100 Very Best Restaurants 2013: Zaytinya


The dining room at Zaytinya restaurant in Washington, DC. Photograph by Chris Campbell.

A retooled Minibar and Jaleo—two other stars in restaurateur
José Andrés’s ever-expanding culinary constellation—may be getting all the
buzz, but this stark white, sprawling ode to Levantine and Greek fare
holds its own with a prodigious array of olive-oil-perfumed mezze. You
could dine daily for a couple of weeks without repeating a single dish.
And unlike other addresses where small plates rule, there’s little filler.
Nearly every bite is a success—you might be tempted to order a second
round just to have another taste. (You might also feel like having another
round of the licoricey ouzo or raki that marries so well with the
salty feta-based plates.) If Middle Eastern desserts have left you cold in
the past, try the clever, modernized takes here. You won’t be

Plates are generous, so ignore the five-dishes-per-person
mantra intoned by waitstaff. You can always order more later.
Don’t miss: Sigara borek (cigar-shaped cheese
pies); caramelized okra with crisped chickpeas; cabbage dolmas with
chestnuts, rice, and parsley; hunkar beyendi (whipped,
béchamel-enriched eggplant with lamb stew); soujouk pide (a
flatbread with sausage, kasseri cheese, and a 63-degree egg);
sautéed shrimp with lemon and dill; vanilla yogurt with Muscat-soaked
apricots, apricot sorbet, and pistachio powder; Turkish-delight sundae
with walnut ice cream, yogurt mousse, and orange-caramel sauce.

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

100 Very Best Restaurants 2013

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.