Cheap Eats 2015: Cafe Divan

Where we go for lamb and veal cooked on a spit to perfection.


Housed in a wedge of a building in upper Georgetown, this eatery has the feel of a trendy Euro cafe. The menu of mezze and mains covers many of the hallmarks of Turkish cuisine. Our ideal repast would start with a raki (the Turkish version of ouzo) and a smattering of mezze such as cigar-shaped, feta-filled phyllo rolls; stuffed eggplant glistening with tomato and olive oil; and tender grape leaves. Divan does a fine job with kebabs—spicy ground beef and ground lamb are exceptionally good—but the real star is the doner kebab, thinly sliced lamb and veal cooked on a spit and served with blistered tomatoes. Have it dry if you’re a fan of roasty end cuts, or wet with yogurt and pita crisps.

Cuisine: Turkish

Where you can get it: 1834 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-338-1747

Also good: Fried eggplant with yogurt sauce; savory pastry stuffed with Turkish pastrami and kasseri cheese; hunkar begendi (chunks of lamb atop puréed eggplant); pide, a boat-shaped pizza with feta or kasseri; firin sutlac (rice pudding); kazandibi (caramelized-milk pudding).

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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.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.