Great food in Reston, VA?
Visiting Reston, VA, for the first time ever and not sure what to expect. I'd really appreciate recommendations!
I'm coming from a very small town with really mediocre food choices and I would like to cram as many great eating experiences as possible into the few days I am here. I'm at the Hyatt at Presidents Street.
I'm not looking for fancy food, just really good food and wine/beer bar recommendations with low noise levels and no smoke, within easy distance.
I'm also looking for a really good crab-shack type place as I haven't had fresh seafood for months!
Finally, something genuinely european/french, if possible (not middle european)- I'm thinking of something like Le Select in Toronto, Canada, in terms of ambience, quality and price.
Are there any farmers markets nearby?
Thanks very much for your help!
Zefferelli's in Old Town Herndon is fantastic. Classic Italian not Neapolitan cuisine. Excellent service. Nicest restaurant in Herndon, even better than Ice House Cafe which is also very good. It's just off Eldon Street, has off street parking, and is very close to Reston. Be sure to check their hours as I don't think they do lunch every day.
My wife and I and my sister-in-law went to Mon Ami Gabi in Reston for lunch yesterday. We really enjoyed the food. My wife and I had one of the specials, the arctic char. My sister-in-law had the quiche lorraine. Both entrees were excellent. We finished with two desserts: the flourless chocalate cake and the white chocalate bread pudding, both of which we loved. For drinks, I had a great gin martini and my wife and sister-in-law had wine by the glass, which was very good and reasonably priced. The only sour note was the country pate appetizer, which my wife didn't care for. We definitely recommend this restaurant over most of the others in the Reston Town Center. Of course Mon Ami Gabi and Passionfish are very different, but we thought the Mon Ami Gabi was superior and a better value.
Went to Passion Fish on Saturday with my wife and very nice night. We sat upstairs which was fun and nice for an intimate evening. Our server (think his name was Phillip) really made & saved the night (I'll explain). We were greeted promptly by our server and got our drinks in a timely manner. Once he returned, he went into great length about the menu and specials and recommendations. We could tell he loved the food he was serving and had a vast amount of knowledge of how the food was prepared. We actually ordered the items he recommended for us (Ceviche & a Sushi Roll, ceaser salad, monkfish and arctic char). The food's presentation was wonderful but not over the top, the flavors were honest, overall they hit the spot. The only problem was the time it took to get each course. The restaurant was REALLY busy that night and we had to wait about 25 minutes in between each course. My wife was in the bathroom and some women from other tables had made mention their food was taking some time as well. Phillip however was attentive enough to make some small talk in between each course to keep us occupied and also talked about what his vast training was like for the restaurant which he loved. He also sold us on their restaurant downtown Ten-Pen that we should check out. Our salads took a considerable about of time to arrive to the table of which our server I think mentioned to a manager-- since a manager delivered them to a table for us. To make this long story short, we didn't mind having to wait for the food as much since the service was attentive but not excessive. Each time a new course arrived at the table, the food tasted just like Phillip had described it and he paired us nicely with a french Riesling he seemed fond of. He knew to tell a manager that we had been waiting a while for our food, upon where a manager apologized for the delays. Had it not been for the superior attentive service and manager involvement, we would have not returned just because the food was awesome. I am certain this restaurant will make it in Reston, with great food and great hospitality...that's a recipe for success!
I forgot to put in a word for the sushi and Japanese food at Ariake, across the street from the plaza where Mayuri is (Hunters Woods). Love the dragon roll. The green tea and black sesame ice cream are both good.
In the town center, Obi Sushi is down a side street. I've had good sushi there, though I give Ariake the edge. There is another good sushi place that has a sushi buffet, down Baron Cameron/Elden just over the line into neighboring Herndon, Matsuri sushi & sake bar.
I hope you will have a great visit in Reston. Many of the restaurants around here have nondescript strip mall locations, except for the dramatic town center and cute lakeside village (i.e. Lake Anne) locations. Here are some of my local favorites:
Reston Kebab is a bare bones little place that serves extremely tasty kebab dishes on paper plates with plastic utensils.
As alkapal posted a few days ago, I second the rec for Mayuri and their delicious Indian lunch buffet.
Depending on where you are visiting from, you may or may not be interested in a tasty local Italian American place in Plaza America, called Primo Italiano. This place serves generous and delicious Italian American food like subs and calzones. The owner is from Pittsburgh where I grew up, so I rely on them when I get homesick for some chicken marsala, spinach calzone, or steak & cheese sub. I get homesick fairly often, come to think of it.
We also love El Manantial, especially the quiche. The salad nicoise was the only lesser entree I've seen there - avoid. In the same plaza, Tall Oaks, is a really tasty Chinese place that also serves sushi - Ma Ma Wok. Also in the same plaza is a well-regarded and tasty Vietnamese place - Pho Reston 75. You can also marvel at all the noodles of Asia (so it seems) and other interesting products available for sale in the plaza grocery store - Fresh Market.
Lake Anne plaza hosts a farmers market on Saturday mornings. Reston Town Center has one on Thursday afternoons - haven't been to this one as it is relatively new.
Lake Anne plaza hosts a Morroccan restaurant I have not yet visited. It also has Tavern on the Lake which has a bar and outside seating and serves tapas style small plates along with offering more familiar entrees. Also in Lake Anne is Cafe Montmartre previously mentioned, and Jasmine Cafe which I suppose could be described as regional American - offering soups like 'virginia peanut soup' and doing chicken sandwiches with aoili and cashews. We like all of these places, except of course the one we have not tried yet.
There are many options at the town center and they are all more glamorous than the ones I've described so far. I enjoyed Mon Ami Gabi, which is a chain out of Chicago on a french bistro theme. Il Fornaio is a CA chain for Italian food, also very acceptable and more real Italian than Italian-American. McCormick & Schmick's - a seafood chain where we've never had a bad experience. Clyde's is an American food chain which has also been reliable for us, although not startling or compelling. I have not yet visited a couple of the new restaurants and haven't been to Paolo's in a few years. I've noticed some bad reviews of it recently. Before leaving the town center - there is a Korean style frozen yogurt place at the far south end, past Il Fornaio, called Iceberry. It's steeply prices for a frosty treat, but you are on a gastronomic adventure, so why not. At the extreme north end next to the Potbelly sandwich shop, is a cake and cupcake bakery called Edibles Incredible. Two thumbs up for the goodies here. The fudge is a-maz-ing.
A wine bar is coming to the town center, but I don't know if is open yet. Newly opened Jackson's is apparently where the bar actions in Reston is these days. Can't help much with this angle as I'm a mommy and don't get out much.
Further options abound in surrounding areas just down the street, like Herndon and Vienna and Tyson's.
The most steady quality is probably either Clyde's or McCormick's... or... two good Asian places in the Tall Oaks center for Pho and Thai. For pizza and Italian Lucia's in the Fox Mill strip is good, not great but good. For really good S. Am food go to Pollo Inka in Herndon, or Cantina D'Italia, or the Euro Cafe. You can find them on google.. .just a few minutes west of Rston on Baron Cameron dr. Avoid Champps & Chillis
The closest crab shack place is Captain Pell's in Fairfax. It's a bit of a drive.
I'm excited for Passion Fish but was let down by Jackson's (other GAR restaurants are very good, imo).
For European, try Euro Bistro - they really center on their German dishes. Also try El Manantial for more coastal Med type fare. Both are unfortunately in strip malls but what isn't anymore?
French/vietnamese inspired can be found at Cafe Montmartre, also at Lake Anne. If the weather is nice you can dine al fresco and marvel at the whacky architecture.
Russia House in Herndon is good, though I haven't been in a while.
Most all of these are a small drive, but nothing too bad (except Capt. Pells).
I'm looking forward to Passion Fish myself. But if that won't work, not too far away in Sterling is Hooked. Very good seafood. Tiny place, so I'd make reservations. It's about a 10 minute drive.
In the Town Center, I also like Il Fornaio. It's a chain, but I think a very good one. I'd stay away from almost everything else in the Town Center. I tried Mon Ami Gabi and didn't like it at all. Jackson's Mighy Fine Food might be good, but I hear it's VERY loud. Paolo's is yuck. Clyde's is decent. In Herndon (about a 5 minute drive) is Thai Luang. Le Mediterrannee is a quaint little French bistro. And of course, Auberge Chez Francois also in Great Falls.
There's a farmer's market on Saturday at Lake Anne Plaza. Can't think of any crab shack type place.
Thai Luang has an excellent entree called "Wild Shrimp." Jackson's has one of the best dinner salads anywhere in the D. C. area with Ahi Tuna and goat cheese. I've been four times since an incredibly loud opening night and it is better-yet still noisy. If you sit in the inside bar and are there before 7 it's OK. Lunch is fine inside as is the "Lucky Bar" "outside."