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Need Recs in South Alexandria

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Just moved to the area. Anything south of 95 worth its salt? Delivery options and kid-friendly spots would be great too. I hear Z Pizza is good.

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  1. South of 95, or 495? And what part of Alexandria?

    8 Replies
    1. re: sweth

      95 and 495 are one and the same, no? To be more specific, Hybla Valley, Mount Vernon, Near Route 1 or Fort Hunt Rd. Does that help? The Krispy Kreme is close to us.

      1. re: biscuit

        If you're down that way, check out Dixie Bones for some of the best bbq in the area.

        1. re: monavano

          dixie bones is in woodbridge --- and well worth a drive. try that amazing white bbq sauce -- it is good on the pulled pork (though is meant for the smoked chicken...)

          http://www.dixiebones.com/

          1. re: monavano

            That's closer to where we used to live in Manassas, but we plan to get there one of these days. It's on our list.

          2. re: biscuit

            The portion of 495 that runs along the east side of DC is technically also 95, but everyone I know calls the entire 495 loop "495" or "The Beltway", and use 95 to refer to the part that goes south from the Beltway towards Richmond or (on the other side of DC) the part that runs north from the Beltway towards Baltimore.

            And, sadly, you're in chain hell where you are; there's very little of note within, say, a mile or two of that area.

            If you like burgers, there's a Five Guys nearby (a local chain, some outposts of which do a good version of a certain kind of greasy well-done burger that some folks like and others don't care for). And there's Belle View Shopping Center a little to the east, where there's an OK Indian restaurant (Dishes of India). And Restaurant Abi is a pretty good Salvadoran place on Kings Hwy not far from you.

            Beyond that, my personal suggestion would be to travel a bit into Old Town Alexandria; your options are much wider there.

            1. re: sweth

              What about the place that serves Bosnian food (http://www.restaurant-cosmopolitan.co...)? I've never been but had heard good things about it.

              According to the Web site, they are closed while moving but should reopen soon.

              1. re: sweth

                Love Five Guys. Been going there for a few years. Salvadoran sounds good. I'll add that one to the list.

              2. re: biscuit

                Cut over to Telegraph Rd (take S. Kings, for example) and head south to the shopping center before Hayfield Rd. There's a great Chinese place there called House of Dynasty. North of you on Huntington is a fun Latino place called Pilar's which has good stuff.

            2. Here is a good thread to start at: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/509852

              1 Reply
              1. re: chaofun

                Most of those places in that thread were in Springfield or Old Town.

              2. Taco Jalisco is way down Rte 1, nearly to Ft Belvoir, but they are pretty fair. Not TECC quality (from Arlington on Washington Blvd) but pretty good. Jalisco has a pretty good ceviche at a very nice price, tart, crunchy, served on a hard tortilla of some sort. Ended up eating every crumb to taste the last drop of ceviche juice. The burritos are ok, large, flour type, very meaty and tasty. I liked the fixings bar, set myself up with a good variety of salsas and chilis.
                I used to like Essy's Golden Skillet, no mas. Food has gone from excellent home style to poorly prepared copy of same. May be closed or closing soon.
                The Five Guys on Rte 1 near Beacon Mall is pretty good, burgers are excellent old school type, fries are ok, served with vinegar or ketchup on the side. Free peanuts are a nice way to start.

                1. I've heard good things about Z pizza, tried both the Springfield and Lorton ones and was unimpressed. The one in Lorton takes forever to get a pizza. The last time we went, we waited 20 minutes for one, burnt, and the other (both ordered at the same time) came 15 minutes later. It tastes like they go heavy on garlic powder. It beats other chains but not by much and is twice the price. Several people I've talked to have had similar experiences.

                  For Thai, I like Rice and Spice near the Red, Hot and Blue on Beulah; Pasaro is pretty good, though, but can be more hit or miss. Pasaro is much more spacious if you have kids. For Japanese, Osaka outside the Springfield Mall is decent, not amazing but I think the best in that immediate area. They have a good happy hour priced sushi. For Chinese, House of Dynasty is decent American-ish Chinese food. A little west, I like Mike's American, mostly for their entree salads. And, Pho Cong Ly on Backlick has my favorite pho in that area. If your children are really young, Paradiso can be good, though I haven't been in years. They used to have a little room with a large plate window in the back for children, complete w/ their own server, balloons, etc. You can keep an eye out on your children, but enjoy a quiet meal. Overall, there is decent food there since you live there but nothing earthshatteringly good that I'd travel there specially for a meal. Well, maybe Mike's because that seems to be the place my friends always wants to go.

                  This chow tour might be helpful, though it is a couple of years old:

                  http://www.chow.com/tour/106

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: chowser

                    Too bad about Z's. Looks like a couple of posters here have knocked it. I was hoping for something close and that delivered that was above the usual Papa John's variety. Guess I'll have to trek up to Georgetown for pizza. Love a good pho, so I'll look into that one.

                    1. re: biscuit

                      Z isn't horrible, and if you like NY-style crust w/ California-style toppings, it's definitely better than Papa Johns. But some people tout it as if it were the second coming of Di Fara's in Brooklyn, and if you go in w/ that expectation, you're going to be VERY disappointed. (For other pizza options: you're probably out of the delivery area of Valentino's in Landmark, but you may want to check on that, or maybe swing by for a slice at some point, as it's not too far from where you are.)

                      1. re: biscuit

                        I agree w/ sweth. It's far better than Papa John's but it's also much more expensive. Price and service aside, I'd put it at the top of the chains.

                    2. First a couple of footnotes: It's Elsie's, not Essy's, Magic Skillet. And, zPizza has now opened on Rt. 1, in the strip that sits where the first Krispy Kreme was (next to the second).

                      We're not blessed with the best food options down Mt. Vernon way. And, generally, if you want something nice, we head north (Old Town, Arlington, DC).

                      Of the local restaurants, we like Taco Jalisco (mentioned earlier) and La Mexicana for authentic Mexican, both on Rt. 1 South. Peking Duck (also on Richmond Highway) has seen better days, but is still the best Chinese food in that neck of the woods.

                      Off of Belle View Boulevard, Dishes of India is OK -- convenient and nice ambience, but not particularly memorable food.

                      A friend told me the Calabash restaurant, on Rt. 1, was pretty good for Southern-style roadhouse. But, I haven't been yet to confirm/refute. Most nights they feature bands or Texas Hold'EM.

                      Over in Kingstowne, which isn't too far away, our favorite local places are Moby Dick's (Iranian), Pasara (Thai) and Johnny's NY Style Pizza (not the best name in the world, but good pies!).

                      If you want to go even further south, in Lorton we've had good meals at My Karma (Indian). There's the aforementioned Dixie Bones in Woodbridge. In Dumfries, Tim's Rivershore does a good job with seafood. And, in Montclair, we really enjoy's Mateo's Santa Fe. (Addresses for all can be found via Google searches.)

                      And, if you're willing to drive, you're actually not too far from the new National Harbor development. Not much there yet (we scoped it out next weekend), but a bunch of restaurants, including Rosa Mexicano, are supposed to be on the way.

                      Let us know if you find anything good to add to the list!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: theoneontheleft

                        That's the Z's I was referring to. What was your take on it? Or have you not been yet?

                        Tis a shame, since there are so many good options in Old Town.

                        Always looking for good Mexican (being a Southern California transplant). TECC isn't as far as it was before, so it'll be worth the short-ish drive.

                        Moby Dick's is pretty good, though I've had much better. The meat is usually dried out there for some reason, unless you order the ground beef, which seems to hold the juices better.

                        Johnny's is good, eh? Could be my local answer to a good slice then.

                        We've been meaning to get over to NH.

                        Will do. And thanks for your contributions!

                        1. re: theoneontheleft

                          I I tried Calabash for lunch the other day for lunch. Been getting their flyers for years so I figured I'd try them out. I arrived at around 1pm and the place was empty except for a half dozen guys with crewcuts waiting for their check, and two other customers. I should have took this as a sign but I wanted some fried seafood. I waited around for a few minutes for a server, then just went to the bar. The AC was not on, they just had all the fans running. After a few more minutes, a single waitress came out and took my order. I had the fried seafood platter (fish, shrimp, clams, oysters, coleslaw). It was like a flavorless, abrasive nightmare. Everything was coated in a heavy cornmeal crust and was fried far too hard. Parts of the crust were burnt. The shrimp were tiny, buried under the crust. The clam strips were alright, but I've had better at Howard Johnsons. The coleslaw was actually pretty decent. Not too sweet, not too milky. But the oysters were an abomination. After two, I was really hoping a dirty bomb would go off because even with all the radioactive fallout, I'd be safe since the oysters tasted like IODINE TABLETS. The fish was just nasty. It was like the filet was frozen in cornmeal Carbonite so that Boba Fett could take it back to Jabba the Hutt. You could use it to strip varnish off of furniture. I didn't make it through half the plate. All this for $23.

                          They also do barbecue ribs, chicken, and pulled pork, but I really have no interest in returning. It's pretty bad when the fried seafood at Chinese takouts, or from Mrs. Pauls and the Gorton Freaking Fisherman in the frozen food section, tastes better than what you're peddling, but there it is.

                          I'll stick with Horace & Dickies for my fried fish fix, and RT's for my fried oysters.

                        2. Both Mike's and Pema's on Rt 1 are decent as far as their Italian fare, but a little lacking in atmosphere in my opinion.

                          Had Z Pizza once. Some folks really like it apparently. I'm not a big fan. Not terrible. Just don't know what's so great about it.

                          There are two 5 Guys (good fresh burgers and fries) locations on Rt 1. You must at least try them if you like this type of food.

                          As someone else said, it's not too far to Telegraph Rd and there are some decent places in the shopping center where Red Hot and Blue is. And Old Town is just up the road.

                          1. in the tiny "strip mall" @ the corner of rt. 1 and Huntington ave is a pizza place called Juliano's, really good. Also a Thai place in there, but we weren't that thrilled with it.

                            1. Food Matters is closer to 495 but still on the north side, but not by too much. It is great, and seems to be kid friendly.