Zaytinya is still one of my favorite spots to eat whenever I’m back in DC. This Jose Andres spot rarely disappoints. On this visit, we dined with a party of six and were seated at a secluded table against the wall to the right of the kitchen. My favorite dish was the Portakal salatasi — a salad made of oranges, pomegranate, arugula, red onions, feta, and pine nuts. As someone who loves meat, it’s rare that a salad can be the highlight of my dinner, but it was amazing enough to make me consider becoming a vegetarian — but only for half a second.
The falafels were delicious, the dolmades were excellent, and the seared halloumi was a hit also. Other dishes ordered included the hommus, the butternut squash hommus, horitiki salad, spanakopita, brussels sprouts, beef and lamb meatballs, steak tartare, and steak. The biggest disappointment was the tartare. The bulgur wheat and spices just didn’t do it for me. We finished off the meal with two desserts: the Turkish delight and the Turkish coffee chocolate. The moist cake in the latter dish was excellent, but it was overshadowed by too much of the espuma and could have used more chocolate flan.
Our server seemed disinterested, slow, and rarely stopped by, making it difficult to place new orders of food or drinks. Despite that, I’ll still be happy to stop by the next time I’m in town. With such an extensive menu it’s impossible to avoid a let down here or there. Fortunately, there are many more hits than misses.
701 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001