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Neighborhood Rest. for New York Visitor - Arlington

Help! Have a good friend coming in from NY for the weekend. He lives in Soho and is accustomed to high quality food at neighborhood places.

Please help me find a comparable restaurant for this Friday night. I want to stay out of the city, so need something in NoVa. My first thought was Bazin's in Vienna, but the only reservation options are too early or too late. Second thought was Mediteranee in Great Falls, which is still an option but would rather not go that far.

I'm not that familiar with Arlington and am thinking that there have to be places there that fit the bill. Nice, comfortable ambience, not stuffy, casual enough to linger, with terrific food. Suggestions??

It's good Friday, so my folks will need seafood options.


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  1. try eatbar ... it's just outside clarendon... i went a few weeks ago and loved it... and there was just a write up in the Post about it this past weekend...

    1. I think Tallula's fits the bill very well (or EatBar, which adjoins it).

      Also, Lebanese Taverna or Layalina's are both wonderful, casual, and have good Lebanese/Middle Eastern food.

      Another good choice would be the Village Bistro, which is next door to Ray's the Steaks (between Rosslyn and Courthouse). Excellent food (particularly seafood) in a casual but nice environment.

      If you're willing to drive ~15 minutes, I would also suggest Blacksalt for seafood. Yes, it's technically in DC, but it's in a quiet, residential area and is an easy drive from Arlington.

      6 Replies
      1. re: jaydreb

        Glad to hear you mention Village Bistro, I've always wondered about that place.

        Is Tallula and EatBar a good choice for someone who doesn't drink? I've heard alot about their wine selection and less about the food.

        1. re: Meg

          I'll admit that my main motivation for going there is for the wine and atmosphere. But the food is generally pretty solid, in particular the small plates.

          Note that Eat Bar and Tallula have different menus, but if you're in Tallula you can request something off the Eat Bar menu. For example, Eat Bar's menu offers oysters; Tallula's does not. But our waiter at Tallula was able to meet our request for oysters.

          1. re: Meg

            As for Village Bistro: we badly wanted it to be our "neighborhood" go to place -
            it is convenient (and Rosslyn doesnt have much to offer) -
            BUT in our opinion, the prices are too high for what they offer and for the somewhat dreary atmosphere. The food is decent, the mussels excellent.

            1. re: leah

              I agree it's not cheap but we've found the food (over many years) to be much better than "decent". Especially if you order one of the specials.

              1. re: jaydreb

                I agree, the food is excellent, particuarly the seafood. I love the scallops over linguini with pesto sauce. Each time I've had it the scallops have been perfectly cooked and the sauce never overwhelms. It is a bit pricey but not overly so considering the quality of food, IMHO. I also like that it's not the least bit pretentious. It's become one of mine and my husband's favorites.

                1. re: cabster

                  OK Thanks ya'll. I will continue to give it a try and look forward to trying the scallops!

        2. I like Sette Bello. It is chic in a NY kind of way. Seafood-wise, they are terrific. Try their fried calamari and their seafood linguini with clams, mussels, shrimp and squid.

          1. One can eat extremely well at Old Hickory in Falls Church if you choose wisely. Both the cajun egg rolls and the fried oysters are exceptional, aand go for anything served with the stoneground grits.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Steve

              Live right down the road from Falls Church and have never heard of Old Hickory. Where is it, and how's the atmosphere?

              1. re: Meg

                Old Hickory Grille is on Rte 50 in the Loehmann's Plaza. (Annandale Rd?) Next to Punjab Dhaba, and a few doors down form Celebrity Deli.

                It's a nice place, Southern meets New Orleans meets BBQ. The food is very idiosyncratic. A very lemony veal piccata, an angel hair pasta dish that is spicy. Lots of personality to the food, but it's not always correct. Aside from the dishes (which are truly great) I mentioned in my post above, they have good ribs and po boys.

                1. re: Steve

                  Does Old Hickory still have the all the ribs you can stand special on Wednesday and Thursday? They do a pretty good job if you like your ribs messy.

            2. Tallulah, mentioned above, is a good choice. Eatbar is more of a wine bar and seating is limited. Willow (at Ballston) is good for a neighborhood restaurant; Ray's the Steaks, Guaillo (Mexican next to Ray's), several fine Viet Namese restuarants in Eden Center (also Minh's on Wilson). I used to like Harry's at Clarendon but I have heard that it has deteriorated.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Dakota Guy

                Let me also add Farrah Olivia and Vermillion in Old Town Alexandria. There are many "neighborhood" restaurants in DC, but I tired to stay within VA.

                1. re: Dakota Guy

                  I've had mixed results at Willow, so I would exercise caution. Actually, I probably won't go back there again because the prices are too high to take a risk.

                2. Out of curiosity why do you want to stay out of the city? You're missing a lot of great stuff by staying in NoVA

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: jpschust

                    Well, some people got good sense. <g> There are a lot of good suggestions here (I'm expecting the Del Merie Grill person to pop up at any moment) and for one night's dinner, better to have a dozen recommendations to choose from than hundreds. Had she asked for, say Ethiopian food, while there are a few Ethiopian restaurants in NoVa, I'd have recommended a trip into DC. But we got plenty of good stuff over on this side of the river.

                    1. re: jpschust

                      Staying out of the city only b/c we'll have been downtown in the afternoon to pick up our guest at Union Station, and because we're expecting lots o'traffic and tourists this weekend with the combination cherry blossom peak, easter weekend and spring break. Looking for something closer to home (Tysons). I agree with the Willow comments, went once and liked it, but just haven't been compelled to return...the prices don't warrant it. Really dislike Harry's Tap Room, have had too many lacklustre expensive meals to try again, and I just don't like the feel of the place, it's as if they're trying too hard. Avoiding Sette Bello and Italian in general b/c it can't come close to the local joints in my friend's neighborhood (i.e., Mario Batali's Lupa).

                      1. re: Meg

                        The Cherry Blossom festival is well over and the traffic is long gone- getting in and out of the city at this time is very easy.

                        1. re: jpschust


                          The festival runs through the 15th, and I have first hand experience from Tuesday that tourist traffic is still thick coming in and out of the city, even during what should be easy times, such as 1pm.

                          1. re: Dennis S

                            The core of the festival is basically over and I don't know which ways you are taking in and out of the city, but I seem to have no problem getting in and out both via the 50 bridge and Rock Creek Parkway during morning, afternoon, evening and rush hour (no more so than any other day)

                            1. re: jpschust

                              Traffic should be no problem on Good Friday during spring break. From the looks of my office, most people have already left for vacation. This has been one of the easiest driving weeks I have seen around town for some time. Regarding the above comment, I also seem able to take the Roosevelt Bridge at almost any time of day and get in rather easily.

                              If you want to stay in Tysons, you could always try the Colvin Run Tavern.


                              1. re: dcs

                                Though I could almost hit CRT with a stone, it's not exactly a neighborhood restuarant. I wish I could afford to make it so! Though price aside, it's a bit more upscale than I had in mind. We've decided to go to Mediteranee in Great Falls. Haven't been in a while and it turns out to be the most convenient for all parties. Though thanks for all of the Arlington recs. I've got a few new ones on my list now.

                              2. re: jpschust

                                The core of the festival is not over -- that would be the Sakura Matsuri (the cherry blossom festival itself, with the food stalls and exhibits), which is on April 14.

                            2. re: jpschust

                              The Lantern Lighting Ceremony is this weekend (Sunday, 4/8) - that's the official kick-off for the festival so it hasn't even really begun yet. The Parade is the 14th. Through all of this we get the Spring Break tourists pouring into town replacing our Spring Break folks leaving town.
                              The blossoms may have peaked but the visitors haven't.
                              Don't forget the White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday. That's good for major congestion.

                            3. re: Meg

                              Speaking of Harry's Tap Room and Tyson's Corner, is there anything in that location across Rt 7 from The Container Store that keeps getting and losing restaurants? It was originally Fedora (pretty good) and lastly a Harry's variant which I never tried because they were closed when I wanted to eat there. Seems that there's something trying again there. It always had the feel of a kind of fancy neighborhood restaurant but for some reason nothing there was ever very successful.

                              1. re: MikeR

                                Nope, not yet. Looking forward to a newcomer.

                          2. I recommend Tallula, Sette Bello, or Cafe Asia. Harry's Taproom isn't a bad place to stop for a drink.