Trendy Zaytinya is big, attractive, affordable, popular, and delicious.
Its glass-fronted facade reveals a pretty crowded room most nights, which means you might have to wait for a table; Zaytinya accepts reservations for only some tables, preferring to keep most open for walk-ins. The two-level, high-ceilinged dining room with its ocean blue and sailor-white decor somehow puts diners in mind of the sea—and the surround-sound buzz of conversation might make one feel like you’ve embarked on a wild and noisy voyage.
Seating at communal and standalone tables and in the bar comes to 282; add another 65 if you count sidewalk tables. Everyone’s eating vegetarian fare, even if they’re not personally committed. It’s just that the zucchini and cheese fritters, the falafel, spanakopita, yogurt dips, batter fried eggplant slices, and crispy Brussels sprouts are addictive. But Zaytinya serves up plenty of meat and seafood, too, like the veal cheeks with braised almonds and dried plums and the sauteed shrimp.
Zaytinya is yet another creation of Jose Andres, of Jaleo, China Chilcano, and other eateries.
Metro: Gallery Place-Chinatown on the Red, Yellow, and Green Lines. 9th an G St. exit.