701 9th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004 - 202-638-0800
I upset my girlfriend this past week at a party by getting a little too drunk. I needed a place to get myself out of the doghouse. I asked around and was recommended Zaytinya in Chinatown. Zatinyas is a greek/middle eastern tapas restaurant. I looked at a couple of reviews and the place seemed to be held to the highest regards. I decided to give it a try on a Saturday Night.
Zaytinya does not take reservations after 6:30, so we had to do a walk in. Parking is difficult to find in the area so I suggest taking the metro to the Chinatown stop or using Valet for $10. We had about a 1 hr wait which isn’t too bad for DC on a Saturday night. The place was full of young professionals and had a diverse mix of people. While the environment was great for what we were looking for, I would not suggest going here if you are looking for a quiet romantic dinner. The decor has sort of a middle eastern/modern feel to it; however, the bar is packed and loud. I have to admit they have some of the coolest looking bathrooms I’ve seen, so you should definitely at least stop here for a pit stop.
While everything I’ve mentioned thus far sounds great, I am a raised Southern Guy. Being from the south, I could really care less about decor and appearance. I am all about the quality and taste of the food. Unfortunately, Zatinyas proved to be nothing but a big dissapointment when it came to food considering its above average price. Zaytinya suggests ordering 2-3 tapas per person. We were starving so we decided to order 3 each. We ordered the:
Chicken Muhammara: Marinated chicken served with a roasted red pepper & walnut sauce 6.95
The chicken was tender and cooked well; however, the sauce gave it a strange bitter taste.
Lamb Chops with Hommus Bil Toum with roasted garlic-chickpea puree 10.95
For the price, you were given little to no meat. The lamb was cooked near rare and was very bloody. I had to swallow this with a full glass of water.
Arayes Grilled pita stuffed with ground lamb and tahini 6.50
This would have been a great dish, but the lamb was sweet! I am not a fan of sweets being in my food. I think sweets should be saved for dessert. If you are a fan of a bit of sweetness in your food, youll love this.
Bantijan Bil Laban Fried eggplant with roasted garlic-yogurt sauce 5.75
This was probably the best thing we ordered. It was very simple and the garlic yogurt sauce complimented the eggplant very well.
Mushrooms Saganaki Seasonal mushrooms with Kefalograviera cheese 10.95
I am a fan of mushrooms and cheese. So I figured this dish would be heavan. Unfortunately, the mushrooms were cooked in an extremely salty broth. The cheese was tasty but made the mushrooms taste even saltier.
Puff Böregi Fried, light pastry with haloumi, goat and feta Cheeses 5.50
This was pretty good. The pastry was perfectly cooked and flaky and crisp fresh from the oven. The pastry was a little bit too oily and could have used more cheese.
Since we didn’t like the food and did not eat all of the food, we decided to get an extra order of hummus:
Hommus “Lebanese Taverna” style 5.95
I was dissapointed by the hummus. The hummus lacked flavor and was bland.
The service was average. Overall I recommend this place if your looking for a place to relax, hang out, and try a variety of foods. If you are looking for genuinely good food with a good price, look elsewhere. I suggest heading down south where you’ll find the best food in the country.