Greek Easter at Zaytinya

Photo courtesy of Greg Powers

Spit-roasts and cocktails? Get me to the Greek! Restaurant that is…

Starting this Sunday, Zaytinya, one of my Jose Andres favorites, is offering a special lamb-festive menu to celebrate the Easter holiday and all things spring (hence the beautiful green accents on every dish). Regardless of what Gods we do or don’t praise, Easter is a time for gathering over a lot of food, while drinking hair of the dog (or what I call a standard Sunday), and who better than the Greeks to give us a taste of their cultural heritage to live by.

Photo courtesy of Greg Powers

If you are a lamb lover-crafty cocktail sipping-date kinda guy/gal, the ten-course ‘Chef’s Experience’ has your name written all over it. A ten-course meal designed by Chef Michael Costa showcases a variety of dishes that speak to the versatility of the good old lamb, and highlight the chef’s own ability to take a classic dish and add a modern twist (case in point- Asparagus Salata, aka, the upgraded tzatziki – a combination of white asparagus, green asparagus, pistachios, microgreens, and lemon). Other standouts included Arni me Sparangia, spit-roasted lamb shoulder with asparagus, ladolemono and dill; Mayiritsa, traditional Easter soup with lamb’s liver, caramelized onions, short grain rice, egg and lemon broth (and I thought I wasn’t into offal); Spanakorizo, rice pilaf with wilted spinach and tomatoes, spinach puree, preserved cherry tomatoes and feta.

The Loukaniko me Patates, a traditional homemade lamb sausage scented with orange and cumin, is served with a perfectly boiled potato; the Glossa is lamb’s tongue thinly sliced with with green olives, pickled red chilis, celery and caramelized pistachios. I wish I could pronounce half the dishes, (shameless as my grandmother actually hails from Greece) but who needs good pronunciation when you have the Windex of food (tzatziki) and pita to mop it all up.

Photo courtesy of Greg Powers

That much lamb will make anyone thirsty, so the restaurant is debuting two new cocktails, both gin based, that cater to a range of crafty cocktail connoisseurs. The Attica is a rose-infused gin with lemon juice and homemade grenadine. The Anastasis, a mix of gin, kumquat liquer, lemon juice with a sour cherry sphere.

Working nearby Zaytinya will also now have its serious perks, as the restaurant will debut a lamb sandwich cart on its expansive patio in the middle of Penn Quarter. From Monday-Friday starting at noon, you can purchase spit-roasted lamb sandwiches to-go. This Greek goodness will be served on Zaytinya’s killer homemade pita, with tzatziki and pickled onions. That’s the best $11.00 you can be giving the Greek economy right now.

# I Gyro Everyday.

Photo courtesy of Greg Powers


While it was Georgetown that brought me here, it was the city that kept me here. I was born in Colombia but spent my teenage years in London, yet have never felt more at home than in the District. I believe the best way to get to know a place is through its cuisine, and plan my life around sharing good food with good people. Lover of lattes, bacon and bourbon. This is Why I Love DC .Follow me on Twitter or Email natalia(at)

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