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Recommendations--dinner--Alexandria to Silver Springs

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Meeting my cousin in a couple of weeks and looking for a fun place to go for dinner. We'll be meeting up in Arlington (but could go down to Alexandria for a good place) and ending up in Silver Springs, so anywhere in those three places or on the route would be fine.

Here's the challenge: I love to try new restaurants (read: great food, well-prepared, innovative approaches to food, creative chefs) and cuisines always (live in Portland Oregon so we are SO spoiled) and especially whenever i travel. However, my cousin is describes herself as a "meat and potatoes, chicken and rice, pasta and pizza" kind of girl. The plan is that I am going to suggest three possible restaurants to her, including one that might be a bit of a "stretch" and she'll choose. Please please please give me some ideas so we don't end up at Denny's. Good value for $$ is always preferred.

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  1. 1) Ray's the Classics in Silver Spring

    1. Some innovation, but still you can get plain food if necessary:

      Lyon Hall, Alsatian, Arlington
      Againn, Irish, DC
      Central, DC French and American
      Brasserie Beck, Belgian

      High quality throughout, check the menus.

      www.lyonhallarlington.com
      www.centralmichelrichard.com
      www.againndc.com
      www.beckdc.com

      1. If you want to eat closer tot Alexandria, I'd feel comfortable bringing a "meat and potatoes" person to The Majestic in Old Town. Updates on one classics like meatloaf w/ bacon and whipped potatoes, plus innovative specials.

        http://www.majesticcafe.com/default.html

        1. thanks for suggestions so far. More are welcome.........
          Just to clarify, we want to AVOID going into DC, so think Alexandria, Arlington, Silver Springs, or anything on the driving route between Arlington and Silver Springs.
          Anything Italian? Anything ethnic?
          Anything more casual and less expensive?

          2 Replies
          1. re: sarosenthall

            Go to Astor in Arlington. Middle-Eastern, they have simple grilled meats, baked chicken, and their own style of pizza which is delicious. Order at the counter, hard to get cheaper.

            http://www.astorfoods.com/index.php?o...

            1. re: sarosenthall

              If you're willing to deal w/ order at the counter service and finding a seat, there's the Italian Store in Arlington.

              http://italianstore.com/

              There's also Ray's Hell burgers and across the street, Cafe Assorti--Russian pastries/other foods, worth trying out. Good meat filled pastries for your friend who likes plain basic food, plus different pastries and entrees if you want to try new things.

              http://www.cafeassorti.com/

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              Italian Store
              3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

            2. In Silver Spring, in order:

              8407 Kitchen Bar

              Ray's the Classics

              Jackies

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              Ray's the Classics
              8606 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910

                1. Pro tip: It's "Silver Spring", singular, unless you want to immediately identify yourself as an out-of-towner.