Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Aug 28, 2009 09:48 AM

Best little ethnic restaurants in Montgomery County?

I know that Silver Spring, Bethesda, Rockville, Gaithersburg have some excellent ethnic restaurants! My current faves include Nava Thai, Michael's Noodles, Lotus Cafe, Udupi Palace, and Mama Wok. I need more suggestions! I love those little unassuming places that serve authentic ethnic food... any ethnicity. What are your favorites? Where should I try?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Without a doubt, try Kabob n' Karahi up New Hampshire Avenue in the Cloverly area. Outstanding halal dishes, daily specials, and wonderful naan. The decor is very simple and it's always been spotlessly clean when I was there. Order at a counter and carry a tray to your table. Prices are very reasonable.

    Just off Rockville Pike near the Montrose Crossing Shopping Center, try "El Patio" for Argentinian fare. Dishes as simple as quiches and empanadas, to very large mixed grill feasts. I usually go for a sandwich - the "Milanesa Completa" - a breaded chicken cutlet with ham, cheese, and a fried egg all on wonderful bread. Half of the sandwich always goes home.

    China Bistro on Hungerford Drive (Rockville Pike) serves great steamed or pan sauteed dumplings. They come a dozen at a time and are delicious. I'm not sure about the rest of the menu, but they are well known for the dumplings.

    While you're near China Bistro you're only a few doors away from Pho 75. IMHO it's still the best pho in the Maryland suburbs.

    The list of small and outstanding ethnic joints in the Silver Spring, Wheaton, and Rockville areas is a long one - Happy Hunting!

    1 Reply
    1. re: MDBBQFiend

      Great suggestions! Thank you! I've never been to any of those. I'll definitely give them a try.

    2. Next time you're in Wheaton, give Ruan Thai a try. IMO, as good as Nava Thai, for different reasons....and the cooking is much more consistent. In downtown Silver Spring, check out Ghar-e-Kabab, a very good Indian/Nepali place on Wayne Ave. There a new Greek place on Georgia Ave.--can't think of the name--where Pinto Thai used to be. I haven't tried it yet, but they are doing a HUGE lunch business. If you like Udupi Palace, you might like Woodlands, on the other side of University in the big shopping area at the intersection of New Hampshire Ave.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JeffCraddock

        Always wondered about Ghar-e-Kabab... I'll check it out.

        I have been to Ruan Thai and you're exactly right... as good as Nava Thai for different reasons. They do take-out, so we tend to do take-out from Ruan Thai and sit-down at Nava Thai.

      2. Here are some that I've frequented in the past in Gaithersburg and Rockville:

        China Bistro/Mama's Dumplings (Chinese)
        Thai Jasmine Bistro (Thai)
        Burma Road (Burmese)
        Pho 75 (Pho)
        Pho Nam (Pho)
        Ambrosia Grill (Greek/Italian)
        Cuban Corner (Cuban)
        Carribean Feast (Jamaican)
        Flor de la Canela (Peruvian)
        Restaurante Acajutla (El Salvadorean/Mexican)
        Roy's Place (American)
        Frontera Grill (El Salvadorean)
        India Palace (Indian)
        Wow Deli (American)
        Ay Jalisco (Mexican)
        Ba Le (Vietnamese)
        El Mariachi (Mexican)
        Nagoya Sushi (Japanese)
        Italian Gourmet Market (Italian)
        Joe's Noodle House (Chinese)
        Momo Taro Sushi (Japanese)
        Bob's 88 Shabu Shabu (Chinese)
        Taste of Saigon (Vietnamese)
        Rainbow African Restaurant (Ghanese)
        Pampanguena Cafe (Filipino)
        Sugee's Cuisine (Korean)
        Soup's On (American)

        5 Replies
        1. re: reiflame

          That is quite a list! Are you recommending them all, or just saying that you went there?

          1. re: foodtrip

            Most of them I've had good meals at - some are better than others. I'd go back to eat at any of these again though. I spent 5 years working on the Gaithersburg/Rockville line and like to lunch a lot, hence the laundry list.

            And oh to add a few new ones in the area that I've tried and liked recently:

            Tai Shan (Chinese in Montgomery Village)
            Pho & Grill Restaurant (Vietnamese in Montgomery Village)
            Crisp & Juicy (now open in Montgomery Village although typically not as good as the one outside of Leisure World - the skin generally isn't as crisp)

            1. re: reiflame

              fyi - Bob's 88 Shabu Shabu and Taste of Saigon are closed.

              1. re: comestibles

                Taste of Saigon moved to Rockville Town Center.

                1. re: reiflame

                  An excellent new Sichuan restaurant called Sichuan Pavillion has opened in the old Taste of Saigon space..

        2. Chinese:
          Sichuan Pavillion
          Joe's Noodle House
          China Bistro is good but I am not as much a fan as some. I do love their small plates.
          Wong Gee (Finally seeming to hit its stride)

          Vit Goel
          Woomi although it is expensive for what you get imo, the exception being the lunch buffet which is good & cheap.
          The following two are in PG (Route 1 and Garrrett Street north of Powder Mill) but not that far:
          Da Rae Won (incredible Korean style Chinese with hand pulled wheat noodles
          Gahr Mi (BBQ in large portions)

          Hyattsville etc:
          Tacqueria La Placita
          Li Sirenita
          La Fondita
          Irenes Pupuseria 3
          El Tabasco (old fashioned "home style" Americanized Mexcan but good flavors.

          Kabobs n Kahari on New Hampshire in Cloverly, really incredible Karahri's and kabobs, the steam table food is very good for steam table food.
          Gahn e Kebab in downtown silver Spring- try the Nepali dishes! Best lunch buffet.
          Spice X-ing & Passage to India

          Ruan thai
          Nava Thai
          Asian International Market (in the same shopping center on University as Max's - a grocery store wtith a steam table in the back. Really good home cooking. Can be incendiary hot. Great bubble tea too.

          Max's for falafel and schwarma
          The Bagelery on Vital Road (essentially Randolph & New hampshire) for really good bagels and cheap & OK sandwiches made with Saval Meats. But you can get a smallish but sloppy Rueben for about $7.00 and its probably second only to City Deli as far as good taste.

          1. To some of the excellent sugestions above, I'll add La Limena in Rockville for quick, casual and delicious Peruvian food.

            After a group dinner with 12 Chowhounds, I found Udipi Palace to be lacking in all respects. Woodlands does much better for the same style of food. Make sure you get the paper dhosa. I like to order it with no filling to accompany my meal.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Steve

              Rainbow Restaurant in Gaithersburg has delicious food and the owners are so nice:

              Moti's Falafel Stand inside the Kosher Mart in Rockville (it apparently moved to their Boiling Brook Pkwy location, and I haven't tried it since the move):

              Their falafel and condiments are the closest to what I had in Israel.

              1. re: MPJ

                max's in wheaton has better falafel and schwarma

                1. re: dining with doc

                  I just had Max's for my first time last Friday. TREMENDOUS - though I got the falafel plate and frankly the plate of salad outdid the fine fine falafel. My wife's schwarma could've had a bit more meat on it, though.