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Cafesano Italian & Mediterranean Bistro

The Top 10 Ingredients We Use in Our Kitchen

Here at Cafesano, we’re proud to be among the healthiest restaurants in Reston and Dulles Town Center.

Every day, we renew our commitment to cooking with the freshest ingredients available.

Everything on our menu is fresh, authentic, and nutritious. Our goal is to make our meals so good, you might just forget they’re good for you!

Today, we’re sharing our most-loved ingredients that make our flavors pop — and our customers return to our restaurants in Reston and Dulles Town Center, again and again.

fresh vegetables and herbs sold at our restaurants in Reston and Dulles Town Center

1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

If you haven’t yet met the centerpiece of the classic Mediterranean Diet, allow us to introduce you. We know you’re going to love it!

Extra virgin olive oil, or EVOO, is the highest grade of unrefined olive oil. With its signature bold, complex taste that takes you back to the olives of the Mediterranean, you can always be sure it passed a set of high-level tests to be certified as extra virgin.

Customers of our restaurant in Reston (or guests, as we call them) love our EVOO because of its decadent, delicious taste — and it’s also packed with plenty of health benefits to sweeten the deal.

Scientific research has shown that high-quality EVOO is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and brimming with antioxidants. With its strong anti-inflammatory properties, olive oil may even help to prevent strokes and protect against heart disease.

mediterranean olive oil salad dressing from our restaurants in Reston and Dulles Town Center

Ready to give it a try? It’s a healthy garnish in many of our most popular appetizers.

  • Hummus. Chickpeas pureed with tahini, fresh lemon juice and garlic. Topped with EVOO.
  • Red Pepper Hummus. Spicy blend of our Hummus, roasted red peppers and jalapeno. Topped with EVOO.
  • Roasted Eggplant (Baba Ghanoush). Roasted eggplant puree, tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic. Topped with EVOO.
  • Avocado Bruschetta. A zesty mix of avocado, tomato, basil, garlic, freshly shaved Parmesan and EVOO, served with grilled ciabatta.
  • Tomato Bruschetta. A zesty mix of tomato, basil, garlic, freshly shaved Parmesan and EVOO, served with grilled ciabatta.


2. Fresh Lemon Juice

Lemons originated in India, China, and Burma before they entered Europe through Italy, all the way back in the 1st Century, AD. They’ve been a staple of a fresh, healthy way of eating ever since.

Now, they’ve made their way over to our restaurants in Reston and Dulles Town Center to become one of our healthiest (and most popular) ingredients.

Did you know fresh lemon juice features antioxidants and has been used for centuries to cure many common ailments? It’s rich in vitamin C, boosts your immune system, and aids in digestion.

Here at Cafesano, you’ll find fresh lemon juice featured in many of your favorite dressings, sauces and dishes, including:

  • Tzatziki. Cucumber and Greek yogurt dip seasoned with garlic, dill and lemon juice.
  • Avocado, Tomato & Mozzarella Salad. Avocado, tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil served on a bed of romaine. Drizzled with EVOO and fresh lemon juice and topped with our Parmesan crisp.


3. Garlic

What a treat: garlic is delicious, flavorful, and incredibly nutritious.

For many thousands of years, garlic was believed to possess medicinal properties. These days, science is confirming it.

Just take a look at the nutritional breakdown for a single ounce of garlic:

  • Manganese: 23% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA)
  • Vitamin B6: 17% of the RDA
  • Vitamin C: 15% of the RDA
  • Selenium: 6% of the RDA
  • Fiber: 0.6 grams
  • And more

In other words, garlic contains a little bit of just about everything you need — and we make sure you have plenty of dishes featuring garlic to choose from:

Give one of these wraps a try:

  • Chicken Shawarma Wrap. Marinated chicken, thinly sliced, with romaine, tomato and our garlic sauce, wrapped in a grilled pita.
  • Beef Shawarma Wrap. Seasoned steak, thinly sliced, with romaine, tomato and our garlic sauce, wrapped in a grilled pita.

Or, enjoy one of our brick oven pizzas:

  • Pollo (grilled chicken). Grilled marinated chicken, sautéed baby spinach, garlic sauce, kalamata olives and caramelized onions with fresh mozzarella and feta cheeses.
  • Porcello (bacon, caramelized onions & arugula). Applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onions, fresh mozzarella, and our garlic sauce baked and topped with arugula, gorgonzola cheese, and balsamic reduction.
  • Del Mar (shrimp & roasted peppers). Seasoned shrimp, roasted peppers and garlic sauce with fresh mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and our basil pesto, topped with roasted pine nuts.
  • And if you’d like to build your own pizza? Be sure to ask for some garlic sauce!


4. Tomatoes

When you take a bite of your favorite dish that contains perfectly ripe, fresh tomatoes, there’s nothing quite like it. We love using tomatoes in our Mediterranean and Italian cuisine — they’re always a huge hit with our guests. And of course, tomatoes are incredibly healthy.

Tomatoes contain vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium. They have been shown to protect heart health, improve your vision, and boost digestive health.

Tomatoes are a Main Ingredient in Many Dishes at our Restaurants in Reston and Dulles Town Center

In the mood for some fresh tomatoes? We have a few recommendations:

  • Grilled Chicken Club Wrap. Grilled chicken, Applewood smoked bacon, avocado, tomato, and romaine with our chipotle mayo.
  • Hummus & Greek Salad Wrap. Our Hummus wrapped with romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives, green peppers, red onion, and feta cheese with our Greek vinaigrette.
  • Margherita Pizza.  Fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, tomatoes and fresh basil with our tomato sauce 


5. Fresh Mozzarella

With its great taste and texture, mozzarella cheese is a go-to favorite in Italian and Mediterranean dishes.

But did you know it’s healthy, too?

It’s packed with calcium to make bones strong, along with vitamin B7, vitamin B2, potassium, antioxidant properties, and so much more.

  • Caprese Panini. Fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, arugula, and our basil pesto.
  • Prosciutto & Mozzarella Panini. An Italian Classic – Imported Prosciutto di Parma, fresh mozzarella, tomato, fresh basil and Italian vinaigrette.
  • Arrabbiata Brick Oven Pizza (spicy sausage). Spicy Italian sausage, kalamata olives, caramelized onions, fresh mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses with our arrabbiata sauce.

And of course, don’t forget to add fresh mozzarella to any pizza you can dream up when you create your own!


6. Avocado

Here at Cafesano, we seek out the freshest, healthiest ingredients that also happen to be delicious — and avocados pass that test with flying colors.

With their rich, creamy texture and unique flavor, avocados blend well with many other ingredients in a variety of dishes. We love making the most of this crowd-pleaser!

Avocados are loaded with healthy fats, fiber, and potassium to support healthy blood pressure levels.

They’re rich in fiber, with incredible benefits for weight loss and metabolic health. Eating avocados can improve heart disease risk factors like total, “bad” LDL and “good” HDL cholesterol, as well as blood triglycerides.

Because avocados keep you feeling full longer, you’re likely to eat fewer calories. Combine this with their high fiber and low carb content and it’s clear why they promote weight loss.

Give avocados a try with these dishes (just to name a few):

  • Avocado Dip. Our zesty avocado mix with homemade tortilla chips.
  • Our Signature Salad. Romaine, artichokes, tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives and red onions, topped with fresh avocado and mozzarella. Served with our house dressing, our Parmesan crisp, and grilled ciabatta.
  • Avocado& Lemon Tahini Wrap. Sliced avocado with tomato, lettuce, carrots, shaved Asiago and our lemon-tahini dressing.


7. Chicken Breast

A well-cooked, perfectly-season, high-quality chicken breast is tasty and incredibly versatile. It’s one of the most commonly consumed meats across the world.

Our health-conscious guests at our restaurants in Reston and Dulles Town Center love how it tastes, but also appreciate that it’s a great source of protein — and amazingly low in calories — which can help build muscle and cut fat.

If you’re in the mood for a chicken dish, we recommend taking a look at these all-time favorites:

  • Grilled Chicken Pesto Panini. Marinated chicken breast, roasted peppers and grilled zucchini with our basil pesto.
  • Grilled Chicken Parmesan Panini. Marinated chicken breast, freshly shaved Parmesan and our basil pesto, topped with our marinara sauce.
  • Marinated Chicken Kabob Platter.  Marinated chicken served with rice, grilled vegetables, salad, pita bread and tzatziki sauce. 


8. Pita

In a nod to our Mediterranean roots, you’ll find pita bread featured throughout our menu at our restaurants in Reston and Dulles Town Center.

This flat and hollow unleavened bread is split open to hold all your favorite fillings — try it in our regular or whole grain varieties.

  • Kabob Platters. Served with rice, grilled vegetables, salad, pita bread, and tzatziki sauce, you’ll have a choice of regular or brown basmati rice, regular or whole grain pita, and a choice of marinated chicken, seasoned steak, seasoned shrimp, Atlantic salmon, or mixed vegetable filling.
  • Your choice of regular or whole grain pita bread is available with all our homemade dip appetizers or as a side with any of our menu items.


9. Romaine

From the cuisines of the Mediterranean and Italy to the menus of our restaurants in Reston and Dulles Town Center, simple, fresh, crispy romaine lettuce is a true classic.

And check out these health benefits: vitamin C to support the immune system, antioxidants, calcium, vitamin K, vitamin A, and so much more.

Ready to enjoy some romaine? We recommend any of our salads and wraps! The possibilities are truly endless.


10. Chickpeas

Grown in Middle Eastern countries for thousands of years, chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) have made their way to our restaurants in Reston and Dulles Town Center. A great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, chickpeas can also help with digestion and help you maintain a healthy weight.

Because they’re high in protein, they also make an ideal meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan diets.

They’re a staple in many of our most-loved dishes, including:

  • Hummus. Chickpeas pureed with tahini, fresh lemon juice and garlic. Topped with EVOO.
  • Falafel Wrap. Finely ground chickpeas seasoned with onions, garlic, parsley and spices, lightly fried. Served with romaine, tomatoes, scallions, radish and our tahini sauce, wrapped in a grilled pita.
  • Falafel Appetizer. Served with our tahini sauce.

We’re looking forward to your visit, whether it’s at our Dulles Town Center restaurant or Reston location. Each of our menu options is available for takeout and on our catering menu, too. We hope to see you soon!