100 Best Restaurants 2009: Mourayo

No. 53: Mourayo

Cuisine: Traditional Greek goes chic with truffle-infused sauces, plates covered with octopus-ink art, and such old/new mash-ups as diced-duck moussaka.

Mood: The tightly spaced bistro has a nautical theme: white-and-blue color scheme, porthole mirrors, waiters dressed in theatrical Greek-sailor getups—jaunty hat, striped shirt, and all.

Best for: Intimate dates and light meals with lots of grazing (almost every section of the menu offers some kind of sampler platter).

Best dishes: Intense squid-ink soup; octopus two ways—warm and grilled on one side, diced and turned into a vinegary salad on the other; symposium edesmata, a sampler of Greek spreads; whole grilled fish of the day; manouri cheese with preserved, spiced walnuts; dense yogurt with thyme honey.

Insider tips: The squid-ink soup may not be the best date dish—the ink temporarily tints your teeth and lips. For all others, it’s worth it. Mourayo practically doubled its space last month, so diners can now wait—or sip—at an expanded bar.

Service: ••

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

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurant

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.