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Rockville Pike

I live in Alexandria, and admit that I rarely feel like trekking "all the way" to Maryland. However, over the past few weeks I've been forced to be in Rockville, and while driving down Rockville Pike I noticed that there are a plethora of small (mostly ethnic) restaurants. Does anyone know if any of these places are worth going to? DH and I love all foods, and recognize that some times you can find AMAZING food is these strip malls. If anyone has a recommendations about a gem we may find along Rockville Pike, we'd love to hear it!

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  1. Yes, there is tons of stuff. I know of a couple, and I'm sure others will chime in. There are reviews of all these places on this board. These are all Chinese.

    Right near Rockville metro:
    Bob's Noodle 66 (just behind the Pike) - oh my gosh, get the pan-fried rice cakes, the Taiwanese hamburger, sha cha beef with noodles
    Sichuan Pavilion - dan dan noodles are the best here, lots of other good dishes recommended here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6416...
    China Bistro (aka "Mama's Dumplings) - the most delicious home-made dumplings ever. You would never expect it looking at it, but it's definitely worth the trip.

    Elsewhere:
    Joe's Noodle House
    A&J

    I've also heard the Pita Hut (also in Rockville) is good. Has anyone tried it? It's an Israeli place, looks a bit along the style of Pita Plus in College Park.

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    China Bistro
    755 Hungerford Dr, Rockville, MD

    Joe's Noodle House
    1488 Rockville Pike Ste C, Rockville, MD 20852

    Pita Plus
    4425 Lehigh Rd, College Park, MD 20740

    4 Replies
    1. re: hamster

      Pita place is yummy! The schwarma is outstanding in either a salad, or a pita. Do take note, however, this is a very chaotic place, especially on Sunday nights. The thing to do is look and a menu and go right to the counter and order. Don't wait for the one and only waitress. This way, you can walk along the counter and pick out all the toppings you want for your dish.

      1. re: mrsphud

        Do you mean Pita Plus (in College Park) or Pita Pit (in Rockville)?

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        Pita Plus
        4425 Lehigh Rd, College Park, MD 20740

        1. re: hamster

          I went to Pita Hut in Rockville & it was great. Next door to the new Woodside Deli.
          http://pitahutmd.com/

      2. re: hamster

        A&J is delicious. Get their fried pork chop noodle soup. I live in Boston now where the hounds here think very highly of their Chinatown noodle soups but nothing comes close to A&J...

      3. There are tons of great restaurants on Rockville Pike, it just depends how far you want to go. A few of the Chinese places have been mentioned, but there is also Ba Le for great french/vietnamese sandwiches. Pho 75, China Canteen, and even further up the Pike New Fortune for Dim Sum and Burma Road.

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        New Fortune
        16515 S Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

        Burma Road
        617 S Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

        8 Replies
        1. re: mrsphud

          Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I am kind of a dumpling-a-holic (though only for very good dumplings), so I'm excited to check out the Dim Sum place and the China Bistro!!

          Are the noodles at the noodle houses fresh made in-house?

          1. re: hppyheather

            I'm not sure, but I'm sure others will. Also note A&J has good potstickers and noodles, but I have had better luck at China Bistro, where they are really *the* specialty.
            All of these places are really good and take their food quality very seriously.

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            China Bistro
            755 Hungerford Dr, Rockville, MD

            1. re: hamster

              And to be clear on China Bistro - go for the dumplings, they're incredible. However, don't expect too much from the rest of the menu.

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              China Bistro
              755 Hungerford Dr, Rockville, MD

              1. re: Dennis S

                I agree with stick to the dumplings, but we've always enjoy trying thee cold appetizers displayed in the case next to the cash register. Last week we had spicy broccoli stalks (ok, but wouldn't order again), and sweet soy beans which I thought were excellent. We also enjoy the spicy wonton soup, with house made wontons of course.

                1. re: Rick

                  I will also vote on dumplings-only, plus the small plates in the case. And I'll add that, they do make some pretty decent noodles in-house, so you can ask what soup or stir fry can be made with those noodles.

                  And while the rest of the menu is just typical Americanized Chinese, it's well-prepared American Chinese, so if this is what you want, there's nothing wrong with those dishes.

                  1. re: DanielK

                    I didn't realize they made noodles in house too. I'll have to try them next visit!

                    1. re: Rick

                      Not all the noodle dishes use the homemade noodles, so be sure to ask.

                2. re: Dennis S

                  China Bistro is really all about the dumplings. I'm not sure why they bother serving anything else. I had a bowl of wonton soup once when I was waiting for my dumplings. A bowl of hot water with some wontons. The dumplings, on the other hand, are pretty damn good.

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                  China Bistro
                  755 Hungerford Dr, Rockville, MD

          2. Another suggestion that hasn't come up yet -- I'm pretty sure I learned about El Patio from this board, and when I'm in Rockville every few months I often stop there to take home empanadas and cookies. (I also always stock up on Penzey's spices when I'm in that area.)

            3 Replies
            1. re: mselectra

              This is the Argentine place, right?

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              El Patio
              12303 Twinbrook Pkwy, Rockville, MD 20852

              1. re: GraydonCarter

                I've been there twice, but only for take-out. Both times, the place reeked of some super-strong cleaning product that made me gag. I wonder if they are still using it. The food was great.

                1. re: GraydonCarter

                  Yes, that's the place. I've also only taken out there. Haven't noticed the strong cleaning product smell, haven't been there in a few months probably.

              2. If you are interested in a veggie chinese dinner, you could try Yuan Fu. BTW, I can't swear to it, but I think that Pita Plus in CP has closed. However, the Pita Pit in Rockville is excellent (just remember it closes early on Friday and is closed on Saturday since its observes the Jewish Sabbath).

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                Pita Pit
                7313 Baltimore Ave Ste C, College Park, MD 20740

                Pita Plus
                4425 Lehigh Rd, College Park, MD 20740

                4 Replies
                1. re: skipper

                  The pita/shwarma place you're referring to is called Pita Hut, not pita pit. And YES, it's excellent!

                  1. re: skipper

                    I love Yuan Fu; go for the lunch specials: you get 3 dishes plus rice for about $6. My faves are the basil eggplant, kung pao tofu and mixed veggies.

                    1. re: needsmorecoffee

                      I see that on the website for Yuan Fu, they explain that they use meat substitutes. "For example, beef and pork are made of gluten; chicken is made of soybean protein; duck is made of layers of tofu skin; fish is made of soybean protein and seaweed; baby shrimp and squid are made of white yam (Japanese Style Yam)."

                      I usually like Chinese vegatable dishes, where there is plenty of bok choi and broccoli, and don't necessarily like vegetarian dishes where they make heavy use of imitation meats, but this might be interesting.

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                      Yuan Fu Vegetarian
                      798 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852

                      1. re: GraydonCarter

                        There's *another* vegetarian Chinese restaurant in Rockville on the Pike, Vegetable Garden, that does more vegetable dishes and less "fake meat" dishes.

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                        Vegetable Garden
                        11618 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852

                  2. Joe's Noodle House is a Sichuan restaurant and a longtime favorite. I especially like it for their long list of xiao chi (small plates) that are unrivaled in the area.

                    Wontons in red hot sauce, spicy and sour pickled vegetables,cucumber salad, shredded radish with hot sauce, fried baby smelt and peanuts, steamed taro and red date cake, homemade bacon with leek, the list goes on... mostly you can avoid noodles, though,. The name of the place is a holdover from a previous owner.

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                    Joe's Noodle House
                    1488 Rockville Pike Ste C, Rockville, MD 20852

                    1. Thanks for all of these great recommendations! I think we'll be off to an adventure on Rockville Pike in the next week or two and will update.

                      1. The Ba Le is also worth a stop if you are interested in either a soup or a sandwich. They have a selection of bahn mi, and the yellow noodle soups are pretty good. The garden rolls used to be the best I'd had anywhere, with mint and basil making the filling far more flavorful than most, but I think grandma isn't making them any more and they have dropped to fairly average.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: PollyG

                          Heh, it is listed as "Bale" (Bale Vietnamese Deli Inc) instead of "Ba Le".
                          The menu looks good.

                          -----
                          Bale Restaurant
                          842 Rockville Pike, A Rockville, MD

                          1. re: GraydonCarter

                            6 banh mi sandwiches for the price of 5. love the lemon grass grilled pork or chicken banh mi sandwich

                          2. re: PollyG

                            We stayed at the Hilton near that Ba Le and felt the banh mi were not as good as the one we usually go to in Falls Church. Maybe we just hit them on a bad night, we didn't try anything besides the banh mi.

                            1. re: PollyG

                              IMO, Ba Le is fine if you are in the area and in the mood for that type of food, but, if I were making a trip from Virginia to Rockville for the purpose of eating, i would stick to the Chinese food and eat Vietnamese in Virginia.

                              I also wouldn't make a special trip to A&J - not knocking A&J at all; but there is one in Annandale, and I don't think there is much, if any, difference between the two. Likewise, there are a couple of Pho 75 in NOVA.

                              In addition to Steve's list for Joe's Noodle House, i would add the wontons in hot and sour sauce and the vegetarian dishes - ask Audrey, the owner (who takes your order) for her recommendations.

                              -----
                              Joe's Noodle House
                              1488 Rockville Pike Ste C, Rockville, MD 20852

                            2. Urban BBQ is just off Rockville Pike on Rollins Ave..

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                              Urban BBQ
                              10163 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20903

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Hue

                                We drove past that Urban BBQ while getting lost trying to find something else. How is it?

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                                Urban BBQ
                                10163 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20903

                                1. re: Rick

                                  I thought it was on Chapman, not Rollins.

                                  Anyway, the ribs are very good. The brisket and sausage less so. The collard greens are excellent. The beans and corn bread too. The mashed pots and mac/cheese less so. The starters are good, especially the chicken wings, the soul rolls, and the redneck fondu (cheese and chili). In fact, these three are a remarkable meal combo!

                                  We mostly do take out. Eat in can get busy. But good beer and peanuts while you wait.

                              2. A few more places worth visiting on or just off the Pike that haven't been mentioned yet:

                                Spice Xing (Indian)
                                La Canela (Peruvian)
                                Yekta Kabobi (Persian)
                                York Castle (The "original" Giffords ice cream)

                                -----
                                La Canela
                                141 Gibbs St, Rockville, MD 20850

                                Spice Xing
                                100-B Gibbs Street, Rockville, MD 20850

                                Yekta Kabobi
                                1488 Rockville Pike Ste A, Rockville, MD 20852

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: DanielK

                                  Yekta remodeled and is now quite the attractive place to go along with the good food.

                                  1. re: Pappy

                                    Indeed they did. Don't know if it's running yet, but as part of the expansion they were installing a bread oven, to replace the packaged stuff they were previously serving.

                                    Their cornish game hen kabob is the single best kabob I have eaten in the DC area.

                                    1. re: DanielK

                                      I guess I'll never know, since it's right next to Joe's.

                                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                                        That's my weakness, too. I've heard of them for a while now. But if I go to Joe's it's usually out of the way. My wife, born and raised in the Rockville area thinks I'm insane that I sometimes stop at Joe's if I'm on the top side of the beltway. To me, I'm "in the area". To her she thinks I'm insane. We may both be right...

                                        1. re: Dennis S

                                          Had one dinner at Yekta and it was decidedly middling. Stick with Joe's.

                                2. right off Rockville Pike are 2 good ones...Pho Hoa Binh on 11782 Parklawn Dr (great Pho & papaya salad)
                                  Amina Thai 5065 Nicholson Ln (love the dumplings)

                                  -----
                                  Amina Thai Restaurant
                                  5065 Nicholson Ln, Rockville, MD 20852

                                  1. Just wanted to say thanks for the recommendation to try ChinaBistro/Mama's Dumplings in Rockville. We finally got up to Rockville for lunch on Sunday and ordered (a few too many) dumplings. We had the mama special, the vegetable, and the chive and shrimp. All were fantastic!

                                    I see where some people have said that the dumpling wrapper is a bit too thick, but you can tell these are obviously done by hand and are much larger then I was expecting. Given the size of the dumpling, I think you need a thicker wrapper so that whole thing doesn't collapse on you. I hadn't realized that 12 large dumplings come in each order - so we were happy to have some leftovers!

                                    The highlights were (surprisingly) the vegetable dumpling and the chive and shrimp. The vegetable dumplings were surprisingly bright and fresh. They were possibly one of the best vegetable dishes I have eaten. Eating this fresh veggie dumpling and seeing the sun shine, well, it almost felt like spring had come! I was equally impressed with the chive and shrimp. After eating so many dumplings in Seattle and SF, I was shocked that the chive and shrimp dumplings had whole pieces of shrimp (as opposed to ground shrimp). Two of our dining companions had the bubble tea (honeydew and taro, respectively) and they were pleased with the bubble tea -- only complaint was that there may have been a few too many tapioca balls (not a bad thing to complain about).

                                    Overall, two thumbs up and I hope others venture up here if they haven't tried it yet!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: hppyheather

                                      Great review, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the tip on the bubble tea! I am always on the search for good bubble tea, and I think I was too full to try it when I went to China Bistro last time!

                                      -----
                                      China Bistro
                                      755 Hungerford Dr, Rockville, MD

                                      1. re: hppyheather

                                        This place used to be a secret for the locals, but it's not unusual to find a wait at peak weekend and dinner hours now.

                                        Good for them!

                                        P.S. The Beef Celery are probably my favorite dumpling that they make. And the Mama's Special really shine when pan-fried, rather than steamed.

                                        P.P.S. All of the "small plates" in the display case in the front are also great.

                                      2. Pho 75, Urban BBQ and Addies.

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                                        Urban BBQ
                                        10163 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20903