What began as a quick pit-stop for a drink to whet our whistles after wandering around The International Spy Museum for a couple of hours in Washington, D.C. ended with a notoriously long wait, unplanned snacking and indulgent fare. However, at Zaytinya, we found three cuisines in one: Turkish, Greek and Lebanese.
Located at the corner of 9th and G Streets N.W. in the Gallery Place/Chinatown section of D.C., Zaytinya was a pleasant diversion before our five hour drive back to Connecticut.
Zaytinya’s menu is impressive in that you can select from three different Mediterranean regions without leaving the city. Our initial thoughts were not on dining, but some of the more interesting dishes sucked us in and didn’t let go until we ordered them.
The service was incredibly slow and although the fresh pita bread basket with olive oil for dipping that was complimentary on each table was appetizing, it did little to quell the hunger that was slowly growing as we were surrounded by tables overflowing with plates of aromatic food.
When food finally reached our tiny table, it was as if someone had shot off a starter’s pistol, declared loudly, “Let the eating begin!” and all conversation at the table ceased.
The Hummus, while not exploding with extraordinary flavors, was tasty despite being a bit too loose. A pool of olive oil and three whole chick peas completed the presentation and, when eaten with the accompanying warm pita bread, was a snack that few would pass up.
Not too shoddy for a place we picked out based solely on its proximity to our car and The International Spy Museum.
Zaytinya’s menu is affordably priced as long as you refrain from ordering too many of the small plates. The Spreads are $6.50 & $7.50; the Cheeses & Cures are $7.50 for one piece, $14.00 for three; Soups and Salads range $6-$7; Vegetable Mezze run $5.50-$10 while Seafood Mezze are $7-$14; Meat & Poultry Mezze will set you back $7-$11; and Flat Breads are $7 and $9. The majority of the items are identical across the menus, with additional items on the brunch and lunch menus.
701 9th Street, N.W.
ON THE WEB: www.zaytinya.com