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Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post

From the cheery orange walls to the unforced smiles behind the counter, Azi’s is an oasis of friendliness. The service isn’t always the fastest (and a big show at the nearby convention center will bring crowds), but you’ll have no trouble getting in and out in an hour, and the homey charm will make you feel like part of the neighborhood.

Azi’s sandwich and salad list is short and filled with the classics. Think tuna salad with celery and red onion on multigrain bread; sliced roast beef with cheddar and horseradish; smoked ham and Swiss on sourdough. A pita pocket stuffed with curried chicken, dried apricots and walnuts is the most nontraditional offering you’ll find there. Salads include a classic Cobb that’s worth trying, along with less interesting Greek and chicken Caesar varieties. But if the flavors are familiar, they are at least done well. The produce is fresh, and the ingredients are balanced.

Panini, served with a bag of chips, are also nicely done. The gooey ham and Swiss and the herbivore-friendly veggie were cooked just enough to melt the cheese while leaving the bread toasted but still soft under the crust. The tuna panino, a new addition to the menu, was a pleasant surprise: a tuna melt made more portable through pressing. Cakes and pastries from local bakers make for a sweet ending to any lunch.

– Justin Rude, Dec. 16, 2011