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Looking for anniversary caliber place around Loudoun County

I'm trying to think of a nice place in the general area of where we live for a nice, romantic anniversary dinner. We live near South Riding and are willing to drive to Leesburg, Herndon, Reston, Chantilly, Fairfax areas. We usually hit up nice places in DC, but due to babysitting limits now, we can't. We're thinking Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg, but we've been there and would like to try something new. We like all types of food, so cuisine isn't an issue, just want a nice place to enjoy for a couple hours. Thanks in advance.

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  1. patowmac farm near lovettsville is really nice and romantic. it's in western loudoun and has beautiful views of the mountains

    1 Reply
    1. re: baloo

      I forgot about that place. The only night we're able to go out that week is Tuesday and unfortunately Patowmac Farm isn't open for dinner then. I'll keep that in my back pocket for another occassion though.

    2. L'Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls is what you're looking for.

      5 Replies
      1. re: BlueRidgePro

        I wouldn't go to L'Auberge. While the atmosphere is very very nice, the food is medicore at best - very plain with not much flavor. Tuscarora Mill's food is much much better.

        1. re: dcfoodie13

          I've found L'Auberge to have some of the best French food in the DC area along with a fine dining service experience, while Tuscarora's food is average the service and dining experience lacking ("are you still working on that...?"). They offer a more informal atmosphere, which is OK, but not something I'd choose for a special occasion.

          In Leesburg, Lightfoot is a far better choice than Tuscarora, as is Zeffirelli's..

          I guess that everyone's opinion of fine dining varies.

          1. re: BlueRidgePro

            when was the last time you went to l'auberge? i ate there for my mom's birthday in july and it was almost inedible.

          2. re: dcfoodie13

            The food at L'Auberge is not particularly innovative but it's not mediocre and it's certainly not plain.

            1. re: Ericandblueboy

              Maybe I've just been there on off nights, but every entree myself and my dining companions have ordered was mediocre and plain IMO (I do admit I've tasted two appetizers that were in the okay to good range). I kept giving it another try and wanting it to be good because the atmosphere is so nice, but after a third time of a thoroughly disappointing meal I gave up going there...

        2. How about Lightfoot in Leesburg?

          2 Replies
          1. Girasole in the Plains is terrific Italian, and I think more romantic than Lightfoot. As is the Eiffel Tower in Leesburg.

            1. On one of the food websites I am a member of, I saw this very nice restaurant in Purceville, that may be of interest to you. It's called "Magnolia At The Mill" ( http://www.magnoliasmill.com ). Click on this link to see a video clip of behind the scenes at this place: http://www.eatdrinkordie.com/videos/4... . You could also try the Red Fox Inn in Middleburg. I'm one of the last of the true native "Loudouners", so I will always support my county.

              1. Grandale Farm in Purceville is wonderful. Its very small and quaint with upscale, fresh eating. THey use only the freshest ingredients that they grow on their farm or locally (except for the New Zealand lamb, which there was a disagreement with the VA government on over importation and the reason the restaurant was closed for almost a year). Only draw back is that it is only open on the weekends.

                3 Replies
                1. re: HilkaryIC

                  It is indeed wonderful, and I was going to recommend it except that the OP needs to dine out on a Tuesday.

                  I'll second Girasole, recommended by another poster. However, it is in Fauquier County rather than Loudoun, so may not be as convenient for them.

                  1. re: chriscatva

                    Thank you everyone for the suggestions. I'm really interested in Girasole, but can't seem to find a website with their menu. Does anyone know where I could peruse their menu?

                    1. re: sbouldin

                      GIrasole web site (works better with explorer than firefox)


                2. Was your anniversary this past Tuesday (16th) or this coming Tuesday? Not sure if I missed it.

                  I'm not giving any new suggestions here, just vouching for ones already given.

                  For special occasions, I love going to Lightfoot. It's good going either casual or dressy. The atmosphere is modern, but classic. I've never been disappointed in the food, except for the fact that they changed the menu and took off the Venetian Pork Chop. I loved that with the whole bulb of roasted garlic! I do know a lot of people would complain that it is inconsistent with expensive prices... I don't agree, though. A nice meal in this area these days most always comes to at least $120 with wine.

                  I also like L'Auberge for once in a while special occasions. If you let time go by between visits, you really remember how well and attentive they treat you. The food is good, but not "spectacular." Every time I go, I seem to get the same couple of items. My fave app is the housemade sausages over lentil cassoulet. Although I used to pick the filet over garlic toast and sprinkled with sea salt. My husband always gets the mixed grilled with lobster tail... I'm a sauce freak, so I usually end up taking spoonfuls of the bearnaise sauce from him (yes, embarrassing for him). All in all, L'Auberge's romantic atmosphere and service is worth it, in my opinion. I have missed going there since my son was born two years ago... I'm hoping I will get to return during the holidays, when it's beautifully decorated.

                  My mom and her bf love Magnolia's on the Mill. They go quite often, especially during the outside dining months. She has never had a bad meal. I got a taste of the fried green tomato appetizer (leftover - she knew I wanted to try it) and it was very good, even leftover!

                  I was never impressed with Tuscarora Mill. Food wasn't that well prepared - getting oysters from Lightfoot always get me happy, where I was gagging and fighting tears to get Tuscarora's down. When talking to locals, it sounds like you are either Tuskies fans or Lightfoot fans... maybe there's the difference?

                  Wherever you do go for your dinner, please post a review! Happy Anniversary!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: casilady

                    Casilady has it pretty much covered.

                    My picks.

                    Thumbs up:

                    - Lightfoot (casilady has it right on!)

                    - L'Auberge (agree with casilady again. Go just to see what good service looks like. One needs to be familiar with true french cuisine to appreciate the menu - not for the Applebees crowd...)

                    - Girasole (very good N Italian, nice setting)

                    Thumbs down:

                    - Tuscarora Mill ( unimaginative, food is average at best, poor service.)

                    - Magnolias at The Mill (pretty much a copy of Tuscarora, in terms of setting, food & service)


                    - Clydes at Willow Creek - pretty setting, OK service, but the menu is still Clydes)

                    - Patowmack Farm - beautiful setting, imaginative, but limited, menu

                    1. re: BlueRidgePro

                      Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions. Our anniversary is next week and we've decided to try Girasole. We can't wait and I'll post about how it went later next week.

                      1. re: sbouldin

                        This is a late entry, but wanted to share our experience last weekend at Magnolia's. I would not return - the food was not bad but the real turn-off was the service. Among the transgressions - long wait before we were even greeted/asked about drinks, promised bread was never delivered, had to ask for the correct utensil (spoon for pasta) and then had to wait for it, long wait to get the bill. I liked the atmosphere but we will not be returning.

                        1. re: MaryDC

                          Might as well chime in, since we had lunch at Magnolias on Saturday.

                          Our experience was positive. The fried green tomatos were outstanding. The other appetizers we tried -- asparagus fries, onion rings -- were crisp and hot but somewhat bland.

                          Entrees were all very good -- pizza with lamb sausage, daily special steak sandwich, and angel hair with crab.

                          We had no service issues, even though were were eating outside (which often leads to problems) and our server had what seemed to be a lot of tables to cover.

                          Finally, the bread was excellent (sorry MaryDC!). And as the saying goes (my saying, that is), "Good restaurants may have bad bread, but bad restaurants will not have good bread."