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“Fine Turkish cuisine”
Review of Ottoman Taverna

Ottoman Taverna
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Ranked #468 of 3,553 Restaurants in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
Restaurant details
Reviewed 23 February 2018

We had a fine dinner there, featuring various Turkish dishes, including my favorite Turkish appetizer, Imam Bayildi (stuffed eggplant). Turkish wine was better than expected, a nice white like a resiling. Service was top-notch, even if language was a minor issue. Helps that we have been to Turkey and could chat with the waiter.

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Thank mindcandy4us
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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15 - 19 of 79 reviews

Reviewed 7 February 2018

We had gone there right when it had just opened and we had loved it then. Went there a few weeks ago and they failed on all accounts. The worst thing was the service. One server came and took the order which included drinks, he didn't write anything down. The drinks never came, so I had to remind him about them. He had completely forgotten about what we ordered so he asked again.

Then the food started to arrive and the first one was an order that I didn't place, When we were ordering I had just asked him a question about that dish in the menu. Once he explained what it was, I had told him explicitly that I didn't want it but looks like he put the order in anyways.

We had ordered a bunch of tapas and they were all below average. We remembered them being really good the last time around. Another very disappointing thing was this authentic turkish bread that they give, it was tasteless, cold and hard. Previous time it was simply amazing, light fluffy and it melted in the mouth.

Not sure if management changed hands or they lost their star cook but its gone down the drain. And it makes it worst if all the waiters just look grumpy and completely disinterested.

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Thank carvakaguru
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 January 2018

This was our first time at Ottoman Taverna, so we tried the Ottoman Experience which allows for unlimited small plates, doesn’t include dessert or drinks, for $34.95. It was great because it allowed you to try several dishes which we did. My partner generally hates small plates and I picked this restaurant because they had entrees, but this restaurant let's you choose - love that!

Here’s our review of what we sampled:
Hummus – very good and not boring, served with homemade flat bread.
Muhammara – excellent, spicy without being too hot
Roasted Stuffed Eggplant – Ok, very mild in taste
Lamb & Beef Kibbeh – Awesome, a must try item, very flavorful
Lamb & Beef Kofta – Very good, a little oily
iSkender Kebap – Very good, generous portion, a meal in and of itself
Pan-Seared Branzino – Very good, crispy skin and the pickled onions were the perfect accompaniment
Gluten-free and vegetarian selections are noted on the menu. You can also ask your server, ours was very knowledgeable and asked the chef if he wasn't absolutely certain of something.

How we found room for dessert and coffee was a real feat, but glad that we did. The baklava was drizzled with honey and stuffed with pistachios and served with a melon ball size of ice cream. I thought it was big enough to share, but my partner loved it so much he had wished I had ordered my own.

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Thank BriardM0m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 December 2017

My friends and I have been here several times. It is one of our favorite DC restaurants. My friend is Turkish and said that this food is authentic! The ambiance is nice, the prices are reasonable, and the food is delicious. Also, it is vegetarian friendly. I highly recommend making a reservation.

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Thank mlruddy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 November 2017

Awarded Bib Gourmand status in the most recent Michelin Guide, a designation promising a good meal for a fair price, Ottoman Taverna figured into this year’s Washington DC dining agenda as lunch on Thursday, the sizable Bar and Restaurant clearly not your average mom n’ pop ‘Mediterranean’ spot based on both location and design.

Taking cues from the centuries-long Empire and their distinctive cuisine influenced by region and tradition as well as those conquered along the way, Ottoman Taverna opened in mid-2016 as an ode to restaurateur Hakan Ilhan’s Turkish roots and hiring Istanbul-native Ilhan Erkek to head up the kitchen there was little left to question in terms of “authenticity,” a rarity in the era of fusion and misguided “cultural appropriation” claims.

Found on I Street Northwest near the Mount Vernon Triangle, the interior spanning over 150-seats covered in brown leather laid out amidst laser-cut dividers textured surfaces, Evil Eyes and an open kitchen, guests entering Ottoman Taverna will find themselves greeted approximately half-way into the Restaurant, the service almost too laid back at times with beverages frequently running empty and tables long-sporting finished plates.

Offering several lunch specials in addition to a wide swath of the dinner menu from 11:00am until 2:45pm daily, the focus on Sandwiches and Cold Appetizers evident but Soups, Salads and a limited number of Entrees also available, it was with complimentary Flatbread from the stone oven that things got underway, the flavor of toasted Sesame Seeds prevalent but not overwhelming whether eaten alone or with Ice cold Butter and spicy Tomato-Pepper Spread.

Predictably offering Hummus alongside several other Meze, the confit Garlic and Paprika Oil imbuing pureed Chickpeas and Olive Oil with lots of flavor while crispy Chickpeas dialed up texture, another dish titled “Imam Bayildi” unfortunately left a lot to be desired in terms of consistency, the hulled-out Eggplant filled with a slimy heterogeneous substance pungent with Onions amidst a lot of murky liquid.

Unaware of the enormous portion sizes, and uninformed by staff who seemed far more interested in a table of men dressed in suits speaking to servers in their native tongue, it was after several minutes waiting that first-course plates were collected and entrees dropped, each Sandwich and mountain of crispy Fries enough to feed two hungry adults with the combination of Beef and Lamb slightly dry on its own though better with toppings while the pressed Falafel was heavy but nicely spiced with plenty Garlic, Cumin and Pepper.

Impressed by the kitchen staff working a large stone oven with a custom copper hood, the piece imported from Turkey probably more pricey than many entire Restaurants serving similar food, it was from that very oven that two Desserts emerged after several minutes, the “Sutlac” a pasty version of Rice Pudding that was more savory than sweet while the oft-praised Kunefe was far better with strings of crispy Kadayif soaked in Anise Syrup, without a doubt the highlight of a nearly $90 meal when accounting for tip, tax and leftovers taken home with a 5-cent “Bag Fee.”

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Thank Michael U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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