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ANYTHING to eat in Springfield/South Alexandria?

I just bought a place off Edsall Road and 395 and have NO idea where foodies go around here to eat. I am sure there are a lot of ethnic places you can refer me too. I am desperate for places to go to around dinner time...mexican, asian, anything. Willing to travel anywhere within a 15 minute drive. Suggestions on what to get would also be greatly appreciated!

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  1. Get a copy of Zagats. Consult Washington Post and Washingtonian. For ethnic food, google Tyler Cowen (I might not always agree with him but he does get around).

    1. Check out El Grande Supermarket. Latino/Asian grocer with decent selection of Korean panchan, fresh fish (still swimming in a tank), decent butcher, lots of fresh vegetables, good prices. Several Asian/Latino restaurants in the stripmall itself, but I haven't tried any. There's always at least one taco van in the parking lot.

      Also, further down 395 off 236 is Valentino's New York pizza, one of the better thin crust pizza joints in the area.

      El Grande International Supermarket
      6901 Hechinger Dr, Springfield, VA

      1. There are a few places to check out, although they can be hit and miss. One place I really like is Afghan Kabab on Rolling Road at Keene Mill. Very good and reasonably priced. BYO too. Another place I've had both good and just OK is Canton Cafe in the Springfield Plaza. It's hard to get good Chinese in this area. Try their shrimp dumpling soup and roast pork. I also liked their Singapore noodles. Wasn't as thrilled with the beef chow foon. The salted crispy squid was pretty good too and the hot and sour soup was respectable. They advertise dim sum during lunch but I haven't been. There is also a Trader Joes next door. Behind Springfield Plaza is Cafe Manila, a Phillipino place. I'd recommend trying it on a Sunday afternoon when they have a buffet, includng a whole roast piglet. There was a lot of stuff that was just ok and some that I didn't like, but this allows you to poke around and find the things you like and try things you've never heard of. Last time I went, the menu was not in English so unless you know what the food is, ordering could be a challenge. There is a Pho place I've been meaning to try in the Plaza too but haven't been.

        There are loads of places to eat in Old Town, which you can get to in 15 minutes. Do a search. There is a farmers market in the town square on Saturday mornings, which is worth checking out for free range beef and chicken, country ham, baked goods, very good fresh pasta and moz, and local produce.


        4 Replies
        1. re: Ellen

          try Duck Changs On John Marr Drive--I've eaten there for almost 30 years-- try Chicken and Beef Szechuan style--hot swet vinegar sauce but everything is good;

          about 5 min awar is Schezuan Star--Bradlick Shopping center--Stripped chicken in garlic sauce -again all is good.

          1. re: dbl2rt

            Duck Chang's other restaurant, Peking Duck, on Route 1 is also excellent, particularly (suprise) the peking duck.


            Peking Duck Restaurant
            7531 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22306

            1. re: dbl2rt

              I think Duck Chang's jumped the shark quite awhile ago, I'm sorry to say. I ended up throwing out the last couple of orders I brought home from there, and have not been back since (that was about a year and a half ago).

              Now, it's been ages since I've sat down in there and had the Peking Duck, so I hope that's still done well.

              I can't comment on Peking Duck, having never been there.

            2. re: Ellen

              Just tried Afghan Kabob the other day for lunch. It was pretty good! I think it may become one of my take out places. The chicken was extremely moist and the rice dish was excellent. Thanks for the suggestion!

            3. Right by you is the old Hechinger Plaza; monkeyrot mentioned El Grande there, but also in the same plaza is Gamasot (Korean--they do a good Seul Leung Tang and an acceptable Bibimbap), and an OK pho place.

              You're also a short drive from Landmark, which used to be the motherlode of ethnic dining in that area; it's not quite as good now, but you've still got Akasaka (Japanese) and Satay Sarinah (Indonesian) in the Van Dorn Station plaza, and Tempt Asian (Sichuan) and Hee Been (Korean) in the Brighton Mall plaza (which probably has a new name by now--it's the one on the south of Little River Tpke just west of 395). None of them are the best exemplars of their food in the DC area as a whole (well, maybe Satay Sarinah, just because I can't think of another Indonesian place offhand), but all of them are perfectly fine places for daily chow, and the plazas they are in are full of other cuisines (Italian, Salvadoran, Afghani, Vietnamese, Thai) as well, not to mention all of Koreatown if you head a little further west on Little River Tpke from Brighton Mall.

              2 Replies
              1. re: sweth

                Satay Sarinah is definitely worth getting to know. Probably best Indonesian food in the area. Rijstaffel (Rice table?) is a parade of small dishes that serves as a very good intro to the place. Good salads involving cabbage, bean sprouts, peanut sauce.

                1. re: Steve

                  It used to be so much better, though. They changed chefs (and I think also ownership) a while ago, and ever since then the food has been a lot less exciting; the spicy dishes in particular are a few orders of magnitude less fiery than they ought to be.

              2. If you're a fan of Japanese food, you can't do better than Akasaka, 514 S Van Dorn St
                Alexandria, VA 22304 (703) 751-3133.

                Right across the parking lot from Akasaka is Thai Lemongrass, which is not only pretty, but serves very good food. http://local.yahoo.com/details?id=127...

                The area is loaded with all sorts of little places just waiting to be discovered. Welcome to the neighborhood ..........

                5 Replies
                1. re: Atlantis

                  Thanks everyone! I stopped by at the Pho place next door to Akasaka last night and it was pretty good. Smoothie was great. Will report back after I try it this weekend.

                  I went to El Grande last week and it is certainly a great find for seafood. Is there any Mexican nearby that anyone could suggest?

                  1. re: xena1441

                    not Mex but...in the same shopping center as El Grande is El Rancho, solid Peruvian chicken with excellent fried yucca. you know how most of these chicken places serve some yucca pieces that are too big and those pieces end up being under-cooked? El Rancho gets it right, all pieces are the right size and well fried.

                  2. re: Atlantis

                    Just an update- we went to Akasaka tonight, My favorite was the Crunchy tuna roll and mexican roll. Food/service was great but the place was completely empty (I always feel wierd in that situation). But will go again for a sushi cravaing...and it's right down the street!

                    Next stop- Thai lemongrass!

                    1. re: Atlantis

                      Just reporting back- we made it to Thai Lemongrass on Van Dorn S. last night. We ordered the Pad See Ew and Spicy Sauteed Chicken. All in all a pretty good bet for a quick Thai meal that's available around the corner (and the total was $20, not bad at all).

                      Will report back when we go to Satay Sarinah. We walked by last night and the pictures of the food on the outside look great. But I have never had Indonesian before so I am not sure what to get. Any suggesions or advice? We love spicy- is it spicy at all?

                      1. re: xena1441

                        If it's still there, Thai Hut (also on Van Dorn across from the plaza w/ the Safeway) is a little better.

                        Satay Sarinah used to have great spicy dishes, but has had some turnover in staff/chefs, so everything is a little more bland now--not bad, but not as good as they used to be. The spicy dishes to try would be the rendand daging (spicy beef curry), ayam bambu rujak (spicy grilled chicken), udang belado (spicy fried shrimp), and nasi goreng jawa (spicy fried rice). You can always ask for some sambal (a hot chili paste) to spice your dishes up yourself, too.

                        And if you are trying Indonesian for the first time and are there w/ someone else, go for the Rijstaffel--Satay Sarinah's version is really just a five-course meal rather than the traditional Indonesian version (more of a 20-30 course tasting menu), but it's still a good introduction at $25/person.

                    2. Check out the Mediterranean Bakery, in the same plaza as the Home Depot off S. Pickett. Great little market good sandwiches and what not in the back.


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: chaojareon

                        Right down the street from Mediterranean Bakery is Shenandoah Brewing Company, a craft beer supply place that also serves beer and food. Haven't tried it yet but have been meaning to.


                        Shenandoah Brewing Co
                        652 S Pickett St, Alexandria, VA

                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                          You can make your own beer at Shenandoah, and a few months later, you pick up your own beer that they bottle. I don't think the food is that memorable but it's fun.

                      2. As a 2 time springfield resident and former denizen of dupont circle, i'll tell you where the REAL foodies eat...DC! that's why we go into town at least once a week. springfield is a restaurant wasteland. Lorton has a few good choices now (Karma indian, a japanese steakhouse/hibachi place, Mike's american grill is ok) but TONS of good liittle mom & pop ethnic joints. i agree w/ the rec for Afghan kabob. Cedars cafe down old keene mill rd has really good leb food but no atmosphere. The pho place in springfield plaza has my fave pho in the whole area.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: DCDOLL

                          Dcdoll, I work in DC so I get my fix for lunchtime. But it would be nice to have a place within a 5-6 mile radius to go to in the evening after work.

                          I was very excited to find a Trader Joe's in Springfield! And it's only about a 5 minute drive. I think that area is Springfield Plaza?

                          1. re: xena1441

                            Yes, TJ is there. Unfortunately the Whole Foods in s'field is the smallest one in the area with very little in the way of prepared foods. It's in the shopping center further down O.K.M. road. Teh salad bar is ok. The better Whole Foods near you is the new one in old town.

                        2. I agree w/ Afghan Kebab. It doesn't look like much from the outside (I think it looks like a bordello) but is very nice inside. I'd recommend that aushak and mantu appetizers. The kebabs are good. Servings are huge.

                          Behind the Whole Foods in the same area is Asian Grill. It's mix Thai, Chinese, very light versions of the food. Not a place to go if you're looking for authentic chinese food but the food is good, nonetheless.

                          On the other side, next to Whole Foods, there's Austin Grill, tex mex. I like their dinner salads, especially the portobella mushroom one. They have good specials. It's not amazing food but a big step up from any other chain tex mex.

                          I agree w/ DCDOLL on Cedar Cafe, too. It's in Burke, down a couple of miles from the WF. I'd say it's one of the most overlooked restaurants in this area, as food goes. They do simple foods well--garlic puree is addicting, as is their hummus. And, they have the best Lebanese rice I've ever had. Nice mix of toasted vermicelli and it, for white rice and pasta, has a lot of flavor. There is only counter service which might be why it's overlooked, and take out suffers in those styrofoam boxes.

                          Near the Trader Joe's, down Backlick, is Pho Cong Ly. I like the pho there but there are so many pho places in the area that I haven't tried that I can't say it's the best.

                          As authentic mexican food places go, I go down to Prince William County for that, though I've heard the scene there is quickly changing. In Kingstowne, on Beulah Rd where Red, Hot and Blue is, I like Rice and Spice. I can't recommend anything in particular because I get something different every time but everything (except the "healthy" steamed dinners) are good.

                          Afghan Kabob Restaurant
                          6357 Rolling Rd, Springfield, VA 22152

                          Asian Grill
                          6328 Rolling Rd, Springfield, VA 22152

                          Austin Grill
                          8430 Old Keene Mill Rd, Springfield, VA 22152

                          Cedar Cafe
                          6409 Shiplett Blvd, Burke, VA 22015

                          Pho Cong Ly Restaurant
                          6671 Backlick Rd, B Springfield, VA

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: chowser

                            funny, i forgot there are 2 pho places in the springfield plaza. The one i was referring to is i think called Pho Ahn Li or something. It's on the complete opposite size of the plaza right next to the Subway. That one has better pho that the Cong Ly one.
                            Have you been to any of the mom & pop places in Brookfield Plaza? There are a bunch of ethnic places there but i've only tried the vietnamese (and won't go back becuase it's like a smoke pit in there)

                            1. re: DCDOLL

                              I tried a Lebanese/middle eastern place there, can't remember the name but it was on the right as you entered the plaza. I don't remember much except the service (counter) was slow and the food wasn't good. The pita was microwaved and turned hard really quickly and the rest of the meal wasn't much better. There was a Mexican place nearby that we walked into but left because it was filled with smoke.

                              I'll have to check out the other pho place you recommended. Is it near Mike's? I don't know where the Subway is in that area. Thanks!

                              1. re: chowser

                                You know the 'inside' part of the plaza where K Mart and Hard Times are? The Pho place is to the right of those places, if you are in the parking lot looking at K Mart. There is a dentist office, subway, and the Pho place. Get #3 (brisket). the summer rolls are good too.

                              2. re: DCDOLL

                                If Brookfield Plaza is the "orange mall" on the west side of Backlick (as opposed to the "blue mall" on the east side), then that's where House of Siam is. It's one of our favorite Thai places. It's very mom-and-pop... except in this case it's daughter-and-son-in-law. :)

                                It's probably not very "foodie," but the people are nice and the food is tasty. We refer to it as "Cheesy Thai" because of the d├ęcor. :) Until a couple of years ago they had real silver utensils on the table... but the tables were covered in those plasticked diner-style tablecloths, and they used paper napkins. Very strange, but it spoke to us on some level. :)

                            2. Hmmm, where did I go to lunch when I worked in Springfield? My favorite place was a Pho place, I know Saigon was in the name (Saigon Cafe?). Otherwise, had some pretty mediocre meals.

                              There's a Hard Times around there (local chain). I'm actually not really a fan of the food but its chili definitely has its advocates.

                              The Great American Restaurants are a well-received local restaurant group. Mike's is the one in Springfield (I haven't been but enjoy both Sweetwater and Carlyle).

                              I definitely wouldn't go to Shenandoah for the food (it's pretty much just chili and chips) but the beer making is totally fun and there's a general dive-y atmosphere that is appealing in its own way.

                              Otherwise, head to Annandale for Korean.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: bylinemjf

                                If you're so close to Trader Joe's you should check out Delia's down the street on Backlick. It's just north of the Jiffy Lube, on the same side of the road in a little strip mall. I can't say that I know them at dinner time, I work in the area but live in Prince William. They have a huge menu, and I've never had anything bad there. They do some great chicken and steak (I had a salad there that had both on it - it was divine). They have some Peruvian dishes as well. For sushi, check out Matsui Sushi on Beulah - it's in the same shopping center as Red Hot & Blue. And King Street Blues has a secondary location in Kingstowne - it's way down at the end of all of the shopping centers, opposite the Giant Foods.

                              2. There is
                                Delia's Pizzeria & Grill on 6715 Backlick Road, great food; great lunch specials
                                Siagon City the authentic Vietamese Cuisine and Noodle Soup, 6333 Brandon Ave;
                                El Paso Mexican Restaurant, 6804 Commerce Street;
                                King Kabob & Sweet 7050 Spring Garden Dr., All you can eat buffet. I haven't tried this place but I hear they at least 20 items on the menu and it cost 6.99

                                Let me know how you like these place in Springfield

                                1. Oh, I forgot there is Thai Cafe outside on Springfield Mall, right across the street from Circuit City.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: t22inabove

                                    I like Thai Cafe for their reasonably priced noodle lunches, the pad see uw in particular. If you're willing to splurge a bit more, their best dish: the crispy fried duck--shredded duck predictably crispy...

                                    Another nice find is the Mediterranean Gourmet Market (Lebanese) for zataar and other baked goodies from their fired oven.

                                    1. I live in Springfield. Great recs all up and down this thread so far.

                                      Keep it simple -- from where you are, head to Backlick Rd., my favorite name for a road in northern Virginia. To your right, think Korean. To your left, think ethnic heaven. Some of may favorites going down Backlick into Springfield include Delia's (just ate there on Saturday night and can't resist the chicken), Canton Cafe (next to Trader Joe's and the best Chinese in the area), Manila Cafe (Best Philippino food in the area), La Hacienda (Salvadoran) and Tokyo Inn (surprisingly good sushi in a restaurant that acts like a Benihana and is owned by a Chinese guy).

                                      1. Tonight, we went to Kabul Kabob on S. Van Dorn. LOVED IT!! The bread was fresh and served with a chutney. We ordered Kublai Pulao and Shami Kabob- both made fresh and served with a salad. The service was very friendly. The decor is certainly not fancy, but the restaurant was still charming.

                                        1. Perhaps not the best service, or location, but for Mexican food my boyfriend and I enjoy:

                                          Cerro Grande
                                          (703) 924-0856
                                          6705 Springfield Mall, Springfield, VA

                                          for a local chain/Taco 'joint'
                                          Tippy's Taco House (Brookfield Plaza)
                                          7004 Spring Garden Dr
                                          Springfield, VA 22150
                                          (703) 451-4411

                                          Bring some quarters they have an relic of a juke box in there!
                                          Enjoy your research. Lots of good suggestions for you!

                                          1. Hi! I live in the area so I agree with mostof the places mentioned. Let me add one of my favorites. Just past West Springfield is Burke. Right on Burke Road in a strip mall, is Aladdin's. They serve Lebanese food, with lots of fresh vegetables, smoothies and other interesting items. It's a chain from Ohio --very clean-- but it feels more like a neighborhood Ma & Pop joint. Very friendly with lots of vegetarian choices. Other recommendations: The Moby Dick at Kingstowne- Persian fast food, right next to the movies. If you ever get to Loudoun County (if you drop someone at Dulles Airport) - in Sterling in the Countryside Shopping Center is Taste of Burma, which I absolutely love. An unusual combinations of Asian flavors - I've never been disappointed.