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Ballston Common?

I'm meeting a friend at the Ballston Common movie theater and we'd like to have dinner nearby, preferably walking distance. I'm not at all familiar with the area. Are there any good, casual restaurants that are walkable? I looked on Open Table and considered Willow, but I think that's maybe too upscale for this outing. Would also like a place that has good wine and cocktails. Thanks!

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  1. grand cru is a wine bar with good food nearby. it can be a little pricey. vapiano would be a good choice

    1. I like Grand Cru too, and think it would fit the bill, but if it is too pricey I am not sure where else to get cocktails? There are thai places that might have super sweet cocktails, I am sure PF Changs could make a decent cocktail and they have a decent wine list. If you want Margaritas, Uncle Julio's could fit the bill.

      1. I used to work in the area.
        I rec' 1Gen Thai.
        I took my vegan friend there and she loved it! (I'm a total meat eater btw--they have thai food that will suit everyone's tastes)


        1 Gen Thi Cuisine
        4300 Wilson Blvd # 150, Arlington, VA

        1. 1gen thai, imo, is terrible. thai terrace is nearby (next street intersection at the other end of ballston mall -- quincy street), and has better quality food, better portions and better service.

          i'd go to rio grande/uncle julio's. i recommend the "guadalajara platter" with shrimp en brochette, with bacon and stuffed with monterey jack cheese. the fajitas that come on this platter (go for the beef) are of superior quality than just ordering fajitas. go figure.
          (while the chips and salsa are addictive, don't fill up on them). the ceviche is good, too, iirc.

          if you want italian, there's tutto bene, but imo, rio grande has better quality food -- and is definitely more lively and fun.

          1 Reply
          1. re: alkapal

            2nd your opinion on 1gen. ick. Rio over Chevys any day...and I wish Tutto Bene had the saltenas all the time!

          2. I really like Grand Cru too. If you get a flight a a couple small plates to share that probably wouldn't be too spendy. Rock Bottom Brewery is good too, and there's always Chevy's.

            1. Good suggestions. But about Vapiano: That place is a Eurotrendy Gap with a food counter and bar. Strikes: communal dining table; awkward seat cubes; noise; the headache of a convoluted card-based order/purchasing/food stall system. Granted, the food was pretty good. And I can see how a midweek luncher might dig the fast casual concept. But the alien experience left me feeling rushed, harried and discombobulated. And persnickety. What happened to lingering over a good meal? Whippersnappers.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Scriever

                hahaha! i do agree, the dining system is a little whacky and slightly uncomfortable. but their pizza is, so, good, and their pasta, is, SO, GOOD. better for lunch than dinner certainly.

              2. Thanks to all of you for the suggestions. Grand Cru sounds like it will fit the bill nicely.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Lauman

                  How was Grand Cru? What kind of food would you recommend? I was thinking about going there.

                  1. re: Jacey

                    I wish I could tell you, Jacey, but at the last minute our plans changed and we ended up in another part of the city entirely. If you go, let us know about your experience.