My spouse and I ate dinner at Agora in late May 2013. We were in DC for the Memorial Day weekend, and Agora was an easy half-mile walk from our hotel, the Capital Hilton. We walked on 17th Street NW in search of a restaurant that looked busy and was still serving, despite the late hour (it was approximately 9:30 pm when we sat down). The restaurant is open until 12:00 midnight on Friday and Saturday evenings; however, the waitress made a “last call” for the kitchen around 10:00 pm. We did not have a reservation to dine at Agora, although the restaurant participates in the Open Table reservation system. It seemed that a lot of local Turkish guests were dining there at the time that we were, which is a good indicator of the authenticity of this restaurant’s cuisine.
The restaurant has semi-outdoor patio seating as well as indoor seating at both a large bar and regular tables. The menu is Turkish and Mediterranean tapas, and our waitress recommended 2 to 3 dishes per person, which was the right number. The restaurant provides a complimentary olive oil/olive spread and pita bread for each table. In addition, we ordered hummus, stuffed grape leaves (ours were served warm with yogurt, although they also have the cold variety), grilled Brussel sprouts with a truffle cream sauce, lamb/beef meatballs, pide (Turkish pizza with beef and lamb), and a dessert of baklava-like layers surrounding an orange-blossom cream The Brussel sprouts, the warm grape leaves, and the dessert were our favorite dishes of the meal, although every dish was tasty.
Do not judge this restaurant by its website, which we checked out after dining there. The website is basic and not very flashy, although the photo gallery is nice. The restaurant space is modern and hip, had a nice vibe, and the menu was extensive.
We enjoyed our meal at Agora and would return again. Turkish food is not something that is prevalent in our resident city, so the cuisine was a real treat for us and made us fondly remember a vacation that we took to Turkey several years ago
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