Date and occasion: My daughter and I went to DC for her birthday last weekend, and she wanted mediterranean food, so I asked Bo (DC Insider Tours), and he suggested Zaytinya. I booked an early reservation on Friday evening, June 27th. I'm glad our reservations were early, because by the time we left at around 6 p.m., the place was packed.
Service: Friendly, timely, and with a smile. No issues at all with the staff.
Decor and Atmosphere: Light and airy, lively, festive, fun. Our table was inside (thankful we had a reservation because it was very hot outside) at the window and was very comfortable. With so many plates, the table space was a bit small at times, but the staff was quick to remove empty plates. The bathrooms were spacious and clean.
Food: Culinary ecstasy. It's been a long time since I've enjoyed as many different flavors and combinations as I did at Zaytinya. Everything was delicious, from the "balloon bread" and hommus, to the salads, entrees, and dessert. My favorites were the Crispy Brussels Afelia, Horta Salata, Bronzino, and Keftedes Kapama. We ordered a few other things, and they were all good as well. Also, since it was my daughters birthday, they treated her to an apricot ice cream desert, which was out of this world. With our sweet tooths whetted, we ordered Turkish Delight, and were simply in heaven. I just wish the desert portion was a little bit more generous.
Price: Expensive for your average tourist like me. Our bill was right at $100 for two people. I would never go there with the whole family… It would be easy to rack up a bill north of $300 for our family of seven. The price adds up quickly, so I would suggest going straight to the seafood, meats, and poultry and get a few that you know you will like. Then fill in with salad and more exotic choices.
Bottom line: I would have loved to try more dishes, but my appetite -- and pocketbook -- couldn't handle it. If you love a lot of different flavors and combinations, it's worth the splurge.
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