100 Very Best Restaurants 2014: Zaytinya
No. 24 on this year's list.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Jessica Voelker, Anna Spiegel
The dining room at Zaytinya restaurant in Washington, DC. Photograph by Chris Campbell.
Comments () | Published January 28, 2014
100 Best Restaurants 2014 100 Best Restaurants 2013 100 Best Restaurants (2011) 100 Best Restaurants 2012 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Address: 701 Ninth St., NW, Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-638-0800
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter/Chinatown, Downtown
Cuisines: Turkish, Spanish/Portuguese, Tapas/Small Plates, Lebanese, Greek/Mediterranean
Opening Hours: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch, lunch, and dinner.
Nearby Metro Stops: Metro Center, Gallery Place-Chinatown
Price Range: Moderate
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Htipiti; fried eggplant; taramasalata; zucchini-and-cheese fritters; poached salmon with eggplant; veal cheeks with chanterelle-mushroom purée; prawns with charred-tomato sauce; salmon shawarma sandwich (lunch only)

The mezze at José Andrés’s white-and-blue Penn Quarter restaurant remain as crave-worthy as ever. It’s hard to imagine a meal here that doesn’t begin with swiping puffy pita bread through velvety baba ghanoush topped with pomegranate seeds, or tzatziki that’s fragrant with dill. But the beauty of this expansive menu—inspired by Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon—is that experimentation is nearly always rewarded.

From a hunk of seared haloumi cheese with oranges and dates to pearls of couscous blanketed in earthy mushrooms, this is a small-plates menu that justifies the genre. Good as the food is, don’t forget to pay attention to what’s in your glass. Cocktails such as the Harissa Fizz—with tequila, harissa, and lemon soda—lend a festive feel to dinner. 

Open: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. 

Don’t miss: Grilled octopus with yellow-split-pea purée; avgolemono soup; Brussels sprouts with garlic yogurt; potato-crusted snail kibbeh; meatballs; Turkish Delight sundae; semolina custard with apple sorbet. 

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Posted at 04:37 PM/ET, 01/28/2014 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews