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Dec 22, 2009 06:27 AM

Moving to Columbia Pike...seeking all kinds of recs

I'm moving near Bob & Edith's. I already love Bangkok 54 and Lost Dog. What else is on the pike that's worth my time, and what should I avoid? Very adventurous eater, enjoys all types of food etc.

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    1. re: Steve

      ballston/falls church...i currently live near eden center.

    2. I'm not too familiar with that end of the Pike other than Matuba and Attilla's, but closer to Bailey's Crossroads you have Flavors (the best fried chicken and other "soul" foods), Meaza (Ethiopian), Malibu Grill (Brazillian All-you-can-stand meat on skewers, not as good as the high priced ones, but a lot cheaper).

      1 Reply
      1. re: MikeR

        And if you keep heading south/west on the pike until you get to Annandale, you're in the korean zone with many good places; I just enjoyed Vit Goel the other day but there are lots of options.

        Also, the German Gourmet market is a nice place for a german sausage fix. On Columbia Pike near Rte 7.

      2. Near Bob & Ediths there are a bunch of places, BKK 54 is pretty good but their grocery store is fun to prowl through, I got a can of Thai Curry paste there that was excellent and the premade meals look good as well. There is a really hit or miss Thai place up on Columbia Pike near Glebe Road. Thai Square has the best Thai food in the DC area when they are on their game, and when they are not, it can be worse than the Thai food at Ballston Commons Mall. Their crispy duck, their pork with basil, their calimari, their chili soft shell crabs all are some of the best I have ever had. Down the road a bit is an old Arlington standby, the Broiler. It is serving a pretty good steak and cheese sandwich. If you search this sight you will get a good idea of the level of fanaticism some of the Chowhounds have for steak and cheese sandwiches. This is one of the 3 best in the Arlington/Alexandria area. They also have an odd but kind of fun pizza, it is more like a meat pie than a New York style pizza but it is ok. Further down the Pike, Pike Pizza has pretty good Saltenas, though not the best they are definitely worth trying out. Near Bailey's Crossroads I kind of like Jerusalem for their lunch buffet, rich and tasty!
        I have heard good things about Rabieng, Matuba and Aby's, but I haven't been in so long that I would be of no help there.

        1. At Bailey's X-Roads; Jerusalem, Machu Picchu, Mirage.

          Mirage has a limited menu, but sometimes they make a really good dibi (they have different specials every day), so ask for that if you don't see it listed. If you ask for the tah-deeg (bottom of the rice pot), they might not have any, but at least they will know you are serious.

          At Machu Picchu, go for the squid in its own ink, ceviche, lomo saltado, fish corellano, and sometimes as a special they have recolte relleno (stuffed hot pepper).

          At Jerusalem, go for the makluba, makuhsan, and the om ali for dessert. Exceptional.

          I notice you didn't mention Thai Square, so I have some sapecific recs for there: The tile fish appetizer, the crispy catfish appetizer, and the pig knuckle stew (don't be put off by the name, this is just a really good pork stew) They also have a secret Thai language menu, which I can't read, but if you ask for it, it will have on it a really great duck noodle soup, a sour curry, and a fish maw salad. All great. Like me, you'll probably have to ask for help with this.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Steve

            If you're up as far as Bailey's, Raga on Rt7 is a pretty good white table cloth Indian place. Pollo Campero on the pike just past the Bailey's shopping center has great fried chicken and sides. Full Kee in the shopping center has a good, extensive Cantonese menu; I also get take away noodle soup from there from time to time. There's a pho place next to it that I haven't tried.

            1. re: Henry Spencer

              The pho place is perfectly acceptable. Other offerings there are good as well. Full Kee here is not as good as the Chinatown location, but serviceable. Mostly I save my Full Kee calories for when I am downtown.

              1. re: Steve

                I haven't tried that pho place but have become a phan of Pho Golden Cow at Baileys Crossroads center east of Columbia Pike on Rte. 7.

            2. re: Steve

              Got a chance to try Jerusalem yesterday for lunch but didn't get the makluba (looking forward to going back to sample that and explore the menu more). Was not impressed by the tahini dip with the falalfe (it really need a shot of lemon juice and some yogurt)l, but otherwise I enjoyed the food. Got the Damascus-style shawerma (basically a tortilla wrap presentation) and no pickled turnips, but the meat was nicely prepared/spiced. I thought the falefel themselves were tasty and nicely crumbly inside although should have been pulled out of the fryer a few seconds sooner. Thanks for tipping us off to this place.

            3. I used to live across the road from B&E - the little house by the church. The info I'm providing is for a few places not yet - or barely mentioned, but my info is old, so it's potentially changed.

              Attila's (mentioned) is pretty decent. The falafel used to be quite good. Kitchen is the same for the take out and sit-down portions, but donner kebab was only served in the sit-down side.

              Around the corner from Attila's was a pizza place that used to get some mention on this board. It's just on the other side of the corner frame shop (if still there). No real room for sitting, but a great take-out pizza. Sort of the Greek style with thin crust.

              El Puerto is an interesting Peruvian place behind 7-11 - they serve mainly seafood IIRC, and a lot of it is fried, but I liked the place. Being able to speak Spanish is helpful - otherwise service can be spotty. On weekend nights, the place will turn into a dancehall of sorts that I learned to avoid, since I was there for the food (so I just went other times).

              Abi is the place next to El Puerto, I believe. Good breakfast's and decent all-around Mex type fare. Not a destination place, but if you live there, a good place to have nearby.

              Aclacatl is next to B&E 2, and used to be really really good Salvadoran fare. There was one report a couple of years ago that it wasn't what it used to be and there've been no reports that I've seen since, but it used to be a real destination place.

              The taco truck nearish the Popeye's around Mason drive is passable - but with TECC nearby, who cares? There used to be one near Weenie Beenie that was good, and of course the WB itself.

              Also down the hill is Shirlington - Bungalow Billiards for wings.

              Oh, and this is an odd one. There's a building in the parking lot of CVS. No place seems to last there long, but oddly enough almost all entities that set up shop there that I tried were good (and many were referenced on this board by others - including Steve and Joe H IIRC). The last one I knew was a Mexican shop with chorizo tacos that - while different - actually somewhat rivaled TECC.

              Enjoy the hood - I loved that place - and was SO glad I lived there during the last blizzard - Pres Day of 02, where I could walk to so many good places.

              And what better place to watch certain movies than the draft house cinema, being able to walk home.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Dennis S

                Thank you Dennis. Were it not for your original TECC rec, I may still weigh 100 pounds :) I'm so glad to hear about a good new taco joint and to see that I could potentially be moving into a neighborhood with passable Mexican food...I've been so disappointed with the offerings in this area (and I'm a huge Mexican-food snob) that it overjoys me to hear I may soon be in a hub.

                Speaking of the drafthouse -- how's the food there? I've never eaten there...usually just focus on drinking :-p

                1. re: littlew1ng

                  Do NOT get the food at the draft house - stick to beer or wine (and the wine is probably best to avoid).

                  There are a couple of hole in the wall places on the other side of Washington I always wanted to try - one was Ethiopian I believe and the other is a sandwich place, IIRC. There is Lalibela II, now at Walter Reed and Glebe - it used to be good, but again I haven't been in a while. I forget what went into their original location on the Pike - the white building on the North side btwn Walter Reed and Glebe.

                  1. re: littlew1ng

                    The great chorizo taco is no more, unfortunately. This place was originally an Ollie's Trolley in the middle of the parking lot near the CVS. It has changed hands several times. My last visit was only ok, definitley not for a Mexican food snob.