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new places in arlington and falls church

just a note to let you know about some new places or changes that i've seen recently.

just down from "deshi spice," on lee hwy near george mason drive, saran has opened a "saran indian cuisine" restaurant. driving by, it looked nice inside, with tablecloths and all. isn't this the place where people loved their kabobs? anyway, their menu is online here: http://www.sarancuisine.com/Menu.pdf
nice to see a variety of breads, and some dosai and uttapam, too.

second, i didn't see this till today, but the "old pancake house" has now become a "famous dave's bbq, " and this (tuesday) evening…on the way home from "mad fox," it was packed at 8 pm.

"mad fox" has half-price growler refills on tuesday tap days for the specified brew. get on their mailing list for the info/coupon.

"deshi spice" is not getting any business.

the pan-asian place (aka "the cursed location") next to "district taco" seems to be hanging in there.

has anyone tried the "tandoori" restaurant down from "ravi kabob" yet?

"thai terrace" has closed.

i presume you have seen the thread on the new chinese place (opened nov, 15) "hong kong pearl seafood restaurant," across from eden center in that strip mall facing rte. 50.

there is a "chick-fil-a" going in near target….where that terra y mar place used to be.

next to it is a taco/.burrito place "cafe rio." tuesdays $1.50 tacos. looked pretty busy at 8-ish. says it is home-made. looked cheerful inside. http://www.fcnp.com/arts/10606-restau...

there is a new place in an old building on columbia pike just east of thai square. it used to be ethiopian, and now it is…italian, i want to say. the building is a garish color. not a good sign. but…who knows….

next to "pasha cafe," the deli has changed its sign and is now "phil's cheesesteaks." i need to see if they are the same folks. they have (had?) good gyros..

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  1. Thanks for the heads up. Some of these look like very interesting possibilities.

    There are Cafe Rios in Olney and Manassas, so this is probably part of that 'empire.'

    Famous Dave's is best avoided.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve

      i sure wasn't impressed by the famous dave's in vienna.

    2. Thanks for the $1.50 Tuesday taco tip at Cafe Rio. Dammit, it's Wednesday - remind me next week. Their prices looked about a buck across the board more Chipotle so the quality better be darn good. I haven't walked that route since they opened.

      There's another fairly new Mexicanoid restaurant called Viva Tequila in Willston, just a few doors from Mark's Duck House. Haven't been there yet either. And Taco Baja, which has been there for years and years, is still hanging in. That place used to be the best cheap Mexican around, but I haven't been there in a long time, not since they blacked out the windows. That always makes me a little suspicious. ;)

      8 Replies
      1. re: MikeR

        yeah, wassup wit dat?

        is that the place next to goodwill? on the corner?

        ~~~~~~~
        café rio makes their own tortillas, which district taco doesn't even do. sounds like they have the same machine at café rio as they have at uncle julios/rio grande cafe in ballston.

        1. re: alkapal

          Freshly made corn tortillas and a buck off? If I had an iPhone 4S I would be scheduling that with Siri right now, as it is, I will do my best to remember! LOL
          And the half price growler night is definitely going into my old fashioned iPhone, even if I have to do it the hard way.

          1. re: Ziv

            Went to Cafe Rios last week and won't go back. 1) It just isn't that tasty. I had a wet burrito that was barely warmed up under a heat lamp. 2) What's with the staff yelling unintelligbly every so often when customers order something. I never figured out what they were yelling or why. It was just annoying. I feel sorry for the staff to have to do that. They do that at Homemade Pizza when someone gets a free pizza.

          2. re: alkapal

            Yes, Taco Baja is on the end of the strip with Goodwill. I don't know if the original owner is the current owner, but when it was new it was quite nice. This was a part time business for the owner. He was a computer specialist somewhere. I suspect, giving the neighborhood, that it may be Salvadoran-Mex now.

            1. re: MikeR

              yeah, but still weird on the black out. i noticed that too.

              what are you trying to do… hide your peeps?

              anyhow, this afternoon around three, close by of the new place, café rio, it smelled really savory meaty-y (i mean really good...really good!).

              i was **so** tempted to go in and order something, but i was not really hungry and we are also trying to eat out the stuff in our fridge (prior to new fridge).

              1. re: alkapal

                "still weird on the black out. i noticed that too.
                what are you trying to do… hide your peeps?"

                Well, maybe people who eat there like their privacy. Any suggestion of why would probably get this post deleted. ;)

                I'm going to check out the $1.50 tacos tomorrow if I don't get distracted. I usually walk past there before they open, so I don't smell anything particularly food-y.

                Whenever someone walks into Mo's, the staff is supposed to yell "Welcome to Mo's!" and it's often unintelligible though loud, and sometimes it sounds like they just had a bad day and can barely bring themselves to force a greeting out. Maybe that's what ChewFun heard at Cafe Rio.

                1. re: MikeR

                  I went into Taco Baja a few years ago, after it put in the blacked out windows. I'm willing to eat in some pretty sketchy seeming places, but I felt instantly uncomfortable in there. It felt like one of those movie scenes where someone walks into a room and everything screeches to a halt while everybody stares down the newcomer.

                  There was no one at the counter to take orders, and after a couple of minutes of standing there while being ogled by half of the men there, I left without ordering. It seems like it's now just a skeezy bar that serves a bit of food.

                  Even if I heard the food was good, I probably wouldn't go back as a female alone. And I was there at about 2 pm on a Sunday.

                  From a quick glance at the Yelp reviews, it seems like I'm not the only one who had that experience.

                  1. re: jumpingjack

                    I've eaten there, though not recently. I was not impressed and never went back. More Salvadoran than Mexican, IIRC.

        2. Any fans of Deshi Spice out there? If so, any dishes you particularly liked? I have been a couple of times and enjoyed the Curry, Karai, and Haleem (admittedly my only tasting of the latter).

          1 Reply
          1. re: hokieto

            it seems to be limpijng along, but i recently heard (from a pakistani) that bangladeshi food is supposed to be spicy (which i never knew). guess we will have to give it a try soon….

            i'd like to try saran too (needing some dosai); but it seems pricey for vegetarian.

          2. the cheesesteak place is "billy's" not "phil's" http://www.arlnow.com/2011/09/30/bill...

            i have to stop in and see if they still have the good gyros….

            10 Replies
            1. re: alkapal

              still good gyros.

              place is nicely spiffed up, less cluttered with sports and other photos, big caps poster.

              music not too loud.

              $6.50 for most subs (one with bacon, too, is a little more). reasonable price is same as for gyro.

              1. re: alkapal

                Is the the new version of the place in Cherrydale that you were recommending for gyros a while back? I tried one and thought it was so-so.

                Did you ever try a gyro at Food Corner (Annandale)? That's the best one I've found in the area and the bonus is that Shilla's Bakery is next door. I can have a free dessert from the samples there, and take something tasty home for later.

                1. re: MikeR

                  yes, it is the same place -- then "cherrydale deli" -- where i recommended the gyro.

                  i ate at the food corner in vienna and had kabobs, and they were okay. they are afghanis, so i didn't think to order a gyro there.

                  i don't go to annandale much. i wasn't aware there was a food corner there, too.

                  ~~~~~~~~
                  REMINDER TO MIKE -- it is $1.50 TACO TUESDAY at the new cafe rio.

                  1. re: alkapal

                    Just came back from a two-taco lunch. I'll start a new thread for Cafe Rio since there have been some comments about it mixed in with this thread.

                  2. re: MikeR

                    Agree with Mike R's "so-so" assessment of Billy's gyro. The sandwiches looked good, though, and I will go back to try one.

                    1. re: shortorder

                      Has anyone had the cheesesteak at Billy's?

                      1. re: Dennis S

                        my husband thought it was ok (i thought it looked skimpy for the price), but actually we both really liked the cheesesteak at whitlow's. it is good quality meat and cheese -- and not skimpy. plus it comes with a side.. ALSO it is half-price all day on wednesdays, and everyday before 11:30 ( i think 11:30). it is not a "pat" or "ginos" type of "philly cheesesteak" from what i have seen on TV, but it is a *very good* steak and cheese….

                        1. re: alkapal

                          Thanks for the report! Maybe I'll try Whitlow's version soon, then. Sounds similar to Jimmy's in Herndon, which has the best one, imo, that I've had in the DC area.

                          1. re: Dennis S

                            yes, we were quite surprised, actually, about the level of the dish.

                        2. re: Dennis S

                          Still need to get by Whitlows for a cheesesteak. Might be able to do this tomorrow.

                          However I did stop by Billy's two nights ago. And again last night. Pretty damn solid Philly! I added jalapenos to mine. It's now in the rotation, for sure.

                2. the place on columbia pike is called "padrino's" http://www.arlnow.com/2011/05/25/ital... .