Zaytinya

There are a few key adjectives that describe Jose Andres. Magical genius. Culinary Sorcerer. Titan. Maverick. Lover. Okay, those last three were a 30 Rock reference. But seriously, we have yet to go even remotely wrong at a Jose Andres restaurant, and Zaytinya was yet another example of this in the most beautiful and pure form.

Savannah and Callan met at Zaytinya after a long day of work. A mighty, long day. And what is the first thing that any responsible person does after a long day? They order a cocktail, of course.

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The first cocktail was the Pom Fili, which is a white wine cocktail mixed with pomegranate and vodka. If you’re nervous about anything involving vodka, don’t fret. This was just sweet enough and the vodka was essentially undetectable. It was a perfect way to start the meal.

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Following the Pom Fili we both opted for a glass of the 2014 Antonopoulos Moschofilero from Greece. Many of the wines on the wine list at Zaytinya are from Greece, so if you are unfamiliar with wines from that region feel free to ask the waitstaff for some much needed help.

This particular wine drank like a bright, dry, crisp Pinot Grigio.

The menu at Zaytinya is essentially Mediterranean-style tapas. On the menu there is a section for soups and salads, various flatbreads, vegetable mezze, seafood mezze, and meat & poultry mezze.

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Before we even thought about food we took the very happy opportunity to dip our free flatbread into this beautiful plate of hummus. It was creamy and delicious, and had a slight pop from the addition of paprika.

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There was also olive oil involved, just in case you are an insane psycho who needs to be publicly shamed  not that into hummus. It was also quite delicious.


Vegetable Mezze

Fattoush

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This is something I get every time I come here. Every. Single. Time. Its bright but also has a little kick to it, and well, its just a good way to eat your veggies. Especially at a place like Zaytinya, where everything you get is a heavy-hitter, this is nice because it’s delicious and not extremely filling. Although, more food is never a bad thing. Especially here.

Cauliflower Tiganites
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Contrary to popular belief, cauliflower isn’t boring. Ok, it might be if you eat it boiled or something. But THIS cauliflower? This cauliflower is pure gold. We aren’t totally sure how it was cooked (maybe pan fried, maybe roasted?) but it was full bodied and delicious. The tahini added a luscious richness, which was cut by the briny capers and crunchy pine nuts. GET THIS.

Local Swiss Chard

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If you’re looking to add some more greens into your life (and who isn’t, amiright?) the swiss chard is a good place to start. It was heavier than expected, with the addition of meaty mushrooms and green chickpeas. There was also a pleasant tomato sauce and an earthy addition of za’tar spice.


Seafood Mezze

Octopus Santorini
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“Hello beautiful,” is most often the way that delicious octopus should be greeted. This rendition was perfectly cooked. It was grilled, which gave it a wonderful crust, yet it was still soft and easy to cut. There was also a yellow, split pea pureé which was rich with the scent of saffron.

Shellfish Quwarmah

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So my boyfriend is allergic to shellfish. Every day is a struggle. Because of this, when I go out to eat with friends I usually try and get something that would be questionably deadly for him, but enjoyable and guilt-free for me. This soup was divine. Presentation alone was incredible. The soup comes out deconstructed, with the shellfish, (scallops, shrimp, and mussels) pistachios, rice, and almonds all in the bowl. The broth is then poured over and then you’re in business. The aromatic broth had a very savory taste that didn’t overwhelm the shellfish. The inclusion of the nuts and rice also help make the soup texturally interesting, and went beyond what one would think of as a regular soup option. Like everything else with this review, it was amazing.


Callan:
I’ve never had a bad meal at Zaytinya. EVER. Everything is clean, fresh and perfectly cooked. This is someone whose diet mainly consists of seafood, vegetables and white wine. So trust and believe that you will love it.

Grade: A

Savannah: Its no surprise that I also enjoyed my time at Zaytinya. Everything is big enough to share (a common gripe with many tapas places in D.C.) and the menu succeeds in being approachable enough that you can bring nearly anyone there. This is one of my “must try” restaurants when friends come to visit me in D.C. for that reason alone. Perhaps my only complaint is that a meal here will set you back a pretty penny during dinnertime. My pro-tip is to come during lunch. They serve a prix fixe mezze lunch that is $25 dollars each. While this is pretty expensive for a lunch, you get 4 courses and if you bring a buddy you can get almost everything on the menu, which is a great deal compared to dinner.

Grade: A

Zaytinya
701 9th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001

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