Cafe Divan
A snug and stylish Turkish cafe.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli
Comments () | Published October 10, 2006
Cheap Eats (2010)
Cafe Divan
Address: 1834 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20007
Phone: 202-338-1747
Neighborhood: Georgetown
Cuisines: Turkish, Middle Eastern, Breakfast
Opening Hours: Open Monday through Thursday 11 AM to 10:30 PM, Friday and Saturday6 11 AM to 11 PM, and Sunday 11 AM to 10:30 PM.
Nearby Metro Stops: Foggy Bottom-GWU
Price Range: Inexpensive
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes Sigara borek; sous borek; dolmas; hummos; baba ghanoush; iman bayaldi, the classic stuffed-eggplant dish; doner kebab; iskander kebab; lamb kebab; yogurtlu kebab with beef; kuzu guvec, a lamb-and-eggplant casserole; whole roast baby lamb (Thursdays only);
Price Details: Appetizers $3.95 to $5.95, entrées $5.95 to $16.

From June 2006 Cheap Eats

Named for Istanbul's still-snazzy Divan Hotel, this snug cafe on Wisconsin Avenue in upper Georgetown proves that style and substance are not incompatible. The glass-walled dining room looks like a page out of Metropolitan Home, the people-watching crowd is a mix of old and young sophisticates, and the food goes well beyond Turkey's greatest hits.

Besides perfectly fried sigara borek, cigar-shaped rolls of dough deep-fried and oozing cheese, the kitchen turns out (on weekends only) the rarely seen sous borek, a delicately layered affair of house-made dough and parsley-flecked feta baked in the wood oven. There's also a lovely iman bayaldi, the classic stuffed-eggplant dish, sweet with tomatoes and glistening with olive oil, which easily surpasses the timid eggplant salad.

Doner kebab, thin slices of meat shaved from a large roast of lamb and veal cooked on a vertical spit, is especially good, whether you have it solo or in a dish called iskander kebab, in which the meat is tossed with bits of pita and tomato sauce. Two other can't-miss lamb dishes are kuzu guvec, a hearty lamb-and-eggplant casserole, and lamajun, a thin, crispy, open-faced pie with ground lamb and piquant bits of pepper. Lighter fare includes boat-shaped "Turkish pizzas" sporting the unlikely but delicious mating of kasseri cheese and fried eggs.

Kazan dibi, a silky rice-flour pudding with a scorched crust--the Ottoman answer to creme brulee--is a sweet finish.

 

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