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Casual but good restaurants in Tysons/Vienna?

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Relatives coming to town with an 8-year-old son would prefer Italian, American, or seafood, and they do enjoy good cuisine. Can anyone recommend some good choices with a somewhat casual atmosphere, as they'll have spent the day at the zoo and be ready to relax? Thanks very much!

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  1. Sounds like a good time for Sweetwater, just south of Tyson's in Merrifield.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Dennis S

      Thanks Dennis -- that looks like a great choice! On their website, there's another restaurant called Coastal Flats -- have you been there?

      1. re: RMoyer

        I haven't been to that one (yet). Just Sweetwater and Artie's, but I bet CF is good as well, and I know it does get good recs on this board.

        1. re: Dennis S

          Of all the GAR locations, I prefer Arties. Sweetwater and CF can be quite noisy with lots of foot traffic in the dining areas. Arties is more intimate and pleasant, IMHO.

          1. re: dpan

            Not that it would help in this instance, but there's another Coastal Flats on the other side of Rt. 66 from Fair Oaks Shopping Center. It might have less "mall" traffic, but then maybe it's just more yuppie-fied.

            Casual, acceptable Italian can be had at That's Amore in Vienna. They used to serve everything family style - enough of everything to feed a family - but now they have individual servings on the menu.

        2. re: RMoyer

          Coastal Flats is a great place to take families. Nice food and kid-friendly atmosphere. The only real drawback is its inside the Tysons mall. And, after a day at the zoo, well, the mall can seem just as zoo-ish!

        3. re: Dennis S

          I like Sweetwater and it's great if you can eat outside. But, it can be noisy inside, if you're looking to have a conversation. I prefer Coastal Flats but have only been to the one in Fairfax Government Center. As dpan said, Arties is much quieter but I also think a little more formal, kind of clubbier feel. It would depend on how quiet and still the 8 year old is.

        4. Here is a fairly recent thread on Tysons:

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/488842

          One of the GAR restaurants would be a good choice though. Another place to mention would be Chuzpah Deli. It may be too casual for what you are looking for..