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May 30, 2008 06:03 PM

manassas virginia- your favorites pls?

hi looking for twp great meals in Manassas Virgina. One great dinner, one great lunch. any type of food is ok, money no object please... thanks in adv

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  1. Ben's Whole Hog. Now owned by a very nice Korean family. So, there are Korean dishes, but also legit barbecue. Went there a few year ago and spoke to the son, and apparently the old owner taught the new owners how to work the fire and smokers. Really, really good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: GyroBall they have seafood, veggies?? other options besides red meat pls? thanks

      1. re: intrepid

        Besides the Korean food, they have a few side dishes, but the primary draw is the 'cue. No seafood that I can recall. No ambiance besides picnic tables outside and wood tables inside, but you really don't go there for the atmosphere.

    2. Other than Ben's...

      I often spend Sunday afternoons in Manassas waiting for my sons to finish playing "airsoft" games, and have tried numerous places with my wife. So far, anything on the shelves at Powell's Used Books (which I heartily recommend) is tastier than anything I have eaten in Manassas.

      The two sports-bars (I like Mackey's) have options I can take for "pretty good for bar food," and some days a game and a beer and a plate of fish and chips is just dandy. If it counts for anything, the welcome I get from the owner makes a visit really pleasant.

      Other than that, I see a few places "dressed up like fine dining" but they don't fool me. I also see some ethnic places I haven't tried yet, and at least one ethnic place I fled from before I got far past the front door. (I should add that I've braved some pretty daunting places for a good meal).

      If this post sounds grumpy, it is ... trying to find somethind edible in Manassas has frustrated me terribly.

      I'm gonna try Ben's.

      3 Replies
      1. re: wayne keyser

        There's a Portugeuse place in Old Town Manassas that's been there quite a while I think. SO and I tripped into it for lunch a couple of weeks ago. A bit pricey, a bit formal, but the food was quite excellent. A complex seafood stew was very good, with great care taken to ensure that that all components were perfectly cooked. No mean feat anywhere. Can't remember the name, but "somebody's Little Portugal."

        1. re: ciaohound

          It's "Carmello's and Little Portugal"; Carmello's is the Italian part. They used to be two restaurants owned by the same people but they are now combined.

          I also recommend Panino on Mathis Ave -- a very good (and somewhat upscale) Italian restaurant. I believe they serve both lunch and dinner, but I'm not positive about lunch.

          1. re: chriscatva

            Yes call about lunch at Panino. Iirc their hours vary seasonally. And, ask about the dishes. I had some disappointing lentil soup and fritto misto there. I haven't been back yet but the menu is promising and the dessert cart is a winner.

      2. Try Foundation for dinner. It's one of the only more upscale spots in town, but far from stuffy and the food is fantastic. It's neighbor, Okra's, is also great for more casual New Orleans-style eats. Highly recommend both.

        11 Replies
        1. re: biscuit

          thanks to all, if i have to travel 15-20 mins away from manassas, are there any other recommendations please?? thank you

          1. re: intrepid

            I would go to Manassas to eat at Sichuan Village. It's actually on Rt 50 in Chantilly. I believe it's Taiwan's version of Sichuan food (I'm from Taiwan, I wouldn't know what real Sichuan food tasted like if it's different from the Taiwan version). Unless you're used to eating hot and spicy food, I wouldn't go too spicy if you're dining before a travel day. I would also go to Taqueria El Michoacan, 7422 Old Centreville Road, Manassas. This is one of two authentic taco joints that I'm aware of in NoVA. Lots of different types of tacos to choose from, for $2.5 each. I don't live in Manassas and I have no reason to drive to Manassas for higher end cuisine. I did date someone who lived in Centreville and we did try Hermitage Inn in Clifton. It's French/American and doesn't break any new grounds.

            1. re: Ericandblueboy

              Sichuan Village has some pretty good and interesting stuff on the menu, but stay away, far, far away, from the buffet.

            2. re: intrepid

              If you head over to Centreville, there is the Sweetwater Tavern.

              1. re: intrepid

                Google Maps tells me it's 17 miles to one of my favorite upscale country inns -- Poplar Springs Inn in Casanova, VA ( It's a beautiful place and has terrific food. It's worth the trip!

                1. re: chriscatva

                  poplar springs inn..can you sleep over night as well?? thanks

                  1. re: intrepid

                    Yes, indeed. It's not inexpensive, but it's lovely. Though we live nearby, we've stayed over a few times for special occasions. There's also a terrific spa (if you're into that sort of thing), a pool, tennis, bikes to borrow, lots of beautiful grounds for walking/running, etc. The link I gave you is for the restaurant, but there are links at the top of the page that will take you to the main page.

                    Just this past Thursday, a good friend and I had a spa day there, and then our husbands came out to use the pool a while and then have dinner. On Thursday and Friday nights they have a chef's special dinner -- a set menu for $55 per person on Thursday or $65 on Friday, including a bottle of wine per couple. After dinner, weather permitting, they show a movie outdoors projected on the side of an old barn.

                    This Thursday the special menu (I brought it home with me to record the wines for a log I keep) was:

                    * Amuse Bouche (not on the written menu but I remember it): a tiny piece of grilled artic char
                    * First Course: Egg Yolk Papperdelle with Braised Rabbit with Mustard Cream and Pistachio Crumbs
                    * Entree: Chipotle Dry Rub Pork Loin with Braised Fennel and Bayour Cream
                    * Intermezzo (also not on written menu): Canteloupe Sorbet
                    * Dessert: White Chocolate Cocoa Nib Brownie Cheesecake with a Chilled Strawberry Soup
                    * Afterward (also not on written menu): a couple of homemade chocolates per person

                    Wine Choices (they always offer a choice of one white and one red with the special dinner -- we had both since we had two couples -- the white was great with the char & rabbit, the red was even better with the pork loin)

                    * Bastianich Tocai Friulano
                    * Didier Desvignes Fleurie Beaujolais

                    And of course if you prefer there's a full menu and nice wine list.

                    Anyway, I really like the place :-).

                    1. re: chriscatva

                      hi thanks i looked at their website, looks nice thanks for the tout !!

                2. re: intrepid

                  Try Bistro L'Hermitage in Occoquan

                3. re: biscuit

                  I haven't tried Foundation but I do recommend Okra's. I haven't explored the menu much but what I have had has been excellent, especially the etouffe.

                  1. re: antepiedmont

                    Okra's was a super delicious surprise. I felt like I needed to give it a shout-out on Yelp to help them since it was a little dead. The REAL dirty rice was fantastic, (I grew up in SC) it had actual chicken liver in it. A nice plus was the yummy waffle fries, which were seasoned and crispy like curly fries. My husband got the gator bites, not my favorite, but probably one of the few places to order it around here.

                4. Carmello's and Panino are the best in Manassas.

                  Panino has limited hours but is open for lunch some days and is closed on Sunday (and maybe Monday as well). At Panino, you never order off the menu, always order the dishes of the day (and there are a ton of them so it's always hard to choose). Panino also has a sister restaurant called Il Girasole in the Plains. The food is as awesome as Panino and the location and atmosphere are much better. They have a great patio (close to the train tracks, but it's not too annoying in the evening).

                  Carmello's started doing tapas at the bar in the evenings (not sure if that is continuing now), they were okay, but nothing to run back to and people can smoke at the bar, so it distracts from your overall eating enjoyment. Fri and Sat they have live music in the bar which is nice for a drink or coffee and dessert.

                  Foundations didn't rock my world. I did the chef's table without wine which was about $100. It was a nice experience and the chef was fun to talk to and watch cook, but the food was just okay. I have not tried their regular menu and I have eaten at Okras many times and enjoyed it.

                  In Old Town there is a nice Thai restaurant on East Street called Siam Classic. It's small and gets crowded on Fri and Sat night, but they do a hopping take out business.

                  In Centreville, definitely go to Sweetwater Tavern. That is definitely my go-to place. I never have a bad meal or bad service there. It's clean, comfortable and the food is excellent. Even if you just want a hamburger, it's excellent. They grind their own meat daily. I could talk about this chain of restaurants all day. LOL

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Manassas64

                    I have to argue the point of Foundation. I have eaten at hte chef's bar as well as the dining room several times and all have been utterly fantastic meals.I would highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.Okras next door is also fantastic.

                    1. re: Manassas64

                      Does Panino's do a Veal Parmesean and if so, pretty good? Thanks

                      1. re: JEDIKNIGHT

                        I'm sure they have it on their standard menu, but the way to eat at Panino's is to order the daily specials. I always have to write them all down because there are too many to remember in each of the courses. I've never had a bad meal there, so I'm sure their veal parma is excellent.

                    2. I really enjoy Espresso Café & Restaurant on Rt. 28. Very good Portuguese food at excellent prices. One of the few places to get salt cod without ordering ahead. The menu is great and the daily specials can be exceptional. You can check their menu at