restaurants / American

Zola information

Washington, DC , USA
Street 800 F St NW
Extras International Spy Museum
+1 202 654 0999
Getting there
underground rail Gallery Pl-Chinatown
More information
mains $22-28
Opening hours
lunch Mon-Fri, dinner daily
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Lonely Planet review

A subtle but playful theme of espionage runs through this hip restaurant, named for French author Émile Zola, who championed the case of Alfred Dreyfus when he was falsely accused of being a spy. Located inside the International Spy Museum, it’s only appropriate that guests should be able to monitor the kitchen through discreet one-way mirrors in the booths, or slip off to the restroom through a hidden door. Black-and-white photographs and projections of coded text further add to the mysterious air in the restaurant. In the midst of this secrecy, Zola’s cuisine is pretty straight up. Most dishes take comfort food and kick it up a notch, such as roasted chicken with curry aioli, chia seed gnocchi, and lobster mac and cheese.