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Kellari Taverna - 12 Reviews - 1700 K St NW, Washington, DC - Restaurants Reviews - Phone (202) 535-5274

Kellari Taverna

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1700 K St NW (at 17th Street)
Washington, DC 20006
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(202) 535-5274
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Restaurants , Seafood Restaurants

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Food & Dining

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Kellari Taverna - Washington, DC
Kellari Taverna - Washington, DC

Reviews

( 0 )
( 5 )
( 3 )
( 3 )
( 1 )

Best

My wife and I continue to receive the same excellent service since Kellari opened. It is a safe bet for bringing business partners and out-of- town guests to whom we want to offer...

Worst

Very bad service. Repeated requests necessary to get iced tea brought to us, then ditto to get the sweetener that should have been brought with the tea. Lamb, a centerpiece of Gre...

Very underwhelmed 6/30/2010

Very bad service. Repeated requests necessary to get iced tea brought to us, then ditto to get the sweetener that should have been brought with the tea. Lamb, a centerpiece of Greek cuisine, was overcooked and fatty in two separate dishes. When asked by our server at the end of the meal how it was, we mentioned our displeasure with the lamb (and both dishes were half eaten), but no apologies or corrections were offered. Given the bad service, amazingly, we had to turn away busboys multiple times who tried to bus unfinished plates. All this and quite high prices. We won't be returning! more

Good, not great 5/6/2010

Grilled octopus was excellent, sardines also quite good, reasonably priced red wine by the glass. Service was spotty, waiter seemed to bounce between just the right amount of attentiveness to forgetting I was there. Maybe because I was a party of 1. I'd go back but wouldn't make it a "must eat there next time in DC." more

There are good reasons this restaurant is always busy! 2/28/2010

My wife and I continue to receive the same excellent service since Kellari opened. It is a safe bet for bringing business partners and out-of- town guests to whom we want to offer a treat. Perhaps those with the unfortunate experience would be interested in requesting different wait staff next time? The waiters and waitress we have had have always been very attentive to our needsâ?¦ more

What's worse than worst? 2/27/2010

I think the 4 star reviews for this restaurant are phony. They read like they came from the publicist's shop. Saturday nite. Special occasion meal. Large but not unmanageable party. Where to start? Service was cocky, inattentive, indifferent, and amateur. Mis-timed plates, and an unforgivably butchered fish. Even the Greek coffee was bad. And that's to say nothing of the prices. If Kellari wants to last longer than Alison Swope in this space, it needs an intervention from the New York crew, STAT. Start over w/ the mgrs & wait staff. Pull the cloudy-eyed fish from the case. Store the lobster in water tanks. Work on firing entrees and sides at the same time. Cut prices 10%. And hope to salvage your rep b4 the staff kills the joint. more

Elegant, Delicious, Entertaining! 1/24/2010

DC can be a hard place to dine for ladies seeking a light yet tasteful meal. Our international group of four has experienced various highly ranked restaurants around the world but was still amazed to find a unique combination of elegance, authenticity and creativity. Our journey begun with pan sheered marida, a delicacy not listed on the menu offered verbally, if available, a grilled seafood platter, and a pear salad. We continued with grilled Facgri, a moist and lean meditaranian white snapper garnished with dandelion greens and a Greek salad. Highlight of the night, meeting the General Manager, who gave us a tour of the fish display and explained to us the origin of various Greek wines and delicacies. more

Finally a restaurant with Greek authentic cuisine! 1/24/2010

Everything in Kellari, from the delicious melomakarona and kourabiedes at the entrance, to the olives and cheese at the bar, and the generous portions of the meals celebrate the bounty, generosity and hospitality of the Greek culture. The minute we enter Kellari we feel like we have pressed a magic button transferring us back to our homeland Greece. Greek, music, authentic cuisine, and one of the most pleasant and efficient group of servers we have encountered for a long time. We have visited Kellari a number of times and we love it! Word of caution for management and stuff: please keep it up, we hope success will not make you complacent! more

Classy touches offset any disappointments 1/23/2010

Kellari Taverna impresses with efforts By Tom Sietsema Sunday, January 24, 2010 After my companions and I have surveyed the menu at Kellari Taverna, a server in a crisp white jacket asks, per tradition, "Are you ready to look at the fish?" And, per usual, there are tough decisions to be made at downtown's new Greek restaurant. We gather around a canvas of shaved ice, neatly topped with no fewer than 10 options, and listen to our guide introduce them. Here's the sweet lithrini, a member of the sea bream family. Nearby are pompano from the Gulf of Mexico, fat shrimp from Madagascar, genuine Dover sole and barbounia so delicate that it gets pan-fried rather than grilled, as is the custom here. The clear eyes on the fish and a lobster's valiant attempt to break free of the rubber bands on its claws lend credence to the staff's assertions of "the freshest fish in D.C." Dining rooms on legendary K street (and at this address in particular) have not fared well in recent years. Before Kellari Taverna set sail in October, the modern American Restaurant K by Alison Swope and a steakhouse called Jimmy's on K Street occupied these quarters. The newcomer, which has an older sibling with the same name in New York, hopes to beat the odds not just with a different accent but also with a setting that takes patrons on a holiday from the city. The sense that you've come to the right place begins at the impressive red mahogany door and continues at the front desk, where one or two gracious hosts -- as flawless as models -- bid you welcome, relieve you of your wraps and take you to a table that is quickly decorated with a plate of hummus, olives and radish slices, along with a basket of thick grilled bread. "Kellari" means "wine cellar," which should be your cue to enlist the aid of Yacine Tazi for something to sip; the suave general manager has never steered me wrong on the extensive list. The pacing is suited to your needs. If you want to be quick about lunch, the servers honor that request. Should you wish to linger over dinner, that's possible, too. Unlike its predecessors, Kellari Taverna comes off as familial rather than corporate. It's also the best-looking interior yet -- open, elegant but unstuffy -- at this location. The red oak floors are buffed to a sheen. The lighting is honeyed. Near the coffered ceiling are Greek words for different grapes and dishes, illuminated from behind: definite scene-setters. The bar is thoughtfully separated from the main dining room by a half-wall, while the Wine Room, a private space for as many as 55 diners, features windows with gauzy curtains, giving it the feel of a restaurant within a restaurant. Only a glimpse of a famous lobbyist or Supreme Court justice keeps you in Washington. A dash of drama comes with every order of saganaki, nutty graviera cheese flamed at the table with the Greek spirit Metaxa. The better cheese dish is warm goat cheese treated to almonds and apricots, a spread that is easy to fill up on. Of the traditional Greek starters, I'm most drawn to the whip of fish roe, olive oil and lemon -- every mouthful a salty, soothing pleasure. Avgolemono nicely balances richness (from egg yolk) and tang (from lemon juice) in a soup chockablock with chicken and carrots. Come my next cold, I'll surely be here for a bowl. Kellari's Greek salad is a bushel of chopped tomatoes, peppers, onions and sharp feta cheese, everything tied together with red wine vinegar and about as good as that classic combination gets. Shaped from ground beef and lamb, meatballs perched on dill-flecked yogurt are soft and perfectly pleasant. There's no mistaking Kellari Taverna for Zaytinya, the area's best and most consistent purveyor of Greek dishes. Salt cod croquettes are piping hot but also pretty tame, unimproved by the garlic-and-almond dip they sit on. A server introduces the octopus as "the best in town," but the vaguely smoky chunks of too-soft grilled seafood leave a less than memorable impression despite the company of peppers, onions and capers on the plate. Finesse sometimes takes a back seat to quantity with this kitchen. The ginormous portions only draw attention to any flaws. On paper, seafood yiouvetsi sounds like a cross between bouillabaisse and paella. What comes to the table is a soupy construction of orzo and strangely sweet tomato sauce topped with seafood of varying degrees of interest. (The fish chunks are tasty; the mussels and clams are bland.) A mound of pasta, stained black with squid ink, gets a light crunch from bread crumbs and a nice glint from silvery anchovies. Despite those accents, however, the dish is pretty ordinary eating. Steamed wild greens, or horta, are limp and dull. Fish, simply char-grilled and sauced with capers and olive oil, offers more rewards; the firm and meaty turbot is a standout. Priced by weight (there's a scale next to the display), the highly perishable fish and seafood don't come cheap: The average cost per pound is $30, and the average order is about 1 and 1/4 pounds. Though seafood is the obvious lure, chef Anthony Acinapura, formerly with nearby Potenza, doesn't require you to wade into water to eat well. Grilled lamb chops are tender and flavorful from their marinade of oregano and rosemary; thick slices of homey roasted potato make a good entree better. Super-juicy chicken stuffed with bold herbs and draped in melting onions is even more succulent -- and better with a dab of feta-laced whipped potato included on the fork. Like everything else here, desserts are plus-size. Some are quite pleasing, in particular the white drift of tart yogurt dotted with sour cherries and toasted walnuts and drizzled with thyme honey. The baklava is a honey-flavored brick, in size if not texture, while figs and ice cream do their best to rescue a dry slice of walnut cake. Honestly, the sweetest finish is a gratis plate of Greek cookies that lands on your table if you don't order dessert. That gesture is typical of the place. It also demonstrates how a big heart and a beautiful room can take one's mind off food that might not attract as much attention without such support. * * * Liquid pursuits: Two of manager Yacine Tazi's picks for $40 or less are Argyros Assyrtiko Santorini (a white wine with a nice mineral finish) and Xynomavro from the producer Strofilia (a red wine that brings to mind pinot noir). more

Disappointed 1/21/2010

I'm an out of towner and I thought the D.C. restaurant experience would be wonderful, but we found the service to be very poor. . . the waiter brought our drink order after about 20 minutes or so. Everything was overcooked and everything was a la carte. . . got to be very pricey! No complimentary desserts were offered even though we were presented with the bill which totaled over $160 for four people, one of whom was a vegan to whom they served only three different vegetable side dishes. We won't be going back. more

Seafood destination 1/21/2010

I've visited 3 times, thus far. Twice for lunch and most recently, for dinner. The welcome is warm, the room attractive and the service quite good. Fresh, simply grilled fish is the thing here. The warm grilled bread, hummus and radishes set upon the table are a nice touch. Waiting at the bar, the same grilled bread, cheese and olives are offered while you wait. (waiting is only because you're early- I've been seated promptly when I've had reservations).Interesting Greek wines pair well with the food. Overall, a good choice for a simple (although not inexpensive) and delicious seafood dinner. more

Its a nice place, but.... 1/21/2010

I really enjoyed the bar (the bartender made the best Manhattan I've had in the city) and its cheese and olive samplings while having your drink. As for the dinner, I liked the grilled octopus and sardines. I REALLY disliked the upsell of the fish. The waiter "suggested" that to me and the others ordering fish to order 2 lbs. of the 29 dollar + a pound fish since I was letting the others at the table have a taste. We ended up taking home almost a pound of fish each. So the lesson learned is to under-order and if you're still hungry than order more. more

Still feels like K Street... 1/21/2010

I've been here twice and its "okay". Been to Zaytinya over the years and its just too damn busy. I highly recommend Cava Mezze on Capitol Hill. Its got a great atmosphere and drinks...but more importantly amazing food. Just what I was looking for...and worth the trip over to the Hill. more

Great food and service 1/20/2010

I have been three times in this restaurant and the food is as good as the first time but the service is even better then the first which it was fantastic! Keep it up. more

A Warm Welcome 12/29/2009

We were lucky enough to happen upon Kellari Taverna this evening for dinner after a nearby event. The service was attentive from beginning to end, and the entire meal was a delight. The whole fish, which the two of us shared, was impeccably fresh. We enjoyed exploring the white wines from Greece, as well as appetizers and sides which were new to us. The whole experience was one of high quality yet comfort. We look forward to going back and taking friends. more
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Menu for Kellari Taverna




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Editorial

  • This K Street restaurant serves up traditional Greek seafood with a focus on fresh, imported grilled fish sold by the pound in a dining room with sheer, flowing curtains and tall white candles.

  • 12/14/2009 Provided by Citysearch

Additional information

  • Hours:

    Mon-Sat 11:30am-11pm Sun 11:30am-10pm
  • Payments:

    Discover, Visa, American Express, Master Card
  • Neighborhoods:

    Connecticut Ave/ K Street, Northwest, Northwest Washington
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