Good morning y’all! Only one more day until the long weekend. I am heading back to Boston tomorrow and can’t wait to be home! Although I have had fun down here in DC (my most favorite city).
Tuesday night I met Erin from A Nesting Experience (A NH born girl who lived in Boston and moved to DC, a girl after my own heart) for dinner at the restaurant everyone has been telling me about, Zaytinya. Zaytinya is a mix of Turkish, Greek, and Lebanese food and is served tapas style.
I actually walked by the restaurant a few times before I realized it was there because there was this lovely sculpture outside, leading me to think the restaurant was actually a museum.
The restaurant is positively gorgeous inside. The decor is in white and blue, and the restaurant is extremely open and roomy. The ceilings are high and the windows let in a large amount of natural sunlight. The restaurant has a patio outside that mirrored the interior of the restaurant in it’s spaciousness. Zaytinya certainly gets an A+ for style.
Upon Erin’s suggestion, I went with the Assyrtiko for my wine selection, which hails from Santorini. I really loved it. It was slightly dry and a little bubbly. The flavor was magnificent.
The first thing to come to the table in any Greek restaurant is the warm pitas right out of the oven. Throughout the evening, waiters come by to replenish the pita supply. Which is a good thing, because clearly they go pretty quickly.
We started with the tzatziki, a greek yogurt with diced cucumbers and dill. Tzatziki is always delicious and I highly recommend you try it if you haven’t yet. Trader Joe’s makes a fantastic tzatziki.
Next we chose the Kolokithokeftedes (quite the mouthful), which is zucchini and cheese patties with a caper-yogurt sauce. Erin warned me before we ordered these that they were not authentically greek, but seeing as how I have never really had authentic Greek food, I would give them a shot. The texture was definitely a little different, but they were delicious none the less. My second favorite dish of the night.
We also ordered the Hannoush from the specials menu, which was a pan seared cheese with pickled watermelon and pears. I loved the fruit, however the cheese was very unimpressive. It lacked flavor and needed to be melted a little more.
Up next was my absolute favorite of the night, the crispy brussel afelia, which was brussel sprouts coriander seeds, barberries, and garlic yogurt. The brussel sprouts were fried and they were absolutely amazing. I probably could have eaten my weight in brussel sprouts. The coriander seeds and barberries added a different texture and the tartness of the yogurt really complimented the brussel sprouts.
We decided to go with two lamb dishes as we both love lamb. The first was the kleftico, which was lamb on a spit with feta in phyllo dough. I absolutely loved this dish. The phyllo dough was crispy, and the feta cheese added just the right amount of flavor to bring the dish to excellency.
Our second lamb dish was the arayes, which is grilled ground lamb and tahini stuffed pita with garlic yogurt. This dish was tasty as well, but significantly less than the kleftico.
For dessert I ordered the Turkish Delight, which is walnut ice cream with fried phyllo dough and a lemon glaze. It was an interesting dessert. I typically never order ice cream desserts since ice cream is not my favorite. I was disappointed to see there was no baklava on the menu. I actually found the dessert menu as a whole to be lackluster. The Turkish Delight was really the only plausible choice for me.
Zaytinya was fairly priced and I would definitely go here again, although I will say that if I had my choice of Greek restaurants in the DC area, I much prefer Agora to Zaytinya. The menu at Agora is more extensive and has more variety. That being said, the service and atmosphere are far better at Zaytinya. The outdoor patio would be a huge reason to pick Zaytinya over Agora.