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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