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"Good" Restaurants in Alex & Arlington

I'm in charge of making reservations for the office Xmas dinner. No one (else) wants to travel outside of the Ax/Arl area, and Restaurant Eve has been nixed as being too expensive. It's a middle-aged conservative bunch. Bosses are looking to spend ~$50 pp. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. How many people are we talking about here...that may be somewhat limiting if its a large group.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Lowbar

      Minimum 10, maximum 12.

      Thanks for pointing that out.

      1. re: weezycom

        Not too bad, most restaurants can work with this. Evening Star Cafe in Alexandria (Del Ray) comes to mind immediately. http://www.eveningstarcafe.net

    2. What about Carlyle?

      2 Replies
      1. re: jpschust

        Another good choice for this purpose. I was trying to think of a GAR spot that would fit the bill, and for some reason Carlyle slipped my mind. I second this one.

        1. re: jpschust

          I haven't been to Carlyle's but my first thought was a GAR, too, for a generic office place that everyone could find something they like.

        2. We just had dinner at Bistro/Bistro in Shirlington this past Friday night. Three people. 2 salads, one appetizer, 3 entrees (crab cake, risotto and cipo), two glasses of wine - $97 before tip. Nice amuse bouch (sp?)of pumpkin soup and a sorbet between courses.

          Recommend highly.

          1. Hi -- I thought of Carlyle myself. Problem is, they don't take reservations for large parties on a Saturday night.

            Does anyone have any good/bad experiences with Extra Virgin and/or Vermillion?

            4 Replies
            1. re: weezycom

              I don't understand the GAR restaurant policy of calling in your party for a certain time vs. reservations. Is it that the time could be variable on the next table that opens up, vs. a guaranteed table? I've never had to wait when I call in for a time.

              1. re: weezycom

                I don't know anything about Extra Virgin. Vermillion is good, same family as Evening Star, but given free reign of the menu, I would expect the total to exceed 50 per with appetizer/salad, entree, one drink, tax & tip.

                1. re: Lowbar

                  thanks to everyone for your input. It's been very helpful.

                  Decided to take a leap of faith and booked our group for Extra Virgin. If it's an unpopular choice, then I guess I will be free of the responsibility for next year's dinner res, will I?

                  1. re: weezycom

                    I haven't been to Extra Virgin, but you should do a search on the Washington Post page for Sietsema's review. It was brutal, one of the worst reviews I ever saw. I remember he wrote that the pasta tasted like it was run through the dishwasher and that the only thing good about the whole experience was that Carlyle was still open when he left, so he could get something to eat.

                    Not sayin you should change your mind, but...

              2. Looks like you've made your decision - our office is doing a luncheon for 50 at the Del Merei Grille - taking over the restaurant on a Friday noon - everyone is looking forward to it.