100 Best Restaurants 2008: Mourayo

No. 34: Mourayo

Cuisine: Greek foodstuffs are the starting point for inventive fare that goes way beyond moussaka, spanakopita, and dolmades.

Mood: Aegean-blue accents against white evoke the Greek isles in this sliver of an eatery that’s both intimate and lively.

Best for: Couples in the cooing stage and fans of Greek cooking who are seeking something a bit different.

Best dishes: Squid-ink soup; smoky grilled octopus with fava-bean purée and octopus-ink vinaigrette; symposium edesmata, an array of mezze; whole grilled fish of the day, including snapper, sole, dorade (the $2 surcharge for the salt crust is worth it); robust duck moussaka; pork loin with figs; rustic lamb stew, the gravy moistening a mound of orzo; dense walnut cake; rum-laced fig ice cream; manouri cheese with sweet walnut preserves.

Insider tips: The mezze platters are ideal for sharing, but don’t stick just to the familiar. In chef Rudy Buruca’s hands, even such dishes as squid-ink soup are delicious. Prime tables are in the front window. Several choice ouzos and a roster of mostly Greek wines make the drink list more interesting than most.

Service: ••

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 Petworth.