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Nov 20, 2002 09:37 AM

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?


    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.