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Apr 15, 2008 08:22 PM

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.

                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 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.