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Sep 12, 2011 05:53 AM

Arlington Area Eats?


My husband is in town on business and I've tagged along. We're staying in the Arlington area near the Courthouse, and are desperate (or at least I am) for good eats, and interesting eats as well.

We love ethnic foods, so any suggestions for Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, etc. are welcome.

I am on my own during the day, so if there are any lunch hot spots not to be missed, I'd love to hear about those as well.

I have also heard about a Food Truck in the DC area, and would LOVE to know where to go for something like that as well.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

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  1. I live right by Courthouse, so here are some quick suggestions:

    Minh's on Wilson for great Vietnamese. I like their bun dishes and their escargot- which is not at all like traditional French, buttery escargot, it's more like loosely packed sausage. Which sounds bad when I write it, but it's really good! I've heard their pho isn't the best, so if you're looking for pho specifically, I'd head down Wilson to Pho 79.

    In the same strip mall as Pho 79 is Ray's Hellburger, which should DEFINITELY be on your list, especially if you're wandering looking for lunch (just try to hit it either before or after the "normal" lunch rush as it gets busy). They have a bunch of fun toppings (foie gras, bone marrow), but if you're a traditionalist, I'd start with just the basics to enjoy the quality of the beef.

    In addition to the burger place, "Ray" has a great steakhouse nearer to the Courthouse area- Ray's the Steaks on Clarendon. Great "bistro special" for about $30, for a first course (soup or salad- get the crab bisque, please!), hanger steak or salmon, then choice of dessert (best chocolate mousse in town).

    Sawatdee is great for Thai- with a nice atmosphere- a step above your usual hole-in-the-wall mom and pops (not that there's anything wrong with that!) I like their yellow curry with roti.

    Other suggestions for lunch- I like Earl's sandwich, especially their roast beef and cheddar on sourdough- most authentic sourdough I've had on this coast. I'm also a big fan of Fireworks pizza, especially their "soprano," with lots of mushrooms, onions and sausage.

    Two other good choices for dinner are Liberty Tavern and Lyon Hall (same owners, I believe). Both are closer to Clarendon than Courthouse, but an easy walk. Liberty Tavern has a well-edited menu of classic American dishes (roasted chicken, good pasta dishes, roasted fish/meats), and Lyon Hall focus on Alsatian cuisine- I always love their salmon dish and the accompaniements change with the season.

    Have fun!

    2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

    The Liberty Tavern
    3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

    2250 Clarendon Blvd Ste H, Arlington, VA 22201

    1. You are in the middle of some great eating:

      I gather you are from Florida, where Asian or North African food is very limited, so that is a good place to start. If you only want places that are very convenient:

      Chez Manelle, Tunisian, right at Courthouse, go for the brika (like a crepe with egg, potato and sausage). SIgara (stiuffed with goat cheese) are also very good. Actually hard to go wrong here.

      Me Jana, Lebanese, the mezze platters are pricier than most, but quality is sky-high.

      Cafe Assorti: A Kazakh cafe, but think Eastern European. Get the manti (large dumplings) with the pink sauce, and the piroshek (small baked breads stuffed with eggs and scallion, beef, or cabbage). Various vegetable salads. like carrot, beet, or pickled vegetables, are very well-made.

      If you are willing to put in a little bit of effort into finding great Asian food:

      Eden Center, a Vietnamese Shopping Center with over 23 Vietnamese restaurants, delis, bakeries, and other shops. This is a major Chowhound destination. RIght now I would go to Hai Duong for the minced clams with rice, the de xuan (chalkboard special of goat stew), or the cha ca fish. Viet Huong has a large menu of all sorts of goodies (cash only) including muffins with pork and shrimp, sweet and sour seafood soup, and frogs legs. Very good banh mi at Song Que. This is a great area to explore, with not only shops facing the parking lot, but hidden interior hallways with even more places. Viet Taste is inside -near the supermarket- and is all around high quality for items like roast quail and lotus root salad.

      Near Eden Center is the Seven Corners Shopping Center with some excellent Lao and Sichuan food. Bangkok Golden has a separate Lao menu. Three of the top ten things you can eat in the area right now are on this menu; nam khao (rice ball salad), Mieng Muang Luang (rice paste), and the khao piak sen (chicken noodle soup). Many other goodies include beef or pork jerky, and and, not on the menu, som pa (fermented fish) either raw or cooked.

      The SIchuan food in Seven Corners is at Hong Kong Palace where I would get the Chengdu cold noodles, the corn and egg dish from the vegetable menu, tiger skin peppers, and from the specials listed on the wall the chicken with crunchy hot peppers - but you'll have to ask for this as it is written only in Chinese.

      In S. Arlington, Jerusalem serves Palestinian food. I love the makluba and the musakhan, both excellent. For lunch they set up a buffet, and this is the only buffet I will go to. Everything excellent except for the soup.

      Also in S. Arlington some really good Thai food at Thai Square: but you have to be more careful ordering here: get either the tile fish appetizer (ym pla krob) or the catfish (yum pla dook foo) and ask for the duck noodle soup and the sour curry from the Thai-language menu. It will not be on the regular menu, but it is great. This place is small and very popular so you may have to wait.

      Farther afield in Falls Church, but you will need a car, is great Burmese cooking at Myanmar. The ginger salad, tomato tofu, and pork with fresh mango are unique and delicious. Worth the effort.

      I would not opt for the convenient Sawatdee. You are in an area of some excellent Asian food, and Sawatdee may serve only what you can already expect in Florida.

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

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

      Thai Square
      3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

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

      Cafe Assorti
      1800 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

      Viet Taste
      6763 Wilson Blvd., Ste. 6A, 22044, VA

      1. I like both Minh's and Nam Viet in Clarendon for Vietnamese. I like different things at different places, if you search on here, I think there is discussion on that.

        The food trucks are typically in Rosslyn or Ballston. The Washingtonian normally has a roundup in the morning with their proposed locations.

        You have good recommendations above. If you have a car, there is a small place on Lee Hwy called Minerva Express that has good Indian, but one of the places in Clarendon is supposed to have a good Indian lunch buffet, I think it is Delhi Club? Anyone know? I read about it on DonRockwell...

        2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

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

        Delhi Club
        1135 N Highland St, Arlington, VA 22201

        1. Thanks everyone for your reccs!

          I'm from NYC, but moved to I do know what Asian food, bagels and pizza is supposed to taste like.

          I'm more of the adventurous eater of the two of us, so I will check out the places with bone marrow and escargot on the menu on my own as my second half thinks Pappa John's is good eats.... :)

          3 Replies
          1. re: PollyannaFlwr

            Also someone on another thread mentioned Uncle Liu's Hot Pot, I forgot about it, it wouldn't be too too far, it's in between Clarendon and Virginia Square behind George Mason's law school on Washington Blvd. Same owners as Hong Kong Palace.

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

            1. re: ktmoomau

              I think the one on Washington Blvd. is called Mala Tang.

            2. re: PollyannaFlwr

              "I'm from NYC, but moved to I do know what Asian food, bagels and pizza is supposed to taste like."

              In that case, you'd better stick with Peruvian chicken. <g>
              Has anyone mentioned El Pollo Rico in Clarendon yet?

            3. And wanted to mention Bayou Bakery, I didn't see it above. They have some great things and are open all day. Not really ethnic food, but right in Courthouse and a good place. The beignets and muffaletta were great, and they have a nice coffee list too, although I don't love the brand they use I recognize I am not on the majority on that one, they have chickory too.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ktmoomau

                I love their beignets and their French press coffee.