Monday, January 20, 2014

Restaurant Review: Zaytinya (Washington, DC)

For our second "second" anniversary, we took a short trip to DC. We had a great day exploring one of my favorite cities and ended the evening with an amazing dinner at Zaytinya. 

We had reservations for 7:45 and we arrived a few minutes early. They couldn't sit us yet, so we had a drink at the bar. I had a delicious glass of wine & Graham had an interesting cocktail. It was called the Olympic Torch. It had Greek brandy, Cocchi Americano, cardamom syrup, lemon juice, flamed orange... and an egg white. The egg white made us both a little concerned, but the drink was absolutely delicious, and the egg white gave it really nice body.

Once we were seated, our waitress brought out amazing pita bread with Greek olive oil & pomegranate vinegar for dipping. I had also mentioned that it was our anniversary when I made the reservation, so she also brought us complimentary glasses of champagne to toast with. The bread was amazing, and the pomegranate vinegar was a very pleasant surprise. It was tart & delicious with the oil & warm bread.

We asked our waitress about the sizes of the portions, and she said that most couples order 5-7 items. We started with five but as the waitress was walking away, I added on an order of the Elies Tis Elledas (marinated olives). I love olives. I could live on olives. These were wonderful. 

The Piyaz (imported warm giant beans, kale, oven roasted tomato & garlic) was delicious. I actually tried to recreate this as soon as we were back in Virginia. It wasn't nearly as good as what we had at Zaytinya. Theirs was creamy & delicious, and packed with flavor.

The mushroom couscous was phenomenal. I've never has couscous like this before. The couscous was huge, and the dish was rich and hearty. The Brussels sprouts leaves didn't offer as much flavor as I hoped, but the mushrooms were delicious. This was my favorite of the side dishes that we ordered. I even liked the garlic toum. 

I didn't like that they brought all of the side dishes out first, and all of the meat out at the end, but whatever. The scallops were my favorite thing we ordered that night. The scallops were served in a harissa-carrot puree, orange sections & radishes. This was amazing. The scallops were perfectly cooked, and all of the flavors tied together really well. The carrot puree was so good. I was worried it would be overly sweet, but it was amazing.

The octopus Santorini (grilled Mediterranean octopus, marinated onions, capers, & yellow split pea puree) was Graham's favorite. This was fantastic. The octopus had a slightly smokey taste and was super tender.

And last, we had the ufra biftek (grilled hanger steak, arugula tabbouleh & roasted hazelnuts). Oh my gosh, this was good. Everything about this was perfect. The steak was perfectly cooked and so flavorful. The arugula tabbouleh was delicious, and the pomegranate seeds were the perfect tart & sweet surprise.

Even though we were full, ordering dessert is a must on an anniversary dinner. We couldn't decide which one to share, so we ordered small portions of the two we were torn between. I had the chocolate rose (rose ice cream, chocolate custard, spiced berry puree) & Graham had the Galatopita (semolina custard espuma, apples, crispy phyllo, almonds, honey crisp apple sorbet). Both were completely amazing & the perfect end to our dinner.

This was a completely amazing dinner. I read a lot of "Best of DC" lists trying to decide where to have dinner, and I'm so glad that so many of them mentioned Zaytinya. This was one of the best dinners I've ever had. If you have the opportunity, make a reservation (you're definitely going to want a reservation) and get yourself there. You will not regret it!

Zaytinya on Urbanspoon

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