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Dulles dining?

Heading to the Dulles area in late Sept. All I seem to be able to find are chains. Any suggestions to be able to avoid fat, salty and sweet junk food?

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  1. Supper Club in Herndon or Ariake in Reston.

    1. Can you give a bit more to go on? Do you have a car? Where are you coming from and what do you like, and price range. Stuff like that. Oh, and where you'll be (especially if you don't have a car). There is a wide range of options, but knowing this info can help the guidance.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Dennis S

        Yes to the car, we'll probably be at the Mariott Springhill Suites. Price range is not a big deal, it is the food that counts. Coming from Bloomington, IN for a family wedding. We plan to get in on a Thursday. That is the night we'll be looking for dinner.

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        Springhill Cafe
        1430 Spring Hill Rd Ste 102, Mc Lean, VA 22102

        1. re: Candy

          Better info, thanks.

          It looks like you're North of the airport off 28. My first suggestions would be either Sweetwater Tavern to the North, or go to Reston Town Center for PassionFish.

          The former is part of a very small local chain and is pretty much classic American fare, but they brew their own beer. That location does have some water features and paths nearby that you can walk around as well, but otherwise it's sitting nearly on its own.

          The latter is in Reston Town Center, which gives a good available experience of walking around (higher end stores, public areas, etc). It's a mini-city (just add water). PassionFish will be more expensive, but is part of an even smaller local group of businesses in the area, and the only one of the group not in DC. The plus, beside being able to walk around, is that you have other choices if PF is too expensive, too busy, or what not. A sister restaurant to Sweetwater is across the street, named Jackson's, but I find it the least pleasant of that whole group. Mon Ami Gabi is basically in between.

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          Sweetwater Tavern
          3066 Gate House Plz, Falls Church, VA 22042

          Mon Ami Gabi
          7239 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814

          1. re: Dennis S

            Hey Dennis have you tried the Reston Pitango Gelato? Their flavors look incredible. I have to get in there!

            1. re: Bob W

              I have not yet. I'm not one for desserts too much, though I have gone to Iceberry and enjoyed it.

            2. re: Dennis S

              If OP is heading to Reston Town Center, I highly recommend Passionfish, especially over the other restaurants in that area. I agree that Jackson's is the weakest of the GAR group and the atmosphere is loud. I think GAR is a good option for every day type food but if someone is coming from out of town, I wouldn't go to them, unless I was taking someone who is an unadventurous eater. Reston Town Center is a planned suburban outdoor development that's full of chains as a place to walk around. Not terrible but not different--Anthropologie, Apple, Williams-Sonoma, etc.

              If I were bringing someone from out of town out to eat in that area, not caring about price but caring about atmosphere and food, I'd take them to Patowmack Farms. They grow their own produce, source locally and you can't beat the glass conservatory overlooking the mountains, even in the dark, I find it magical. It is about 20 miles away but worth the drive. We drive close to 1 1/2 hours to get there.

              For more casual, heading south on 28 to the intersection of 28/29 in Centreville, not as far away, are a lot of good Korean, Vietnamese, etc places. Bon Chon chicken, a good pho place (pho bistro--I like their seafood pancakes and their pork/meat/chicken with rice), Shilla's Bakery (for bing soo) in Centreville plaza. Every time I'm in that area, I see a new restaurant I want to try.

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              Bon Chon
              6653 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003

        2. There are tons of options within a 15 or 20 minute drive. If that's too far for you, then let us know.

          1. The immediate area around Dulles is filled with chains.

            If you're willing to drive a bit, there is Dogfish Head Brewery (pub type food and a selection of their beers) in Fairfax, Trummer's on Main (more of a fine dining experience) in Clifton, and several places to choose from at Reston Town Center.

            What kind of food are you interested in? How far can you drive?

            1. If you have a car there are many, many non-chain options -- especially of the moderate to cheap ethnic variety. I live so close to Dulles that our house is in the airport noise overlay zone, so please let me know what kind of food you are looking for and I will know if it's available in the vicinity.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Bob W

                Agreed. Herndon and western Fairfax County (the areas east and south of Dulles) in general have lots of great choices for strip mall ethnic restaurants, Indian in particular.

                North and west of Dulles are more chain-heavy, but even there you should be able to find plenty of non-chain options.

                1. re: Futterhund

                  Yes, landlords like chains for sure, so you're always going to get a heavy dose of them in the newer, bigger plazas out here.

                  But there are plenty of non-chain gems in some of the shiny new plazas as well. One of the best Indian restaurants in the entire DC metro area is Rangoli, which is in the Market Square shopping center in South Riding.

                  This is definitely a good query for a site like CH. Some of these places are tucked away.

                  Another place I'd recommend in a heartbeat is Ford's Fish Shack in Ashburn (near the ice rink).

                  1. re: Bob W

                    Wegmans food court with tables above on Rt 28

                    1. re: chowsearch

                      Pitango Gelato is awesome. They also have a Logan Circle branch in DC.

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                      Pitango Gelato
                      802 S Broadway, Baltimore, MD

                      1. re: SimonF

                        My favorites:

                        Passionfish - pretty expensive for dinner but worth it every once in a while. Very reasonable happy hour dishes.

                        Pitangos -excellent. (although doesnt avoid your sweets and fats)

                        Charcoal Kebab - just tried it recently. I thought the grilled meat was great. Veggies I was not thrilled with.

                        Padella - I have only been a few times. But I thought excellent fexpecially for a hotel restaurant. Nice place to sit at the bar. Dishes were interesting, fresh. Serving sizes were not too big - which is nice when you are travelling.

                        1. re: majmaj4

                          Oh wow, I love Charcoal Kebab's spinach as well as the chickpeas. I'll have to look into Padella - haven't even heard of it.

                          1. re: Dennis S

                            Thanks for the tip, i will have to try the spinach.

                            Padella has some restaurant.com deals that make it very very reasonable.