooth cucumber gin martini sets a mood and eases the nerves.

DC and Arlington open: Monday for dinner, Tuesday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. Rockville open: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner, Sunday for brunch and dinner.

Don’t miss: Cava Fries, with feta and kefalograviera cheese; baked feta; “lollipop chicken”; spicy lamb meatballs; spit-carved gyro (Sunday only). 

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