Image: A spread, with spreads.
Last Updated: September 2022
Current Status: Open for dine-in, with some outdoor (uncovered) seating. Take-out and and Delivery also available.
Ottoman Taverna is tucked away in the Mt. Vernon Triangle area behind Baan Siam, but the unobtrusive spot is massive inside, serving up mezzes and plates of meat in a classic Turkish style. Though the menu can be imposing, it is relatively easy to break down. The first section are various spreads to be eaten with the complimentary (and complementary) flatbread. Then there are some small bites. The entrees are variations on classic dishes using either beef, chicken, or lamb. There is a salmon dish and a cauliflower stew dish for those looking to avoid meat. The best non-grilled option is the moussaka of eggplant, potato slices, ground beef and covered in melted gooey cheese. Some dishes are very good, but everything is pretty solid. Note that they offer a “Trip to Turkey” menu, which is essentially a restaurant week option every day.
The wine list is not deep but is affordable and interesting, pulling from Turkey and surrounding areas. The cocktails employ flavors from region. Service has been hit-or-miss over the years, but almost always well-meaning. It is the kind of place that is great for groups such as families and conventioneers.
D.C. restaurateur Hakan Ilhan has cycled through several concepts in several spots (some of them quite good), but Ottoman Taverna has been untouched, possibly reflecting his commitment to showcase the food of his native Turkey. Which also means the diner can have some confidence that the place will deliver.
Cuisine: Eastern Mediterranean
Neighborhood: Chinatown/City Center
Address: 425 I Street, NW, Washington DC
Washington Post: Tom gave it 2.5 stars in 2017. A positive First Bite 2016.
Washingtonian: Preview from 2016
Michelin: Bib Gourmand. They do seem to like Mediterranean-inflected brunch spots. These guys liked the brunch too.
Kimberly Kong (Nomtastic): Did a review with lots of good pics on her old site from 2020.