100 Best Restaurants 2009: Zaytinya

No. 37: Zaytinya

Cuisine: José Andrés’s reimagined Greek, Turkish, and Lebanese mezze have purists admitting that these clever redos are often better than the classics.

Mood: An all-white palette and candles make the space shimmer. It might be romantic if not for the near-deafening buzz from the bar and other diners.

Best for: Groups out on the town or enjoying a pre– or post–Verizon Center meal.

Best dishes: Gigantes (lima beans on steroids) with kale; airy taramasalata; roasted cauliflower with pine-nut purée; zucchini-and-cheese fritters; adana kebab with harissa and sumac onions; lamb shank over eggplant purée; visne (cherry) soufflé with muscat-spiked yogurt and sour-cherry sorbet.

Insider tips: Limited reservations are available every night, but you usually have to call a few weeks in advance to get a prime weekend slot.

Service: ••

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

See all of 2009's 100 Best 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.