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Reema Desai


Written by
Reema Desai

When people think of DC dining, it’s usually the whole power lunch and dinner thing. It’s probably as accurate as thinking that Obama got his job just like Frank Underwood got his. But ultimately, there is some truth to the overblown notions of fine dining around here. Leave it to Jose Andres to bust those.

At Zaytinya, he’s been able to provide a place where people go dressed in suits, strike their most powerful power poses, and get deals done. But instead of having that in a dark, dimly lit room that makes you feel like you walked into a country club where the minimum age is 55, he’s done it in a bright, open atmosphere with two- story windows that make you feel like you walked into a restaurant designed by Apple. This is the truest test of the Jose Andres’ Anti-Stuffiness Check Mark™, and Zaytinya pulls it off in spades, with extra credit for degree of difficulty.

And, by the way, the food is great. A menu that is focused on Greek and Lebanese cuisines, this is a much better option than another boring, overcooked filet. As with all of his places, Zaytinya is a small plates concept. We recommend going heavy on the vegetable and seafood options, although if you’re a kebab fan, you won’t be let down.

Food Rundown


Six pieces, so plenty to go around. And it will go around. After you’ve finished, keep the plate around to dip bread into the mustard/olive oil sauce it’s served with.

Brussels Sprouts

OK, let’s have a little talk here. No self-respecting restaurant worth its weight in pink Himlayan sea salt would dare not offer some version of this. But these are incredible, the king of all sprouts. We’ve been tempted to order five plates of these and call it a day. You don’t have to do that, but you do have to order at least one.

Baba Gannoush

Eggplant version of the hummus. We like this better, but you can’t go wrong either way.


Served with dates and almonds, this is just sweet enough, and certainly good enough, to classify as a dessert, if you’re looking to stay light.


You can’t make a wrong choice here. Even the “boring” chicken is incredibly juicy and flavorful. Our favorite is the lamb and beef mixture.

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