Moving to Herndon
I'm relocating to Herndon from Philadelphia in a month or two. I've been to Herndon a few times, and have enjoyed meals at Supper Club of India, TurCuisine, and Rubino's, but I'd like to have a wider repertoire. I'm open to most cuisines, although I don't dig Ethiopian.
Also, is there a good farmer's market in the area?
I moved to Herndon about 7 months ago and have been exploring the restos.
Some places I have liked:
Viet Crystal in Chantilly-there are some decent Vietnamese places around like May Saigon and Pho New (for extensive menu and not just pho-house) but Viet Crystal stood out for me because their grilled meats (for bun or com plates) actually taste smokey and chargrilled. Very delicious meat.
I liked Chutneys in Clocktower for dosa and other South Indian snacks.
I like Manhattan Pizza in Woodland Park Crossing above all the other nearby pizza places (preferred it to Rubino's). I order it extra thin and well done and it comes out very flavorful and greasy in the right way.
I like Tipicos Gloria on Elden Street for pupusas. The pupusas always come out crisp and well seasoned. I preferred there to El Dorado in the same shopping center, but both are good. El Dorado has a nicer sit-down atmosphere, but Tipicos Gloria pupusas were crispier on the outside. Pollos Inka is also worth checking out...they have a combo Peruvian and Salvadoran menu (full menu, not just chicken).
I have tried a lot of Peruvian style roasted chicken around I I find that I prefer Guapo's, which claims to be vaguely Mexican, but make no mistake, it is pollo a la brasa. But their chicken is just somehow smokier and more flavorful than others.
Foster's Burgers has a good hamburger.
I like Charcoal Kabab for Afghan.
Another chowhound recommended Angeethi's Indian food to me. I haven't made it there yet, but thought I would mention it.
For Chinese-American delivery I usually call China Gate. The Chinese options in and around Herndon are bleak-greasy, gloppy, gristly meat, soggy veggies, etc., I have tried a handful of Chinese delivery places (it seems I order in Chinese at least 3x/month), and I have found that China Gate uses large pieces of non-gristly meat, and some of their dishes are really good. I particularly liked the Beijing Shrimp (shell on salt and pepper shrimp) and Chef's Special Seafood Combo (white sauce seafood medley, including a 1/2 lobster tail)...somehow the seafood is not overcooked even though it has sat in a take-out box and gotten an extra steaming. I also really loved their orange beef and beef chow fun.
There is a farmer's market around but I have never been to it. My favorite places to shop are Lottes Plaza and Shoppers because every other place is super expensive.
Over all I haven't found that Herndon is a foodie paradise of any sort...but above are the places I have enjoyed and gone back to multiple times.
LuckyFatima started a decent list except I protest and boycott Tipicos Gloria for ruining Teocalli Tamale (and I've never gotten good service there or when they bought Teocalli).
Near there is Euro Bistro, which while they have other things, the German dishes are what you want to order.
Second Charcoal Kebab and Angheethi. For a righteous deli sandwich, The Deli in that same KMart strip is solid - and know that if you order regularly, they give double meat portions, so you can ask for single portions at a reduced price. The Hot Sicilian is outstanding.
Also good in that strip is Three Thai Sushi. Their Tom Yum is the best I've ever had.
There are a few small but good markets in this strip as well; Russian, Middle Eastern, and Indo-Pak. A small Asian market is over near Reston Glass, and a larger one is up on Rt 7 just west of Dranesville Road.
There is pho 75 in that strip, but I prefer Pho Reston 75 in the Tall Oaks center in Reston. They also have a full Vietnamese menu.
Up the road from there is Lake Anne, which has a Saturday farmers market during the summer months. Cafe Montmarte is also there and is a fantastic place for al fresco dining. The escargots are great!
The other farmers market I know of is at Reston Pkwy and Sunrise Valley on Wednesday afternoons.
Getting back to the Rt 7 Dranesville Rd area, there's a good Thai place called Thai By Thai. Also, Betty's is under the clock tower and makes arguably the best saltenas in the area. The Lebanese place is supposed to be good, but I haven't been yet.
Back in Herndon, in old town Ice House cafe is good for a upper-mid level meal and on many nights they have a live jazz band. Across the street is Jimmy's which has above level american pub food. The Friday fish fry is great there.
That will help get you started.
To clarify a few things:
There are two "clocktower" buildings in the vicinity of Herndon. One is in Herndon, the other is in Sterling. Minerva and Hama Sushi are in the Herndon Clocktower plaza, while Betty's is in the Sterling clocktower plaza.
We have some very good Indian food in the area. In addition to Angeethi and Minerva, Paradise on Elden Street, near the K-mart plaza, makes huge, tasty dosas and has an Indo-Chinese section on their extensive menu. There are several less formal Indian places where you can get a good, cheap meal as well, such as Hot Breads and Chutneys.
Our Vietnamese restaurants are second-rate in comparison to what you will find if you go to Eden Center. That being said, May Saigon is okay, and we eat there often for the convenience factor. For Korean, Edoya offers a limited menu of Korean dishes along with a bigger sushi menu. Staff there are really trying (the place is new), but I'm not sure if they are going to make it. There is some very good Korean to be found where 28 and 29 intersect, but that's a good drive from us.
I'm a fan of Mikuku and Ariake for Japanese; we have several other places (Hama Sushi, Nippon) that are okay, but the first two are a clear cut above in quality.
If you go for wide noodle dishes and fried items, it is hard to beat Thai by Thai. Someone in the kitchen really knows how to wok. Ask for the Thai menu, and go for the Chinese broccoli with fried pork, the fried pork ribs, the pad see eww, and the chinese chive cakes.
Sahara, the Lebanese place in the Sterling Clock Tower, is also very good.
Wow, thanks for all the great responses, and for clarification on the two clock towers. I'm planning a house-hunting trip in a week or two and will start checking some of these places out. I like the recommendations for Salvadoran and Peruvian, which are pretty new to me, but is there any straight-ahead Mexican?
No hay nada de nada de comida mexicana en Herndon. Some mediocre American style Tex-Mex, including the usual chains. Some Salvadoran places that advertise as Mexican to attract a multi-ethnic clientele who might be more familiar with Mexican food, but they are actually Salvadoran owned and their best dishes are Salvadoran (like El Dorado). I found a divy Mexican place in Manassas (they had good tacos de barbacoa) but it wasn't worth the drive (it isn't that far but the traffic is horrid in that direction). Far away in Alexandria, Arlington, and DC you can find some places (search this board for recs), but in Herndon and immediately nearby, nothing.
There are a couple of other farmer's markets that Dennis missed. During the summer there is one right by the caboose on Thursday mornings. Frying Pan farm has a summer market on Thursday afternoons I believe. I saw what looked like a sign for an indoor market there now, but didn't get a chance to stop and check it out. And if you are further afield, there is a Sunday morning market in Cascades (near the library).
Reston isn't Herndon, but don't miss Cafe Sano in the South Lakes shopping center. It's a small, counter service Mediterranean place with fresh food and a small outdoor seating area.