100 Best Restaurants 2010: Zaytinya
Comments () | Published January 1, 2010
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Zaytinya
Address: 701 Ninth St., NW, Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-638-0800
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter/Chinatown, Downtown
Cuisines: Turkish, Tapas/Small Plates, Spanish/Portuguese, Lebanese, Greek/Mediterranean
Opening Hours: Open Monday and Sunday 11:30 AM to 10 PM, Tuesday and Thursday 11:30 AM to 11:30 PM, Friday and Saturday 11:30 AM to midnight.
Nearby Metro Stops: Metro Center, Gallery Place-Chinatown
Price Range: Inexpensive
Dress: Upscale Casual
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); Greek-yogurt-and-apricot parfait; choc

Cuisine: Greek, Turkish, and Lebanese classics get the José Andrés treatment at this Penn Quarter mezzeteria: The peripatetic chef amps up the flavors so they’re bolder and brighter, while downsizing the portions so they fit his small-plates format. His protégé, Mike Isabella, recently flamed out on Bravo’s Top Chef. No such problems here—his kitchen is a model of consistency and high quality.

Mood: Soaring ceilings, sharp angles, and sculptural jars of olive oil—for which the restaurant is named—set a downtown vibe, as does the near-constant roar from the packed bar almost every evening.

Best for: Lunch, when the place is less crowded and loud (even better on the patio in warm months); pre-game and pre-theater diners in search of value; groups, which are handled well here.

Best dishes: Htipiti, a spread of red peppers, feta, and fresh thyme; crispy fried eggplant; taramasalata; zucchini-and-cheese fritters; poached salmon with spicy eggplant; veal cheeks with chanterelle-mushroom purée; prawns with Persian-style charred-tomato sauce; salmon shawarma sandwich (lunch only); Greek-yogurt-and-apricot parfait; chocolate visne, a milk-chocolate cream with cherry sorbet; Eros cocktail featuring dried baby roses and honey dust.

Insider tips: The mezze theme carries through to the desserts, which can be ordered regular size and in a smaller mezze portion.

Service: ••

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

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