100 Very Best Restaurant 2016: Kapnos and Kapnos Taverna

Photo by Scott Suchman

No doubt you’ve had a gyro before. Grayish-brown meat sliced from a vertical spit and stuffed into a packaged pita. Now get a load of the gyro at Mike Isabella’s Kapnos Taverna—thick slices of roasted lamb, dripping with juice and singing of garlic and fresh oregano, tucked into a flatbread fresh from the grill, and slathered with tzatziki so thick and rich you could envision eating it by the tubful. Isabella is Italian, not Greek, but he got his start at José Andrés’s Zaytinya, and his affection for the cuisine is evident in the bright, zesty dishes that fly out of these kitchens. At Kapnos, meat is dominant. At Kapnos Taverna, in Ballston, fish is the center of the menu. What unites them, however, is more important than what divides them: The ingredients are first-rate, the presentations are dramatic, the flavors pop.

Don’t miss: Taramasalata;lamb tartare; falafel with roasted eggplant; yellow lentils with butternut squash; snapper in saffron broth; spit-roasted chicken; whole branzino; salmon tartare; swordfish kebab; spit-roasted pork with harissa potato salad; fried potatoes with Greek Island dressing; spanakopita; Greek sundae.

See what other restaurants made our 100 Very Best Restaurants list. This article appears in our February 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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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.

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