Layalina on Wilson Blvd in Arlington - thoughts?
I have often eaten at Layalina. I'm third generation Syrian, and it's one of the only places in the entire metropolitan area where you can get actual Syrian food instead of the more Frenchified Lebanese.
But that said, it is a cut below Aladdin's in Burke, Mediterranean Gourmet Bakery on Franconia Road, and the universally loved Lebanese Butcher in Falls Church. And I've eaten at every place in the DC area, starting with the original Lebanese Taverna in Arlington before it expanded.
And I'm answering in the Syrian-Lebanese-Palestinian context. Iranian food is a far different thread, as is northern African (Morocco and Tunisia).
Well, Shamshiry is pretty much strictly Persian, while Layalina is Lebanese-Syrian, so its a bit of an apples to oranges comparison there and it would depend which way your personal preferences/tastes lie. Both places are good.
I always liked Layalina a lot, haven't been in quite a while. They do have an extensive menu with a lot of traditional dishes, and I have liked most. Definitely worth a visit. The Lebanese Butcher, also mentioned in this thread, is great and also worth a try if you haven't been. Added links so you can locate them :)
Lebanese Butcher & Restaurant
109 E Annandale Rd, Falls Church, VA 22046
8607 Westwood Center Dr, Vienna, VA 22182
I haven' t been to Shimshiry but I have been to Laylina. The inside is much nicer than the building appears from the outside. It's been a year or two since I was there last but I recall it as an enjoyable ambiance and meal. Moderate price, familt run place. Nothing spectacular but we liked it and would go back.
It's been mentioned off and on on this board over the years. Generally good reports, but a search should turn up something. We used to eat there until we discovered Lebanese Butcher. The atmosphere is nicer at Layalina, and they serve alcohol. But the food at Lebanese Butcher surpasses it by far.