I opened the unmarked, dusky-blue arched door, stepping into a dimly lit antechamber leading to Maydan, and it pulled me in. That’s how it felt. Past an enormous open-fire hearth sending delicious smells of roasting meats and smoky spices wafting through the two-level atrium, past the surrounding tables and prep area I went. Artful Islamic shapes flourished in wooden screens and tabletops, and lights dangled from long wooden beaded cords. I settled in, sipped a glass of crisp sauvignon blanc, scooped up the creamy hummus and fatoosh salad with flatbread hot from the clay oven, and munched on chunks of roasted barramundi smeared with zhough, a spicy condiment tasting of cilantro and cumin.

Open since late 2017, Maydan shot to everyone’s immediate attention, listed by both Food & Wine and GQ as one of the top new restaurants in America. Michelin also recognized it in 2020 with a star. Its name, appropriately, means “gathering place.” And that’s just what Maydan does—it gathers you in and makes you feel at home. And, as I discovered that evening, the food is scrumptious. If I could recommend only one restaurant for you to go to, this is the one. But first you have to find it! Be sure to read the directions to Maydan on its website, and then look for that dusky-blue door.