5/5 stars

Cava Mezze is one of my most recent discoveries, and I admit that I’m a little obsessed. I heard about Cava through word of mouth, which is how it has become one of the most popular restaurants in the District. A Mediterranean-style restaurant with a focus on very simple and flavorful ingredients, it has been named one of The Washingtonian’s “100 Very Best Restaurants” three years running. “Mezze” refers to the small plate portions, which makes this the perfect place for a group outing and gives you a chance to try a wide range of dishes from the menu.
I visited the location on Capitol Hill, but there are also locations in Clarendon and Rockville. The dark wood and modern artwork on the walls give Cava Mezze a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere. The service was excellent: Our server was both attentive and friendly and supplied an endless number of refills to our pita basket. Coming right out of the oven, the bread is delicious — and you really don’t need to add anything to it — but paired with an order of its best-selling hummus, it made for a winning dish.
I was eating dinner with a friend who’s a big fan of Cava, and she informed me of some of her favorites to help me with my own decision making. However, she assured me that literally everything on the menu was good — and now, after eating there, I don’t find that hard to believe. The food comes out as it’s prepared, so we received our order incrementally throughout the meal. This system actually made for a nice experience because it allowed me to try one dish and savor it before moving on to the next.
We started off trying the hummus and tzatziki dips to go with our pita bread, and both were excellent. Things really started to get exciting when the saganakicame out. A dish made with kefalograviera cheese, lemon and brandy, it is brought out on a skillet and set on fire in front of you. I was skeptical at first, but it was impressive and incredibly appetizing. We tried the ratatouille, Cava Mac ‘n’ Cheese, lollipop chicken and chicken souvlaki. The lollipop chicken is a combination of fried chicken with honey, walnuts and Greek yogurt, and it was my favorite of the entrees we tried. There was also the chicken souvlaki, which is a grilled chicken kabob with citrus and herbs and, again, it was incredible.
I have started to pester everyone I know, asking multiple times if they’ve been to Cava and if they haven’t, I go on and on and on about it.  But since I learned of the place by word of mouth, I feel it’s my duty to keep spreading the Cava love. I hope that next time you’re feeling adventurous, you’ll check out Cava and let them know I sent you — I’ll hopefully be best friends with the chef by then.

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