HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >


lunch in farifax/fair oaks area

  • r

i'm getting a little tired of panerra/baja fresh/TGI Friday clones....

i hear Star Thai is good, and i already love Tony's NY for pizza/subs.

any recommendations? I'm looking primarily in the area west of fairfax city (I work near Fair Oaks mall).



  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Star Thai is excellent, as is Tony's pizza. Tony's gets pretty crowded at lunch, though, make sure you get there a bit early.

    In the Fairfax Towne Center (with Tower Records and TJ Max) you can find a wonderful Jewish/NY deli called Chutzpah (at the far end of the shopping center to the left of the Safeway -- kind of tucked away) and you can see the menu at http://www.chutzpahdeli.com/. Can't recommend it enough. Also in that center are a Baja Fresh, Yum Yum Cafe, and a few others that I can't remember (some Italian place and a kebab place, I believe).

    A little bit east of the mall on Route 50 is a big shopping center with a Circuit City/Burlington Coat Factory, etc. and you'll find a few little places there. An Asian restaurant called Seoul something, a Persian Kebab place, Bravo's.

    Good luck!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Colleen

      I assume you've tried both the pizza place (Pomadoro's) and the kebab place in the Panera/Tower/Safeway plaza- both are excellent.

      If you don't mind a fairly short drive, there's Cannaught Place (Indian) in downtown Fairfax and Woodlands (vegetarian Indian but SPICY) right off rt. 50/Jermantown in the K-Mart plaza. And also an Italian deli in the same K-Mart plaza.

      1. re: Malcolm J.

        I've been working in the Fairfax area for the last 5 years, and really like Cannaught's lunch buffet. It's about 10 bucks.

        Other recommendations:
        Dolce Vita - popular Italian place, will get crowded in a hurry. Pizza's are a bargain at 5.99. Nice size, and cooked in their brick stone oven. .50 for additional toppings.

        PJ Skidoo's offer's a very good lunch London Broil special.

        The Arrigato in Fair Lakes has the sushi buffet, the one on 29 does not.

        Pad Thai - Thai restaurant on 29, right next to Arrigato is decent. Star Thai and Sakoontra are also good.

        For the non chowdoundish restaurants, the area does have two barbecue chains, Red Hot and Blue and Famous Dave's, even though FD is actually in Oakton, but very close to Fairfax.

        Try ordering from the in house cafereria at Super H, big bowls of hot soup filled with goodies. Great, especially when the weather is a bit cold. While you are there, pick up some produce, it's hard to beat their prices.

    2. I believe there is a Pars Express in Fair Oaks Mall. It is a fast version of Pars Kabob House in Vienna. Very delicious.

      1. You are very close to Sakoontra, a Thai restaurant in the Price Club/Home Depot Plaza just down West Ox. Rd. from the mall.

        We like it better than Star Thai.

        14 Replies
        1. re: Bob W.

          I strongly second Sakoontra. The food is good, the surroundings spacious and pleasant. Try the Yum Watercress (#21) - it is truly yum!

          1. re: Barbara

            Barbara: you have excellent taste! I ALWAYS get an order of Yum Watercress.

            Yum indeed!

            1. re: Bob W.

              Wait a minute! Sakoontra, near the Costco, is GOOD? And I live maybe a mile away and have not been there yet?!?!? How can this be??

              1. re: James G

                Best you get there soonest (and report back what you think)!!

          2. re: Bob W.

            I went to Star Thai today, and it was very good. A friend of mine also mentioned Sakoontra, which is definitely on the list to try!

            Thanks all for the recommendations...

            1. re: Bob W.

              I posted elsewhere, but I'm not a fan of Sakoontra. The food was average, some good, some bad--def not good enough to override an unpleasant owner. The waitress was excellent at explaining the dishes and serving us--however, the owner is a boor. My 3 y.o daughter, with whom we eat out frequently, had spilled some rice on the carpet during the course of dinner. Since it's basmati rice, it's not sticky, and hadn't really fallen in a clump so that I could pick it up. I pointed it out to the waitress when she was clearing our dishes, and she seemed amused and said it was no biggie. Next thing we know, the owner is pulling the waitress over and publicly berating her. He makes one of us get up and has her vaccuum under the table because he says it will ruin the carpet. There was another couple with us, and we were embarrassed beyond belief and in a state of shock that he would get so mad at her (and us). Anyway, we gave her a big tip--the owner was watching us, and, as we were walking out the door, stormed over to see how much we were giving her. How rude!

              1. re: sim family

                I'm older and don't have any small children, but that is unbelievably rude! I'm not going there again myself.

                I hope you relate this story to Tom Sietsama at the Post.

                1. re: sim family

                  I live close by and might have tried it until reading this.Can't imagine giving that guy my $ if I can find another place with good food and nice(er) people. Thanks.

                  1. re: sim family

                    NO SAKOONTRA for me. The 1st time, the owner was very rude. We asked to be seated by the window, the hostess happily did it but en route he stopped her and made us sit elsewhere. The food was good so when my parents were visiting we told them to try Sakoontra for Thai. LOL, they came back talking about the owner being rude, and we had not said a word about it.

                    We now drive further to Cee Fine Thai dining and love it. Won't go to Sakoontra for free. It's not right to allow people to be rude to you when you are a paying customer, or otherwise for that matter. This NOVA businesses sometimes get away with it, because it's such a populace area with plenty of customers.

                  2. re: Bob W.

                    Sakoontra is the best Thai food I've had in Fairfax County, and my Thai friends agree. Whenever I'm within a 10 mile radius of Sakoontra, that's where I eat. I also recommend Blue Iguana for lunch. The place grows on you. Not a chain, good food and reasonable prices.

                    1. re: BigEats

                      Anyone ever been to Thai Luang on Elden in Herndon (just west of the Fairfax County intersection? EXCELLENT!

                      1. re: ichrysso

                        Sakoontra and Thai Luang are both good choices, but check out Sila Thai in Sully Plaza (Route 50 at Centreville Rd in "downtown" Chantilly). We just got takeout from there and it was outstanding. The tom kha gai (chicken coconut soup) was superb. We're going to try their "Thai dim sum" on Sunday for Dad's Day.

                        1. re: Bob W

                          Luang has been posted regularly here, but there is quite an upstir in the Reston/Herndon Thai scene right now.

                          Reported on this board, the family that basically ran Luang - including the bartender guy - got into a disagreement or something with ownership and left.

                          Somehow, they ended up over at what was Tarin Thai, taking it over and starting their own place. Apparently they get more in-store traffic than Tarin did, and have changed the menu somewhat from Luang.

                          The Tarin family is still apparently around. A friend saw them at the Herndon festival with a booth. They told her that they were looking for a space, but will keep the name.

                          I seem to recall someone reporting that Luang is now off in quality, and I imagine that's the case, but I haven't been by myself.

                          1. re: Dennis S

                            Well, we didn't make it to Sila for Thai dim sum on Sunday, but I do have some Western Fairfax Thai restaurant news to report.

                            Thai Palace near Costco is gone. It was always sort of under the radar, but was a pretty good place. Still, with Thai Basil and now Sila nearby, there was probably no need for this place too. Wonder how long it will take them to get a new restaurant in there.

                  3. If you are already burnt out on Tony's, Baja, Panera, etc. Try these:

                    Woodlands: There is a Fairfax branch of the highly Chowhound touted Indian vegetarian restaurant on Germantown road at Rt.50 a couple doors down from Kmart.

                    Arigato: Excellent Sushi, I think they have a lunch time buffet. There is one in Fair Lakes a few doors down from Target and one next to the Expo design center at 29 (Lee Highway) and Germantown road.

                    Hunan Gourmet: I posted about this place a while ago. It's uncommonly good Chinese in Fair Oaks mall. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but I actually walked by one day and saw many Chinese people eating inside so I felt it was my duty to stop and eat. I have not tried too many of their standard Chinese dishes because I can get past their entree soups with fresh hand cut noodles.

                    There are also a couple of Pho places that are always pretty busy. One is in the same development as the Arigato next to Expo and one is just a half a block down 29 on the other side of the street near the 7-11. The later also has some standard Vietnamese dishes in addition to just Pho.

                    That's all I can think of right now, I'll add more if anything else comes to mind.

                    Also, I did see that the Rhodeside Grill on Main Street in Fairfax City went under and has already been replaced by Ned Devine's, an Irish pub with another NoVa location(s). I have not been get, but will soon. Mmmmmmmm Guinness....

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

                    1. Re: Tony's, I am not a huge fan but they are pretty darn good. And, one time I had the Sausage and Potatoes -- like it sounds, just sauteed chunks of sausage and iirc onion, tossed with chunks of potato. REALLY GOOD especially considering I walked in expecting some okay-but-routine pizza.

                      1. For middle-eastern, Temel is amazing. They have a great Sunday brunch as well that is a welcome diversion from the standard omelets and benedict fare.


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: biscuit

                          I just went to Temel last night (a friend from out of town has an interview with George Mason) and it was fabulous. The service was great and the food was amazing. I don't know why this place isn't getting more love on Chowhound; it's a great find.

                        2. If you are going to come to Oakton, which is close..Tigris Grill. Amazing kabobs and a lunch special for 6.99 I think. I order lunch when I work from home:)

                          1. At Fairfax Corner you can get a good lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, Chipotle's or Potbelly (good sandwiches). Jason's Deli at the north entrance to Fair Lakes Shopping Center is pretty good. Viet House (corner of Jermantown & Lee Hwy) has good chicken pho and summer rolls. I guess you know about Cheesecake Factory. We really like the pizza at Luciano's in Oakton but their new branch at Fair Oaks Mall doesn't seem to be as talented at pizza making (maybe they've improved...we were there this past winter & haven't returned). Pizzarama's subs and pizzas are good (I like the Philly Steak & Cheese but have chicken instead of the steak). Wouldn't it be great to have a Breadline or Teaism out here? I've yet to find a great Chinese restaurant. Happy lunch place hunting!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: meem

                              For Chinese have you hit Sichuan Village in Chantilly? Do not get the buffet - order from the menu.

                              If you're actually in FFX, then the trek to HKP at 7 corners is so much worth it. And of course, China Star (outside of Joe's, what started the Sichuan track, it seems).

                              China Star Restaurant
                              6717 Reisterstown Rd, Baltimore, MD 21215

                            2. I've posted to similar threads, and mentioned at least one (Sichuan Village in a reply a few minutes ago). But..

                              First, I second Pomodorros ESPECIALLY if you get a custom pie. The Quatrro Stagioni is great.

                              Second - like SV, if you travel just a bit west on 50, there is a lot:

                              Bungalow - best traditional wings in the area bar none - get the three mile island sauce on the side.

                              Pho - there are two places. Last time I had each, both were good to excellent, but it has been a bit for them. Both were in the main center that Lion or Bloom is in. One next door and the other on the back side.

                              Willards BBQ - best for beef bbq in the area, seriously. Don't get the pulled pork. Burnt Ends or Brisket. PS - you can trade out the corn bread on a dinner for a different side dish. Learned that here and am passing it on.

                              Picante! - I've had it catered and it was good. A solid rec that recently got a boost in ratings here.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Dennis S

                                Dennis, I think it was you or Steve who recommended Pomodoro's for stromboli, but I thank whoever it was! Their pizza was very good, too.
                                Mr. Alka got a veal special, which he liked but did not love.
                                I'm definitely going there if I'm in the area.

                                It is located by the TJ Maxx on W. Ox Rd. http://www.pomodoropastapizza.com/

                                A friend recommended a Chinese place in the Fair Oaks Mall located next to the big sushi place: Hunan Chinese Gourmet 11725 L Fair Oaks, Fairfax, VA 22033 (703) 359-5898

                                Recommended: Szechuan Beef Stew Noodle Soup https://www.mealage.com/foodmenu8.jsp...

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  Glad you liked it. Mainly I recommend the whole pies. I think there are two other locations, but I've only been to the one on Ox Rd.

                                  I will say I am shocked by some of the menu at that Chinese place. Looks worthwhile to try. We often make cold Winter Sunday mornings an outing for the girls at the mall (with the shops closed) but often will wrap up with a meal (which is usually Champps or going across to Pomodorro). I may have to try this one of those outings.

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    I'm impressed by all the homemade noodle dishes on the menu, mostly soups. This may very well be worth checking out. Thanks for the reference.

                                    1. re: Steve

                                      their menu says the noodles are their specialty. i can't wait to try it myself, being a noodle fan.

                                    2. re: alkapal

                                      I tried Hunan Chinese Gourmet in Fair Oaks Mall. I got the cha chiang mian, aka, zha jiang mian, or noodles in bean paste sauce. I was told that these were not the homemade noodles, though they had a very nice texture to them.

                                      Noodles came in a really huge bowl, enough to feed three people. They were good, but the execution of the sauce was pretty low grade. Not as good as A & J. This is a small, counter service place in a mall. Considering the location, It attracts a surprising amount of Chinese. But It represented more convenience than deliciousness.

                                      If I am by there again, I'll make sure I try the homemade noodles.

                                  2. Just for cross-referencing purposes, I posted a similar question a while ago (but not 2003!) and got good suggestions, lots of overlap: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6591...

                                    1. Places I would most enjoy for lunch near Fair Oaks Mall that I have been to (other than Panera/Baja Fresh as noted by OP):

                                      Tony's NY Pizza
                                      Viet House on Lee Highway (pho, spring rolls, bun) -- I like to ask for culantro with the Pho, they don't always bring it
                                      Moby Dick
                                      Five Guys
                                      Pei Wei (I like the Kung Pao, Thai Dynamite, Edamame, Thai Wonton Soup and Lettuce Wrap Chicken -- some other stuff is good and some is not so good but overall I like it)
                                      Chipotle at Fairfax Corner or Fair Lakes

                                      Sakoontra and Woodlands if I had more time for a waiter-service place.

                                      I would also like to try Cheong Wong and Hunan Gourmet which I have learned about on this board but not been to yet.