100 Best Restaurants 2008: Cava

No. 76: Cava

Cuisine: Family recipes passed down by grandmas, aunts, and mothers of chef/owner Dimitri Moschovitis and his partners, Ted Xenohristos and Ike Grigoropoulos, get a modern spin on this lengthy menu of mezze, Greece’s answer to tapas. The idea is to order a round of plates and share.

Mood: Flickering votives, dim lighting, and a youngish crowd at the bar drinking cocktails (there are more than 20) give the smallish space the vibe of a happening nightspot, while vintage family photos lend a homespun feel—as does the service, which is surprisingly attentive given the crowds.

Best for: A celebration, diners on a budget, families with kids—it’s so loud, no one will hear an errant yelp or two.

Best dishes: Salty taramosalata; tender, olive-oil-shiny stuffed grape leaves; pan-fried tiropita with goat cheese plus feta for added zing; Opa Opa Shrimp steeped in ouzo and dill; grilled baby lamb chops with olive-oil fries; charcoal-grilled sausage; loukoumades, house-made Greek doughnuts, soaked in honey and cinammon.

Insider tips: Cava doesn’t take reservations. The drink of choice with mezze is ouzo—the smooth Plomari is served—but there are interesting Greek wines, too. Look for $5 martinis on Mondays and half-price bottles of wine Tuesdays.

Service: ••

Get Our “Brunches This Weekend” Newsletter

The best breakfasts and brunches to try every weekend, plus our most popular food stories of the week.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
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.