50 Best Restaurants 2017: Kapnos Taverna

A Greek restaurant in Arlington

Photo by Stefanie Gans

This offshoot of the D.C. flagship by Mike Isabella cranks out small plates both unusual and recognizable. A starter of spreads includes the ubiquitous hummus and tzatziki, but then there’s roe with caviar and feta with grains of paradise. Spanakopita is given new life here, especially served over a thick smear of yogurt and topped with arugula and shaved radish. Chicken souvlaki wears an extreme char, but the meat remains juicy. A dramatic drizzle of rich tahini and a broccoli-dominated tabbouleh complete the plate. Brussels sprouts receive a new treatment: They remain crunchy within a glaze of jammy apricots, bringing a tempered sweetness. It was at Zaytinya, Jose Andres’ D.C.-based Greek restaurant, that Isabella first found fame on Top Chef. It’s no surprise his mini-Greek chain is on such sure footing.

MISC: Start the meal with a trio of dips, if only for the cushy, charred pita.

Kapnos Taverna
Greek | $$
4000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

(50 Best Restaurants 2017November 2017)