For those of us who had to sit at the back of the room and wait until the last report card was handed to you before you could run for summer vacation, if you could never find a monogram pin you didn't have to special-order, and if you weren't lucky enough to love Zorro, growing up with the initial "Z" wasn't much fun. Now that some of Washington's best and best-known restaurants (along with some less-ambitious joints) start with that last but not least letter, it's payback time. Z you there -- and Duke Zeibert, wish you were still here:

ZAYTINYA -- 701 Ninth St. NW; 202-638-0800. Greek/Middle Eastern tapas.

ZED'S -- 1201 28th St. NW; 202-333-4710. Ethiopian.

ZEFFIRELLI -- 728 Pine St., Herndon; 703-318-7000, and 5 Catoctin Circle SE, Leesburg; 703-779-0900. Italian.

ZEST -- 200 S. Market St., Frederick; 301-620-7480. Modern eclectic.

ZIKI -- 10009 Fields Rd., Gaithersburg; 301-330-3868. Japanese steak house.

ZIO'S -- 9083 Gaither Rd., Gaithersburg; 301-977-6300. Italian/pizzeria.

ZOLA -- 800 F St. NW; 202-654-0999. Modern eclectic.

ZORBA'S CAFE -- 1612 20th St. NW; 202-387-8555. Greek/Middle Eastern.

ZOO BAR -- 3000 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-232-4225. Tavern fare.

ZUCCHABAR -- 1841 Columbia Rd. NW; 202-332-8642. Tavern fare.

-- Eve Zibart

Duke Zeibert stands in front of his restaurant in 1979.