I have an overnight layover at Dulles, staying by the airport, is there anything good a cab ride away?
We are from LA and love all different kinds of food.
It would be a Tuesday night and any price range works if the valaue is there. You know a hamburger at McD's is overpriced to me because it stinks, while I don't mind paying for truly great stuff.
Herndon is the town closest to Dulles, but there's not a lot there. Minerva has good Indian food, and is only 3-4 miles from the airport. Pho 75 serves up fabulous soup, but is only open until 8pm. They're a touch further, maybe 5-6 miles. Dirt cheap - $5/person for a bowl.
A little further east is Reston. They have every chain known to mankind there, from fast food to upscale (Morton's, McCormick and Schmick's).
Going south you get to Centreville, perhaps 10 miles from the airport. Sweetwater Tavern is part of a local chain, and is pretty good. I've heard decent things about Thai Basil there as well.
Now, if you're willing to drop a few more dollars on a cab ride, just under 20 miles from the airport is "2941", just inside the Beltway in Falls Church. This is an incredible restaurant, one of the best in the area, with prices to match. A tasting menu runs from $95 to $135 depending on number of courses (you can also order a la carte). But, as you say, this is a great value for what you receive there.
I second Lake Anne, but vote for Cafe Montmarte. Do not go to the new American place with Tapas(?). Lake Anne is minimally historic. Town Center is only modern commercial.
Other choices include SBC cafe in Herndon's clock tower, which does offer a minimum of walking around, but Lake Anne offers more of that, as does Town Center. My vote - eat at Lake Anne and walk around there, and if you still want to walk some more (either before or after) hit town center.
If, at any point, you're looking for a true neighborhood and relaxed bar (with great bar food) hit Jimmy's. This is the local place, though, so you've been forewarned.