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Indian Food in Arlington/Falls Church

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Does anyone have a recommendation for a good Indian place in the Arlington/Falls Church area? We love Bombay Curry Company in Del Ray, and Delhi Dhaba is ok for a quick meal, but the other places we've tried in Arlington (along the Wilson Blvd corridor) leave much to be desired. I'm not even sure I know of an Indian place in Falls Church, much less a good one. Help?

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  1. Have you tried Mehak in Falls Church?

    Link: http://www.mehak.com/

    13 Replies
    1. re: Lori D

      I've always had good luck at Mehak. The lunch buffet always has good quality dishes.

      Another good one around here is Punjab Dhaba in Loehmann's Plaza on Arlington Blvd. Great goat!

      1. re: Bob W.

        I'll second both of Bob W's recommendations. I prefer Punjab Dhaba though. It is pretty informal but it is one of the few places where you can get both Northern (tandoori, dals,& curries) and Southern dishes (dosas). It's also very reasonable, if not downright cheap.

        1. re: Moe Green

          India Grand is a South Indian Vegetarian Restaurant inside the grocery story of the same name in Loehmann's Plaza next to the movie house. It is very cheap and good. Chennai Thali for $ 4.95

          There is Madhuban in Clarendon on Wash. Blvd. It is cheap but not good.

          There is Cafe New Delhi in Clarendon on Highland which is very good.

          Another cheap but mediocre restaurant is Rasoi at the far end of Eads St. in Crystal City.

          Cuisine of Pakistan is similar to Indian but more spicier and more meat offerings than vegetables. You can try Anmol Kabob House on Lee Hwy across from Saran.

          Equally good Pakistani places in the Arl/FC are: Food Factory, Kabob Palace, Ravi Kabob House, Kabob Express, East West Grill and Tandoori Kabob House. All cheap and fast food type-no waiting.

          1. re: naruda

            FYI - Cafe New Delhi, the last time I was there, was not very good, and also not very clean.

            1. re: naruda

              The kabab place in Bailey's Crossroad, on Columbia Pike, two blocks west of Carlin Springs Rd., is Afghani not Indian, but their food is excellent and the servings are very generous--the breads are made to order in the tandoor.

              1. re: zora

                Yes, Kabab Express is Afghani but I wouldn't consider it to be good, and there are definitely better South Asian Kabab restaurants in the area (Charcoal Kabab, Food Factory etc.). The last time I was there, they drastically increased the prices, the nan was cold, the chick peas tasted as if they came right out of a can, and the person working there gave me a blank receipt (what is the point of that?)! The restaurant also doesn't seem to get that many customers. This place might have been good several years ago but not today.

                1. re: Harsha

                  It's been a while since I've been there--I used to work at a hospital on Carlin Springs Rd. when I first moved to this area in 1996, and I ate there frequently. I'm sorry to hear that the quality has gone down. It used to be really good.

                  1. re: zora

                    Yeah, I read a positive review from the late 90's on another webiste about the restaurant, so it's certainly plausible that it was once good though it isn't anymore.

                  2. re: Harsha
                    John Douglas Porter

                    Yep -- Kabob Express is pretty crummy. Not to say that I wouldn't eat there sometimes, when I worked in Skyline. There just weren't any better alternatives for Afghan kabob with 5 minutes' drive. But if you'll accept pricey but good Iranian kabob, Bread and Kabob is nearby, just off 7, west of Bailey's. The Persians say it's good but IMHO not good enough to justify the prices. Maybe if the place was nice and the people friendly... but no.

                    But we were talking about Indian. Has anyone mentioned Raaga, on 7 just west of Bailey's? IMHO, they have some of the BEST Indian food in the entire NoVa area. They also have a really good weekday lunch buffet, which runs, I think, 8 or 9 bucks. (Just high enough to keep me from doing it every day!) They have a salmon kabob and a panir kabob which are simply spectacular.

                2. re: naruda
                  John Douglas Porter

                  Rasoi is Afghan, if I recall arightly. I like Afghan food, but Rasoi doesn't stand out. It's a cheap kabob type place, not a nice restaurant like Panjshir, or even Afghan Restaurant.

                  Now, if you happen to be in the Crystal City area, the one place you must check out is Kabob Palace (Pakistani). I've eaten at all the Pakistani places in NoVa, and this one is a real standout. The only place I'd rather go for lunch is Aabshar, but it's too far away for me -- down in the heart of old Springfield.

                  If you want spectacular Pakistani food, go to Aabshar for their weekday lunch buffet. And ask for a (complimentary) side of the red spice mix. My tummy has never been happier!

                3. re: Moe Green

                  Moe: for a guy who took one right in the eye, you still know what you're talking about.

                  Mehak is very, very nice, and the food is very good, but a real chowhound should go to Punjab Dhaba. Nondescript is a good word for the decor, it is definitely cheap, and the owner loves adventurous hounds. When I ordered the curried goat on my first visit, his face just lit up.

                  And they don't pull their punches on the hot peppers either.

                  It's in the same row of stores as Celebrity Delly and Old Hickory Grill. That's some pretty good eatin'.

                  1. re: Bob W.
                    John Douglas Porter

                    Yeah, I like Punjab Dhaba too. But I can only eat there when my wife's out of town -- she doesn't like hot food. And HOT is the way to describe their food. I like hot food -- I ask for things "five peppers" at Thai restaurants -- but it's not quite the same at Punjab Dhaba. It's not just hot -- it's spicy in a way the just churns up my gut. So I'll have to opine that Punjab Dhaba is not my favorite Indian joint. But it must be authentic, because the place is always packed with, uh, immigrants. :-)

              2. re: Lori D

                Does Mehak have their Butter Chicken on the buffet menu?

              3. Another suggestion is Haandi on Broad St in Falls Church near the intersection with Hayfield Rd. This one's been around for a long time and is consistently included in lists of the area's top ethnic restaurants. It's a pleasant space with good food and efficient service.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Barbara
                  John Douglas Porter

                  I must respectfully disagree with the recommendation of Haandi. It is WAY overpriced. And the food isn't that good. Not that it's bad, it's just... bland. You expect Indian food to have some zing, some zest, some rich and wild flavors doing an exotic dance in your mouth. Well, you don't get that at Haandi. Frankly, whoever is still giving the place rave reviews is out of their mind. Maybe they're getting a kickback.

                  Last time we were there (perhaps a year ago) we were told that the chef staff had revolved in the last year or so. So it's entirely possible that the food at Haandi used to be great. In any case, it is now just mediocre, and outrageously priced.

                2. Saran, on Lee Hwy near George Mason, is about on par with Delhi Dhaba for food and atmosphere.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bob B.
                    John Douglas Porter

                    I'm glad someone mentioned Saran, because it's one of my favorites. It is strictly vegetarian, with both North and South Indian cuisine represented. The prices are also very reasonable. The place is very short on atmosphere; I think they expect most of their business to be carry-out. There's always an interesting eclectic international clientele there.

                  2. I ate at Bukhara last night (corner of Glebe Road and Washington Boulevard in the Comfort Inn). I'm no expert on Indian food but my friends and I really enjoyed it, although the service is a little sketchy. We had the bread basket (2 kinds of naan and one kind of roti), and kashmiri lamb, one of the eggplant dishes, and the chicken tikka. All were tasty, especially the lamb, and had a coupon for 20% off. And, they participate in the iDine program.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Nancy
                      Harlan Messinger

                      I concur. Bukhara has a couple of vegetarian south Indian pages on its menu, including dosas and uthappams.

                      The first time they went, they were just shaking down, and the south Indian chef hadn't even arrived yet. Most of the food was stunningly salty. We mentioned this at the end of the meal, and were asked to wait while the chef prepared us a fresh preparation to take home on the house. We did, and it was very good. We've been back twice since and have enjoyed the food.

                      LARGE PORTION ALERT: Be careful about ordering too much, especially if you order the bread sampler!

                    2. c
                      Completely unrelated but good Indian

                      This thread reminded me of an Indian "restaurant" I ate at in NYC...I say "restaurant" because it was really an old guy preparing Indian snacks in the back of a gas station. He had a little gas stove and karhi (an Indian style wok) cooking away, truely classic and damn tasty too.

                      1. Woodlands is in Fairfax -- a bit further from Punjab Dhaba -- but the food is great! It's a South Indian restaurant -- all vegetarian, great dosas and yummy Saag Paneer!

                        I think it's owned by the same good folks who opened Udupi Palace.

                        It's at the intersection of Jermantown Rd and Rt. 29, in the same center as the K-mart.

                        Go, go, go!!!

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Pleen

                          Speaking of Udupi Palace-- I ate at the Langley Park, MD branch last Saturday. Also stopped at the Indian grocery a half block away on University Blvd., next door to the sari store. There's a small counter in the back, next to the movie rentals, where a family from Bombay sells chaat and other Indian snacks on the weekends, to take out. Had my first "frankie", which they described as an "Indian burrito". It was a chapati folded around a filling of spiced potato and onion--spiced differently than the usual samosa or dosa filling, though. Delicious. Also got really good ras malai, among other things. Lots of great stuff at that store -- packages of rotis and naan--love their masala naan! Frozen entrees and exotic ice creams, a zillion kinds of hot mix, the usual bulk spices, flours, lentils, nuts, and rice, all of which seemed fresh. A good selection of chutneys, pickles and curry sauces. And a case full of Indian sweets. Worth a trip!

                          1. re: zora

                            I had a snack, in round shape, called Murukku (sp!) from a Sri Lanka store in LA, it's very good. I've been looking for it here, but can't find.
                            I've wondered if this store has it.

                            1. re: zora

                              I had a snack, in round shape, called Murukku (sp!) from a Sri Lanka store in LA, it's very good. I've been looking for it here, but can't find.
                              I've wondered if this store has it.

                              1. re: Mindy

                                Murukku is a savory South Indian snack. It is made out of chick pea flour, rice flour, water, cumin powder and a pinch of asafetida. The dough is extruded and shaped like spiral, sort of mini funnel cake and fried. It is hard on your teeth.It is only available in south indian grocery stores. Try these sources but call them before go to assure that they have it.

                                A1 Indian Grocery Store, Lee Hwy in Arlington, 2 blocks west of Glebe Rd. (703) 841 9626

                                Rainas Indian Grocery Store, Chantilly VA, (703) 961 9717

                                Periyar, Lanham MD.(I do not have the Tel. No.)

                            2. re: Pleen

                              Woodlands and UDUPI Palace are not owned by the same people. There is a branch of Woodlands in Langley Park across from UDUPI. They are competitors.

                              1. re: Pleen

                                Man does the taste stick with you. I used to go there for lunch and could still taste Indian food after dinner that night. That's if I even ate dinner, cus it usually also left me feeling bloated. Tastes very good though.

                                If you're in the Fairfax area, I strongly recommend Connaught Place in downtown Fairfax. Their Chicken Tika Masala is by far the best Indian dish I've ever had. I think they have a sister restaurant in/near Bailey's X Roads called "Raaga" that I haven't tried yet. White Tiger in Vienna was also good, but I believed they've closed that location and now operate solely from Capitol Hill.

                                Avoid Minerva and Bombay Bistro, or at least their buffets.

                              2. The best restaurant in the area is RAAGA on Route 7 in Bailey's Crossroads and is run by same people who own Conneaught Place in Fairfax. They have a special 3 course dinner for 2 for $ 29.95

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: naruda
                                  John Douglas Porter

                                  Ah! Raaga is owned by the same folks as Connaught Place?
                                  That helps explain why it is so good! (I actually like Raaga way better, but Connaught Place has a special place in our hearts, does it not? And live sitar music is a rarity around here... :-)

                                  To continue...

                                  No discussion of Indian food in Fairfax would be complete without mention of the following:

                                  Bombay Bistro - perhaps the best Indian buffet in the area -- or perhaps not, now that Bombay Tandoor is open in Tysons.

                                  Minerva -- supposedly very good.

                                  Woodlands -- vegetarian buffet, absolutely top-notch and an unforgettable experience.

                                  1. re: John Douglas Porter

                                    Oh, I'm so glad to hear that Raaga is good. I've been driving by it for ages now, and have never been sure whether I should stop in! Now, I'll give it a shot.

                                    I'll second the comments on Saran. I love that it offers both northern and southern cuisine. I also like that they are very accomodating to my cousin, who is vegan. Food has always been great there, but I agree that the atmosphere is lacking. I prefer take out there.

                                    Another place I do exclusively take out from is Sangam (on the corner of Glebe Road and Washington Boulevard in the Comfort Inn). The food has been consistently good, and the breads are outstanding. Service is always slow, which is why I only do takeout there now.

                                    Finally, I'd add Tandori Nights in Clarendon (above the Barnes and Noble). I was not going to try this place due to the super cheesy name and sign. In fact, I lived in easy walking distance from it for a year or two, and never went. But a friend insisted we go there one night, and I was very impressed. The food has been consistently good, as has the service. My only complaint is that it is overpriced, but you are paying for the "atmosphere" of a more upscale DCish place.

                                2. Try Haandi in Falls Church.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Harsha
                                    John Douglas Porter

                                    No, Don't.

                                    See my other review of Haandi in message 23780:

                                    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                  2. Have heard great things about Tandoori Nights in Clarendon ...

                                    1. Try Sangam in Ballston

                                      Its right off of Exit 61 (Glebe Rd) of I-66, attached to the comfort inn. The decor is tacky, but its family owned and amazing. Every time I go there, the owner comes by and recognizes me, and he always knows how long its been since I was last there. The food is always wonderful and I heartily recommend it.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: JeffDerek

                                        I enthusiastically concur on Sangam. We go often -- living a half mile away is great -- and the food is always great. Highly recommend the Butter Chicken and Aloo Papri Chat appetizer. The naan is great too. Ed, the owner, is a great person and he really enjoys meeting and talking with his customers. The attachment to the Comfort Inn is a bit odd, but the food is great and well worth a visit.

                                        1. re: BRL

                                          How is the service there nowdays? We went once at least a year ago or longer. We never went back. The food was fine, but the service was slow, confused, and just plain bad.