701 9th St Nw
Washington, DC 20001-4572
Call

Zaytinya

Neighborhoods: Downtown
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Private Parties

Zaytinya is a Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Private Parties restaurant where most Menuism users came for fun with friends, paid between $25 and $50, and tipped more than 18%.

Offer Available!
Gayot
Rating:
15 / 20
Price:
$$$$$
Read Gayot Review »
autofoodie photo

autofoodie

 Washington, DC
 

Zay Yes!

When my friend asked us to go out to Zaytinya, a chic Middle Eastern tapas (they call them mezze) restaurant in the China Town area of DC (9th and G), I said “yes” quicker than I had to run to catch my train today. Why did I say yes so assuredly? Well, because this was not my first time there, and I’d been looking for an excuse to return. Perhaps this is one of the higher compliments that I can pay a place. I mean, there are tons of places in DC and the surrounding areas in Virginia, plus I enjoy cooking and eating at home, if not for just the caloric and monetary benefits. So if I can be excited about going back to a place in a relatively short time horizon and enjoy it both times, you should probably take notice as well.

The atmosphere is pretty trendy and the place pretty hopping, even on a Tuesday, at Zaytinya. We waited about 25 minutes with no reservation, so I would definitely recommend one on the weekends and maybe even on the weekdays.

The prices are moderate here with many of the mezze in the six to eight dollar range. We ordered three cocktails and eight mezze and got out of there for under $90.

THE MENU

The delightful part about this menu is its depth, with a wide array of meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes spanning across a variety of Middle Eastern countries, from Greece to Turkey to Israel, but all with a clearly Med motif. The classics are there, with grape leaves, hummus and spanokopita, but the real interest here is in the creativity running through the menu. While this was a pretty vegetarian meal, with two lifelong vegetarians and me, a vegetarian lover, there were several very interesting meat entrees, including crispy skirt steak, mahanek (sausage), several lamb dishes, mussels and a swordfish kabob.

[The dishes we ate are reviewed individually below.]

All in all, the meal was immensely satisfying. A good meal of tapas (or mezze) is great because you get to try so many things and really balance out your taste buds. And like a well differentiated stock portfolio, even with a couple dishes that were just okay, there were enough great ones to make the meal terrific.

And when I am asked to go there a third time someday, I imagine my answer “yes” will come even quicker yet.

Havuç Köftesi

Havuc Koftesi: Well who doesn’t love a fritter? Not me. These were bundles of carrot and apricot goodness with pine nuts and a pistachio sauce to add just a bit of creaminess and nuttiness to the actual bite. This was something we had tried on my first visit to Zaytinya, and they tasted great both times – even not being much of a carrot fan. Plus, they’re not too greasy. A really nice mezze.

Salmon and feta in phyllo (special)

Salmon phyllo: This was the only non-vegetarian dish that we ordered, and it was also probably the weakest dish. It was kind of like spanokopita with salmon instead of spinach. This was the only mezze where the flavor did not seem to mesh right. The dill-like flavor that I tasted with the salmon seemed to overpower the overall taste and it came off as one-dimensional. I probably would have liked to see a play on spanokopita with either a different fish or perhaps adding in some red pepper and tomato to give it a little more kick. That being said, it was a special, and sometimes there are good reasons that things are on special and not on the regular menu. So I give them a break on that one.

Labneh Spread

Labneh with zatar and fresh pitas: Our dinner friend, Rebecca, has spent a significant amount of time in Israel, so she was the expert dish suggestor at this particular meal. For instance, while Julia and I normally would have stayed with old favorites like hummus or baba to start with, Rebecca introduced us to a phenomenon: labneh! You may have noticed it (already) made my Olympic top ten (twelve) list last Friday, so it shot up my personal rankings very quickly. For those unaware, this well-spiced hybrid of cheese and yogurt is heavenly and makes any piece of pita, no matter how packaged and processed, instantly relevant. Of course, Zaytinya has an endless run of fresh, warm pitas, so this is a must order in the future for me.

Tilton Cheese, Israel

Tilton Cheese from Israel: A creamy goat, this cheese had a lot of flavor. Zaytinya has a nice little cheese menu tucked away on the left, which makes for a changeup from just ordering typical tapas.

Peynirli Pide

Peynirli Pide: If you’re not familiar with a pide, it is kind of like a tiny flatbread pizza. This particular one had halloumi – a great sheep’s milk cheese – some tangy tomato sauce and a hint of cinnamon. It was delicious, and was probably the one dish I wished I had had more of, as it is not big at all and incredibly tasty. This is definitely something I will return to in the future.

Kolokithokeftedes

Kolokithokeftedes: These little bites were zucchini circles with some cheese and spices over a creamy, yogurt sauce. They were recommended by the waiter as one of his favorite vegetarian mezze, and I thought they were pretty good. Usually zucchini is pretty bland, and this wasn’t, but this dish still didn’t have that extra pop or zing that would make me want to order it over and over again.

Ímam Bayildi

Imam Bayildi: This was eggplant with stewed tomatoes and onions stuffed inside. I found this dish to be a very nice use of several ingredients that are pretty common to make a very interesting flavor. This probably could have had a little more spicy aspect and I would have been all over it, but then again, Mediterranean food usually is not very spicy. Sometimes a dish can be too savory though, and I thought this one did need that little bit of extra depth of flavor from somewhere.

~Read more DC Restaurant Reviews and read my recipes at www.autofoodography.com~

Megster11187 photo

Megster11187

 Pittsburgh, PA
 

Great Mediterranean mezze in downtown DC

I had a wonderful dining experience at Zaytinya. The food is great and the menu has a wide variety of vegetarian and seafood options – I really enjoyed the salmon and the stuffed eggplant. It has a varied menu, with plenty of meat, seafood, and vegetable options.

It has some of the best tabbouleh in the city. The hummus was quite good as well, although a bit too oily for my taste.

The food comes out as it is ready, tapas-style. The portions are small, which was wonderful so I could try some of everything! For 4 people, I believe we ordered about 9 items for lunch, which was a great amount. Expect the seafood to take a little longer, but it is well-worth the wait, especially for the crab cakes.

My only complaint – I would have liked the bread to be a bit warmer! The waiters are really good at replacing the bread when the table is running low, which was a huge plus.

Besides the food, the restaurant itself is chic (lots of glass used in the architecture) and has a very up-scale feel for such moderately priced food. It is located in a great part of the city, and I would go back any time!

Seared Salmon

REALLY delicious. Excellent pesto sauce on the side, well cooked, served warm. Was especially delicious with tabbouleh on the side.

 

Good mix of Mediterranean food. Love the lamb...

Good mix of Mediterranean food. Love the lamb and pork sausages. Small portions perfect for sharing. But be warned that the price of those little plates adds up fast so plan on spending 45+/pp including a glass of wine each & tip. The patio is a nice place to sit and enjoy some people-watching also, but the service was a bit slow. But all in all a good dinner, I would give it 3 1/2 stars if I could.

lisalj photo

lisalj

 Cheverly, MD
 

My favorite restuarant in D.C. The food is...

My favorite restuarant in D.C. The food is always so good and flavorful. The spanikopita is outstanding.

 

Great, innovative Mediterranean cuisine -- the hummus is ...

Great, innovative Mediterranean cuisine — the hummus is a must, as is any lamb dish — with a hip atmosphere. Zaytina loses one star for less-than-quality service, but an unattentive waiter isn’t enough to keep me away from the place.

KavithaS photo

KavithaS

 Washington, DC
 

I really liked most of the dishes but I loved...

I really liked most of the dishes but I loved the “Havuç Köftesi” which is a carrot fritter but way better than it sounds. I thought the service was great.

jenniferk4 photo

jenniferk4

 Washington, DC
 

Probably the most misspelled restaurant name...

Probably the most misspelled restaurant name in DC! I love the large menu full of interesting meze. Tonight we kept it simple with baba ghannoush, braised lamb with eggplant and shrimp with garlic, dill and oh, did I mention the garlic? Unique (in an enjoyable way) wine list and delicious cocktails too. Valet parking available.

Tags
Mediterranean Middle Eastern Reservations
Website
Video
Hours
Fri-Sat 11:30AM - 12:00AM
Sun-Mon 11:30AM - 10:00PM
Tue-Thu 11:30AM - 11:30PM
Contact Business
Small_foodha_square
hlk

0 useful

Dyepu4otqr3zyoaby-glfx
autofoodie

Washington, DC
+186 useful

Small_foodha_square
lisalj

Cheverly, MD
-1 useful

Small_foodha_square
kendallclark

Washington, DC
0 useful

Small_foodha_square
Spitelin

Washington, DC
0 useful

Small_foodha_square
juliewan

Washington, DC
0 useful

Small_foodha_square
plee05

Washington, DC
0 useful

Adkflwgrar2427abblkses
jenniferyellow

Seattle, WA
+249 useful

Afhwq0pdwr35q3aby-ddws
elc9389

Arlington, VA
+5 useful

Small_foodha_square
KFly85

Washington, DC
0 useful

Zaytinya  Restaurant Reviews

Copy the link below and paste onto your website or blog to display badge.

Zaytinya is located near the cities of National Harbor, Naval Anacost Annex, Washington D C, Fort Lesley J Mcnair, and Rosslyn.
People found this by searching for: Zaytinya Va, Zaytinya Menu, Havuc Koftesi, Zaytinya, Zaytanya Restaurant In Dc, Zay Washington Dc, and Zaytinya Yelp.