Cuisine: Mediterranean, Greek
Location: USA, Washington DC – Chinatown
After the hours spent at the International Spy Museum which was extremely enjoyable and interesting, I had researched some options for a nearby lunch venue and chose Zaytinya, a Greek / middle Eastern restaurant. Aside from seating outside, it’s a huge restaurant with plenty of seating inside. Without being pretentious, the restaurant has a smart interior and excellent service. People in DC are generally well dressed and the clientele of the restaurant represented that ethos.
I took a look at the menu where you can order al a carte or, as I decided, they also offer 4 courses for $25 with choices in each course.
To start they served pita bread which was very puffed and light, completely unlike what we have in Australia. It tasted different too but was really enjoyable. A bowl of olive oil and pomegranate molasses was served and the molasses provided a slightly sweet and tart flavour. Enjoyed with the pita bread, it was yum.
Fire Roasted Eggplant, Tahini, Lemon, Garlic
I really enjoyed the baba ghannouge which was delicious. It was not garlicky at all, smooth and light. The pomegranate seeds provide a burst of flavour, sweetness, and acidity.
Traditional Chickpea Fritters, Tahini Sauce
Next up were the falafel which looked very enticing. They are very crispy with their crunchy crumb on the outside with a lovely soft filling on the inside. The flavours are well balanced and controlled. With the tahini on the bottom of the plate, it tasted delicious.
Skewered Ground Lamb, House Made Harissa, Grilled Tomatoes, Sumac, Onions
This dish has a very unique flavour like no kebab I’ve tasted before. Served on a thin small piece of chewy pita (like what we get in Australia), pickled chillies, roasted tomatoes, and pickled red onion, put them all together and it’s so delicious. Really loved the kebab. The chillies still have a bit of bite but the sting has gone out of it.
Greek Yoghurt & Apricots
Muscat Soaked Apricots, Vanilla Yoghurt Cream, Apricot Sorbet
This dessert sounds pedestrian but the yoghurt wasn’t what I was expecting. Rather, the dish was like panna cotta, smooth creamy vanilla flavour with apricot pieces at the bottom, a thin apricot syrup like layer on top, and a smooth apricot sorbet which was delicious. Excellent dessert and a very filling meal.
Zaytinya Food Review Summary
Verdict: Zatinya is a Greek / middle eastern based restaurant with a huge seating area, comfortable and smart surrounds, along with excellent service to boot. An al a carte menu is available or as I chose, a 4 course option for $25 with choices for each course. I really liked the puffed up pita bread which I enjoyed with the bowl of olive oil and pomegranate molasses. I also enjoyed the pita bread with a delicious baba ghannouge which was smooth and light and not at all garlicky. The crisply battered and fried falafel with tahini was excellent. This was topped by the adana kebab, like no other I’ve eaten before, so full of flavour and complemented with the other elements on the plate. To finish, the rather unassuming Greek yoghurt and apricot dessert was anything but. It really surprised with a panna cotta likeness, the smooth creamy vanilla flavour going superbly with the different elements of apricot and the sorbet. Excellent cuisine, perfectly executed and married with elements on the plate to further enhance the flavour. Superb!
Price: Reasonable (with service & tip – USD $32, ~$34 AUD, $1 AUD = 0.93 USD)
Recommendation: Highly Recommend
Zaytinya Restaurant Details
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