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Cheap Eats 2008: Cava

Why go: The all-mezze menu ranges from faithful renditions of Greek classics to inventive modern interpretations, and the high-energy dining room and bar dispense with Zorba the Greek clichés.

What to get: Cubes of feta with clover honey and fresh mint; a refined taramosalata; saganaki, the salty Greek flambéed cheese; village sausages and meatballs grilled over charcoal; the cinnamon-braised beef dish known as kokinsto, with a side of olive-oil fries for catching the juices; honey-drizzled Greek doughnuts called loukoumades.

Best for: Celebrations and group-dining—mezze are meant for sharing, and these small plates are often generously portioned.

Insider tip: Cava takes reservations only for lunch and on Sunday. Monday is $5-martini night, Tuesday half-price-bottle-of-wine night.

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

See all 2008 Cheap Eats restaurants

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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.