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Rest. recommendations in Ballston area

Need recommendation for great little place to eat in Ballston area. I already know about PF Changs and the other chains. Just looking for a nice little deli or ethnic place.

Thank you!

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  1. Either the lamb chops or the chole are worth the walk to Ravi Kabob. If cab drivers and crowds arent your idea of a good lunch bunch, they have another Ravi kitty corner across the street.


    El Pollo Rico for rotiserie chicken is pretty good as well. I think it is on Kenmore.


    1. My husband works over there, so I'm in the area every once in awhile. Haven't found a good ethnic place, so I'll be interested in seeing those recs. We've gone to the wine bar/store Grand Cru several times and really liked it. It's not cheap though, but about the same as PF Changs if you're throwing in apps and alcohol. I also really like Big Buns and Vapiano's for lunch. BB has great sweet potato fries and I've been impressed by Vapiano's beef carpaccio. Those options are a lot cheaper and quicker.

      1. I'm down here for training this week and again in a month or so. Tried Mike's today - okay but nothing to write home about.

        Can someone provide the link to the breakfast taco place that sets up (and where they set up when in Ballston)? Also - there's a mid-east cart across from Macy's - is that good? Lastly - isn't there a cart that does pizza that's worthwhile?


        9 Replies
        1. re: Dennis S

          You might be thinking of District Taco in Rosslyn: http://www.districttaco.com/

          There is the Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza Cart at Ballston Metro on Thurs & Fridays: http://www.pupatella.com/html/_.html

          1. re: comestibles

            Thanks - that's two of the three bits of info I was primarily after. I guess I'll have to save the pizza cart for next month when I have a Thurs. session.

            I thought District Taco sometimes set up at Ballston?

            Will try the third cart tomorrow unless I hear otherwise.

            1. re: Dennis S

              Is the middle eastern one Metro Halal?

              If so, I believe they get their food from La Jawab, the Pakistani restaurant off Lee Hwy. If you like their stuff then, yeah, you'll like it. Personally I haven't tried it but La Jawab gets decent enough buzz. Its probably worth a try.

              1. re: CoconutMilk

                That's it. I haven't had La Jawab, but I guess I will tomorrow. Thanks!

                1. re: Dennis S

                  Eating the lamb on rice dish now, with white and hot sauce. It's good - not as great as similar fare on Wall St in NYC, but I like it very much.

                  I think they had buryani yesterday - I asked about any sides today and he said he was rushed and didn't load any thing up (chickpeas, etc). He did say he was starting a new line of kabobs next week, though.

                  1. re: Dennis S

                    Dennis, if you can make it down to Ravi Kabob down glebe, its worth it. It's def my favorite Pakistani place in the area.

                    1. re: chaofun

                      I'm familiar with Ravi and agree that it's good. I actually prefer Kabab Palace (Crystal City) and Charcoal Kabab (Herndon) by and edge, but I find all three in similar ranks. I just don't have time to schlep down that far during this training break.

                      But I mentioned the Wall St. carts for a purpose - had some great stuff up there a couple of years ago and this is in the same style - a few veggies (salad-ish), rice, the meat, and the sauces. I noted that the rice had a whole star anise in it and a bay leaf.

              2. re: Dennis S

                District Taco's website only states that they are in Rosslyn, but their twitter account says they are sometimes at Crystal City; previous occasional locations have been Clarendon and Courthouse. I think you have to follow them on twitter to know where they might be and what their lunch special is.

                1. re: comestibles

                  Cool. Thanks for the info. No morning burritos for me this week...

          2. Do you count Washington Boulevard as Ballston? Astors, Super Pollo, Italian Store, Pupuseria Doña Azucena, El Charrito Caminante, Tutto Bene (go to latin brunch weekends, anything but italian in that place lol, dont try the pizza either).

            3 Replies
            1. re: helenahimm

              italian store is in cherrydale, lee hwy and spout run-kirkwood.

              1. re: alkapal

                I used to live in Ballston and I would walk to Italian Store, I guess I don't know the distance he can reach =) It's worth the walk! =D

                1. re: helenahimm

                  it is 1.3 miles from ballston metro to the italian store. to cover the extra lost calories from the hike, be sure and get extra capicola on that capri sandwich. ;-).

            2. thai terrace is decent.

              1. It's been a while since I've been there, but Cafe Tirolo was a nice little place.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jaydreb

                  My husband and I used to love Cafe Tirolo, but once the original owner/chef (can't think of his name) sold the place, the food wasn't as good. Is it still open?

                2. Got an update request for this thread. Doing the second bit of training this week and am considering having the family metro down to meet me Friday. I'll be in Ballston, but we could really go anywhere on the orange line (though not too up for crossing the river).

                  They'll probably meet me somewhere btwn 4-5, and we can walk around a bit, but then eat 5:30 or so. We'll have two small kids with us, so overly bustly venues for the yuppie type (Harry's, etc) aren't going to really cut it.

                  Kind of thinking of trying Minh's (Nam Viet is a fave of ours). For some reason not really coming up with much more.

                  2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Dennis S

                    With kids in Clarendon you could go to Nam Viet, Faccia Luna, Boulevard Woodgrill (it shouldn't be too busy at 5:30), Whitlows, Bertuccis (I know it's a chain but I like their pizza and it's kid friendly).

                    In Ballston you could go to Vapiano, Matsutake (your kids might get a kick out the hibachi), Teds Montana, Uncle Julios Rio Grande.

                    Some of these places are better than others, but all are OK with kids (especially at 5:30) and are decent.

                    1800 M St NW, Washington, DC

                    4121 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

                    Nam Viet Restaurant
                    3419 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., washington, dc, DC 20008

                    Uncle Julio's
                    231 Rio Blvd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

                    Rio Grande Cafe
                    231 Rio Blvd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

                    Ballston Cafe
                    4601 Fairfax Dr Lbby 2, Arlington, VA 22203

                    Faccia Luna
                    823 S Washington St, Alexandria, VA 22314

                    Bertucci's Restaurant
                    2800 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                    1. re: Dennis S

                      Cafe Assorti, right across form Ray's Hell Burger. You can look up my recs. It is a downhill walk from Courthouse.

                      Ray's Hell Burger
                      1713 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

                      Cafe Assorti
                      1800 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201