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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Greek, Sandwiches
Counter service

Mon–Fri 7:00am–4:00pm

Features Kid-friendly, outdoor dining, veg-friendly
Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx


1120 19th St. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 296-2111
Greek Deli
Simple, no-fuss fare: get there early for the specials

The lunchtime line out the door of Greek Deli says it all. Tucked into a storefront on 19th Street, this carryout-only joint is a single long room barely wide enough for two people to stand shoulder-to-shoulder; the line snakes forward along the right side to the cashier in front of the kitchen, and then people step to the left to await their white Styrofoam containers of authentic Greek food.

The pace is swift, so make up your mind before you reach the front of the line. The specials tend to run out quickly, but you won’t go wrong with most of the choices, like spanakopita, here a surprisingly light dish, with layers of flaky pastry encasing a tender, creamy spinach and cheese filling that can be cut even with a plastic fork.

Hot baked dishes, such as mousaka or pastitsio, are accompanied by plain orzo, salad (mainly ho-hum iceberg lettuce), and the vegetable of the day (such as creamy white beans and green beans stewed with tomato and oregano), all dished out by owner Kostas himself. Also available are acceptable gyros, juicy but with minimal lamb flavor under garlicky tzatziki, as well as other sandwiches on lightly toasted, soft pita. Greek salads come in lunch-sized portions, topped with your choice of protein (lamb, grilled chicken, falafel that is perfectly crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside, etc). Grab a slice of Kostas’s homemade bread, a simple, dense, white loaf with a mild flavor that’s perfect for mopping up extra juices and sauces.

The baklava is almost too crunchy and sweet, but since you’re only here for lunch anyway, you can do without dessert. The real draws here are the approachable Greek classics, prepared by a native who cares about the quality of his food. While on the pricey side for a lunch place, you are paying for something rare in DC—convenient, authentic Greek made with gruff love. And the chance to annoy your cubicle neighbors with pungent odors.

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