Zaytinya by Jose Andres, Washington DC
When I tell people I live in DC, there is usually a series of questions that follow. I get asked if I have ever seen Obama or what it’s like to be around some of the most impressive monuments in the USA. Very rarely do I get asked about the vibrant culinary scene (and to answer your question, yes I see Obama’s Presidential motorcade all the time. It usually makes me late for class). When I moved to DC more than three years ago, I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of great restaurants in the city. I have since dedicated my weekends to going out and exploring all the different options this amazing city has to offer. I have decided to start my run at michelleonbell by reviewing one of my favorite restaurants, not surprisingly a Jose Andres Restaurant, Zaytinya.
For those of you who don’t know, Jose Andres is basically a celebrity here in DC. He has over 10 restaurants and keeps opening more. They are all delicious but Zaytinya is the best one in my opinion. Located in bustling Chinatown, this Mediterranean restaurant is perfect for either brunch, lunch or dinner, but it’s a pretty popular place so I recommend you make a reservation in advance.
Last time I was there with my friends on a Friday night and we had a great time as usual. We started off with some drinks; I got the cocktail called From Time to Thyme, which has gin, green chartreuse, lemon juice, thyme syrup and lemon soda. It was really refreshing and a great way to start off the meal.
Like most Mediterranean restaurants, the menu is designed as lots of small plated intended to be shared. We started off with a Hummus, a Baba Ghannouge and a Tzatziki which they bring out with the most delicious freshly baked pita bread still warm and fluffy from the oven. They keep bringing these bread baskets out, so eat as much as you want!
After the spreads, I recommend you order the Mushroom Couscous. It has garlic toum which gives it such a delicious touch that you are are going to be left wanting more. Definitely one of my favorite dishes here. As you know us Meyer’s love our meat, so this entry could not be complete without at least one meat recommendation. I have never been here and not ordered the Hunkar Begendi. This traditional Turkish-braised lamb shank with eggplant puree is so amazingly prepared that it melts in your mouth. Definitely worthy of ordering seconds. The Kibbeh and Lamb Chops are also a must.
To finish it all off we ordered the very popular Greek Yogurt and Apricots. This dessert is the perfect mix of tart and sweet, so delicious we left nothing on the plate. Its one of the 16 most important restaurants in DC according to Thrillist, so you should definitely check it out next time you’re in Washington DC.
by: Nicole Meyer
Nicole Meyer grew up in Mexico City, with a family who always loved to travel, experience new things and dine out. After high school, she moved to Washington DC, where she currently attends George Washington University. Nicole never misses a chance to try a new restaurant and experience new flavors. As DC’s culinary scene grows she loves to follow it along. Stay tuned for reviews on the latest and best restaurants of the district.