Cheap Eats 2007: Cafe Divan

Women in headscarves at the next table are raving about the lentil soup. How good, you wonder, can lentil soup be? Really good.

The best dishes at this glass-enclosed dining room, popular with Turkish expats and Georgetown trendies, surprise and seduce. Sigara börek, named for their cigarlike shape, are deftly fried and ooze parsley-flecked feta. Imam Bayildi, a stuffed-eggplant dish, is bathed in olive oil. Döner kebab, a large roast of lamb and veal cooked on a vertical spit, then shaved into thin slices, is good, but it’s even better as iskender kebab, layered with tomatoes, toasted pita, and yogurt.

Among desserts, the baklava, crisp and not overly sweet, is better than most in the area, and kazan dibi, a puddinglike square blitzed with cinnamon, is creamy bliss.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.