Food

Ankara Is Becoming a Levantine Restaurant in Dupont Circle

Ala, which blends flavors from Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and beyond, opens March 1.

Ala will serve mezze and cocktails from the Levant region of the Mediterranean. Photograph courtesy of Ala

Turkish restaurant Ankara, which opened in Dupont Circle six years ago, is undergoing a revamp. The large indoor/outdoor space served its last meal over the weekend before a two-week closure and will reopen on March 1 as Ala (which translates to a blending of colors in Turkish). The new restaurant concept is more widely focused on the Levant region of the Eastern Mediterranean and will meld flavors from Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Turkey, and beyond.

Brunch and dinner menus are filled with dips and spreads; Mediterranean cheeses, homemade pickles, and charcuterie like duck prosciutto with myrrh and orange; baked mezze such as manakish flatbreads; grilled meats and seafood; and lots of vegetarian options. Share plates bring together culinary traditions and ingredients from the Levant, such as crispy halloumi cheese with pine honey and Egyptian dukkah, or lamb confit with smoked yoghurt and chilies. The wine list draws widely from Georgia, Armenia, and Israel, while cocktails also borrow flavors from the region such as a drink with sumac-infused vodka or another with raki, rum, mint, and cucumber. 

In addition to a la carte plates, general manager Jenay Doganay says the restaurant will have prix-fixe menus for brunch and dinner so that patrons can sample widely—available indoors or on the heated patio. At brunch, there’s an all-you-can-eat-and-drink option ($39, or $29 without alcohol), while dinner brings a “ziyafet” (feast) menu with a choice of two hot and two cold dishes per person ($36) with optional cocktail and wine pairings ($19). The a la carte menus will be available for takeout and delivery.

Ala. 1320 19th St., NW.

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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.