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Jan 14, 2009 03:54 AM

Eating our way through MLK Day in Arlington area

Hello! We're two ladies from Chapel Hill, NC who will be in Arlington on Monday, MLK Day. We're excited to hear what your top picks are for good ethnic foods in the area - we're partial to Asian but love other ethnic cuisines as well. Would prefer to walk or Metro (vs. driving). Any favorite cool cafes for breakfast/rest stop would be appreciated as well. Thanks so much!

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  1. If you are metroing around Arlington you limit your options. The Eden Center has great Vietnamese, but is not metro friendly. You might try Minh's in Clarendon/Courthouse instead.

    Ravi Kabob is not really metro friendly but is a great ethnic eat, so is Taqueria El Charrito Camiante (sp?) but that is more of a to-go place. Guajillo in Rosslyn has good mexican, Pho 75 there has good Pho.

    Lebanese Butcher, Tarbouch, Laylinya, Lebanese Market Taverna or Lebanese Taverna have good Lebanese food, although I don't know that any except the Pentagon City Lebanese Taverna are metro friendly. Me Janna in Courthouse is metro friendly Lebanese.

    There is great thai at Dungarat's, Thai Square and a bunch of other places, search the threads I know there is a recent discussion about the best thai, but not many of the best places are metro accessible.

    La Caranenqua (sp?) in Falls Church also is good, but I don't think it is metro accessible either.

    For brunch there aren't many cafe's Cassatt's might come closest to a cafe feel, but it is not metro friendly. You might try the Brunch and Grand Cru wine bar in Ballston, I haven't been for brunch, but they have very good lunch and dinner and might be more cafe-ish and near the metro. There is also a coffee shop in Clarendon called Murky coffee which has great coffee and pastries if that is what you are looking for. There is also a little coffee shop in Rosslyn beside Guajillo I forget the name of, but they have decent coffee, I have never had a pastry there.

    For regular breakfast I am not sure what is open.

    Also in Ballston they have an Italian food cart called Pupatella and now a middle eastern food cart which are good, Pupatella is great, and I think they make some sort of breakfasty item that is good, I have never gone for breakfast, but...

    4 Replies
    1. re: ktmoomau

      The coffee shop in Rosslyn is Greenberry's.

      Earl's ( is open for breakfast. Not ethnic, but good sandwiches.

      Eden Center is doable from the Metro (about a mile walk), but, given the predictions for MLK day, it wouldn't be a pleasant walk. However, it looks as if it will be featured on Anthony Bourdain's show on the evening of MLK day. (and it would be worth going to even without that).

      1. re: ktmoomau

        Also for Vietnamese is Nam Viet, in Clarendon.

        Bangkok 54 and Thai Square actually are fairly metro accessible. Catch any bus from Pentagon City that goes up Columbia Pike to at least Walter Reed. Both are beyond Walter Reed but before Glebe, on the north side of the street.

        1. re: ktmoomau

          Careful- Minh's is closed on Mondays. I've made that sad mistake more than once.

          1. re: ktmoomau

            Peruvian (or is it Equadorian?) rotisserie chicken at El Pollo Rico, Virginia Square station.

            (Not ethnic but) Ray's Hell Burger between Rosslyn and Courthouse stations. (And some folks like the Mexican restaurant in that same little strip mall.)

            Pizza, fairly faithful to Italian style, at Piola, a bit closer to Rosslyn

          2. The Eden Center is an absolute must for your visit. It is a full mile from the closest station (East Falls Church) but you can walk it (it is uphill much of the way but it is a straight shot) or call a cab for the short ride. It is dozens of Vietnamese restaurants, delis, groceries and other shops. Unless you have had a chance to visit a place like this before, I would say it is worth a visit.

            There are some good pho places in Arlington -- I'll try to think of others.


            2 Replies
            1. re: Super Salad

              Yeah, keep in mind that it will not be a pleasant one-mile walk! That is not a pedestrian friendly area at all!

              1. re: hamster

                Thanks for everyone's recs and insights. I HAVE been to Eden Center multiple times (absolutely LOVE the place since I am of Vietnamese descent and love the cuisine!). I can probably borrow my friend's car in case we do get a craving to head over there. If not, all your other recs seem terrific as well! Thanks again - will report back!

            2. Arlington is a pretty fantastic place for Chowhounds, but most of the best stuff is not around the corner from a Metro stop. here are my highlights:

              Goat taco at Taqueria El Charrito Caminante. Also chorizo tacos and a very good place for loroco papusas.

              Veggie enchilada at La Union Market and Carry Out. Also try the empanada de platanos and an ensalada to drink.

              Saltenas and humintas at El Pike (Bolivian) , Willston Shopping Center Rte 50 and Patrick Henry

              Mutter Paneer at La Jawab (Pakistani) Lee Hwy. Also try the bone-in chicken kabobs.

              Daing na bangus (marinated milkfish) Fairfax Inn (Filipino), Sleepy Hollow Road, Seven Corners area. Falls Church, VA

              Ray's Hellburger - for the burger, what else?

              Thai Square -ask for the Thai menu, not in English, but they will help you. Duck Noodle Soup, Fish Maw Salad, Sour Curry

              Heidelburg Pary Shop. (German) Ask for a Bauernwurst on a logenbrotchen (Pretzel roll).

              Beef taco, taco truck on the corner of George Mason and Columbia Pike, parking lot for the Food Star.

              Hong Kong Palace, despite its name, is one of the top places for Sichuan cuisine. Cumin Lamb, Chengdu noodles, golden corn and egg, tigerskin peppers, cucumber salad. SevenCorners Shopping Center, Falls Church. If by any chance you will be in Arlington for lunch on MLK Day, then a small group of Chowhounds will probably hit this place. My e-mail is in my profile if you'd like to join us.

              At Eden Center, my favorite meal is the Bay Lo 7 Special at Bay Lo Restaurant. This is pork, shrimp, and meatballs in a savory sauce served with vermicelli, herbs, and condiments.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Steve

                Wow, Steve, you're making me salivate! :-) YUM! Thanks for all the recs!

                1. re: Steve

                  la jawab on lee? near george mason drive intersection, in that strip mall punctuated on the west by caribbean grill?

                  and a filipino place: Daing na bangus (marinated milkfish) Fairfax Inn (Filipino), Sleepy Hollow Road, Seven Corners area. Falls Church, VA?

                  hope it is better than the crummy filipino place over near crystal thai?

                  1. re: alkapal

                    Ah, we meet again, alkapal. Not to answer for Steve, but La Jawab is the kebab place near the Caribbean Grill. I liked it better when it was Bangladeshi, under its previous ownership, but it's still okay.

                    OT re this thread, but there is a Filipino carryout back on Lee Hwy, opposite the Cherrydale Safeway. The food there is MUCH better than either of the Filipino restaurants I've tried, including that one by Crystal Thai. On Saturdays, they put things out in a steam table where you can see them; on other days you have to know what to ask for.

                    1. re: Gonzocook

                      On Sleepy Hollow Road, right off Seven Corners, is a brown brick medical building on the right with a Diner on the first floor, the Fairfax Inn. Regular diner fare. Since a Filipino family took over, they also offrer a Filipino breakfast menu (served all day) and a lunch/dinner menu (served from lunchtime on). I've only had two things: my favorite order, Daing na Bagus, and the pata, which is a marinated beef dish. limited menu, which I think is to their benefit. So far, I think this is the most reliable Filipino cooking in the area.

                      Mutter Panner is another great order if you are unsure about an Indo-Pakistani place. At La Jawab, it fires on all cylinders. Limited menu, but I hope to explore here some more.

                      1. re: Gonzocook

                        cherrydale filipino: they do food to go?????

                        1. re: alkapal

                          They have a variety of foods made in house in the frozen section plus they have some freshly prepared. Everything is carryout.