Best meal to splurge on: Zaytinya

Media Credit: Derek Long | Hatchet Photographer

Best meal to splurge on
Location: 701 Ninth St. NW
Readers’ pick: Le Diplomate

When parents come to town, classes give you premature wrinkles or you land a new work-study job, it’s time to treat yourself. Zaytinya, with its lavish interior and upscale small plates, is the perfect place to turn to and it’s worth the price tag.

Zaytinya, owned by D.C. celebrity chef José Andrés, serves Mediterranean Mezze-style cuisine which means the dishes come on small plates and you’ll need to order a few per person. The total for three to four plates will set you back around $30 per person, which is perfect if you are looking for a special night out.

A variety of light salads and spreads serve as starters. The Tabbouleh ($7), a salad with crisp parsley, chopped tomatoes, diced onions, refreshing mint and zesty lemon dressing, has a citrus flavor that keeps the dish light and fresh. The Tzatziki ($7.5), a traditional Greek spread with creamy greek yogurt and crunchy cucumbers, was the perfect addition to the warm pita bread that sits on every table.

Main small plates include fish and meats such as salmon, chicken and lamb prepared in a variety of ways. The Seared Skuna Bay Salmon ($12) was topped with subtle garlic and herb spices and a tangy lemon sauce giving it a light and moist taste. Chermoula, the name for this particular combination of spices, gave the dish a colorful flavor without too much of a kick.

The flowing waterfall, high ceilings, sea blue walls and beams of natural light add to the opulence and walking into Zaytinya feels like you’ve entered a five-star Mediterranean paradise.

If money is burning a hole in your pocket, you may opt to try the Chef’s Experience ($55 per person). After ordering this pricey pick, your table will be covered with ten courses of shareable small plates – the perfect way to eat your way through this top-notch restaurant.

After filling up your stomach and emptying your wallet, you’ll be happy to find a delicious and light raspberry rose sorbet, which is a steal at only $2 per scoop.

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