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Good Restaurants in Vienna, Virginia

Hey Chowhound Family. Quick questions...I wanted to know from you all about consistently good restaurants in Vienna, Virginia. They can be ethnic, American, it, expensive, cheap, it doesn't matter. I have read about good restaurants in Vienna, so I hope to get from you all a comprehensive list of good restaurants in Vienna. Thanks.

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  1. Nizam's for good Turkish food.

    1. Here are our favs. All are inexpensive with the exception of Bazin's.

      Wu's Garden - Chinese with authentic and "classy" decor
      Anita's - Mexican
      Tequila Grande - Mexican
      Scorpio's - great gyro's and rotisserie chicken, we usually carry-out
      Bazin's - the only real upscale and borderig on expensive rest. in Vienna. Great bar and good food. We avoid it on weekends because it's too noisy and the service tends to suffer.
      Paya Thai - our favorite Thai in NoVA. Just on the edge of Vienna at 123 and Old Courthouse.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Meg

        Anita's was a major letdown for me, bland food, hard to get a server, I went their recently hoping for good chile sauce and nope... I won't make that mistake again. I have heard it used to be good...

        1. re: ktmoomau

          I was just at Anita's last night. I go there maybe once every month or two with a couple of friends who live nearby. We've never had any trouble with service. The food is a different style from what we normally consider Mexican so it's OK to not care for it. I think the hot barbecue pork and carne adovada are my favorites there. I suspect that the "used to be better" is mostly because 25 years or so ago when they first opened they were unusual and did what they did reasonably well. That's still pretty much the way they are. Other than expanding the menu to stuff that other restaurants probably do better, they still do the Southewest style pretty authentically.

          We've tried Tequila Grande a few times and have been underwhelmed. Same with Wu's Garden. East Chateau - Chinese with a Malasian accent, is pretty tasty and quite homey. We like Panjshir but it's always very slow. Rose is as good with most things and although they're trying to be more upscale, it's still pretty casual.

          1. re: ktmoomau

            I concur with Mike R. You have to order selectively at Anitas, there are some exceptional dishes including anything with Hot BBQ Pork and Carne Adovada. I also really like their cheese enchiladas.

          2. re: Meg

            I have really enjoyed Bazin's every time I've gone except when they had a set holiday menu last year. The food is usually very flavorful, but it seemed bland on the holiday. I would still recommend it - just don't go if they have a set menu, such as on Mother's Day.

            1. re: Meg


              1. re: ITIS ME2222

                I don't know of any steak places in Vienna. Though in neighboring Tysons Corner there are 50 to choose from. So I'm only slightly exaggerating, but the closest to the Beltway/Toll Road or Rt 7 West for easy access to WT would be Shula's in the Marriott, Chima (Brazilian "steak" place), Morton's, and Ruth's Chris.

                1. re: ITIS ME2222

                  There's an Outback in Vienna, but there are better steaks in Tyson's Corner and McLean, less than 10 minutes away. For somewhat better quality than Outback but more steakhouse atmosphere, JR's in Tyson's Corner and J. Gilbert's in McLean are worth considering. If you want to spend a lot of money on a steak, there's Capitol Grille, Morton's, Fleming's, and I think a Ruth Chris in the immediate Tyson's Corner area.

                  1. re: MikeR

                    I've been to the Outback in Vienna. Spare yourself and find ANY OTHER PLACE for a steak, even if you have to drive to Omaha.

                    1. re: xena1441

                      Are you thinking of Chima? Fogo de Chao is downtown, but Chima is in Tyson's.

                    2. re: ITIS ME2222

                      This is way too late for ITIS ME, but I had a very nice ribeye at Flemings in Tysons Corner, under the tower in a Holiday Inn of all things, IIRC. There was a nice amount of char, the steak was a perfect medium rare and it was just delicious! My SO had the petite filet mignon, and it was almost as tasty and if anything, more tender. Good service, but the place was rocking. I have driven by that place for years and had no idea that they did a pretty good steak.

                      Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
                      1960 Chain Bridge Rd, McLean, VA 22102

                  2. Rose Cafe is my favorite Persian in the area. Start off with torshi, garlic roasted in balsamic, mast-o-khir, bedamjan, and then move onto the beef and eggplant stew with potato sticks or the lamb shank (if available).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Steve

                      Cafe Rose
                      126 W. Maple Avenue (near Center St.)
                      Vienna, VA 22180

                    2. - Lebnan Zaman (8411 Old Courthouse Road, Vienna, VA) serves pretty authentic Lebanese food. Its a hooka bar by night and a bit of a hole in the wall but excellent food! Its always packed at lunch time.
                      - Miyagi is actually in Mclean but is worth the trip for really good sushi!
                      - Paya Thai is excellent!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: DCFoody

                        Wrong about Lebnan Zaman - I don't understand how you could say that it's 'authentic' with such confidence. It's primarily a Hookah Bar...and they serve arab-styled take out...nothing Lebanese about the food and the hookah is so sub-par it's a shame.

                        If you want to try proper Lebanese food I suggest:

                        Al Nakheel -- in Vienna (on 123 a couple blocks away from Nutley)

                        Here you will find your Shish Taouk...Grape Leaves...Falafel, etc....and the pine nuts to boot.

                      2. Thank you for everyone who has sent a reply. My fiance' works right there at the intersection of 123 and Old Chain Bridge (In the toilet bowl building). We are both foodies, and although I knew Vienna had some good restaurants, I just didn't know where they exactly were. It's good to know that there are a few restaurants near where she is at. She has actually been to Paya Thai before...she said it was just "OK". She is picky when it comes to her thai. Again...thank you all, and keep more suggestions coming.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: marcbjohnson

                          lol. i didn't know that EVERYone calls it the toilet bowl building! ha ha!

                          1. re: alkapal

                            Yup. When I drove a cab in that area nearly 30 years ago, that's how the dispatcher referred to it. Used to be a fancy Chinese place in there called Hunan Lion. Still there?

                            1. re: flavrmeistr

                              i think it is! never been, though.
                              although we did make the mistake ONCE of trying the tgif there. why does tgif exist? i mean it is hard for me not to find ANYTHING i want on a menu. trust me! ;-).

                              i wonder if the toilet bowl architect lists that on his resumé. LOL!

                              1. re: alkapal

                                I think the original design concept was that it was a camera lens. So much for great ideas.

                              2. re: flavrmeistr

                                Yes, Hunan Lion is still in the Ty-Dee-Bowl building (so is TGIFriday). The food is decent, nothing outstanding, but it's a pretty place for when you're in the mood for a nice place with decent food rather than a hole-in-the-wall with fabulous food most of the time.

                            2. re: marcbjohnson

                              Songbird has a pretty extensive Korean buffet that's actually more than edible on weekdays. Church St. Pizzareria has decent pizza by the slice.

                              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                a couple that we met going into paya thai last time said woo lae oak (nearby) is MUCH better than songbird. i've never been to either place. they said songbird had gone downhill.

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  Songbird is actually closed. Woo Lae Oak is more upscale but not necessarily better than the places in Annandale (in my opinion, actually worse).

                              2. re: marcbjohnson

                                I cannot recommend Paya Thai either. Only went once and agree with the "OK" comment.

                                1. re: xena1441

                                  i'd agree. i thought paya thai was on the right track fore a while with my specialty request kee mao, but they are wildly inconsistent. won't be going back.

                              3. a great new place that the hubby and I just discovered on 123 is Aditi Bistro. They do quick, reasonable, super tasty, Indian food. You can either order off a menu of dishes prepared to order or you can do what I am terming "indian chipotle." They have a counter full of prepared dishes like chicken vindaloo, chana massala etc that they wrap up burrito style with rice and toppings. The burritos are like 7 bucks and other dishes are between 7-15. All the dishes we've tried were excellent with flavorful spices. I'm addicted.

                                And of course, for good and inexpensive you can;t forget about Amphora, the 24hr greek diner. Never had a bad meal there and its open all night!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: CuriousGrrl

                                  My husband and I finally got around to trying Aditi Bistro and loved it. We shared an order of veggie samosas, a chicken kati roll, a delicious salmon steamed in a banana leaf with assorted veggies, and the lamb chops. The entrees were accompanied by rice and salad (mainly cucumbers). Really good food, friendly people, and great prices. We're already planning what to order next time we go there.

                                  1. re: CuriousGrrl

                                    Again...I'm really sorry...but this is NOT authentic or Indian food...unless having Indian staff makes a difference? The food might be tasty to you...but that means you haven't tried good Indian food yet...try Bombay Cafe in Fairfax (off Rt. 29 / Jermantown Rd.) or even Bombay Tandoori there in Vienna.

                                  2. There are 16 posts so far in this thread and not one mention of Cafe Renaissance. Get to know Ocean, the chef, and Soraya and Saeed, the owners, and you'll never eat anywhere else in Vienna. Well, almost never....


                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: BigEats

                                      wow, that place looks really nice. i seem to recall you've mentioned it on other threads in the past? but, i still haven't made it out there.

                                      question, are dinner portions much larger than lunch?

                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        A little bit bigger at dinner, but I cultivated a relationship with Ocean Joseph, so he overfeeds me whenever I go there.

                                        It's a great romantic atmosphere, and an experience almost out of the '70s with tableside cooking of the likes of steak diane, bananas foster, irish coffee....

                                      2. re: BigEats

                                        I completely agree. Their food is beautiful, delicious, and will definitely impress. Scallops were scrumptious, as was the carrot bisque.

                                        1. re: BigEats

                                          I ate lunch there a few years ago and found it too heavily salted. Perhaps it was just that dish or things have changed. I'll give it another try.

                                          Thanks! :)

                                          1. re: BigEats

                                            I agree. We have been eating there for some years now. I advise that you stick with the seafood. Their steaks are good cuts that are not improved by the sauces they like to toss on them. The veal can be very good. They pour the biggest glass of wine I've ever encountered in any restaurant. Great service and the owner, Saheed, is friendly, charming to the ladies and never forgets a face. Check out where the restaurant is listed in Open Table for the DC area.

                                          2. There is not one mention of the Vienna Inn. Classic chili dogs, all the food is good. :-)

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: vtHokies98

                                              Ditto. How on earth did the VI get left off a Vienna list?! Sacrelig.

                                            2. There's a Turkish restaurant there, Nazim's that is really great. Enjoy the mantu or doner kabob and then go down to Nielsen's frozen custard for dessert...yum!!

                                              1. So my new job has moved me out here... anywhere decently close to downtown Vienna with good sushi, or a good deli (not subway or potbelly)? This doesn't seem to be a huge list for Vienna so I am hoping I can find some places not mentioned.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: ktmoomau

                                                  Sushi Yama is supposed to be very good. :)

                                                  I love their miso soup and tempura, but don't eat sushi myself.

                                                  1. re: ktmoomau

                                                    Sushi Yama is very good. Sweet Ginger, which is a few blocks closer to Tyson's up 123, is great and has a larger Asian menu. Both places are very friendly with good value.

                                                  2. I didn't see Sunflower. Inexpensive, pan-Asian vegetarian fare with very realistic and delicious meat analogues. Service can be sluggish, but the servers are very pleasant (although their English can be spotty). Another veg option is Amma's Vegetarian Kitchen about which I've heard raves, but have yet to find it open.

                                                    Another vote for Vienna Inn, not for the food which has been passable in my times there, but I love the non-DC, down-home atmosphere. Everyone knows everyone else but it is still friendly to outsiders (my daughter plays travel ball in Vienna, but I live elsewhere) and it is very inexpensive.

                                                    I also like Jammin Java which is a coffee house/concert venue which has a small menu. The food is just okay but it great place to get the pulse of Vienna (no code arrest jokes please) and people watching is fun. My kids love their mango smoothies.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: yvetteski

                                                      Amma Kitchen is very good--I have yet to be disappointed there and recommend their bread/curry entrees. Most of their dishes are spiced so well that they just taste fragrant. The interior doesn't lend itself to lingering--it's pretty bare bones, so we usually stop by for takeout on the way home from work.

                                                    2. We always recommend Nizams's especially when people want to enjoy conversation with family or friends. The food has always been very good (my last dinner there was chicken shish kebab which was wonderful...also love their Turkish version of moussaka...very rich). I notice no one mentioned Tara Thai but I happen to love it (have never had a bad meal there whereas I haven't enjoyed Thai food at many of the other Thai restaurants due to a melted margarine taste to the food...sounds weird but it must be something they add to their food that Tara Thai doesn't???). Oh and we also really like that Japanese restaurant in Oakton, Yoko. Excellent food and service. And the Greek Grill is very good - not fancy but good food. I love the Chicken Souvlaki.

                                                      1. Just visited Cafe Renaissance again today for lunch. Had the mussels with pesto sauce -- incredibly good. About 4-5 slices of the warm bread basket also disappeared sopping up the wonderful juices. Saeed also brought out a surprise amuse of a crab dumpling in a cream sauce, and brought out a surprise finisher in an oyster dish with 3 oysters covered in a creamy champagne and crab sauce. Simply decadent.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: BigEats

                                                          Back today for lunch. Saeed was running a busy dining room with a few "parties" of elderly diners occupying a few large tables. Ocean, the chef, offered my companion and I a few menu options. We chose the mussels and the branzino. Wow!

                                                          The mussels came in a 'broth' of wine, butter, herbs and pepper. I'll be full for a few days because I sopped liberally with many pieces of bread.

                                                          The branzino was, very simply, the best seafood dish I have eaten in recent memory. It was Eric Ripert good. I joked with Ocean afterwards that it would be my death row meal. Cooked to perfection and served with a parsley reduction sauce, with sides of roasted beets/turnips and fingerling potatoes. This is a destination dish.

                                                        2. Skorpios gyros....drool...also that Italian deli in the same mall as Nizams has great subs for carryout. I wasn't thrilled with Paya Thai..sorry. Now what is going to be interesting is that stale restaurant next to Norm's Beer and Wine..I think it was L'Auberge something something...is being changed. Same owners whole new direction. Bazins and Nizams yes.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: rHairing

                                                            I will second the nomination for Skorpios gyros ... I think they are the best in the whole DC Metro area

                                                            1. re: Plankwalker

                                                              Third. I used to work near there and haven't found a better gyro yet.

                                                          2. "friends kabobs" --across from toilet bowl bldg. near tysons. http://www.friendskabob.com/

                                                            i had koobidah. pretty tasty, but the sides (hummus and salad) were so-so (what *is* that sweet salad dressing? ask them to leave it off....). the minty-yogurty dip for the meat was good, and the bread was fresh. not a naan, and not a pita, but a flat bread, about 1/3 inch thick. the "entree" gives you two kabobs, and is a better deal than the sandwich or the sandwich "platter," which gives you only one. look carefully at what is included, and be clear when you order.

                                                            i think they are iranians, as the iran-saudi arabia soccer game was on the tv.

                                                            will def. go back to try more of their kabobs. they are open till 3 am on weekend nights!

                                                            very clean bathroom!

                                                            drove by cafe rose, and cannot wait to get there for their kabobs. it was hopping with customers at around 1 pm.!

                                                            15 Replies
                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                              There is no reason to go to Friends and Kabob with Food Corner only a traffic light away. Best Afghan kabobs in the area. In the same shopping center as Borders. I don't care too much for their other dishes, but the Kabobs rule.

                                                              1. re: Steve

                                                                food corner. never knew about it. sounds like that's for lunch today -- the shami kabob is calling my name! thanks for the tip! is it better than rose? ..... so i know which place to go today.....(this is what happens when i'm hungry...it ALL sounds good.).

                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                  There are at least three Food Corners around, definitely one in Annandale and one in Tysons. The chicken is especially good, but I don't think I've had a kabob there I didn't like. The vegetables sitting in the steam table are very plain tasting and oily.

                                                                  1. re: Steve

                                                                    I'll try Food Corner but Rose for Persian and Ravi are awfully good as is Amoo's. Right now I might agree with alkapal that Rose is the best. I probably need to return to Shamshiry, though.

                                                                    1. re: Joe H

                                                                      I still like going to Shamshiry for their mast-o-khir and the torshi and the tahdig (must ask for that, not on the menu). The kabobs, however, are no longer worth returning for. Whether it's the chicken or thin slices of steak, or even the spicy chicken, nothing has that beautifully seared-in flavor anymore.

                                                                      Next time you go to Rose get the beef and eggplant stew. Great stuff.

                                                                2. re: Steve

                                                                  Which Afghan kabob, and which Borders? The one at Tyson's Corner?

                                                                  1. re: MikeR

                                                                    I think he was saying that Food Corner has the best Afghan kabobs in the area (I haven't tried them, so I don't know). I also think that he means the shopping center where Borders used to be about three years ago. There is now a Pier 1 where borders was. It is the same shopping center where Sports Authority is. The kabob place is on the strip that is perpendicular to Rt. 7.

                                                                    1. re: SoxFan1

                                                                      You are right, it is now a Pier One. No wonder I was disappointed with their selection of fiction.

                                                                      1. re: SoxFan1

                                                                        I've had the kabobs at Food Corner in Annandale, but I usually get a gyro there. It's the best gyro (I don't know from authentic, but I know what tasts good to me) in the area.

                                                                        Now that you mention it, I believe I have seen a kabob shop in that shopping center where Borders used to be. I remember it as the shopping center where CompUSA used to be. They were there under their original name of Soft Warehouse. Mr. Smith's is gone from that shopping center now, too.

                                                                        1. re: MikeR

                                                                          i looked up the address, because i couldn't find it near the big borders next to chili's, etc. it is near the old borders (west of 123 on rte 7), where marshall's is. it is in the complex where wendy's has a stand-alone restaurant up near rte 7. the entry to the complex is all torn up because of the culvert replacement.

                                                                          1. re: MikeR

                                                                            Just so no one is confused, Mr. Smith's was not in that same shopping center. Mr. Smith's was in a strip mall just slightly further west than the one which formerly had CompUSA and Borders, and still has Sports Authority, and, apparently, a halfway decent Afghan kabob place (Food Corner).

                                                                            1. re: SoxFan1

                                                                              Whatever happened to Bamian on route 7 in Baileys Cross Roads? This was an outstanding Afghan restaurant!

                                                                              1. re: Joe H

                                                                                I just ate there last week and wondered the same thing. The food was tasty but not as good as I remember from a few visits around 6 months after they opened. It seemed that the menu was less interesting, with little else but kabobs. It's still pretty and has a one man band who isn't too obtrusive, but without the atmosphere, I can get better kabobs for less at several other places.

                                                                                I haven't been to Panjshir in Falls Church (a couple of doors down from Bangkok Blues) in several years. Is that still good?

                                                                              2. re: SoxFan1

                                                                                I'll figure it out when I need to do so, now that I'm sure it's not in that glob on the other side of the Tyson's Corner Center where Borders is now. I know there are two strips out there (ex-Mr. Smith's, CompUSA area), but I always used to go into the wrong one first. But the Food Corner in Annandale is more convenient for me anyway.

                                                                        2. re: Steve

                                                                          fyi, food corner doesn't open till noon on sundays.

                                                                      2. I LOVE Skorpio's....great greek food and really good chicken fingers :)

                                                                        Cenan's Bakery is AWESOME for lunch, really good subs and baked goods. Next to Baskin Robbins.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: jamiechiri

                                                                          I'll second Cenan's Bakery for baked goods, sandwiches and quick bites. Their cakes and breads are outstanding!

                                                                        2. I have been going to Sakanna (Sushi) next to the Rose Resturant in Vienna for over a year. I feel the fish is super freash and high quailty. THe uni is wonderful, and I would stay with the fish rather than the cooked dishes. I am surprised that no one else has mentioned it.

                                                                          In addition, I would also add INOX to the list. this new comer in Tyson's is incrediable, not cheap by any means, but really great.

                                                                          1. I have been a Vienna resident for the past 5 years. Here I what I consider the best of old town vienna (not including Tyson's).

                                                                            Shushi Yoshi - special rolls are unique (rice paper wrapped!) and fresh
                                                                            Sakana - does the basics very well

                                                                            Thai (we have so many choices here):
                                                                            Natta Thai - Tiny place, so carry-out is my usual
                                                                            Born - The duck won me over
                                                                            Tara Thai - Consistent good (not as great as it used to be)

                                                                            Plaka Grill - The only place I have been in the US to have authentic greek "fast food" (gyros, souvlaki)

                                                                            I have yet to find a good place...

                                                                            Bazin's - The closest to an upscale place you will find in Vienna

                                                                            Nielsen's - Roast beef and avocado...nice

                                                                            Chipotle - I am a sucker for their chicken

                                                                            Rose Restaurant - We have switched from Shamshiri to here

                                                                            Chuch Street - Just like the pies I grew up with in upstate NY

                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                            1. re: gpapa

                                                                              Rose has supplanted Shamshiry as the best Persian "kabobery" in the D. C. area.

                                                                              1. re: gpapa

                                                                                I agree about Plaka Grill. The food there is outstanding. Very fresh salad ingredients, the bread is fresh and delicious and they make some of the best grill meat I've tasted. It reminds me of places I ate at in Athens and on Mykonos. The tapinade is also quite good.

                                                                                1. re: Vance

                                                                                  Plaka makes some very fine soups, truly delicious. Especially the lentil. Their pork shoulder gyro may be a small step up from the mystery meat served elsewhere, but it is no competitor to lamb. Sorry to hear you can't get better in Athens or Mykonos, because I've had much better in Krakow.

                                                                                  1. re: Steve

                                                                                    Sorry to disagree, Steve, but Plaka is the "real deal". I lived in Greece for a couple of years and this is exactly the kind of stuff we would get in the tavernas--at least the better ones.

                                                                                    I love Plaka. The food is delicious, the owners friendly and hard-working, and the ambience isn't bad either. My girlfriend and I go every few weeks--which is unusual for us since we like to try new places more than we revisit old ones. But Plaka is so good we need a fix every now and again.

                                                                                2. re: gpapa

                                                                                  So far I like this list the best, some of the old standards in Vienna have out lived their lustre.
                                                                                  Especially in the Chinese category.
                                                                                  Bonorati may be a sentimental favorite for the higher income folks, but the food is a bit out dated with the exception of some specials, and menu is over priced and kind of cliche.
                                                                                  They definitely cater to the business/wealthy diner and tend to overlook the casual or older non wine drinker. But I think a lot of white table cloth establishments in the area are longing for the dot com boom again. They haven't adjusted their way of doing business, and are losing business because they tend to brush off the non drinkers and the healthy eaters.

                                                                                  I love Plaka Grill.
                                                                                  Basins gets it right, worth my money.
                                                                                  Pizza is not a great area but Church street is the best of the lot.
                                                                                  Their is not to many great places in Vienna, but for dessert I like the Pie Gourmet, and the Italian Deli next door makes a nice sub with good bread and cold cuts.

                                                                                  1. re: keithlb1

                                                                                    I concur with your recommendation on sub's at the Italian Gourmet Deli...they are very good.

                                                                                    You post reminded me of a place near the deli and pie shop...anybody been to Nizam's recently? Older posts seem to be very positive. I have yet to check it out. Worth it?

                                                                                3. I have been pleasantly satisfied with the food at Sweet Ginger. It is a Japanese themed restaurant which serves a very good general tso's chicken which is different from any other dish of that name I've ever eaten. It is not spicy unless you eat the chili peppers, and rather sweet. They also have a 4 stool sushi bar which produces satisfying basic sushi consistently.

                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: HHavi

                                                                                    Wow. Lots of variety in these responses! I'm not sure I agree with a lot of them, but taste is a very personal thing, and I tend to like food that is very flavorful and spicy, or places that make me feel right at home. In Vienna, here are some impressions:

                                                                                    Vienna Inn - of course. Comfort food at its most inexpensive and unassuming
                                                                                    Tara Thai - lots of people knock this place, but it's actually pretty good. Not awesome, but pretty good
                                                                                    Rose - phenomenal kebob, especially the chicken. A little pricey IMHO, but yummy.
                                                                                    Al Nakheel - for takeout. Wonderful babaghanoush, really good hummus (if you like it less sour, more tahini-y), kibbe, falafel
                                                                                    Panjshir II - my family likes it more than I do, but good atmosphere, friendly service, really nice vegetarian dishes
                                                                                    Cenan - just discovered this place; love their hummus (very garlicky!) and breads
                                                                                    Sushi Yoshi - really nice gem of a Japanese restaurant with very good sushi and very good other stuff
                                                                                    Sushi Yama - consistently good sushi, not as good as Yoshi, but bigger portions and less crowded
                                                                                    Bazin's - keep meaning to try it....
                                                                                    Nizam's - food was pretty good, but the owner was mean to us because we came with a large party including three kids. Haven't been back.
                                                                                    Sunflower - my wife loves this place, and I like it a good deal. You always feel satisfied and good about yourself after eating there. Very flavorful food.
                                                                                    Amma - the proprietor acted like we were doing him a favor eating at his restaurant. Haven't been back. Food OK
                                                                                    Anita's - bland food, but I had high expectations based on what others said, and just because it looks like one of those places that you're just going to like
                                                                                    Sweet Ginger - decent enough, but not spectacular. Wide variety of options for everyone. I can see how it could become an "old favorite"
                                                                                    Johnny's Pizza - excellent sausage for pizza. Really interesting sauce. Not the greatest, but we'll hit it from time to time. Pretty cheap.
                                                                                    Joe's - old stand-by that the kids love. Really good cheesy bread and you gotta love being served drinks in pitchers. :-)
                                                                                    Amphora - decent enough breakfast fare but kind of on the expensive side. The weirdest menu and atmosphere on the planet. I felt like I was in the 1960s going there. We'll still hit it from time to time for the bizarre factor.
                                                                                    Tequila Grande - pretty standard, reasonably tasty tex mex fare, but on the expensive side for that kind of food. I'd probably go more often if it was a couple bucks cheaper.
                                                                                    Skorpio's - good cheap eats from really nice folks
                                                                                    Church St Pizza - did this close??? I liked it for good NY style pizza, but can't find it anymore...
                                                                                    Nielsen's - family loves it but I'm not personally enamored of the place
                                                                                    China Star - OK, not in Vienna since it's in the same mall as Lifetime Fitness and Cinema Arts at the Fairfax border, but it is peerless, spicy, authenticy super-yummy Chinese food
                                                                                    Great Harvest - not a restaurant, but awesome bread goes a long way for satisfying those cravings.
                                                                                    Foster's - not great, but pretty dependable charred/burned burgers, gut-busting fries, and tasty shakes. Kids love the arcade and I like pointing out the misspellings in the advertisements on the tables (especially the ad for the graphic design place!)
                                                                                    Tippy's - not sure if this qualifies as Vienna, but I am addicted to those tacos.
                                                                                    La Choza - interesting place with yummy rotisserie chicken!
                                                                                    La Malaguena - I love this place - cheap, and I really want a restaurant to succeed in this location. Atmosphere is terrible, but the people are very friendly, and I am a big fan of pupusas and Salvadoran food, which they do well.

                                                                                    1. re: eeeaarrgh

                                                                                      Church St Pizza is definitely open. 115 Church St. (left end of the building)

                                                                                      I am glad you mentioned La Malaguena. I have always wanted to try it out (but been a little intimidated since I have no clue about Salvadoran food). What are some of the best items to order? I assume they do take out...

                                                                                      1. re: gpapa

                                                                                        I've had the papusa's with cabbage, as well as plantains with sour cream. I would recommend trying them.

                                                                                      2. re: eeeaarrgh

                                                                                        I'd also recommend Barbeque Country (one door down from Cenan's). It has some of the best ribs in the area--smoky and tender, and we've systematically tried most of the other places in about a 20-30 mile radius over the years. We also pick up a few racks when we have out-of-town guests to give them a taste of something regional. It's a no-frills place, but they know how to turn out great ribs.

                                                                                        1. re: LauraEllen

                                                                                          Oh, so that's where Cenan's is.

                                                                                          I liked BBQ Country when they first opened, then it seemed to change hands, maybe a couple of times, and I liked it less and less. I haven't been there in at least 3 years. Perhaps I should try it again.

                                                                                          Any other second opinions?

                                                                                          1. re: MikeR

                                                                                            Stay away from BBQ Country. Very sad....

                                                                                    2. We live in Reston, right down the road, and the only places in Vienna worth the trip are Ristorante Bonaroti and Cafe Renaissance - both on the higher end, both providing a very agreeable dining experience each time out. Bonaroti has been our "event" restaurant for years - we've celebrated graduations, promotions, awards, etc., had the rehearsal dinner there for our kids' weddings, etc. Knowledgeable, seasoned staff, owner Sergio D. hovering over the entire bustling scene. My only gripe - for years - is that the wine list doesn't show vintages. But if you know the makers, you should be okay. And Sergio or any of the servers will be helpful on wines - we've never been disappointed. It's been around for 25 years and none of the Vienna chowhounds thought to mention it. Why not? 25 years and closed on Sundays says something, doesn' t it. http://www.bonarotirestaurant.com/

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Paul from No Va

                                                                                        Can you give us more specifics? What do you recommend ordering?

                                                                                        1. re: Steve

                                                                                          Also a resident of Vienna, although for less than a year.
                                                                                          I'm surprised no one has mentioned Ristorante Bonaroti until very far into the thread. I took my wife and 2 kids for Mother's Day and although the atmosphere and decor were a bit too stuffy for me, the food was excellent. We pretty much didn't even bother w/the printed menu and went with the specials, tuna carpacio was exquisite (although sliced too paper thin). The arugula and fennel salad was simple but perfectly done. The sea scallop appetizer special that day also hit the spot. The only miss out of 3 apps and 3 entrees was the osso bucco. If you go, definitely keep an open mind until after your waiter has recited whatever unwritten specials there are that day.

                                                                                          Taste is definitely a personal preference thing but:
                                                                                          Church St Pizza, Sushi Yoshi, Skorpios, Rose Cafe, and Vienna Inn are some of my favorites in Vienna depending on mood. I've been meaning to try Bazin's and Cafe Renaissance but my "finer dining" experiences usually are in the Tysons area which is only 10min down 123.

                                                                                        2. re: Paul from No Va

                                                                                          We had a bad initial experience at Rest. Bonaroti about a year or so ago--we were waiting to be seated but the wait staff were being very disparaging about some of the diners. In particular they kept referring to the "old people" at one of the tables, in front of those of us about to be seated. It gave us such a bad impression that we left--we didn't want to eat in a restaurant that speaks so disparagingly of customers.

                                                                                        3. Panjshir II, near Center and Maple is decent Afghan food. If you're willing to go slightly out of the city limits, near the intersection of 123 and Hunter Mill is a good sushi place called Yoko Sushi. It's reasonably priced for sushi and has a nice selection.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: keynes

                                                                                            Any comments on Serenity? The Chinese place in the same mall as Cafe Renaissance?

                                                                                            1. re: trancemission

                                                                                              Pretty bad. I've tried it several times. They try to make authentic food but just don't do it well.

                                                                                          2. Amphora is a Greek dinner, so you find Greek food and dinner food. We go there whenever we want diner food. I always enjoy the prime rib, spanakopita, and the lox and bagel. My husband enjoys the steak and cheese subs. And we all enjoy the milkshakes.

                                                                                            1. Maplewood Grill (was previously Le Canard) is also fabulous. They have a great menu that is both affordable and delicious. Great live entertainment with the piano players as well. The Shrimp & Crab Poppers are delicious as is the seafood Black Pepper Fettucini. Same strip mall as Sweet Ginger. Stop by Norms Beer & Wine on the way out for some great after dinner wine!

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: newtonlkn

                                                                                                food looks good. http://www.maplewoodgrill.com/index.html
                                                                                                how are the poppers made?
                                                                                                i'll give it a try -- esp. to hear some live music.

                                                                                                ps, tell mgmt. to put a disable button on the sound feature that opens with the home page.

                                                                                              2. Now that this old thread has been resurrected, has anyone noticed if there's a new occupant where That's Amore moved out quite some time ago now. (used to be a Joe Theisman's before That's Amore). It was a nice space and I rather enjoyed some simple red sauce Italian with a table full of friends there.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: MikeR

                                                                                                  No new occupant. The place is more desolate than ever. There was a "Bar for Sale" sign in the window for quite some time, and maybe about three months ago, a rent-a-truck hauled the bar away. The store next to it (a fabric store?) also went out of business a while back, so only the front corner of the jewelry store still exists on that stretch.

                                                                                                2. Defenitely try the new MAPLEWOOD GRILL (formally Le Canard)..
                                                                                                  Modern American cusine.. Great Food and Great Bar.. They also have Music
                                                                                                  on Wed. through Sat. The new Hot Spot in Vienna

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: carrie oakie

                                                                                                    I found the Maplewood food very spotty. Poor service, a couple of minor requests for the food were ignored, and the dishes looked better on paper than on the plate.

                                                                                                    However they always have at least two really good beers on tap, so combined with a weekly trip to Norm's they get some of my patronage

                                                                                                    1. re: nzrebel

                                                                                                      We tried Maplewood Grill today for lunch - won't be returning. The air is not fresh which is a turnoff for me (not sure if it's a stale beer odor or what!). I ordered steak frites and the meat taste wasn't off but just didn't taste great. My husband liked his fish sandwich but wasn't crazy about the side of corn salsa. When I tasted it I thought it was flat. One other thing: the carpet looks grim. Maybe that's where the odor comes from?

                                                                                                      1. re: anova

                                                                                                        I agree with nzrebel and anova. Husband and I have been to Maplewood Grill three times - once for lunch, twice for dinner. Food is sub-par ... except for the beer ... possibly because there is no real theme to the menu, which has retained some of the old Le Canard items even though Maplewood markets itself as a "grill". The wiener schnitzel was the worst thing we've had - very greasy. Coupled with the loud piano music - which seems out-of-place for a "grill" - it's been an all-around disappointment each time.

                                                                                                  2. Who likes Coastal Flats in Tysons Corner Mall?
                                                                                                    How about Artie's in Fairfax? (I'm excited about their beef ribs on Mon. and Tues . only)

                                                                                                    These joints sound like Houston's to me, and I love Houston's!!
                                                                                                    Wish we had places like this in my Atlantic City area...

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: ellen4441

                                                                                                      For what they are, I like both Coastal Flats (also in that Monument Drive complex off Rt. 66 in Fairfax) and Arties. Both have good food and decent service. I don't eat at either often enough to have specific recommendations, but I don't find anything wrong with either one, or actually, any of the Great American Restaurants group (to which they both belong).

                                                                                                      1. re: MikeR

                                                                                                        The only GAR I have difficulty with (that I've gone to) is Jackson's. I haven't been to Coastal Flats, though. Artie's and Sweetwater are my faves.

                                                                                                        Coastal Flats
                                                                                                        7860 Tysons Corner Ctr, Mc Lean, VA 22102

                                                                                                    2. Sushi update: heard from a friend who went there last night that Sakana is gone. Apparently the two chefs went back to Korea. A new sushi place is there now, Yarisai, but my friend reported that the sushi isn't as good - only mediocre.

                                                                                                      RIP Sakana. I loved that place - the people were so friendly.

                                                                                                      1. I have lived in Vienna for about 13 years now and really miss one old favorite here -- Bistro 123, which used to be on Maple, moved to Tysons, and closed down finally.

                                                                                                        Re the restaurants listed in these various reviews, a few comments:
                                                                                                        Cafe Renaissance is a nice date place, pretty expensive, don't take your kids. I prefer Bazin's food, especially since they generally use organic ingredients.

                                                                                                        Vienna Inn: you can't seriously call this place a restaurant. It's a dive with chili dogs and beer -- even the Post reporter who reviewed it recently after reviewing it years ago says it's not worth a visit anymore.

                                                                                                        East Chateau has OK Chinese food... I admit I grew up in NY and visited Chinatown regularly so I am a bit spoiled. I won't eat at any of the other Chinese places in the area: Wu's Garden especially is dreadful, greasy and bland.

                                                                                                        Thai food: we (my husband & I) like Neisha Thai at Tysons, although we loathe the seats. We used to like Paya Thai but they are not as good as they were 10 years ago when they opened. Tara Thai has given us too many bad meals for us to ever go back. Busara is a bit pricey but has some good dishes.

                                                                                                        Cafe Rose: went there recently for the first time and really loved it. Great lamb kebabs and the chicken kebabs were not dry, like they are in too many places.

                                                                                                        Amphora: about 4 years ago, I knew an employee there who told me that the soap dispenser in the employees' bathroom had been broken for years and no one ever bothered even rinsing their hands anymore. I stopped going there after that. I have heard it has changed hands -- if so, hope the soap dispenser got fixed. Ugh!

                                                                                                        Coastal Flats in Tysons -- I have eaten there twice. It's not a great kids' place but the seafood is appealing, fresh, decently seasoned... a bit expensive for the types of fish offered.

                                                                                                        TGI Fridays: I have had one or two decent meals there but others that were just blah and not worth the $.

                                                                                                        I have tried most of the Indian places around Vienna and haven't yet found one worth a second visit.

                                                                                                        I have been disappointed several times with the Pie Gourmet, another place I saw mentioned here. The elementary school my kids attend asked them for a donation of an apple pie for a raffle and they not only refused, which was fine, but they actually were pretty insulting when they refused. I ordered some mincemeat pies from them for Christmas -- I had to order and pay several weeks in advance because they only made them to order -- and when I went to pick up my pies they only had a single 6" pie instead of the two 9" pies I ordered. On top of that, they refused to give me my money back and offered me a choice of any two pies in the case instead, any of which were priced lower than the ones I'd paid for and of course were not what I ordered.

                                                                                                        Mexican: I have never had a decent meal at Anita's or at Tequila Grande. In fact, Tequila Grande had the worst salsa to ever come out of a can... bleah.

                                                                                                        Sushi: we don't eat it, but Japanese friends of mine have said that Sushi Yoshi is the best place for it in Vienna.

                                                                                                        Born is gone -- in its place is a Pho restaurant that ought to simply call itself FAUX. I ordered something billed as "shrimp on sugar canes" and it turned out the be very salty ground shrimp flavored patties on burnt canes that had no flavor... on a bed of cold vegetables including cucumbers, which made the fried patties cold and soggy, and totally flavorless rice noodles. The satay had no taste at all. The chive dumplings were doughy and half cooked. The Pho selections reminded me of the old "spam" skit from Monty Python: "tripe, tripe and fatty brisket, tripe and well cooked brisket, tripe and spiced tripe and tendons and tripe..."

                                                                                                        Busara Restaurant
                                                                                                        8142 Watson St, Mc Lean, VA 22102

                                                                                                        Wu's Garden Restaurant
                                                                                                        418 Maple Ave E, Vienna, VA 22180

                                                                                                        Coastal Flats
                                                                                                        7860 Tysons Corner Ctr, Mc Lean, VA 22102

                                                                                                        Cafe Renaissance
                                                                                                        163 Glyndon St SE, Vienna, VA 22180

                                                                                                        Paya Thai
                                                                                                        8417 Old Courthouse Road, Vienna, VA 22182

                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: AmyGregory

                                                                                                          Thanks for the warning about the pho-named place that replaced Born (which we never cared for very much). Almost went there last weekend, but my friends in Vienna mentioned a fairly new Thai place that they had been to a couple of weeks back so we tried that, and it was excellent. Nice variety on the menu, and decently spiced without having to remind the waitress that Thai food is usually pretty spicy. Wish I could remember the name. It's in the little strip at the corner of Glyndon St and Maple Avenue, in the same group as Cafe Renaissance and Serenity.

                                                                                                          We don't usually do mall dinner houses, but were tempted by a $15 off coupon that came in the mail to try the recently opened Wildfire in Tyson's II Galleria. We were quite pleased. The steak eater had the pepper steak - chunks of roasted tenderloin with onions, peppers, and mushrooms. The chicken eater had the lemon pepper roasted chicken breast, and I had the St. Louis ribs - a bit too much honey in the honey-mustard sauce, but meaty and tender. I particularly enjoyed the non-starch choices of accompaniments. The steak eater had perfectly steamed broccoli, and I had a nicely seasoned dish of roasted onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Both were very generous portions (as where the French Fries that chicken-lady ordered, pronounced OK), not just a tiny garnish admonishing you for not ordering one of the more expensive side dishes. The dessert tray looked great.

                                                                                                          1. re: AmyGregory

                                                                                                            Next time you're at Rose, I recommend getting out of the 'kabob' mode and really exploring some of their Persian specialties. The gheymeh (yellow split pea and beef stew) with eggplant is great. Add on the garlic and sour torshi, the mast-o-khiar, and certainly the tah deeg (bottom of the rice pot). You should call ahead to reserve the tah deeg.

                                                                                                            1. re: Steve

                                                                                                              Thanks for the heads up on gheymeh, I love stews and that sounds like one I will have to try.
                                                                                                              I have a persian friend that tried to turn me on to tahdeg, I just don't get it. We have had it at Kabob Bazarre in Clarendon, Moby Dick in McLean and at Shamsiry and I just didn't enjoy the flavor, though the crispy, crunchy nature of it was interesting it wasn't something I would seek out without her. Is it a comfort food that you associate with home cooking?

                                                                                                              Moby Dick's
                                                                                                              721 S Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231

                                                                                                              1. re: Ziv

                                                                                                                I've never had a tadig I didn't like, though the best is when it really comes form the bottom of a huge pot of seasoned rice. Many restaurants, in order to accomomdate everyone who asks, 'cheat' and make extra in a crock pot or other dish, then it doesn't have that concentrated flavor.

                                                                                                          2. We just ate at Coastal Flats for the second time and although some parts of the dinner were good, I would have to say it's not someplace I will go back to again. I had a peachdiver mixed drink to start with and it was 95% ice cubes with a little orangey flavored water, no kick to it at all, for $7. The lobster bisque was rather salty... would have been great without so much salt. My husband had an appetizer that sounded like a kicked up version of seviche but was only just ok.

                                                                                                            For our main courses: I had the pecan crusted trout, which was unexpectedly spicy (way too spicy for me, in fact) served on a cold couscous salad, which made the fish cold as well. I got no taste of pecans from the breading at all. One of my sons had the $25 filet mignon, which came with a field greens salad overly loaded with a no-choice dressing that he hated; another son had the children's grouper fingers, which were mostly just deep fried breading. My husband had a shrimp and grits plate that wasn't bad but again, too salty, like the bisque. This is a serious issue for people with high blood pressure and Coastal Flats needs to lay off the salt. People can easily salt to taste at the table.

                                                                                                            We also ate at Neisha Thai in the mall again recently -- this place has consistently good food although the chairs are dreadful to sit in. One of our favorites there is the crying tiger steak, which is very tender and served with a lot of crunchy steamed vegetables and sticky rice. The spring rolls are also good, and this place does a good job of accommodating spiciness requests. We have tried all the Thai places -- Tara Thai, Paya Thai, Busara, even Pilin in Falls Church (which was not worth the drive at all) and this is the one we keep coming back to.

                                                                                                            We do need to go back to Rose; our first meal there was very good and it sounds like there are a lot of other things to try on the menu.

                                                                                                            Busara Restaurant
                                                                                                            8142 Watson St, Mc Lean, VA 22102

                                                                                                            Coastal Flats
                                                                                                            7860 Tysons Corner Ctr, Mc Lean, VA 22102

                                                                                                            Pilin Restaurant
                                                                                                            116 W Broad St, Falls Church, VA 22046

                                                                                                            Paya Thai
                                                                                                            8417 Old Courthouse Road, Vienna, VA 22182

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: AmyGregory

                                                                                                              Did you say something to the server about the salad? The staff there (and other Great American Restaurants) is usually terrific.

                                                                                                              I agree that the food at Coastal Flats is sometimes oversalted.

                                                                                                              1. re: Steve

                                                                                                                We mentioned both the salad and the watery drink and while the server was sympathetic she said there was nothing she could do. We have had good meals and good service at other GAR's, like Sweetwater, so I was disappointed in Coastal Flats.

                                                                                                                Coastal Flats
                                                                                                                7860 Tysons Corner Ctr, Mc Lean, VA 22102