Ashburn / Turkish / $$
There are times when the occasion calls for a chic setting and service that goes above and beyond. There are also times when all you need is food that truly sparkles. When the latter fancy strikes, it’s advisable to find yourself a seat at this Ashburn restaurant.
Owner Mitra Sharif is not a restaurant lifer. In fact, she left a prestigious corporate gig to open her restaurant in the thick of the pandemic. Often, such passion projects do not come to a happy ending. But it was only a year before Oxus7 had become so popular that it was forced to expand from a small space in an industrial park to its current digs. What’s the secret? Simply the most flavorful Turkish fare you’ll find.
Kebabs, whether the deeply marinated chicken or beefy adana, melt on contact with your teeth. The hunkar begendi, or King’s Delight, is aptly named, a beef stew served over puréed eggplant that may sound rustic but tastes, quite simply, of luxury.
See this: At the most casual spot on this list, you’ll have to overlook the TVs showing Turkish landmarks and foods above the kitchen to enjoy the colorful murals.
Eat this: Oxus Mezza Platter, hunkar begendi, pistachio cake
Service: Casual, but well-informed. My server told me precisely how long it would take to prepare each dessert.
When to dine here: You would cook, but you’d rather have someone more skilled do it for you.