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Feb 3, 2001 07:42 PM

Restaurants in the Chantilly, VA area

  • b

Looking for finds in the Chantilly area. We've lived in South Riding for over a year, but don't know too many places -- know there are some hidden gems around.

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  1. Betsy: great to meet a fellow Chantilly Chowhounder! We are just down Route 50 a fur piece (no, we really don't talk like that here, people; just wanted to see who is paying attention).

    Anyway, here are some places to check out:

    West of you, in the little village of Aldie (note to B&B fans: the Little River Inn in Aldie is supposed to be very nice), check out Doc's Barbecue at the General Store. I think the 'cue is served Friday-Sunday. Good stuff for sure. They do pork and beef. You'll see it cooking out front. They have some picnic tables out back, or you can try to drive home with the smell of 'cue filling your car. :>)

    Also in Aldie is the Little Apple Pastry Shop. We love their lemon bars, but they are also known for their Thanksgiving Sandwich (turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce).

    A few miles west of Aldie in the tony town of Middleburg is the Black Coffee Bistro (one of my favorite restaurant names). They serve seasonal contemporary American food. It's very cozy and the prices are fair. They have a web site,

    Now, back over this way, east of South Riding, pop into the plaza just west of Rte. 28. (The one with the 7-11, Merchant's Tire, etc.) There you'll find Picante! The Real Taco, a family-run Mexican restaurant. Warning: it's very small and can be mobbed on weekends. But it's damn good, and seems to be more authentic then you'll find around the DC area.

    A few doors down past Merchant's Tire is Thai Basil, one of the more obscure Thai joints in the area. Very dependable. The sticky rice with mango is a great way to finish your meal.

    Continuing east on 50, in the Lee-Jackson Plaza (the one with the red roof) is Il Mee (formerly Yil Mee, or maybe its the other way around). Anyway, it's a Korean buffet with tabletop cooking, sushi, and lots of other good stuff.

    Over on the other side of 50, on the east side of Centreville Rd, in the little plaza adjacent to Sully Plaza, check out Pho 90. The chopped baby clams appetizer is great.

    Also in this plaza are two places we don't like: Oasis, an Indian joint that treated us like morons who didn't know what we were doing and served mediocre Indian food to boot, and Backyard Grill, which is run by jerks.

    In Sully Plaza itself, for a quick bite we like Bungalow Billiards. They serve pub type food that is a bit out of the ordinary. They have some weekend specials including a rack of ribs that was a great value.

    In the back of Sully Plaza is Golden China, a very popular Mongolian Barbecue place. They always have coupons in the local mailers, so it's a great deal.

    One last thing: if you like to garden, you are very close to DiBaggio Herbs, which sells fantastic tomato and other plants. It's just west of you off 50.

    OK, that should get you started and it doesn't even take you more than a block off Route 50. When you're ready for more places, just holler!

    1. Thank you sooo much for you recommendations. We love Picante, but it had been one of the only good places we tried here (had bad experiences at Oasis and Backyard too). We've had take out from the Chinese place -- did not realize they had Mongolian there. The rest I had not tried -- but will be stopping by.

      Thanks again,

      2 Replies
      1. re: Betsy

        Betsy: With regards to the Chinese place that serves Mongolian barbecue, it's the one called Golden China.

        There is another Chinese place in the front of Sully Plaza called Empress Gourmet that we get takeout from that is pretty good too.

        One to avoid is Hunan Wok (gotta love these generic names) a bit further east on 50 in the plaza with Staples, Trak Auto, and Food Lion. It was good a few years ago then did a serious Picabo Street so we crossed it off our list.

        OK, one more good one is Otani, the Japanese restaurant in Sully Plaza. While the place is known mostly as a Benihana/wacky chef/fun with cutlery kind of place (and is actually pretty good for that stuff), they also have a very good sushi bar in the back.

        And one more to avoid is that bakery cafe right in the middle of Sully Plaza, facing Route 50 at the main entrance road. It stinks! We are still amazed that it has lasted more than a year.

        1. re: Bob W.

          Bob, thanks for all of your suggestions. It looks like we will be able to widen our restaurant experiences. We have eaten at Otani and enjoyed it despite the overdone showmanship, however I wanted to let you know that they recently discontinued their sushi bar.

          Since you live nearby, I wanted to let you know that we will be getting a new mircobrewery in South Riding soon, called The South Riding Inn, which wil be next to our newly opened Food Lion on Peacock Market (Off of South Riding Blvd). Not exactly sure when it will open, but it looks like it will be soon. We will also be getting a Chinese place in that same center. I am not even allowing myself to believe it might be good, that way I won't be disappointed if it isn't decent. It will nice to have an alternative to Domino's, Subway and McDonald's.

          Thankfully I have avoided Hunan Wok! And that bakery is a definite mystery to me -- it probably benefits from being next door to Milwaukee's Frozen Custard. If I am going to blow my caloric intake for the day there is no contest between those two!