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NYC to Clarendon/Ballston Area-Need Some Help

m
mch May 25, 2010 01:05 PM

So my bf and I are NY'rs moving to the Clarendon area. We love to eat and we love to cook. We are looking for suggestions from the best quick bite to a nice restaurant? We love brunch as well. All suggestions are appreciated. Once we are in the neighborhood I'll be able to give more specifics or ask questions but right now I don't know where we will be. We have family in Vienna so we aren't strangers to the VA/DC food world. Thanks CH!!

  1. m
    mjhals May 25, 2010 01:17 PM

    Some quick ideas- Liberty Tavern for upscale American (close to Clarendon Metro), Minh's for Vietnamese (a little closer to the Courthouse stop), Rays the Steaks (also by Courthouse) for the best crab bisque anywhere as well as great quality:expense ratio. Eventide is fun for brunch, I love some of their cocktails, but miss having an eggs benedict selection on the menu. Recently went to Restaurant 3 for brunch and had a great- "southern style" eggs benedict with tasso ham and corn bread, really great version of EB. Those are probably my tops choices around Clarendon/Courthouse to get you started, welcome to the neighborhood!

    -----
    Minh's
    2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

    Restaurant 3
    2950 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

    The Liberty Tavern
    3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

    1 Reply
    1. re: mjhals
      j
      jaydreb May 25, 2010 01:21 PM

      In addition to the recommendations above:

      -Rays Hell Burger (for the best burger you'll ever have)

      -Lyon Hall (brand new restaurant from owners of Liberty Tavern; don't know if it's good but it's probably worth a visit)

      -Eat Bar (good "gastropub" type place; good food and wine bar)

      --El Pollo Rico (Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken)

      -Boulevard Woodgrill (solid choice along the Clarendon strip)

      -----
      The Liberty Tavern
      3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

    2. helenahimm May 25, 2010 02:14 PM

      Welcome to NoVA area! if your boy and you want to join my boy and me we love going out for lunch on Saturdays and early dinner for Sundays (annandale, falls church, etc,)

      On Clarendon they mentioned it (Lyon Hall, Liberty Tavern, coffee at the Northside Social (all these three places same owners). Minhs's, Rays Herll Burger, The Italian Store (very long walk or a short drive).

      Steve has mentioned Chez Manuelle which I haven't tried yet.

      China Garden for dim sum, though I have read that the good stuff is in Wheaton, MD

      Pupatella just opened a pizzeria just passing Ballston, they used to have a cart outside the Metro, I think is one of the best in Arlington, though my favorite pizza is the good old 2 Amys in DC.

      Thai Square & Bangkok 54 for Thai food on Columbia Pike I find is better than the Ballston/Clarendon area stuff.

      Quick bites Charrito Caminante (stay with the tacos & pupusas (except for the chicken taco). Dont order the Tamarind or Horchata, if you guys know the good stuff don't waste your time on their drinks, maybe some soda pop =)

      Anything specific you guys are hoping to find in the area?

      -----
      Minh's
      2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

      Thai Square
      3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

      Italian Store
      3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

      The Liberty Tavern
      3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

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

      Bangkok 54 Restaurant and Bar
      2919 S Columbus St, Arlington, VA 22206

      Pupatella
      5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

      1. ktmoomau May 25, 2010 02:35 PM

        Also wanted to add:
        Lebanese Taverna Market for quick take out Lebanese they have a few tables, the Burger Joint also has great burgers, Screw Top Wine Bar has good food and nice atmosphere, American flatbread for flatbreads and salads, the lounge at Eventide has awesome cocktails and some very good food as well as the upstairs, Tallula and Eat Bar (Tallula has great brunch too), Lost Dog over in Westover for sandwiches (they deliver to your area), Northside Social. Harry's Tap Room has good normal brunch fare. Earl's has awesome sandwiches. Tandoori Nights and Dheli Dhaba are ok for Indian, the plus being they both deliver (drdelivery.com). Minerva Express on Lee Hwy is good. Check out Carribean Grill for chicken with good sides and cuban specialites, Heidelberg pastry shop grills wursts outside and has picnic tables.

        Sushi Zen has ok sushi in the Lee Harrison shopping center, Taqueria Poblano in that same strip has pretty good tacos. Guajillo in Rosslyn has decent Mexican.

        In Ballston itself Uncle Julio's is a chain and is mainly avoidable, but they do have decent chicken fajitas and shrimp diablo in case you ever eat there. Willow is good and has nice happy hour specials. Big buns has burgers, chicken sandwiches and fish sandwiches (grilled not fried). Grand Cru has some good stuff, but can be hit or miss, they also do wine tastings on Wed. And Rustico will be opening a location in Ballston and also Mario Batalli has signed a lease for the Liberty Center bldg too. Brueggers Bagels are ok, but you will never find a perfect bagel or perfect NYC style pizza. Pizzeria Orzo will open soon in Falls Church and has a fantastic pizza man at the helm.

        All things mentioned in other posts are good stuff too.

        -----
        Rustico
        827 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, VA 22314

        Grand Cru
        Arlington, VA, Arlington, VA

        Tandoori Nights Restaurant
        2800 Clarendon Blvd, R 900, Arlington, VA 22201

        Lebanese Taverna Market
        4400 Old Dominion Dr, Arlington, VA 22207

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

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

        Taqueria Poblano
        2400 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301

        Brueggers
        500 John Carlyle St, Alexandria, VA 22314

        Lost Dog Cafe
        5876 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22205

        The Burger Joint
        106 N Washington St, Alexandria, VA 22314

        8 Replies
        1. re: ktmoomau
          Dennis S May 25, 2010 04:48 PM

          To add, I need to get to Minh's and kt and mjhals need to get to Nam Viet, but that's my big add. Try the salmon soup for an app and the curried squid dish (I've had nearly nothing bad there, but these are outstanding).

          Should also mention that there's a halal cart in Ballston that will come close to those on Wall St.

          -----
          Minh's
          2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

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

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

          1. re: Dennis S
            ktmoomau May 26, 2010 08:32 AM

            I do, Hubby doesn't really care for Vietnamese so I need some volunteers to go with me. Maybe mjhals and I can get a small group together.

            1. re: ktmoomau
              Dennis S May 26, 2010 10:39 AM

              I'm in. And sorry for not getting back on this same issue earlier - swamped at work. If we can aim for sometime after next week, my time frees up incredibly.

              1. re: Dennis S
                m
                mjhals May 26, 2010 11:16 AM

                I'm definitely in. We just bought an apartment by Courthouse so we're even closer now. Just let me know when!

                1. re: mjhals
                  ktmoomau May 26, 2010 11:22 AM

                  The 8th or 9th would work for me. You can find me via my blog or work website on my chow profile if you want to email to coordinate.

                  1. re: ktmoomau
                    littlew1ng May 26, 2010 12:31 PM

                    kt--copy me on this e-mail!

                    1. re: littlew1ng
                      ktmoomau May 26, 2010 12:36 PM

                      Ok will do!

                      1. re: littlew1ng
                        m
                        mjhals May 26, 2010 04:02 PM

                        Ok, I just added my email to my profile too, please add me in! 8th or 9th works for me too.

          2. c
            chitodc May 26, 2010 08:00 AM

            I definitely reiterate the recs for a bunch that have been mention, Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall, Northside Social (warning, their wine list is pretty bad), Tallulah/Eat Bar. Eventide has a great roof deck. American Flatbread is tasty and casual, I've had some good meals at Me Jana (Lebanese), and Cafe Assorti has yummy manti and pelmeni (get the pink sauce!). For sure Ray's and Hellburger are fantastic and, at least in theory, we are getting a seafood place, wine bar and a place that serves venison and elk burgers out of that crew too at some point! Welcome to the neighborhood!

            -----
            Me Jana
            2300 Wilson Blvd., Suite 140, Arlington, VA 22201

            The Liberty Tavern
            3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

            Cafe Assorti
            1800 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

            1. littlew1ng May 26, 2010 10:54 AM

              would be remiss not to mention vapiano for a quick fresh homemade pasta and pizza--really good stuff and affordable, too. Earl's for great sandwiches. as others have said, liberty tavern has great food and an interesting beer selection. awesome bagels in courthouse at brooklyn bagel, go elsewhere for coffee though.

              1. s
                sekelmaan May 26, 2010 11:02 AM

                Nearby is the Eden Center which has dozens of Vietnamese restaurants in it. At Baileys crossroads, a short drive away, there is Meaza which is good ethiopian (as good as I had when I lived in NYC). Also, there is a place called German Gourmet that has nice sausages and sandwiches for a quick meaty lunch. If you want great Chinese you can go to Hong Kong Palace or XO Spice at Seven Corners (near the Eden Center).

                -----
                Hong Kong Palace
                6387 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22044

                Eden Center
                Falls Church, VA, USA, Falls Church, VA

                Meaza Restaurant
                5700 Columbia Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041

                German Gourmet
                5838 Columbia Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041

                1. m
                  mch Jun 14, 2010 11:07 AM

                  so i made my first trip to visit the bf this weekend. saturday we did lunch at mexicali blues while watching the bike race. great spot for race, food was ok. $10 grapefruit margarita was not worth it. we watched the end of the USA game at the front page. decent spot, good beer selection and great prices. saturday night we went to Ris in DC, delicious. it was really good and i recommend you check it out for a nice dinner. Sunday we hit up Brooklyn Bagel. I know not to expect a real NY bagel but not really good-I'm sure it could have been wore though. it was packed, line out the door. Also got coffee at Java Shack or Hut? My arnold palmer was good, bit pricey. The iced coffee the bf got was gross. Maybe just an ordering mishap. Hit up Rocklands for bbq before heading back to NYC, great spot.

                  my family mentioned a killer italian deli in the area, bit of a walk though. is that the italian store?

                  few questions...where can you get decent sushi, thai food and pizza? is booeymongers where you go for sandwiches? what about tivoli near the metro?

                  looking forward to my future visits.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: mch
                    y
                    yfunk3 Jun 14, 2010 11:36 AM

                    For good Thai, I would go to Bangkok 54 on Columbia Pike. It's the thing I miss about Arlington the most! The spicy roasted tofu....Mmmmmmmmm. The grocery store of the same name in the same strip is great, too. They sell fried bananas/plaintains/taro for $1-for-3-pieces up by the cash register, and also have a pretty damn good prepared food section (including chicken rice! A huge thing for this Singapore-born girl!). Delicious.

                    I wouldn't expect to find a decent pizza slice or bagel if you're used to what NYC (and the tri-state area) has to offer. I've resorted to making my own bagels or buying them for $1 each at Slice n Dice in Crystal City. They supposedly make them fresh daily, but they have been giving me old, stale ones lately (probably because I'm one of the first customers in the mornings whenever I do go). Like with homemade bagels, they're best fresh or toasted (if a day or so old!). Most of the good pizza you'll find in DC is Naples-style, like what they serve in Europe.

                    Eventide for brunch, definitely! The shrimp & grits were too rich for my liking, but their pork belly hash is killer (served with eggs covered in hollandaise), and I adore their gelatos.

                    There are tons of good restaurants in DC proper, as well, with "New American/Southern" being the dominant cuisine. Would definitely recommend reading the Washington Posts dining guides. I quite like their food critic, Tom Sietsema. One of the best things about the region is its restaurant scene.

                    -----
                    Bangkok 54 Restaurant and Bar
                    2919 S Columbus St, Arlington, VA 22206

                    1. re: mch
                      m
                      mjhals Jun 14, 2010 11:40 AM

                      Haven't found really good sushi yet in Arlington, I go to Kaz Sushi Bistro downtown when I want good sushi. I recently found Sawatdee Thai in the Courthouse Plaza and I was really impressed. I had the yellow curry with roti and the flavors were just amazing. Also, they use white and dark meat in the dish so it's really tender and flavorful. The decor is quite upscale too, but pretty standard prices for Thai. Highly recommend this place.

                      I've never been a fan of Brooklyn bagel, I had a knish there once that was not just bad but had gone bad (the filling had definitely turned), and on a second visit through their assembly line ordering system they were just really rude and royally screwed up our orders.

                      Next time for Mexican I recommend Guajillo, farther down Wilson into Rosslyn. Their sangria is definitely worth it, as is the carnitas, mariscos borachos and mole.

                      Yes- probably the Italian store, and it would be a long walk (or just kind of an inconvenient one, I can't think of how to walk there without zigzagging down neighborhood streets, but maybe someone has a suggestion of a more direct route). I like to swing by during off hours enroute to the Cherrydale Safeway or to the vet. Sandwiches are amazing (get both the sweet and hotpeppers), and my husband likes the pizza.

                      -----
                      Sawatdee
                      2250 Clarendon Blvd Ste H, Arlington, VA 22201

                      Kaz Sushi Bistro
                      1915 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20006

                      1. re: mch
                        ktmoomau Jun 14, 2010 12:12 PM

                        Second the suggestion for Guajillo instead of Mexicali Blues. Or Taqueria Poblano. Also make sure to check out La Caranquena sometime.

                        Brueggers Bagels in Ballston is ok, but again not going to get NYC bagels.

                        Italian Deli would be the Italian Store. The best walk is probably down Spout Run... as it has nice sidewalks.

                        For Sushi I like Sushi Zen in Harrison Lee Shopping center and Tachibana in McLean. Cafe Asia is ok for cheap sushi they have a high turn over so while not exquisite it is normally fresh.

                        Thai food- Bangkok 54, Thai Square, Dungarats. There are lots of places, but Bangkok 54 is probably the current best is the area.

                        Pizza- if you want NY pizza then try the Italian Store. There is lots of good neopolitan pizza, but not a lot of NY pizza. If you are ok with neopolitan instead check up Pupatella, Pizzeria Orso. You might also like some places in DC like Pete's Apizza (coming to Clarendon). My current favorite in Arlington is American Flatbread, I love their pizza.

                        Ummm no don't go to Booeymonger for sandwiches. Go to the Italian Store or Earl's or Jacksons. I also like the Wurst sandwiches at Heidelberg Bakery and Bahn Mi from the Eden Center. Or Schwarma sandwiches from the Lebanese Taverna Market. Also try brunch at Cassats.

                        Pretty soon Rustico will be open in Ballston they will have a great beer selection so that should be nice. I think Eventide and Liberty have good choices while not a huge list. But if you like beer definitely check out Lost Dog Cafe, it is also a good place for you sandwich fix and you might actually like the pizza there, more NY style than some of the places around us. And they deliver to Ballston.

                        Tivoli is ok for pastries. Your best bet for coffee is Northside Social or Starbucks. Until Buzz Bakery opens then I may correct that statement.

                        -----
                        Booeymonger Restaurant
                        3265 Prospect St NW, Washington, DC 20007

                        Thai Square
                        3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

                        Italian Store
                        3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

                        Rustico
                        827 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, VA 22314

                        Lost Dog Cafe
                        Arlington , VA, Arlington, VA

                        Mexicali Blues
                        2933 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

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

                        Cafe Asia
                        1550 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

                        Taqueria Poblano
                        2400 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301

                        Brueggers
                        500 John Carlyle St, Alexandria, VA 22314

                        Pete's Apizza
                        , Washington, DC 20001

                        Bangkok 54 Restaurant and Bar
                        2919 S Columbus St, Arlington, VA 22206

                        Pupatella
                        5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

                        1. re: mch
                          s
                          sekelmaan Jun 14, 2010 12:13 PM

                          I am an ex-NYC'r myself. There is no NY style pizza that is as good as home. The Italian Store is the nearest substitute, but it is like that bagel you ate in Clarendon, not the same. Right next door the Italian Store is BGR, and excellent hamburger shop (dry aged prime beef patties, double fried fries).

                          Bangkok 54 is outstanding, as is Thai Square just up the road from B54.

                          The only place I eat sushi at in VA is in downtown McLean (about a 10 minute drive) at a Japanese owned place called Tachibana.

                          I have never seen anything in Tivoli that I would buy.

                          There is a new brick oven pizzeria near Ballston called Pupatella if you are in to that kind of thing.

                          -----
                          Thai Square
                          3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

                          Italian Store
                          3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

                          Bangkok 54 Restaurant and Bar
                          2919 S Columbus St, Arlington, VA 22206

                          Pupatella
                          5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

                        2. ktmoomau Jun 14, 2010 12:18 PM

                          There are a couple new pizza places slated to open in Clarendon soon, I think other than Pete's there is also Fireworks and then Rustico has pizzas too. There might be another place as well.

                          Oh and in Clarendon I think Bakeshop VA has coffee too. If they do I bet it would be good, Justin does everything first rate.

                          Also for sandwiches we go to the Eden Center and get Bahn Mi.

                          -----
                          Rustico
                          827 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, VA 22314

                          1. s
                            Steve Jun 14, 2010 01:41 PM

                            You really need to hit up Chez Manelle at the Courthouse Metro.

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7135...

                            1. ktmoomau Jun 14, 2010 02:03 PM

                              Also if you are in Westover there is an Armenian coffee joint that has fantastic coffee called Arax cafe. They have lots of varietes of coffee, but their Armenian Coffee is their specialty. Their food and baked goods are good too.

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