It is simultaneously tasty, flavorful, and healthful. Can you fault people for their growing interest in Mediterranean cuisine? Falafel and hummus are among the most popular options for office lunches in Washington, DC. Kabobs and Gyros are also popular alternatives.
So, you’re ready to satisfy your palate, but where do you start? Here are some of DC’s most popular Mediterranean restaurants.
1. Zaytinya by Jose Andres
701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001, United States
Restaurant Zaytinya’s food is influenced by the rich regional diversity of ancient Turkish, Greek, and Lebanese cuisines and is overseen by James Beard Award-winning chef José Andres. Zaytinya’s excellent chefs use natural ingredients and traditional techniques to produce creative and unexpected meals that elevate these regional cuisines to a new level. It’s common to think of small plates as party food because they encourage socialization with a drink, some chat, and a few mezzes to be shared with friends and family.
1527 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20036, United States
Agora DC and Agora Tysons are owned and operated by Ismail and Betul Uslu, a husband and wife team. Ismail worked tirelessly for three years to make Agora better in every way. When he took the risky step of becoming the sole owner of Agora DC in 2008, he was rewarded handsomely. In 2016, Betul resigned from her banking position to focus solely on her role at Agora DC and Agora Tysons.
In contrast to Betul, Ismail focuses more on restaurant operations and developing the overall essence and character of the restaurants by bringing his culture and hospitality from Turkey to the table. Chef Ismet Sahin, a native of Marmaris, Turkey, introduces us to the cuisine and gastronomy of his homeland. He is from the same region of Turkey as Uslu, thus Agora’s vibe is just right for him. He began his career at Agora DC, and then managed Agora’s DC and Tysons locations as well. Ismet’s experience working with chefs in five-star hotels in Turkey has given Agora a unique taste and a plethora of new dining options.
3. Iron Gate
1734 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036, United States
In addition to drawing inspiration from his travels around Greece and Italy, Chef Anthony Chittum’s meals pay tribute to the region’s numerous skilled farmers, artists, and craftspeople.
Don’t forget to peruse their curated wine collection, which includes wines from Greece and Italy and international and domestic classics. Beverage Director Greg Engert and Wine Director Erin Dudley crafted these selections in addition to the selected craft beers shown on the various menus with great skill. Nick Farrell, their Director of Spirits, designed our handcrafted cocktails, which are offered for lunch, brunch, and dinner.
4. Gypsy Kitchen
1825 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, United States
When you enter Gypsy Kitchen in Washington, D.C.’s bustling 14th Street, you’ll know you’re in for something special: a bohemian retreat and culinary adventure. The enticing eating area features elaborately patterned woven rugs and tapestries, softly glittering lights, vivid Moorish tiles, and cozy corners that encourage quiet chats. The rooftop patio welcomes guests with unobstructed city views and comfortable seating.
There is always something unique about dining at Gypsy Kitchen, whether you’re celebrating an anniversary or a friend’s bachelor party with a group of friends on the rooftop bar late at night.
5. Taberna Del Alabarder
1776 I St NW, Washington, DC 20006, United States
This slice of Spain, located only feet from the White House, will take you to an elegant and royal setting surrounded by pleasant faces, an intriguing food, and world-famous wines.
Taberna Del Alabardero was established in 1989 as one of the first Spanish restaurants in Washington, D.C., and honored its 30th anniversary by receiving an Honorary RAMMY in 2019. Chef Oscar Ordoez of Spain revives classic Spanish cuisine and creates new recipes made with traditional ingredients.
The seasonal menu at Taberna includes tapas, paella, sangria, desserts, and vegetarian and gluten-free alternatives.
6. Dolce Vita
1610 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, United States
Dolce Vita, at its core, is an ode to owner Med Lahlou’s cultural heritage from the Mediterranean coast highlighting four countries: Italy, Morocco, Spain, and Greece. The fusion menu is Lahlou’s most ambitious concept yet, with dishes transporting guests to the coast through the European restaurant decor and signature menu from Executive Chef Elier Rodriguez.
3311 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008, United States
The food of Sababa illustrates Israel’s authentic melting pot. Israeli cuisine incorporates the traditions of over a hundred ethnicities that have existed in Israel and Palestine or moved to modern Israel from the Diaspora. To name a few, there are foods from Bulgaria, Romania, North Africa, Yemen, Ethiopia, Georgia, the Balkans, Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, and Turkey.
Sababa’s menu features small plates and large plates to encourage diners to explore the wide range of cultural influences on Israeli cuisine and a comprehensive wine bar with wines from all over the world, including Israel, Lebanon, and the Mediterranean.
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The next time you’re looking for a culinary escape, consider treating yourself to some delicious Mediterranean cuisine. Between the bright flavors and fresh ingredients, you won’t be able to resist the sunny appeal of this type of cooking. And if you need a little help getting your smile in shape for summer, be sure to check with Kumra Ortho – we can address all your dental needs!