I have lived in DC since 2003 and I am happy to say my culinary experiences have grow over the years.
In college my best girlfriends and I were our happiest just eating at any restaurant. This isn’t to say we didn’t fully enjoy the dining hall at American University – hard to beat Macaroni and Cheese Wednesdays or the Herhsey’s Moose Tracks Ice Cream, but going off campus was truly decadent. Many birthdays and Valentine’s day were celebrated over shared spinach dips/salads/cheesecakes at the Cheesecake Factory, “homestyle” Italian food at Mama Lucia’s and margaritas/chips and salsa at Guapo’s.
Post college new restaurants have risen to the top of my list: Cava, Ardeo Bardeo, Belga Cafe, Zaytinya, Bangkok 54 (technically Virginia – but amazing!)
I’ll share with you reviews and favorites at each, but first up:
Cava – with locations in Capitol Hill and Rockville, and a new restaurant soon to be opening in Clardenon, VA. We went to the Capitol Hill location, and were blown away. Cava says they serve unique Greek-inspired dishes, skillfully crafted by talented Chef Dimitri Moshovitis. All dishes are served mezze style—in small plates, but with portions large enough to share.
We first discovered Cava at our Whole Foods – the harissa, was hot enough to make Mark who grew up in the Middle East go back for seconds, thirds, fourths… and hot enough to make me tear up…
Harissa that knocks your socks off – promise!
Feta and Honey will make you wonder why you haven’t always been eating this combination
A classic spanakopita
Fresh and tender grilled octopus
What they should say is that each dish is prepared with an attention to detail and flavoring and that the atmosphere is engaging. If you go, try to order as much as possible, and share – you won’t want to miss a thing, especially not these: the Roasted Beet Salad, Lamb Chops – see deliciousness below, Lollipop Chicken (seriously, I could eat the whole plate by myself, that good!) and save room for the honey sweet loukoumades.
More DC Top Chefs coming soon!