HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >


Columbia Pike changes & other local Arlington restaurant changes in 2010

The Chinese buffet place that closed a while back (a block from Duangrat's) looks like it has a new sign "Hokkaido Seafood Buffet" and activity behind the papered-up windows.

Rosita's little shack near the Liberty gas station (across from Peking Gourmet) is opening soon as "Al Jazeera Cafe."

The Ethiopian place near Thai Square is apparently closed.

There is a new wine bar: Village Vines -- near Frank's Engraving on Columbia Pike at S. Walter Reed Drive. <HOLD ON, is it called Village Vines? I know for sure that Village Vines is definitely a new restaurant discount service. villagevines.org ). Now I will be heading down there this week, so I'll check the wine bar's name.

There is a new "Salsa Room" that looked flashy in the place of some other Mexican place nearby the new "Village Vines." Can't recall the name. Looked open, inviting and modern (at least what I could see as we drove by). (I think this place is just east of Bangkok 54 -- but don't quote me).

The Thai place near Peking Gourmet Inn which used to be Neisha Thai is now another Thai. How long it has been the new name, I don't know. I think there was a different name after Neisha closed there; maybe this is the second replacement?

Other stuff: The Yorktown Bistro (Geo. Mason & Lee Hwy) looks like it is down for the count.

Ruffino's (never went; at Lee and Glebe) is closed, but it seems a new place might be going in there....

No activity apparent on the old Alpine.

District Taco had a decent breakfast clientele on Sunday around 9:30 am.

Thai Square
3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

Peking Gourmet
5732 Buckeystown Pike Ste 16, Frederick, MD 21704

Yorktown Bistro
5171 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22207

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The Salsa Room is the same Bolivian ownership since it was renamed from Cecilia's. It has long been a place to take salsa (dance) lessons. So far, they have retained the same menu, but have plans to make it primarily a 'mexican' menu, still retaining their Bolivian specialties. It is open for lunch although it looks like a nightclub inside and it doesn't look like it's open.

    They have my favorite version of saltena right now, an unusual chicken and beef combination which is the only one they make. Also, their sopa de mani (peanut soup) is the best version around and skillfully prepared. If you haven't been yet, I highly recommend it, though I wouldn't stray too far from those recs unless you want to tackle one of their massive platters of food with about five kinds of starch.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve

      mmmm, five kinds of starch. tempting, though it might make dancing the salsa a little dificil.

    2. The wine bar is named Twisted Vines: http://www.twisted-vines.com/. The Salsa Room is actually a renamed and reformed Cecilia's, and the last time I checked, they were going to add Mexican cuisine to their menus. Love Columbia Pike!

      7 Replies
      1. re: link_930

        link, thank you -- TWISTED VINES!***

        ...and cecilia's -- that space has definitely been transformed -- it is open space-wise (to the street) and looks modern -- may i say trendy? -- inside. steve, it looked open for business to me, as well; word up on the starch, though! ;-).

        *** link, if you care about link wray, go to the american indian museum for the exhibit (with sound) of american indian musical artists. link wray was among the greats -- and many, many more. in fact, EVERYONE GO and be-bop and rock to the great exhibit before it leaves on january 2. be sure and get the free headsets for the audio tour.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NAq4H... -- quentin tarantino used this song for "pulp fiction," but there is sooooo much more there. see hendrix's patchwork "suit of many colors"! cool videos too of the concert for bangladesh (harrison's side, jesse ed davis, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_Ed... , was muscogee creek, seminole and kiowa). http://newsdesk.si.edu/releases/natio...

        cherokee on my side.

        1. re: alkapal

          Alka -- I had completely missed that connection to Wray! Thanks for the rec. I used to go to TSR almost every week until autumn hit, and yes, it is definitely trendy. Strong drinks, too. Let me know next time you're in the CP area, that's my stomping ground!

          1. re: link_930

            link, you lost me. what are TSR and CP? cleveland park, i'm guessing. but TSR?
            teddy's short rover? (;-).

            1. re: alkapal

              Here I thought I sounded cool -- TSR = The Salsa Room and CP = Columbia Pike :)

              1. re: link_930


                I'm not very "with it," huh?! i'll blame my 3-day-old sinus headache. ;-)).

              2. re: alkapal

                Probably The Salsa Room and Columbia Pike, but how did you get Link Wray? From link_930?

        2. One more addition to the "other stuff"...

          The old Restaurant Vero space is now occupied by District Taco. No details beyond its name/existence.

          Restaurant Vero
          5723 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA 22207

          4 Replies
          1. re: Indy 67

            i did mention district taco, and there is also a thread on it. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/745709

            it seems to be doing alright. and...the "cursed location" next to it did have some decent business the night i was at district taco.

            1. re: alkapal

              Yup. Definitely missed that thread.

              Does anyone have any information why a place located in Arlington might name itself District Taco?

              1. re: Indy 67

                There was (is?) a taco truck in DC named District Taco. I think this might be the storefront version. What they serve is pretty taco-truck-like (which, around here, means pretty good). But you don't have to stand in line in the cold to get served.

                1. re: Indy 67

                  It is called District Taco because when they were first opening their food truck business many many moons ago they were intending to be in DC. Due to restrictive licensing back then in DC they decided to have their cart in Rosslyn, Courthouse. The cart was still named District Taco and has done business for years under that name.

                  They are still keeping the food truck and still hope to get into the DC market, but Virginia is their home at time present. I think they didn't want to rename the store at this point because they are counting on a lot of customer's recognizing the name from their cart.

            2. we noticed that the now defunct "brinkley's diner" on rte. 7 (between sears and the laundromat at seven corners) is now an "english pub" and is sporting a makeover (at least outside, and i'm guessing inside, too).

              2 Replies
              1. re: alkapal

                I've noticed the new sign. I seem to recall that it's the same ownership and management as before, they just decided to change gears. It's been probably 20 years since I've eaten there. I had a good bacon cheeseburger as I recall. It would be nice to have a real pub in the neighborhood, but with Dogfish Alehouse so close, this can't be any better (other than that I don't have to cross the street to get there). <g>

              2. yorktown bistro looks abandoned. i mean, by the owners (customers left a while ago).

                1. yorktown bistro's signage is gone now, and a temporary sign is announcing an incoming bangladeshi restaurant, named "deshi" (iirc). that whole strip mall is becoming bangladeshi, except for the end caps of cuban and thai.

                  1. Alpine has been bought by the restaurant group that owns Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall, Northside Social and so on. They plan to just hold it for a while as they want to proceed cautiously in their (already rapid) growth. Given their other places, should be great when it opens.

                    The Liberty Tavern
                    3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

                    1. Mint became Mint a few years back. Neisha Thai's franchaise partnership fell apart, I remember hearing, and the owners at this Thai place wanted out, so they became Mint.

                      Public House No. 7 (where Brinkley Diner/House was) is a decent British gastropub. I like their tap selections and their battered fish (i had mushy chips last time because it was sitting under the fish. If you order the fish and chips, ask for the chips on the side). I would go back, especially for the tvs available for sports watching.

                      1. ruffnos will be reopening after renovation and is hiring servers.

                        former yorktown bistro will become deshi spice with bangladeshi food.

                        1. So not that new, but thought that Kabobs Inn deserved a mention. I've gone a number of times but they can be inconsistent. When it's good, it's AMAZING, but when they miss... man, do they hit it out of the ballpark. I've had every dish, every side multiple times, and am always so sad/angry/disappointed when the rogan josh is laying under 2.5 inches of oil (we measured!), the naan is doughy, the chicken dry, or the spinach side gritty -- because I know how incredible the food can be. Also, the garlic naan is not worth $3; you're better off brushing on your own garlic and ghee at home. If getting takeout, double-check your order before leaving (out of the 15+ times I've gotten takeout, it was correct once).

                          Don't let this deter you from going, though! Just thought a fair warning was needed. Other than the hiccups, I LOVE this place, and they really push people to visit their upstairs "fine dining" area, which is actually really cute and cozy.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: link_930

                            link, if you're getting indian, go down to raaga (near bailey's x-roads), and tell the chef exactly what you want. i don't know if the price would be that much more than kabobs inn (that's near the thai square, right?), but you'd get consistent good quality for a couple of bucks more per dish (if that, looking at their online menu). and if you like it spicy, let them know. chef's fresh-made chicken kabobs are super!

                            ask to speak to chef ramesh.

                            1. re: alkapal

                              Fantastic, thanks for the tip, alkapal! Girlfriends are coming up this weekend -- we're definitely going to make a trip here.

                              1. re: link_930

                                link, definitely talk to chef about your likes/dislikes -- he'll make stuff "off-menu" too. look at my post about raaga on valentine's day -- there is a photo of chef ramesh. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6878... (also, the shrimp dish in the other photo is dee-lish -- and those are the chicken kabobs in the photo, too. they're appetizer size there).

                                i highly recommend the tandoori lamb chops. he also does a nice shrimp masala with curry leaves, coconut milk and mustard seed.

                          2. Anyone heard anything about Burapa in Clarendon? I didn't even see it on ARlnow.com.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ktmoomau

                              we went to burapa maybe six months ago on a groupon. it was just OK, but for thai, bankgok bistro in ballston is vastly superior. in fact, bangkok bistro is our favorite go-to thai these days…..so fresh! their crab and shriimp appetizer is great, mr. alka loves the squid legs, and he declared the panang curry the best he's ever had. great beer selection, too (and specials).

                            2. deshi spice is open -- and i could see white tablecloths (!) through the windows.

                              and...ruffino's was packed last night as i drove by around 8 pm. it was busier than cowboy cafe.

                              1. ironic now that my post today is to say that deshi spice has closed. at least a couple of weeks. sad to see it go. maybe that spot has taken over the "cursed location" mantle.

                                the little tex-mex place near linda's café is now two pappas' pizza.

                                there is a new hookah bar/lebanese food place that we aim to try really soon -- across from the peking gourmet inn on columbia pike. it has outdoor tented seating and the small place has couches and easy chairs inside. the menu looked extensive and very reasonable. the people were very friendly. (we stopped by and checked them out on our way home from a very mediocre meal at raaga, sad to say. to be fair, the kitchen was slammed -- unbeknownst to us beforehand -- dealing with a dining room full of what we learned were last minute "living social" coupon holders.** so no special attention from the chef. in fact, he typically comes out and chats about what specifically we'd like -- off menu -- but we saw not hide nor hair of him all evening).

                                rice paper at eden center in falls church is really exciting! neat decor, good food. one dish you HAVE to try is the littleneck clams with pork and peanuts appetizer. it is like thai larb on steroids and is so savory and delicious. it costs $15, but it is worth it -- will really serve four as an appetizer. honestly, i'd be happy just to split it with mr. alka as my main dish, it is that great.

                                ** we got great amusement (which then turned to mild annoyance) with watching a table of five next to us with one of those living social coupons trying to figure how to split the check. the check must've made the rounds twice through EACH PERSON's hand. there was intense perusal, smartphone calculators employed, re-scouring of the bill, questioning of the server...and calculation of compensation due to the original purchaser for the price of the original coupon purchase.
                                oh it was a sight! it went on for what seemed forever -- maybe nearly as much time as they had taken for dinner itself -- and that is only slight hyperbole.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: alkapal

                                  the lebanese place is on LEESBURG PIKE -- ROUTE 7, not columbia pike, across from the peking gourmet inn.