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Moving to Pentagon City-a summary, please

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I will be moving to Pentagon City in a month, right by the mall. Yes, I've heard that Pentagon City is a 'culinary wasteland'--but I'm hoping some locals can steer me in the right direction. I'm not looking for gourmet food, as I can head downtown for that. I'm looking for the basics--everyday eats in the Pentagon/Crystal City area. What are your favorite places for takeout and delivery? Is there a good Thai place in the area? Italian? Pizza? I'm open to all ethnic foods, and everything from dives to upscale.

I have a car, so while suggestions within walking distance are appreciated, I don't mind driving a few minutes. Thanks in advance.

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  1. I've started working in Crystal City a few months ago and have started venturing up to P City when I have some things to read and extra time. Saigon Saigon seems to be decent enough Vietnamese. The pho is definitely good and the rest of the menu looks good. I haven't personally had more than pho there (and there's the general rule where good pho and good other menu items don't exist together - but I'm wanting to explore).

    There's a Leb Tav there, but I haven't been to that location.

    There is a Thai place in Crystal City, but especially with a car just head to Columbia Pike to Thai Square or Bangkok 54.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dennis S

      Forgot to say that there is a Good Stuff that is opening in Crystal City soon. I haven't been to one of the other locations, yet, though.

    2. You might want to wander over to 23rd Street - it's lined with restaurants. There are more across Rte 1 mostly in the underground mall (I think). The Kabob Palace at the intersection of 23rd and Rte 1 is good, though very crowded at lunch. If you can stand "ordinary" Indian, there's a buffet a few block down Eads Street from Kabob Palace, and I enjoy it.

      12 Replies
      1. re: wayne keyser

        I've eaten at Kabob Palace for years now, and for me it's one of the two or three best kabob places in the D.C. area. Yes, the lamb chops are a little greasy and gristly -- but the lamb kabobs, the chapli kabob, and the kubideh kabob, not to mention the chicken, are all stellar, as are the chickpeas, the rice, and the bread. Kabob Palace is not a fancy place, but it's got great flavors. I rank it up there with Ravi Kabob over on Glebe Road (but not as highly as Rose Restaurant out in Vienna). Closer to Crystal City, I also HIGHLY recommend The Afghan Restaurant on Route 1 South (Jeff Davis Hwy, just south of the Potomac Yards shopping center , i.e., the Target / Best Buy / Barnes and Noble big-block shops). Afghan Restaurant also serves beer, and has fantastic lamb chop and boneless chicken thigh kabobs.

        1. re: RogInVA

          I'll have to give the Afghan Restaurant a try. Have you tried Food Corner Kabob House or Karahi Kabob in Springfield? I've found both to be superior to anything I've tried inside the Beltway, including Ravi, which was just a nightmare the last time I went.

          1. re: RogInVA

            Major thumbs down to Kabob Palace. Even when it was ok it was never as good as Ravi Kabob, as they always featured rather sad and old looking steam trays of chickpeas or lentils. And my last visit there was completely awful with everything dried out and crusty.

            I've never found anything special about Afghan Restaurant, another place where the standards are not particularly high.

            Food Corner is my favorite for just kabobs. I haven't been to the one on P St near Dupont Circle.

            1. re: Steve

              You went to the wrong one. There are two. Kabob Palace does not have steam trays- everything is made to order.

              1. re: ClevelandDave

                Getting lost now: which Kabob Palace is the "right" one?

                1. re: air

                  There's Kabob Palace with the yellow awning that's mostly carryout and cab drivers and Kabob Palace with the blue awning that's sitdown and buffet. I've eaten at both: same business, same food, same dinky mall next to the CVS. I skip BOTH and head to Khoinoor Dhaba up the street. They have yet to serve me a plate of underseasoned gristle.

                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                    You are incorrect. Different owners, different food. The one with the yellow awning, for what it is, is great. The one with the blue awning, as ME says, is meh.

                    1. re: ClevelandDave

                      Thanks for the correction. I just have to wonder why two different businesses on the same block serving the same type of food would choose to have the same name.

                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                        I don't know. All I do know is that my reaction when I went to the sit down place was the same as yours, but the take away place has been consistently good. And the take away place is consistently busy while the other not so much. I've peeked back at the kitchen and they do not look the same nor does it look to be from the back but I could be wrong.

                      2. re: ClevelandDave

                        When Kabob Palace Family Restaurant first opened a few years ago, they definitely were run by the same people. Do you have some reason to believe that this is no longer the case?

                        Anyway, I do agree that the original (counter service, yellow awning) is very good, and the nicer restaurant is just OK.

                        1. re: noamb

                          Yes, they told me they were the same too, and the food came from the same kitchen, except that service was slow and it took a lot longer to get our food. The all-night one is horrible last time I was there.

            2. re: wayne keyser

              I did not see any downturn in Kabob's Palace quality when I was there for dinner (late-night) about two months ago. I love the food there and have for years. The chickpeas and spinach are both good, and the kabobs and bread are always fresh in my experience. Consistent place.

              Never been to Ravi Kabob.

              Kabob Palace is much better than the Food Corner on P STreet, which on my last visit had taken a downturn (about 1 month ago). The meat was spiced in a very heavy-handed and unappealing way, though I did enjoy the eggplant side. The bread there is not as good as at Kabob Palace either. They do give out a free soup which is nice.

            3. Good cheap Indian buffet at Kohinoor Dhaba. Not a fan of Kebab Palace any more; the last two kebabs were underseasoned and incredibly gristly. I like the pizzas at Cafe Pizzaiolo. Better than average pies with a pricetag to match.

              2 Replies
              1. re: monkeyrotica

                What is it with all the Italian restaurants right there on that block? There must be five places within that one block...

                Drive another 10 minutes south to Del Ray. Explore.

                1. re: GraydonCarter

                  My money's on all the hotels. The only foreign food certain people are comfortable with is Italian American.

              2. I'm also moving out to that area soon. Slightly off topic but for anyone around there who shops at Trader Joe's- which location nearest to the area do you prefer? It looks like there's one in Clarendon and another near Georgetown.

                1 Reply
                1. re: air

                  The Clarendon one is much larger with a greater selection and wider aisles than the Foggy Bottom store. It is across the street from the Metro while Foggy Bottom is a three block walk to Metro. Both are on the 38B bus line. One additional bonus to Clarendon is that they don't charge five cents a bag.

                2. I used to live in Riverhouse in Pentagon City, the strangest restaurant in the area is Crystal City Restaurant which is a strip club where the strippers wear pasties, but they serve food too

                  http://www.crystalcityrestaurant.com/...

                  The steaks were pretty good and incredibly cheap, I used to just ignore the strippers and dig into a porterhouse.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: redfish62

                    Thanks for the tip. However, I don't think the other patrons would appreciate a pregnant lady eating steak at the strip club.

                    1. re: DCLady

                      Crystal City Sports Pub, right up the street, is owned by the same people. I used to work at the Sports Pub, and it is NOT a strip club.... haha. The food comes from the same supplier, and some of the cooks work at both.

                      P.S. the pasties are required by VA law.

                  2. On the upscale side, the Jaleo in Crystal City is nice, and they have a happy hour half-price selection of some of their best tapas at the bar, which may prove very useful for eating during the "kid's hour" between 5 and 7 once your little one has arrived.