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deep in Virginia

NELynne Dec 4, 2006 07:39 PM

Is there anything worth eating between Manassas and Vienna? When I used to live in DC I rarely ventures beyond Arlington! We like all kinds of food, don't want anything TOO fancy, just tasty.

  1. d
    DrurySheriff Dec 4, 2006 08:15 PM

    My favorite hang out (especially after 10pm) is Amphora restaurant and bakery in Vienna. They open 24 hours and their menu is very varied. I like their spaghetti with meat sauce. www.amphorabakery.com. This is not a fancy restaurant but isn't like IHOP or Silver diner either.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DrurySheriff
      Atlantis Dec 4, 2006 09:56 PM

      It's a good place for meeting, but the food is terrible. They just closed their other "diner" in Alexandria, the Four Seasons, which was even worse.

      As for the baked goods, we refer to them as "air cakes" because of their tastelessness.

      1. re: Atlantis
        chowser Dec 4, 2006 10:45 PM

        I've read a lot of reviewers here who like Amphora but I've found the same thing as you. My in-laws love the cakes and have bought about every type but I haven't been impressed. Good description as "air cakes". We only ate at the restaurant once. It was an off time but didn't make us want to return.

    2. a
      Atlantis Dec 4, 2006 08:29 PM

      Here's a place you really don't want to miss - http://www.viennainn.com/

      Mollie's not there any more, and the place has been cleaned up a bit, but, if you're able to sit at the bar and strike up a convesation with any of the old guys who are the regulars, you'll have an adventure like no other, I assure you. They are a remarkable collection of people who have done extraordinary things, more often than not in service to our country.

      The food's not bad, either. I think the sodas are still self-serve.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Atlantis
        schoenick Dec 10, 2006 02:30 PM

        Order the chilli mac four ways or else try the daily special. You can't go wrong.

      2. bolivianita Dec 4, 2006 08:55 PM

        Panjeer is a great Pakistani restaurant in Vienna. I never much liked Amphora but that might have just been bad luck for me.

        1. chowser Dec 4, 2006 10:51 PM

          In Vienna, I like Sunflower, vegetarian Asian food. Just outside, off 123 is Bombay Bistro which I've liked but hasn't gotten consistently good reviews here. In that same area, Sfizi on Rt. 50 is good, too, for a quick bite to eat--paninis and thick pizza, baked goods. I've never been to the main restaurant next door, Dolce Vita, but I've heard it's really good and want to try it. Then at Fairfax Government Center, I like Coastal Flats and Rio Grande, both little chains. We recently tried Chutzpah Deli, recommended by many CHers, for breakfast and really liked it. It's in Fairfax Town Center. NoVa is very chain-y for the most part and you don't get as good mom and pop restaurants in a small vicinity that you would in DC.

          5 Replies
          1. re: chowser
            Dennis S Dec 4, 2006 11:20 PM

            Pomodorro has pretty good pizza, and is in the same center as Chutzpah, but on the other side of the Safeway. Moby Dick's is there for kebabs, but I prefer Reston Kebab more (and it's closer so I don't go to Moby's).

            Check the board for Chantilly threads, too. That's close enough to your line, I think.

            Also where 29, 28, and 66 intersect (sort of) there are a number of Korean places.

            1. re: chowser
              Lowbar Dec 5, 2006 05:24 AM

              chowser, with all due respect, I don't really agree with your assessment of the NoVA dining scene at all...if you're truly looking for "mom and pop" type places offering genuine ethnic cuisine for immigrant tastes, you are more likely to find them in the strip malls of NoVA and MD than you are in most areas of DC. There are certainly exceptions but I would say that's the more common scenario nowadays. You may not get 10 good restaurants in easy walking distance of one another, but generally speaking I only eat one or two meals in an afternoon so that's never bothered me. Just my two cents.

              1. re: Lowbar
                chowser Dec 5, 2006 10:57 AM

                It's more true where I am which in NoVa (southern NoVA--SoNoVa). It would be great to be able to walk to a choice of restaurants and not have to drive 20+ minutes with traffic at least. Not to fault the mom and pop restaurants that serve Americanized food, either, because they're serving what the immediate population (not all NoVa but the area I am) wants.

                1. re: Lowbar
                  Mississippi Snopes Dec 19, 2006 08:35 PM

                  Occasionally, I'll try to count the restaurants within easy walking distance (20-25 minutes) of our house in south Arlington and I always give up counting. We can walk to at at least four Thai restaurants, one Filipino, three Salvadoran/Guatemalan, one Bolivian, one Italian, one Bolivian-Italian, two Peruvian chicken places, one Mexican, one Pakistani, two pizza/sandwich, two sushi, three Chinese (all takeout), a diner, a brewpub, several chains (McDonalds, KFC, Outback, Chipotle), and a mall food court. I'm sure I'm forgetting quite a few.

                  Within 10 minutes driving distance, you can probably add 200 more restaurants, including Bulgarian, Vietnamese (by the dozens), Ethiopian, Korean, French, Caribbean/Cuban, Spanish, Burmese, Greek, Afghan, Colombian, Egyptian, Moroccan, Lebanese, Turkish, and Yemeni.

                  I can't think of a neighborhood in DC that has nearly as much variety.

                  1. re: Mississippi Snopes
                    Mississippi Snopes Dec 21, 2006 03:14 PM

                    Posting a reply to your own post is undoubtedly solipsistic and maybe just insane, but here goes anyway. I started thinking about DC's restaurant density and came up with a location that might equal or exceed Arlington. Using the rule of a 25 minute walk or a ten minute drive, I think someone who lived at about 16th & S NW would probably have a tremendous variety of restaurants, since they would be within walking distance of the 17th Street corridor (Sushi Taro etc.), the U Street restaurants (Etete, Oohs & Ahhs...), Dupont Circle, P Street west of Dupont, and at least some of downtown. I assume there are areas in Silver Spring/Takoma Park that have comparable restaurant variety & density as well, but I'm not as familiar with Maryland as I'd like to be.

              2. Meg Dec 4, 2006 11:25 PM

                Bazin's on Church Street in Vienna, an upscale neighborhood restaurant. Great food, but be prepared, it's a bit pricy.

                Rosemary Thyme Bistro in Clifton (between Centerville and Rt. 50 off 66)

                1 Reply
                1. re: Meg
                  schoenick Dec 10, 2006 02:32 PM

                  Wow - I forgot all about the place in Clifton! It's a great place to go after church on Sunday! I've been there twice and both times enjoyed the food.

                2. rcheng Dec 5, 2006 12:39 AM

                  Nizam's in Vienna has good turkish food. Panjshir had excellent Afghan. Foster's Grille in Vienna has excellent burgers. Peter Pan in Fairfax has an very interesting "authentic" Chinese buffet. The Lotte center in Fairfax is a Korean grocery market with a very good little food court that has several different Asian food stands. Hope this gets you started.

                  1. Lowbar Dec 5, 2006 05:17 AM

                    Minerva, less than a mile south of 66 at exit 60 (Rt 123), has a great Indian lunch buffet.

                    Sichuan Village in Chantilly is a fantastic place for Sichuan food, run by the same people who ran my former fave Formosa in Arlington/CC.

                    1. l
                      Lori D Dec 5, 2006 02:07 PM

                      Good pho in Fairfax near Super H at Viet House (phoviethouse.com)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Lori D
                        dpan Dec 5, 2006 03:52 PM

                        Pho Bistro in Centreville in the Centrewood shopping center, near the Ciro's pizza and next to the Two Amigos. Great pho in a pleasant restaurant. Their rice dishes are good too.

                      2. r
                        rHairing Dec 5, 2006 02:53 PM

                        Everyone hit my favorites but can I add Skorpios and Maggiano's on 123 for their gyro??? Also, don't forget Esposito's on 50...

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: rHairing
                          chowser Dec 5, 2006 03:38 PM

                          I drive by Esposito's all the time and wonder what it's like. What kind of food is it? Anything you recommend?

                          1. re: chowser
                            Meg Dec 5, 2006 08:18 PM

                            Very casual, homestyle neighborhood Italian - the red checkered type, with real Italian staff (at least in the kitchen). Have never had a bad meal there, in fact some that are pretty exceptional. Though I have a hard time ordering anything but their pizza which I love (always get the margerhita + fresh tomatoes). But have had excellent and surprisingly fresh mussels, eggplant parm, and osso bucco.

                            1. re: chowser
                              rHairing Dec 11, 2006 02:16 PM

                              Their white pizza is wonderful but make sure you don't have social plans afterwards....very garlicky!!!

                              1. re: chowser
                                mattm Dec 20, 2006 01:38 AM

                                I have always enjoyed Espositos. The specials are usually good - I recall nice trout and sausage dishes.

                                You can also always get a side plate of good spaghetti with garlic and olive oil. It's surprising how difficult it can be to find a dish that is so simple to make.

                            2. w
                              weezycom Dec 5, 2006 03:42 PM

                              The GAR restaurants haven't been mentioned, have they? Artie's in Fairfax Circle, Sweetwater in Centreville and Chantilly, and Coastal Flats near the Gov't Center.

                              1. r
                                r_hondas Dec 6, 2006 01:48 AM

                                I live in Vienna and we drive out to Centreville for steak at Texas Roadhouse (Rt 28 and Westfields Blvd). It's the only one that I know of in our area and I prefer it over Outback or one of the "L's" (Lone Star, Logan's, Longhorn, etc.). While I'm on the subject of chains, I also enjoy Famous Dave's in Oakton but the one in Woodbridge is probably closer to Manassas.

                                1. b
                                  Betzim Dec 10, 2006 06:38 PM

                                  If you like seafood, Bonefish in Centreville (Rte 28, behind the Multiplex) is excellent. From the outside you would just think it was another chain-y, Box Restaurant, but once inside it has a Bistro type atmosphere and the fish is super fresh and comes with delicate sauces you choose yourself. (My fave is the Mango Salsa). The wine list and dessert are awesome too. They also serve a few pastas, which I have not tried, but look good.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Betzim
                                    NELynne Dec 11, 2006 12:52 PM

                                    Thank you everyone for your suggestions! We did end up going to Bazin's on Church. My husband and I agreed that the appetizers and desserts were phenomenal, but the mains left a lot to be desired. We had the lamb loin for app (shared) and the meat was cooked just right, the feta plentiful and tasty, the veggies fresh. The tuna main was just bland, and the veal had a strange flavor - there was some spice used that didn't work with the meat. Desserts were the brownie (not at all a brownie, just rich bittersweet chocolate goodness with a little crustiness) and the apple pie (incredibly fresh).

                                    We do plan to try some of the other places suggested in the future, will give feedback as we do!

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