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Kabobs in NOVA

Hi Everyone-
I come from a very Kabob loving family. My family and I frequently visit Food Corner (Alexandria), Afghan Kabob (Springfield), and though I havent been in years, Kabob Palace (Crystal City). I would like for us to try some other places so I was wondering if anyone has any opinions on places such as Flame Kabob (Springfield), King Kabob (Springfield--how is thier buffet) or any other places. Also, I like places where a vegetable side comes with your kabob, rather it being an extra charge.


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  1. Similar to KPalace is Charcoal kabob in Herndon.

    Reston Kabob is really good, but a bit different - sides are really only there at a lunch buffet. It's hard sometimes to decide between these two.

    Shamshiry for a different type of experience altogether. Persian with quite a few kabob meats available as well as good rice offerings.

    Closer in is the one on Glebe of which I'm forgetting the name. At Pershing. There were two locations, similar to KPalace's setup. In the same vein as KPalace and Charcoal Kabob.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Dennis S

      Dennis - that would be Ravi Kabob! Great food.

      1. re: DanielK

        Thanks! And I've only been to the one on the East side of Glebe - the original one. For the OP - the one on the West side of Glebe is akin to the sit down version of KPalace, though I understand the difference between the two is less than the diff btwn the two KPalaces.

        1. re: Dennis S

          I haven't found any difference in quality between the two places. Go to the one on the SW corner if you want to sit and eat; go to the one on the NE corner if you want takeout. I think he kept both places because the newer location doesn't have a big enough kitchen to handle both the eat-in and take-out orders.

          1. re: DanielK

            I have been a Ravi Kabob fan for some time, but I had my first so-so experience yesterday at the SW one. I got the chicken kabob which was outstanding as usual, but my friend got the lamb chops, and they were kind of ripped up looking and though they were good, (I stole one) they weren't as good. The guy that runs the place is still great, the Chole was pretty good, but again, not as great as I remember. So two of the items we got were a bit less than great and one was still outstanding. I would probably say that they earned 4 stars instead of 5. I will be back soon, and I hope the food is back to being great. Thai Square is way off their game, and I would hate to be disappointed by a second of my favorites so soon.

            1. re: DanielK

              I usually get mine to go, but I call ahead to the new (SW) location to get it because it's easier to park.

      2. Just had lunch at Flame Kabob in Springfield, a little hole in the wall at Commerce and Amherst. I had the Kabob II platter (one lamb, one kubideh, salad, rice, chickpeas, a big slab of fresh bread). Lots of food for $9 and good flavor. It's nice to have a kabob place where the spicing isn't limited to just levels of heat. They use some fragrant aromatics in the kubideh; the lamb was tender, and the bread was fresh and tasty. The chickpeas were not as spicy as I like, but still were pretty flavorful. The real find was the green dipping sauce; I tasted cilantro, mint, some cucumber and lemon. It had a nice bright flavor that went well with the richness of the meat. They also offer bone-in as well as the usual boneless chicken kabobs, and everything's halal.

        1. In Backlick Plaza, across from the Outback Steakhouse and Toyko in is a little place called King of Kebabs that I like for kebabs and freshly ordered items. They come as a platter. Pass on the buffet. It's half way down the strip mall on the left.

          1. Apparently, Amoo's in Mclean is the best. I live in Springfield also, but work in Mclean and eat there frequently. Afghan Kabob is one of my favorites, (and there are different cuisines -- afghan, persian) but Amoo's is just better. Amoo's is Persian, so the bread is thin and not naan, but their rices are unbelievable, honestly (the Shirin and Zereshk rule.) I've read reviews by Persians who say the kabobs are better than any they've had on the east or the west coast, or even within Iran. They're Zagat's rated, with Washingtonian and other magazine articles framed everywhere, and all that.

            Since you guys are kabob are lovers, let me know how you think they measure up.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Russel Shank

              Amoo's is the same family as Shamshiry which I have long felt was the D. C. area's best Persian restaurant. Several of the rice dishes are very similar. Recently, there have been a number of critical posts about Shamshiry including several whose "opinions I know and trust." Still, Amoo's based on a half dozen personal visits over the last four or five years is genuinely excellent. I would suggest that Rose in Vienna may be a bit better overall and, as noted above, Ravi Kabob, is outstanding also.

              Russel_Shank try Rose and please post your thoughts on here.

              1. re: Russel Shank

                FYI: "nan" is merely the Persian word for "bread" (also borrowed into Indian). So it is in fact "nan" (pronounced "noon" :) )

              2. Flame Kabob in Springfield was solid; nothing about it seemingly blew my mind, but both lamb and kubideh were cooked properly.

                Regarding Amoo's...had a lunch there. Meh. Kubideh was disappointing...was evident that too much baking soda was utilized in the creation of the kabob, as it was puffed up a bit 'too' much and was slightly spongy. Bland spicing, as well.

                Ravi Kabob is EXCELLENT; if anything, go for their chickpea curry side dish.

                1 Reply
                1. re: EJA86

                  ravi kabob's chickpea side dish *is* the best.

                2. In Herndon, we love Sorrento Grill for Persian kabobs. Sorrento is the Clock Tower shopping center at the corner of Centreville Road and Sunrise Valley, just south of the Toll Road. The owners are very friendly and the kabobs pass muster with my in-laws who lived in Iran for 20 years. My kids love it too. It's not an authentic Persian restaurant but rather likes to cover the Mediterranean middle east with its menu. But some things are classic Persian: the kabobs and the specials.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: StaffyOwner

                    I haven't had anything better than RAVI KABOB in Arlington, and yes the chick peas are excellent!

                    1. re: StaffyOwner

                      Also new in the NOVA area is Grill Kebab. There's one in Herndon and also one at Dulles Town Center. At the mall, this is EASILY the best choice in the food court. The mall location at least gives you two "half" sides at no charge if you ask.

                    2. Love Ravi! I'm also a fan of Tigris in Oakton.

                      1. has anyone tried these two new kabob places:
                        1. columbia pike, just east of thai square;
                        2. lee hwy in n. arlington, next to the 7-11 on adams (?).

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: alkapal

                          And the one on Columbia Pike isn't Attilla's? Which, btw, they have Doner in their sit-down side of the operation (but won't sell it on the cafe/take-out side).

                          1. re: Dennis S

                            no, not attila's. it is not even a stone's throw east of thai square, same side of the street, set back from the street with parking!!! neon sign.

                            1. re: alkapal

                              Oh, in that little strip that had the Pines restaurant? Cool - I might have to check it out next time down there. Thanks!

                              1. re: Dennis S

                                dennis, driving by today, it is called "kabobs inn" or "kabob inn." http://www.zabihah.com/d/Arlington+13...

                                >>>>KABOBs Inn is a newly renovated restaurant offering both fine dining and carry out services. With over 70 seats and an open and wide setting....., KABOBs Inn features a cozy, comfortable and warm dining place featuring kabobs (Chicken, Lamb, Beef and Lamb Chops) in a very private environment. Kabobs are served with fresh cooked rice and clay oven bread made in our own clay oven. All food is 100% halal. .... <<<<<

                                i recall seeing a sign for "chapli kabob" - minced, spiced meat patties -- one of my faves.

                          2. re: alkapal

                            Alkapal, this is way late, but I tried Chickpea on Lee and Cleveland, just down from Adams and it was pretty bleh. I got the combo and the lamb was pretty dry and chewy, the kofta was ok, but the chicken was boring. The baba ganouje was missing something, not sure what. The service was very pleasant, slow but nice. I wish them well, but it wasn't a very good meal for $14+.
                            Chickpeas at 2515 Lee Hwy in Arlington

                            1. re: Ziv

                              ah, thanks ziv, i had forgotten about that place, because i'm usually driving on the spout run pkwy. i still haven't gotten to that kabob place over near thai square. instead i get cravings for my favorites, and go there. am i in a rut? hell yeah, and i like it!

                              (remember that song from america: "our house is a very, very fine house"? just replace the word "house" with "rut." ) <grin>

                              1. re: alkapal

                                It's a fine difference between a rut and a groove.

                                1. re: Dennis S

                                  alright, you're talkin' my language, groove-daddy! ;-).

                          3. Pamir Kabob House
                            13047 Worldgate Drive

                            This place is amazing and is our go-to place for a kabob place. On the other hand, I would not recommend the baklava.

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: VirginiaCook

                              If Pamir is your idea of amazing, you should probably try a few of the other places mentioned here. I went there tonight based on the above post and its proximity to my commute home. The boneless chicken kabob (all I ever order at Kabob places) probably would have been half-decent had they chosen to cook it all the way through. There were only two pieces that I felt safe eating.

                              Even if the chicken had been thorougly cooked, I prefer the marinades/spicing that gives the chicken a reddish hue, rather than the yellow hue (saffron?) that their chicken has.

                              The chick peas were passable, if sweet, but the naan was brittle by the time I got home. The rice was pretty good, a lot like the seasoned (brown) rice that Reston Kabob serves. I did not try the white sauce, the green sauce was akin to what Shamshiry provides, and not great.

                              Food Corner Kabob House in Tysons (shopping center with Marshall's and Sports Authority) and Charcoal Kabob in Herndon are much better overall than Pamir out here in the western burbs. Food Corner is a little more pricey, however. At Food Corner, try not only the sauce they serve with their carry out orders (green, but yogurt based), but also the somewhat hotter green sauce that is in the squeeze bottles on the tables (ask for an empty sauce cup if you are doing carry out).

                              EDIT: I noted after posting that a link had been added for Food Corner Kabob House in Annandale, which is commonly owned with the one in Tysons. I have never been to the one in Annandale.

                              Reston Kabob's brown sauce, although it has been toned down a little, is the best sauce at any of the places I go to. Charcoal Kabob has the best naan.

                              8607 Westwood Center Dr Ste 100A, Vienna, VA 22182

                              Food Corner Kabob House
                              7031 Little River Tpke Ste 1A, Annandale, VA 22003

                              1. re: SoxFan1

                                i typically go for seekh kabobs -- the minced spiced meat on skewers. i tried food corner's (tysons), but i think ravi kabob's version is better.

                                i believe the food corner folks are afghani.

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  Yes, the Food Corner folks are Afghan. The shop in Annandale is decorated with travel posters of Afghanistan. While it's not "their" food, they have one of the best gyros around. That's what I get at least half the time I eat there.

                                  Ravi Kabob is a couple of bucks more across the board and I haven't found any basis for judging them, at least what I've had (seekh and chicken kabobs) to be any better or worse than Food Corner. And in Annandale, I can walk across the parking lot and have free dessert from the samples at Shilla's Bakery, plus, when something strikes my fancy, buy a treat to take home.

                                  1. re: MikeR

                                    hi mike, have you tried the gyro at cherrydale deli (next to pasha café)? it is the best i've found around here.

                                    ps ravi is going up in price, i know. also, they need to cut the salt a bit.

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      No, nor have I ever tried Pasha Cafe, which has had some good press around here. I'm having more and more trouble finding $5 lunches any more. I think a gyro with tax is about $6.50 at Food Corner, and it's a little more than I want to eat, but I eat it all anyway. A $10 kabob is too much money and too much food for lunch (I go out for lunch every weekday so I don't go stir crazy at home), but not enough to take home for another meal. I haven't been to Bread & Kabob in a while, when I asked, they'd sell me one skewer of kubideh (a normal order is two skewers) which was fine for lunch, and last time I ordered, was under $4.

                                      1. re: MikeR

                                        the gyro at the cherrydale deli is $6.50.

                                        (they are the same gyros as the adjoining pasha serves -- they share the gyro spit, and i think they share the same real kitchen). mr. alka thinks pasha is overpriced, but i think it is o.k.

                                        because it is the same kitchen, people can get the same food at the deli if they want to save money. several things "overlap" on the menu -- mainly the skewered meat dishes.
                                        have you tried that place on pershing that steve recommends, astor mediterranean (run by egyptians, i've learned)? http://www.astorfoods.com/menus/Astor... ? i think there are some decently priced items on the online menu. i'd like to try the place myself this week.

                                        has the place with mid-eastern sweets on rte 7 (west of and near-ish duangarat's) been mentioned? i thought their kabobs were quite good and generous. i may've mentioned it upthread, or on another thread.
                                        ps, mike, the foot-long subs are $3.99 all week at harris teeter.

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          Astor? Chow lunch?

                                          The old Samadi Sweets that's now Mirage was indeed good for lunches. They had a single skewer kabob with rice and salad for $5 with incredibly juicy chicken which had a kind of citrus-garlic tang. Recently there was a big banner out front that said "Peruvian Buffet" (it's down now, but there's a sign across the street) but it didn't look so appetizing so I didn't try it even though it was darn cheap. Kind of an odd combination, but they still had the kabob menu at the time.

                                          I'll have to try one of those H-T subs. Have to pick something that will keep well, though, since a foot of bread is at least two or three meals for me. I'll occasionally get a small sub at The Italian Store, eat half there, and eat the other half the next day. I ask for the dressing on the side so it doesn't get soggy. And while we're totally off topic of kabobs, I tried a half price Monday burger at Glory Days yesterday that made a great $5 lunch.

                                          1. re: MikeR

                                            mirage, that's it. now serving peruvian buffet?

                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              They were a few weeks ago. I don't know if it went away along with the banner, or if it was just so popular they didn't have to advertise it any longer. When I first saw that banner, I didn't realize it was in front of Mirage. I thought it was in front of Machu Pichu next door (I think they used to have a buffet at lunch), but when I cruised through the parking lot, I saw that Machu Pichu was closed.

                                2. re: SoxFan1

                                  I agree about the chutney at Reston Kabob. But the sides aren't that great (I am overall a huge fan of RK).

                                  1. re: SoxFan1

                                    Update to the above. I am not trying to be insulting, VirginiaCook, but I had a good, and then a very bad experience at Pamir in the past week.

                                    Early in the week, I decided to give Pamir a second chance, as I only wanted a veggie and rice, no meat. The chick peas were a little less sweet, and the seasoned rice was good. I got a decent-to-generous portion of each at the menu price of @2.95 each.

                                    I went back Sunday night to get the same order. When I asked for an order of rice and an order of chick peas, I was asked by the mid-20's, apparent son of an owner, who was sitting in one of the booths, if I wanted a large or a small order of rice. I asked the price of the large order, and how much more rice I would get than what would be normal with ordering a kabob. He told me 6.95, and it would be what I would normally get with a kabob. I had gotten at least that much earlier in the week for 2.95.

                                    I pointed out to him that for 2.00 more I could get the boneless chicken kabob, which would include not only that amount of rice, but also a decent amount of chicken, AND chickpeas, as well as one naan (bread). That seemed to stump him, and he started talking in a non-English language to a woman (which is why I assume that he is the son of an owner) who was sitting with a couple of other ostensible family members at the booth nearest the cash register. He began something of a negotiation session with me, asking how much I had paid earlier in the week for my order, etc. (the menu had both rice and vegetable sides listed at 2.95 apiece).

                                    At that point, I began to feel like there might be different pricing for such non-standard things, based on what the guy thought he could gouge me for. No thanks, the food is far from being that special, and I will never return again.

                                    If you do, you might want to mention that the attempts to gouge non-regulars, who could possibly become regulars, is not a good business practice.

                                3. If you really want great authentic Afghan food, try Mazador Kabob in Fairfax on 11725 Lee Highway between Forum and Monument. It's in a strip mall with M&B Bank and Starbucks facing Lee Highway. Bread melts in your mouth. Never much cared for rice until I tried their Palow. Mantu is my favorite. Everything is made to order.

                                  Everyone is Afghan from owners, the Zahory brothers, the chef and the wait staff. Sometimes it's full, sometimes not so much but the food is always terrific. Check out their Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fairfax...

                                  1. next to pupatella's is fattoush. we went on monday as pups was closed.

                                    their chicken kabob was tender, juicy, really flavorful. mr. alka remarked that it was so good because it was cooked quickly over really high heat. we weren't crazy about the seekh kabob -- too chewy. but the chicken was delish! they bring some pickles as accompaniment.

                                    the gyro was spicy and it was reheated on the grill so the strips were browned and crispy on the edges. i still like the cherrydale deli's version better.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      for what it's worth, they also had falafel on the menu.

                                    2. If you want to try your own hand at making kabobs, look at this review of Shan brand kabab mix, and how it turned out for me: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/727239#

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        I realize this is an old thread, but FWIW, I use Shan's Seekh kabob mix at home those semi-rare times I make kabobs. the main thing I hate about those mixes is all the sodium. I use the whole packet for 2 lbs meat, while some people I know only use 2 tablespoons!! I don't remember the recipe on the box, but I add ginger garlic, 1 egg, more fresh chiles and mix it all together into a puree, then mix it into the meat..

                                      2. Afghan kabob House on Wilson Blvd in Courthouse! Amazing, and the $9 kabob platter gets you rice (I love the spinach rice, but they 4 kinds), veg (best chickpeas ever!!), hot sauce, to s of hummus, and a huge fresh hot naan/flatbread. Lots of meat too!

                                        1. comparisons between afghan, persian, lebanese kabobs are like apples and oranges. persian i know well, and shamshiry is probably the best in town. amoo's isn't bad either but not a great place to dine due to lack of even a semblance of ambiance.

                                          1. The best kebab in Vienna is a toss up between two restaurants; the reigning champion Rose's and the new comer Kabob Tavern. My criteria is rather simple go in and get a quick casual meal, both restaurants have a fine dining option, but that’s a post for a different day. It think that the meats (Chicken, Lamb and Kubideh) are pretty equal; meaning outstanding. To me there are few things in life better than fire roasted meat. The reason that I give Kabob Tavern the edge is that the side dishes and extras are better. Each kebab order comes with onions and a roasted tomato, the Rose kebab comes with a plain white onion, the Kabob Tavern serves a pickled red onion. I think it tastes better and I appreciate sweet and sour contrast with the lamb a lot. Also instead of plain white rice, each order of kebab at Kabob Tavern comes with half white rice and half rice sautéed with onion so it’s brown and slightly caramelized. And finally each order of Kebab's at Kabob Tavern comes with a side; I've tried the stewed pumpkin, eggplant, chick peas and haleem (a puree of chick peas, lentils and chicken with a spicy kick). To me that is what gives Kabob Tavern its edge. Those sides are really good. So overall, I have to say that Kabob Tavern is my new go to spot for kebabs in Vienna.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: judoka

                                              When was the last time you were at Kabob Tavern? Their website does not list the 'half white rice and half rice sautéed with onion' option; only white or brown rice. Also, haleem is not listed at all.

                                              1. re: comestibles

                                                Restaurant web sites can be notoriously out of touch with the actual menus. I guess most of them don't have anyone on staff to maintain the web site and when they have to pay someone every time to update the web site they add or subtract something from the menu, the smaller ones may not figure it's worth the cost. Mostly it's to give you an idea of what they serve, post the hours (which sometimes aren't correct) and location.

                                                I guess if you're looking for something specific, you can always call the restaurant. There should be enough info on the web site so that you can do that.

                                                1. re: MikeR

                                                  @ comestibles--I got takeout from Kabob Tavern one week ago. If you do not make any special requests, your order comes with both white and brown rice (not sure that the brown rice is sauteed with onions, and it appears to be the same as the white rice, but with some sort of seasoning that turns it brown). Whatever the case, if they are offering white and brown rice, is it that difficult to imagine that you could get half and half, even if it is not the default?

                                                  Haleem (I thought is was halim, but what do I know), is a side that is frequently (or maybe all the time, based on my half-dozen visits) a "special" side. I have had it at least the last 4 times I have been there, and it is good AND quite spicy.

                                                  So, as MikeR said, the website may not be keeping up with actual offerings.

                                                    1. re: SoxFan1

                                                      You know SoxFan it could be Halim, I am just doing the best I can. All I know for sure is that it tastes fantastic.

                                                      As for the rice, I spoke to the cook/owner recently and asked why the brown rice is brown. The said that the rice is sauteed with onion and spices so it caramelizes and turns brown. Mystery solved.

                                              2. I'm surprised no one's mentioned Kabob Bazaar in Arlington. They are my go-to place for kubideh (2 skewers) on basmati/saffron rice with bread. They only require 10 mins lead time for pickup orders and also near a metro stop (Clarendon metro @ Highland St). Fast, cheap eats, and tasty. Hard to drive away for more than 5 minutes with the intoxicating aroma filling up the car. Not a fan of their other skewered meats but their mains are at least average if not better.
                                                Shamshiry wins with their moist and tender chicken (though they have buttered rice) and a more polished dine-in area. Menu options include the raw egg on your rice to let it slightly cook. Some dine-in guests get to have the extra crispy rice from the bottom of the pot. Certainly a treat if you're familiar with either option.
                                                I'll have to try Rose and Amoo's in Vienna plus the one Afghan place mentioned earlier. Tried King Kabob by GMU years ago and that turned out very bland.

                                                1. anyone have a recommendation of best dishes from amoo's in mclean (on old dominion?)