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Just Moved to Silver Spring -- any recs?

My husband and I just moved to Silver Spring from the SF Bay area and we're starting to take inventory of our food choices. I'm guessing it's not quite as plentiful as in California, but any recommendations for delivery, takeout, or restaurants nearby would be very helpful. For more specifics, we live off of University between Franklin and Piney Branch. We're open to all sorts of food. Thanks!

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  1. You'll hear the same names mentioned a lot but you should probably start at Samantha's, 631 University Blvd. @ Piney Branch
    Phone: 301.445.7300
    http://www.washingtonian.com/restaura...
    It is literally walking distance from you. Very tasty El Salvadoran/Mexican.

    As for cheap and good takeout nearby:
    Peruvian Chicken: Senor Chicken (University @ New Hampshire in the shopping center with the Taco Bell
    )Indian: Woodlands (University @ New Hampshire in the shopping center with the Taco Bell); Udapi Palace (University across New Hampshire near the 7-11) (Udapi and Woodlands are vegetarian)
    Tiffin (University across New Hampshire just a little ways past NH); Bombay (up New Hampshire in the White Oak Shopping Center)
    Vietnamese: Pho An (up New Hampshire in the White Oak Shopping Center); Pho 75 (University near Riggs)
    Fresh Mex: Fajita Coast (University at Colesville--just okay but pretty decent for what it is)
    Sushi: Moby Dick (Wheaton on Triangle Lane-this is farther afield for you but I find it to be good value and good quality)

    I used the restaurant searches/reviews at washingtonian.com washingtonpost.com a lot when we moved here from NYC. I am not that familiar with the Takoma Park restaurants still so I will be interested to hear your reports.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Super Salad

      This list is not exhaustive by any means:

      Samantha's, Udupi Palace, and Woodlands--we like these places.

      El Golfo is Latin-American fare; a very nice family owns it. Pretty decent.(http://www.washingtonian.com/restaura...

      )

      In Silver Spring, we like Jackie's (http://www.jackiesrestaurant.com/).

      A couple of new places have opened up on Georgia Avenue--Olazzo (http://www.olazzo.com/silverspring.html) and Nicaro (http://www.nicarorestaurant.com/). We went to Olazzo and it was decent; haven't checked out Nicaro yet.

      Some people here on Chowhound really like Ray's the Classics, and it is right in Silver Spring (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-...

      )

      There is a terrific Burmese place in Silver Spring called Mandalay (http://www.mandalayrestaurantcafe.com/

      )

      I am *underwhelmed* at the restaurants in Takoma Park. We live very close to Takoma Park and if there were anything very good there, we'd be there constantly. Mark's Kitchen is a diner; the food is nothing we go out of way for; ditto the Middle Eastern Cuisine restaurant and market right next door to Mark's. I have had better middle eastern food at other places in town. Savory is another Takoma restaurant; it has vegetarian/vegan food, which, since I'm vegetarian, you'd think I'd be all over it, but no. It's basically a cafe. There is one in old town Takoma and an outpost right across from the Takoma Metro. I might pop in for a take-out sandwich at the Savory by the Metro, but that's about it.

      Colorado Kitchen (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-...) is another place to consider. The chef is very talented and we have liked the food every time we have gone. However, there is very little for vegetarians there aside from appetizers (which is a reason we don't go there often) and we find the rules and instructions to be offputting. I go out to eat for relaxation and enjoyment, not to read a laundry list of regulations on the menu.

      There are lots of very interesting ethnic places in Wheaton, just north of Silver Spring. The majority of these are practically spitting distance from the Wheaton Metro. There is also an excellent Scottish pub called the Royal Mile about a block from the Wheaton Metro, with quite good food and a superb collection of single malt whiskey, with tastings on Thursday nights (http://www.royalmilepub.com/

      )

      Hope this is helpful, and welcome to the area.

      1. re: eam531

        Colorado kitchen closed a few months ago-the chef is opening a new restaurant in Silver Spring. I do not know the name of the restaurant or when it is opening.

        1. re: chicken kabob

          Chef Gillian Clark is opening two restaurants--A restaurant in old Forest Glen General Store that may open sometime in the late fall (this is the most recent estimate I've heard) and another restaurant at the former Taliano's in Takoma Park at some point in future.

          I'll second most of the recommendations in this thread and add two great Thai places in Wheaton. Ruan Thai has an extensive menu and some of the best Thai food around and Nava Thai, tucked away behind a Thai grocery on a side street off University, has what one expert on Thai food has called the most authentic Thai in metro DC. I love both of them, but of late I've been working my way through the Nava Thai menu and have yet to have a bad meal. Especially recommended in the Floating Market Noodle Soup, an especially incendiary bowl which, if needed, can be toned down. My recommendation for first-timers is to order it medium hot and add heat as needed.

          I'm a fan of Ghar-e-Kabab in Silver Spring, an Indian/Nepali restaurant with a small but excellent lunch buffet. I also like La Bamba, a Guatemalan place on Georgia. Inexpensive, simple, honest food. I eat lunch there frequently.

          1. re: JeffCraddock

            I haven't tried Ghar-e-Kabab's lunch, but I thought it's worth mentioning that they deliver (yay). Their aloo ghobi is excellent, as are their flaky samosas.

            also, the relatively new Abol ethiopian across from the AFI is delicious.

    2. While not exactly California full, Silver Spring has some good places to eat. And if you are willing to drive up the road to Wheaton, there are even more.

      Some good choices

      Jackie's (Modern American, organic and free range, yada yada yada)
      8081 Georgia Ave. (enter from Sligo Creek side)

      Teddys Roti Shop
      7414 Georgia Ave

      Addis Ababa (Ethiopian)
      Fenton Ave?

      Crisfield (seafood) been there since 1945
      8012 Georgia Ave

      2 Replies
      1. re: dinwiddie

        I would also recommend Addis Ababa. I had an amazing meal not only with the food but the service and ambiance. Also, I would try the Red Dog Cafe off of Grubb Rd. The food is good and I used to go there during the spring to sit outside.

        1. re: dinwiddie

          Teddy's Roti Shop moved closer to the Silver Spring Metro station: 8407 Ramsey Ave. - 301-562-7779. Their website hasn't been updated, but the menu is pretty much the same. http://www.teddysrotishop.com/index.html

          Goldielocks - Have you been to Red Dog Café since the restaurant was purchased by the owner of Kirsten's Café about 4 months ago? I haven't been back yet, but it's next to the SS/TP Food COOP and the location definitely has potential. http://www.reddogcafe.com/links/enter...

          Here are two links from an October 2006 Washington Post article about Wheaton dining:

          Map: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/...

          Article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

          The article's information overall is pretty accurate except that Sabang is now closed.

        2. Couple places not on the list right now.

          These are all right near downtown silver spring.
          Cubanos- I really like the empandas and the marinated meats.
          Sergios- Lamb Chop, Tiramisu and the man Sergio himself
          El Pollo Ric- a little farther away but its the only Peruvian Chicken that counts

          1. siliconbug,

            The four posters above have given you an accurate, complete, and certainly chowish list.

            I would, however, remove Crisfield from the master list. It's not up to snuff - it's barely in the "OK" catefory.

            1. My two favorites in your area are Udupi Palace (vegetarian Indian, with excellent southern Indian dishes such as iddlies and masala dosa) and Mandalay (Burmese). Mmm! I've never had a bad meal at either.

              3 Replies
              1. re: julialimei

                I usually go to Udupi Palace on the weekends for the buffet but the last few times the food seemed lackluster. Someone told me that they change the food on the weekends to suit the non-Indian customer; natives dominate on the weekdays supposedly. (Opposite of the pattern at Minerva Cuisine, Fairfax.) Can someone confirm this?

                1. re: Minger

                  I've never tried the buffet on weekends, but usually order a southern Indian specialty like the Masala Dosa...it tastes just as good as on weekdays. But perhaps the buffet is different.

                  1. re: Minger

                    I've been to the Udupi buffet on weekends and weekdays. There are more choices on the weekend, but I haven't noticed a difference in the food or the clientele--usually I see lots of south asians all the time.

                2. I agree with the other poster's recommendations. Especially on Jackie's, Colorado Kitchen, and Samantha's.

                  Max's in Wheaton (on University) has among the best falafel and schwarma in the area. It's better for carryout -- the atmosphere is underwhelming.

                  Across University is Sergio's, an El Salvadoran restaurant that has handmade tortillas. They have a carryout section and a pleasant dining room. As long as it's not karaoke night.

                  Having lived in SF, I know what top notch dim sum tastes like, and I know that we don't it here. However, Hollywood East (also Wheaton) is among the best in the DC area.

                  El Pollo Rico in Wheaton has delicious Peruvian chicken. They had to close down earlier this year -- the owners had some legal problems. I haven't been since it's reopened.

                  Sadly, to get real volume of excellent Vietnamese food, you need to go to Virginia.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jumpingjack

                    Pollo Rico is back open with the same crew, same bird.

                    I have to stick up for Hollywood East dim sum. Spouse is a 5th gen San Franciscan and they satisfy our dim sum requirements quite nicely. Put it in SF and not Wheaton, MD, and it would fit in as a solid, reliable spot. Is there better in the Bay Area? Yeah, sure but on most days at HE, there's plenty of quality.

                  2. Thanks all! We checked out Samantha's on the 21st -- very good and I look forward to exploring more of the menu. We actually went to Mandalay when we came out for an exploratory visit because we used to have a Burmese place a block away from our old apartment.

                    I'm sure we'll be hitting plenty of the other places listed over the next couple weeks. It's good to hear that there's good Indian in the area as well -- I think we became addicted over the last couple years in Berkeley. Thanks again and happy new year!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: siliconbug

                      Go to Woodlands and order a Paper Dhosa and Mutter Paneer for a transporting Indian fix.

                    2. Another Silver Spring can't miss is Negril on Thayer Ave. just off of Georgia in downtown. Authentic Jamaican, delicious, incredibly reasonable, take-out, dine-in. Got take out for out-of-town visitors over a year ago and every time they're back in town it is requested, no, required that we have it again. Jerk Chicken dinner, chicken or goat roti, vegetable stew, curried shrimp, and don't forget the cocoa bread and fried plantains!

                      I'm in agreement about Jackie's, Colorado Kitchen, Samantha's, El Golfo, Mandalay, Addis Ababa. If you love coffee you have to go get a bag of beans from Mayorga Coffee Roasters on Georgia Ave (the best), if you like old-school dive bars with incredible beer selections (over 50, I think) and decent pub-food offferings (did someone say fried pickles and tater tots?) head down the stairs to the Quarry House Tavern on Bonfant St. at the corner with Georgia Ave., and finally, for your sweet tooth check out Cake Love in "new" downtown Silver Sprung on Ellsworth for cupcakes and cake slices. Yum.

                      Happy hunting...

                      1. To second (and third) a lot of what's been said:

                        Udupi, Tiffin, and Woodlands are all close to home and great for Indian. Sadly, none delivers, but each is worth the trip.

                        I hear good things about Tabeer, a Pakistani place a little further east on University, but I haven't made it there yet.

                        In downtown SS you have Rays (though it's closed for a whille right now) for great bar specials, great steaks, and great prices on beers and wines by the glass in a nice setting.

                        The Quarry House is wonderful if you like divier places and good beer. They have a wonderful beer list and reliable bar food. SS could use more places like it.

                        While it's not amazing, i'm always happy with what I order at Lebanese Taverna (a local chain) also in downtown SS. Great place to grab a bite before or after a movie.

                        Addis Ababa, also in downtown SS, has solid Ethiopian. There's probably better to be had in DC, but it's close and tasty.

                        Head up University to Wheaton for Ruan Thai--no atmosphere, really good food.

                        Finally, Bethesda isn't far from you. While most of us agree that most Bethesda restaurants (and there are a ton of them) are overpriced and mediocre, we love Faryab for Afghan, Passage to India, Penang for Malaysian.

                        sadly, delivery options in Takoma Park and Silver Spring are beyond limited. I wouldn't recommend any of them.

                        1. Aww, Silver Spring is so cute!

                          Local/Dive Bar: The Quarry House. Great blue cheese burger.
                          Seafood: Crisfield's (http://www.crisfieldseafoodrestaurant...). Crab-stuffed shrimp.
                          Asian: Asian Bistro (http://www.asianbistrocafe.com/). Sushi, lots of Veg options.
                          Indian: Bombay Gaylord (8401 Georgia Ave). Heard nothing but good things!
                          Diner: Tastee Diner (8601 Cameron St). Typical diner stuff. Open 24-hr.
                          Mexican: Mi Ranho (8701 Ramsey Ave). Tacos al carbon, fajitas, margaritas.
                          Celebration: Mrs. K's Tollhouse Restaurant. (http://www.mrsks.com/

                          )

                          That's all I can think of right now...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: inbox_blues

                            Mrs. K's is only a good place for a celebration dinner if you remember the headlines during WWII.

                          2. My favorite establishments in Silver Spring:

                            Ray's the Classics
                            Quarry House
                            Crisfield's (mainly for the old-time charm and ambiance)