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Favorite Cheap(er) Eats in No.VA?

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What are everyone's favorite less expensive restaurants in the Arlington area? My husband and I are kind of looking for just a general hangout place. We like pretty much any type of food -- but it seems easier to find reccomendations for "special occasion" and expensive places than just a good, solid "any old saturday night" restaurant. any suggestions?

thanks in advance!

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  1. We like Sette Bello a lot, its fairly cheap and the food is decent for what it is, we also love Eleventh Street, though a saturday night is a problem as it is euro club mode then, but the food is still incredible.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jpschust

      Sette Bello- cheap? The last time I was there for brunch, I paid $12 for a deflated omelette and TERRIBLE service. Plus, I think the atmosphere is completely cold- it feels more like a cafeteria than a hangout. Way overpriced, esp. for what you get.

      1. re: JAC13

        I've never been there for brunch, but in my experience brunch is a pretty bad way to judge a place unless they pride themselves on their brunches. I've only eaten there for dinner and it's consistently been less than 50 bucks or so for two of us to have wine, apps and dinner- all of which have been pretty good.

      2. re: jpschust

        I agree with you once again on this one. I love this place. Not cheap per se, but it is not outrageous and great for a nicer evening when you don't want to go to someplace far away, or more expensive.

        Also not cheap per se, but Willow is a wonderful local hangout with nice food for a nicer evening, but not a special occassion.

        Italian Store, of course...

        Tarabouch not a hangout per se as it is very small, but good warm delivery of the gyro.

        Lebanese Market

        Hard Times Cafe for wings...

        Some great chicken places, but they are normally take out as well, there is another recent thread on that, I like the one on the corner of 29 and I think George Mason. Hole in the wall, good chicken.

        Other people have mentioned others I would have said so I won't repeat.

      3. in no particular order, here are some Arlington spots that meet your qualifications:
        - in Lee/Harrison center, PieTanza* for pizza and Taqueria Poblano for what is it, SoCal Mex?
        - on Columbia Pike, Restaurante Abi for good solid mex/salvadoran, Thai Square and Bangkok 54 for Thai
        - in Buckingham, Ravi Kabob, 2 spots on either side of Glebe (and either side of Pershing). the original Ravi on the east side of Glebe, north side of Pershing can get crowded with resultant sloooow service, but the food is always delicious and is open more often than its newer bigger spot across the intersection
        - in Crystal City, Kabob Palace (either one, a few doors apart) and our new fave pizza spot, Cafe Pizzaiolo*
        - in Clarendon, the aforementioned Nam Viet. a lotta people also like Faccia Luna and Mexicali Blues, they're OK IMO, nothing too special. Whitlow's for weekend breakfast.
        - in Westover, the Lost Dog for sandwiches and beer. Like original Ravi, gets crowded and overrun in a hurry. Probably the best carry-out beer selection in the county.

        *both pizza places are exceedingly small-kid friendly

        let us know if you would gravitate more toward Falls Church Alexandria or McLean, many more recs in expanded area. good luck!

        8 Replies
        1. re: Jamie D

          What's the latest on the "new" Ravi location? A few months ago I walked past at lunch time (they weren't open) and noticed a sign on the door saying that this restaurant was for families only, and that others should go to the original location across the street. Are either or both of these still true? I like the kabobs at the original location but it's always too hot and too crowded to really enjoy a lunch.

          1. re: MikeR

            the new ravi is just as delicious and awesome as the old one. just less crowded and a little cleaner (well, newer) looking. its not 'for families only.' i think that was just a poor translation. i have eaten there with friends and girlfriends often, and i wouldnt call them family. i usually hit that location because parking is easier there and service is a little faster. also, the seating is a little easier to attain.

            1. re: kneelconqueso

              Perhaps I should have asked the exact question I had in mind, so I will. Can a single person eat lunch there alone? (yes, I have friends, but rarely get together for lunch)

              1. re: MikeR

                the answer is yes, at Both Ravi's, but bear in mind that on fri-sat the hours at the newer Ravi are 3 pm - midnight (sun - thu is noon - 10)

                1. re: Jamie D

                  OK, thanks. I'll give the "new" Ravi a try for lunch soon, and will try to remember to not go on a Monday (closed?) or Friday (opens at 3?) until the confusion is confirmed (by me).

                2. re: MikeR

                  I eat there a lot - at both locations (the one next to CVS is closed on Monday). Solo is no problem and they are very welcoming. I agree with above poster that newer location is easier to maneuver. Don't miss the chick peas - they're fabulous. And I love their rice pudding.

                  1. re: beachgirl54

                    huh, the guy on the phone told me the new spot is open every day.

                    and a strong second on the chick peas, they alone are a good reason to go, easy for me to say since I live close by, but still, they are most excellent

            2. re: Jamie D

              Definitely willing to expand to FC, Mclean, and Alex... live right near old dominion and williamsburg --- so esp. mclean and FC are good for me. But we're up for driving. Thansk, all, for the recs so far!

            3. For cheap italian I recommend Pines of Naples on Coumbia Pike across from the Nissan Dealership... Its literally a hole in the wall, but they have the best home-made pasta! And its definitely a family operation! For something even less formal, have you tried Kabob Palace in Crystal City? Their stuff is great!

              1 Reply
              1. re: AnneBird

                i'm intrigued, because the only time i've been inside PoN it smelled so wretched that i couldn't fathom eating there. my boyfriend and i walked right back out. the place was completely empty. what did i miss?

              2. Alladins in Shirlingon is good -- and I love the seared tuna salad at Carlyle Grill, also in Shirlington. Bangkok 54 for Thai on Columbia Pike. Del Merei Grill -- YUM! -- in Del Ray, also Firefly and Taqueria Poblano. There's a fabulous thai restaurant on Colmubia Pike -- a small place -- but to kill me, I can't remember the name. Not quire Arlington, but Four Sisters for Vietnames (7 corners) and Duangrats (Rt. 7).

                2 Replies
                1. re: bigskymind

                  is the Thai place Rincon?

                  1. re: weezycom

                    with Bangkok 54 across the street and Thai Square just up the street, there is absolutely no reason to go to the inferior Thai Rincome, they oversauce everything

                2. I like the Luna Grill fand for Mexican, I like Guapo's, both are located next to each other in Shirlington.

                  1. I agree with p.p. on Nam Viet, Guajillo and EatBar.

                    Also Matuba for sushi and Thai Square for the best thai (both on Columbia Pike), Costa Verde for Peruvian (Clarendon).