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Aug 11, 2009 11:06 AM

HELP!?! New to Silver Spring/Aspen Hill/Rockville/Wheaton with nothing to eat!

I recently moved from college park to the northern silver spring region (near the intersection of Connecticut and Georgia Ave); unfortunately I have no idea of ANYTHING tasty in the area. As such, I'm reaching out to my fellow chowhounds. Please, tell me what you like, what you love, what everyone else loves but you hate and what everyone else hates that you love, what's cheap, what needs to be avoided, and what needs to be found. I am willing to try anything/everything however my girlfriend does have slightly simpler tastes than I so nothing too exotic. Otherwise everything within 15-20miles is fair game however please realize that I just graduated so in this market that means I have money but for the most part am looking for cheap to moderate with the occasional expensive. Thank you all and please don't hold back I don't even know where to order a good pizza from!

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  1. I think that the Cafe Bello in the Leisure shopping strip is serving good Italian food. If you venture over to Layhill and Bel Pre, Azucar and El Nopalito have good Latin food and Lees has pretty good Chinese. Some people like the Silver Garden Chinese restaurant in the Giant shopping center, but I haven't been in years. There is an Outback on Georgia and in that same strip there is a Latin restaurant (3 Amigos?) which is pretty good. You also could venture down to Wheaton and the options there are endless. Up Georgia Avenue to Olney also presents several options -- Riccuiti's and Mama Lucia's for example.

    1. you are in the middle of a chow wet dream. The Washington area is a very culturely diverse area with outstanding dining possiblilities. Here are choices within 15-20 minutes of Apen Hill that I like. I am sure I am forgetting some places and I am sure other hounds will add their fav's to this list
      Aspen Hill: 5 guys (burgers), Pho Hong Anh (pho)
      Wheaton: Max's (falafel and schwarma, closed for Jewish Sabath on Friday nites thru sat nite, Paul Kee Duck house (authentic hong kong chinese duck house), Wong Gee (Chinese), Woomie Garden (Korean BBQ), Nava Thai, Ruan Thai, Irene's Papusa's, New Fortune (dim sum), Marchiones (italian grocery, good subs), El Pollo Rico (latin styled grilled chicken, El Pollo Comparo (latin styled fast food chicken)
      Bethesda : Blacks (upscale seafood and gulf cooking), Addies (seasonal upscale), Assaggi Mozzarella bar, Mon Ami Gabi (french and french steak house, South Street Steaks (Philly cheese steaks), BGR (gourmet burgers), Panang (malaysian), Bethesda Crab House (steamed Maryland Crabs), Ruth Chris and Mortons restaurants (upscale steak house), Tako Grill (sushi/ japanese), Rio Grande Cafe (Tex/Mex), Persimmon (neuvo-american), Jaleo (excellent Tapas), grapeseed (small/plates. wine bar), Balducci's(high end gourmet market), Cournacopia (high end but great small Italian grocery store), oakwood grill (wine bar/regional cooking)
      Rockville: La Canella (Peruvian), Damo Sushi (upscale sushi), Gordon Biersche (brewery/pub food), Houstons, Mykanos Grill (greek, great grilled fish), Bobby's Crab Cake (crab cakes), Il Pizzico (italian), Urban Barbeque (bbq), urban Burger (burgers and bbq), Mama Lucia (pizza/pasta), PhO Nam (pho), Brooklyn Deli (jewish deli)
      Potomac: Renautos (neighborhood but upscaled Italian), Cava (small plates)
      Olney: Mannequan Pis (belgian, expensive beers, moules and pomme frites), Ricutti (brick oven adult pizza), Olney Grill (pub food), Olney Ale House (large beer selection/home made cooking), Il Sospiro (Italian), Wasabi Zen (sushi), Aroma (pan latin), Mama Lucia (pizza- tuesday night 2nd carry out pizza for a dollar)
      Derwood: Pana Thai, Biscotti (italian)
      Dayton: Crossroads Tavern (crabs, seafood)
      Layhill/Silver Spring : Azucar (excellent latin-get the whole fish)
      Sunshine: Sunshine Market (huge burgers, breakfast and other sandwiches in a crummy but good bait shop)

      10 Replies
      1. re: dining with doc

        Dining With Doc has to have given you a year's eating right there!

        Also consider adding dim sum at Oriental East or Burmese at Mandalay in Silver Spring. And if you can bear to drive away from DC, consider the row of casual, affordable restaurants on Rte 198 in Burtonsville: Cuba de Ayer (Cuban), Maiwand Kabob (Afghan -- split multiple appetizers and a kabob), or Cafe Oromia (Ethiopian) (formerly called Coffee Oromia). Those should be as convenient as the Bethsda options.

        Coffee Oromia
        15510 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville, MD

        1. re: HowChowBlog

          We plan on staying here for a long time and we love eating and trying new places, PLEASE don't stop giving suggestions!

          1. re: hungry_fox

            if u are willing to drive there are 10 times the choices in DC, Baltimore,
            Annapolis, Kent Island, Frederick and Northern Virginia.

            if you will drive to columbia there are 3 restaurants I love:
            Victoria Gastropub (upscaled and gourmet pub food, get the Kobe burger with white truffle chees sauce for the best burger I have ever had), Iron Bridge (wine bar with small plates), Jesse Wong's Asean Bistro (high end pan asian)
            and in Odenton there is Grace Garden which had 177 replies to a post about it. Best described as a crummy but excellent chinese restaurant

            1. re: dining with doc

              We are willing to drive, but we already know a bunch of places in the locations you listed, also Frederick is just too far regardless. As much as I do love traveling and exploring good food, for this post I'm much more interested in the local, I mean I don't even know of a good pizza place or chinese delivery in the area.

              1. re: hungry_fox

                Don't write Frederick off just yet as too far...I commute from Frederick to Siver Spring 5 days a week!

                In the SS area, I like Big Greek Cafe on GA Ave, BGR in Bethesda, Red Ginger in Kensington has good Chinese, Saboroso on Colesville across from the mall has awesome Peruvian-style chicken, David's cafe on Spring is a good quick lunch spot, MiRancho is a pretty good fresh mex type place, and Tastee Diner is awesome for late-night munchie fests!

                Tastee Diner
                118 Washington Blvd S, Laurel, MD 20707

                Red Ginger
                10525 Summit Ave, Kensington, MD 20895

                Big Greek Cafe
                8223 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910

        2. re: dining with doc

          And it's only getting better.

          In addition to the regulars (Quarry House, El Pollo Rico, Pho Hiep Hua, Mandalay and some of the others listed above) we've got a couple new adds to Chow Heaven:
          - Pacci in Silver Spring for Neapolitan Pizza
          - Bombay Indian. It's up in White Oak but another great add to the stable of Indian food
          - Flippin' Pizza. Chain takeout pizza but the only one worth it's salt in the area
          - General Store: Fried Chicken from Heaven

          Bombay Indian Restaurant
          11229 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20904

          Pollo Rico
          7643 New Hampshire Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912

          1. re: kriscolby

            Second the General Store! The turkey and brie turnovers are lovely little snax!

          2. re: dining with doc

            If you're around Layhill, you're not far from Cloverly and the fabulous Kabob N Karahi. Best kabobs in the region and the other offerings are solid as well.

            Love the Sunshine burgers ... a trip back to the grills of the late '60s,

            1. re: repete

              Kabob n Karahi is indeed awesome! I stopped by on my way to BWI a few weeks back and it totally lives up to the hype. Very friendly staff, too.

          3. As a longtime Wheaton resident, I presonally think Wheaton has some of the best places to eat in the area. (except for pizza. THERE IS NO GOOD PIZZA IN WHEATON. DO NOT EVEN TRY!) Here is my simple list:

            - Thai food: Navi Thai, Ruan Thai, and Dusit (yes, Dusit! I said it. I love their twice cooked duck and could eat it every day). Navi and Ruan are often cited as the best Thai places in the DC area.

            - Salvadorian (or tell the girlfriend Mexican): Los Chorros at Blueridge ave and Georgia ave. (I like the CombinaciĆ³n SalvadoreƱa and the Pork rib fajitas) and El Napolito Bar and Grill up at Plaza Del Mercado.

            - Pub Grub: Royal Mile Pub at Price Ave and Georgia Ave. I like the Beef and Guinness Pie and someof the sandwiches. Warning, this is not a sport bar. There is like one very small tv at the bar. Don't go here expecting to watch "the game."

            _ Other Asian: I love the Pho place at the Shopping center around 2300 University Blvd. I also like Full Key, the Chinese place in the same shopping ceter. When I want cheap Chinese takeout I tend to go to Wok Gourmet at Shorefeild and Georgia. I like their shrimp and scallops in garlic sauce, but this place is otherwise your typical Chinese takeout dive.

            - AVOID: The Stained Glass Pub. unless you want a place to watch sports with some shady characters and medicore food. If you do go there- DO NOT EAT THE PIZZA!!!! It sooooooo bad.

            - AVOID: Sol's at plaza Del Mercado. very bad pizza and it is where everyone from the local high schools hang out.

            5 Replies
            1. re: HilkaryIC

              I agree with Dining With Doc's first sentence.

              I'd love to hear from anyone about El Pulgarcito on Elkin. I went a number of times about 6-8 years ago and always liked it and thought it a hidden gem. I've been tempted to drive back to it, but it's a small trek so I wonder if I should ever take the time (or otherwise go to another favorite in the "northern" country.

              1. re: Dennis S

                Really? No one's been to El Pulgarcito? There have been threads about how as a community we focus on just a certain bunch of restaurants, even at the dive level.

                I'll make a special trip sometime soon to check it out again. If there is anyone who's been, please post - I'd love to know before I make the trip.

              2. re: HilkaryIC

                I drive by the Stained Glass Pub every week and have wondered - it looks so appropriately dive-y!

                1. re: HilkaryIC

                  The pizza place at Plaza del Mercado is the Pizza Stop which has the best pizza in the area and does not have any hs students hanging around it. Don't know what you are referencing unless its the place on Layhill Road which does have bad pizza, but has no hs students hanging around. Usually it is filled with soccer players drinking beer.

                  1. re: HilkaryIC

                    I love the pizza at the Stained Glass Pub.
                    I was skeptical - the place is definitely divey... but, IMO, the pizza is soooo good! It's a thin crust... but, almost pie-crust-like... hard to explain.
                    It's 1/2 off on Monday's and Tuesdays - you should give it a try.

                  2. In addition to the above suggestions, here are a few good places that don't get much buzz: Tabasco Tex-Mex Restaurant (on Norbeck Road, less than 1 mile from you), Minerva Indian Restaurant (lunch buffet) at 355 & Frederick Rd., and Burma Road Restaurant on 355 in Gaithersburg (stick to the Burmese dishes).

                    1. I think the best palce near you right now is Kabob n Kahari on New Hampshire in Cloverly. You can cut across on Bonifant and turn north on NH. I like Ruan Thai, Nava and Song Phat all in wheaton. Also very good is the steam table at Asian Foods n the same shopping center as Max's. In Downtown Silver Spring, my favorite place is Ghar e Kebab. They do a buffet lunch that is great.

                      You can cut west on Aspen Hill and take a right on Vier's Mill and be in the middle of Rockville's chinese restaurant row in a few minutes. Try Joe's Noodle House, Sichuan Pavillion, and the place now owned by Hong Kong Palace. Sichuan Pavillion is breand new and seems to be really good but the menu is huge and there are a ew hits amongst the mostly hits.

                      For Korean in the area, I refer to go to route 1 in Beltsville for Korean Chinese at Da Rae Won which is simply spectacular. Hand Pulled noodles for $8.00 a bowl or so, sizzling rice cake with seafood anything with wings and the shredded salad thingie are all great. Myong Dong is the same area is a good noodle joint. My other Korean suggestion in the area is the hot bar at either Han Mee supermarket or at Korean Corners at Vier's Mill and Rabndolph, I am not a fan of WooMi or Yet Gol's food these days.

                      Mexican is pretty good at tabasco but much better in Hyattsville/Bladensberg. Take the beltway to Kenilworth and turn left of Edmonston for tacos (and only tacos, nothing else at all except canned and bottles soft drinks) at Tacos La Placita or Mexican seafood at La Sirenita, right on Decatur to La Fondita for tacos, and amazing lamb soup.

                      In Wheaton you have good chicken at Pollo el Kiki Riki which to my mind is far better than El Pollo Rico which I don't get at all. The sides are good at EPKR. Also nice for Salvadoren mexican is Irenes bt the bar IS LOUD!!!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: deangold

                        >I am not a fan of WooMi or Yet Gol's food these days.

                        When you say Yet Gol, are you referring to LightHouse Tofu? I think it's been about 8 months since I've been, but the last time I went I thought it was pretty good. Has it gone downhill?

                        1. re: Smokey

                          Yet Gol is in the Glenmont shopping center; Vit Goel is Lighthouse Tofu.

                        2. re: deangold

                          Here's another nod for Kabob n Kahari. I'd been meaning to try it for a while and finally made it last week. Not only was the meat fabulous and nicely cooked, the smothered samosas were wonderful and the rice was perfect. Nice people, too. Light years above the stuff at Moby Dicks, a place I've given multiple chances at various locales but never had anything beyond average.