Monday, June 27, 2011

Zaytinya, DC

The award-winning executive chef, Jose Andres, never ceases to amaze me! At, Zaytinya, one of his many restaurants, he and his chefs focus on innovative Turkish, Greek, and Lebanese cuisine. This restaurant boasts almost a full page of vegetarian dishes on its extensive menu. Of the small plates offered on the vegetable mezze menu, many are vegan and most can be veganized. I've probably been to this restaurant close to twenty times and I've been delighted with my selections every time.

This time I noticed that there were many new vegetable dishes on the menu making it harder than ever to choose!  I finally decided on a mushroom dish, cauliflower dish, and a stew. The Medley of Seasonal Mushrooms included enoki, crimini, and hen of the woods mushrooms sauteed in olive oil with a garnish of herbs. The mushrooms were complemented with slivered almonds and figs -- a delightful combination. I order this dish often.

My all-time favorite dish is the Roasted Cauliflower. The cauliflower is lightly roasted and served in a soft, yet tantalizing sauce accompanied by sultans, caper berries, and pine nuts, then topped with fresh dill. This dish is absolutely delicious!  Who knew cauliflower could be this good?!

I also tried one of the newer dishes -- Bamya, which was a stew of tomatoes, carmelized okra, and crispy green chickpeas. The stew was strongly flavored with cardamom, which gave it a delicious kick. This could become another one of my staples.

Other delicious dishes that I've had on other occasions include Crispy Brussel Afelia, Grape-Leaves Dolmades, Falafel, Piyaz, Ottoman Pilaf, and Asparagus.  With so many delicious dishes to choose from, one might be tempted to order many more, but beware, these $6 to $10 mezzes will add up quickly.

But, wait, there's more! Besides the amazing food, the decor is ultra-chic. This restaurant is huge and always packed so be sure to make reservations, if you can. The service is usually very good. They have this great bar area that is typically packed as well so if you come during happy hour, be sure to get there early. The drinks are fantastic. And, the wine list is spectacular. Oh, and did I mention the beautiful bathrooms? Yes, you must see them when you eat here!

The only negative thing I have to report about this place is that, unfortunately, the puffy bread they serve when you first sit down is not vegan -- it contains milk. If only they'd make that bread without cow's milk...oh, well.

All in all, Zaytinya is one of the best non-vegan restaurants in DC for vegan food. If you are visiting DC, you should add this restaurant to your list of "must visit" restaurants.

701 9th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 638-0800

Zaytinya on Urbanspoon


  1. I love the Crispy Brussel Afelia! It is one of if not my favorite thing on their menu. Never had the mushroom dish (and I love mushrooms), it looks delish!

  2. Jessica - I never knew brussels sprouts could taste so good! You have to try the mushrooms too!