Maya Bistro

Allison Chase Sutherland Taste of Tysons

Head out 29 East and you will come across a classy yet unobtrusive bistro by the name of Maya Bistro. My first impression the first time I ventured in, along with that of many others, was that it would be a Latino place, but upon perusing the menu, I quickly discovered it was a Turkish-Mediterranean-style restaurant. Maya simply means ‘yeast’ in Turkish but connotes ‘rising together.’ In fact, they make their own pita bread fresh every morning and serve it up with flavorful olive spread, or tapenade. They make everything in-house except the French fries and ice cream.

Imam Gozubuyuk and his wife Telli have owned the family-run Maya Bistro for five years. They have 35 years of experience and knowledge of these and a variety of other regional cuisines. They aim to create an “upscale-casual dining experience which celebrates the rich diversity and culture of their land through a blend of classic and contemporary influences.”

You will enter a warm, inviting interior with an eclectic décor of strikingly vibrant photographs of Mediterranean spices and twinkling white lights adorning the windows like stars.

Friendly server Sinam Emre started us off with a savory beet and orange salad – slices of red beets and oranges with lemon potato purée and drizzled with lemon olive oil sauce. They also offer variations on the traditional Greek salad including one with falafel and another with salmon.

One can make a meal out of spreads, cold mezzes and hot mezzes, including familiar favorites such as hummus, baba ganoush, falafel, and tender sweet and savory dolma, but also including more unique selections such as Maya cigars baked with feta, parsley, and dill, and Hellim from Cyprus, favorites of Falls Church resident Elena Brown.

Ezme, a spicy blend of finely chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, bell peppers, and parsley, and htipiti, roasted red peppers with feta cheese, fresh thyme, and olive oil were refreshingly light. A charcoal-smoked eggplant mezze, patlican kozleme, featured roasted red peppers, olive oil, garlic, parsley, dill, and fresh lemon juice.

Other offerings include red lentil soup with a bit of peppermint and a lemon wedge in addition to flatbreads — and wraps during the day. Entrées from the grill include chicken, beef or lamb shish. Baked zucchini and moussaka are stand-out entrées.

The branzino, sea bass, is grilled whole and drizzled with lemon olive oil sauce, accompanied by tomato-accented bulgur pilav with Turkish red pepper, garlic, butter, and onion. Elena noted that the combination of the stronger flavors of the shredded carrots and purple cabbage, along with the grilled tomato, lemon, and jalapeño pepper “complemented the delicate fish very nicely.” This dish pairs well with the Turkish white wine Çankaya.

Elena also commented that it was hard to stop eating the delicious apricot delight for dessert. “The apricots were covered with the surprise of the walnuts drizzled with honey.” She claimed it was splittable. But then she proceeded to polish it off single-handedly.

Whether you seek a tasty snack or an elaborate multi-course feast, one diner, Charlotte Albright, who recently returned from a trip to Turkey, simply said it best, describing Maya Bistro as having “good food and nice people.” Well that just about sums it up.

Maya Bistro

5649 Langston Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22207