Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
May 8, 2013 11:42 PM

Springfield VA, please find me a great local speciality

Will be down this weekend from NJ and we are looking for something local. Is there a special sandwich, food item or restaurant specific in ths area? Crab cakes? Too North for BBQ? Want something good but not too expensive, preferably for dinner. Hubby has refused me Faidleys, so please avoid Baltimore.

Thank you!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Good thing husband refused Faidley's as it is not a short drive from Springfield (bottom of the DC Beltway) to downtown Baltimore. Not that Faidley's has the best crabcakes anyway, and it is really just a counter in the Lexington Market, not a restaurant. With standing tables, not sit-down tables.

    This is not too far north for barbecue. Plenty of good places. It is not, however, a local specialty. That really would be crabcakes. But I don't know where around Springfield you might get great crabcakes. If you drive about 1/4 around the eastern side of the Beltway to Bowie, you will find incredible crabcakes at Jerry's Seafood (best in the world, IMHO) and all the other food - salads, sides, bread - are very good, too. I've never tried anything else on the menu except the crab bisque which is fantastic. Never managed to get to dessert - always too full.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Just Visiting

      Thanks for the suggestion! I put down Jerry's as a option.

    2. Yeah, there's one crab cake place near Springfield and it's pretty terrible. Death by Old Bay. You have some good ethnic options around Springfield. Korean soups at Gamasot have rated highly for a long time, but I prefer Kang Chon just because it's cheaper. Bangkok Noodle for pan-Asian noodle soups (they do a great Floating Market Soup). Not really a Thai fan, but Thai Ghang Waan does the standards really well. Just south of Springfield off Telegraph Road, you've got Hunan Deli (also Korean) and ThaiBox, an excellent Thai/cajun fusion place. Anything with crawfish is great. There's also a host of good cheap Afghan/Pakistani kabob places, Food Corner and Afghan Kabob being two of the better ones. Steer clear of the chicken, it's almost always dried-out breast meat.

      2 Replies
        1. re: Jerseygirl111

          People rave about the Korean in Annandale, but I don't think it's worth the crowds or the money. Hunan Deli does good bulgogi, but they're more about the noodle dishes. Sam Oh Jung does decent bulgogi at a fraction of the price, but they didn't have tabletop grills last time I was there. Gamasot and Kan Chon have their fans as well.

      1. Something 'local' you can't get in NJ but is not as far as Baltimore:

        I would go to Oohhs and Aahhs which specializes in Coastal Carolina Soul Food. It is a tiny kitchen with four stools and a dining area upstairs. Counter service. I go for the grilled shrimp and grits (ask for the peppers and onions), broiled crabcake (must ask for broiled, this will take at least 30 minutes but worth it, eat the other stuff first), and the lemon pepper wings.

        O&A is located across the street from the U St/Cardozo Metro Stop on the Green Line.

        13 Replies
        1. re: Steve

          Speaking of soul food, a quick plug for Mama Reacer's in Del Ray. The place was a longtime sandwich shop and they still serve the classic fried egg breakfast sandwiches, but you really want the soul food. Outstanding fried chicken, whiting, collards.

          1. re: Steve

            Well, we have to drive past Bmore to get to Springfield, on 95 anyway. I think he was more concerned about an unfamiliar, iffy neighborhood at night than anything else.

            The website for O&A shows linen and wine glasses. Is this a dive or fancy?

            1. re: Jerseygirl111

              Good question! If there's been a renovation, I haven't been there since. It was a complete hole-in-the-wall last time I went.

              The area is hopping with nighttime activity. In good weather the streets can be packed, especially if a show at the 9:30 Club has just let out.

              1. re: Steve

                Ooohs and Aaaahs isn't "that" great, certainly not worth the hassle of getting off 95 and trying to find someplace to park, nor really worth the effort to metro into the District. Honestly, if you're going to make the effort to go into the District, there are much better places. And yes, O&A is a dive. Linens and wine glasses? Not even close, hell they don't even have an alcohol license.

                If you're in Springfield, shoot for Korean BBQ and Vietnamese food, which are two of the best things you'll find in the NoVa 'burbs. There are also some great kabob joints out there including Rose Kabob in Vienna and Ravi Kabob in Arlington. Ethiopian is one of the peculiar "local" foods of DC and from what I've heard, Dama, in Arlington is fantastic, though it also supposedly looks like a bit of a dive from the outside and is located on a rather pot hole infested stretch of road.

                1. re: The Big Crunch

                  To be fair to Joiseygoil, the website does show linens and wine glasses:


                  I'm guessing it is a generic restaurant website where you just fill in the text.

                  1. re: Just Visiting

                    Upstairs at O&A has tablecloths, but yeah, not worth the hassle or the pricetag. If you're in NoVA with a car and looking for soul food, you're better off with Mama Reacer's or Flavors in Falls Church.

                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                      I stand by my recs to Oohhs and Aahhs. It is my favorite spot in DC. The items I recommend you can't get in the same style anywhere else in the area, and certainly not in NJ.

                  2. re: The Big Crunch

                    So where would you recommend for Korean bbq or Vietnamese?

                    1. re: Jerseygirl111

                      Springfield is one neighborhood over from the largest Koreatown in DC, Annandale. Lots of choices there.

                      A little bit more up the road is Falls Church, where you'll find the Eden Center, ground zero of everything Vietnamese in DC.

                      Lots of posts about both places on this board.

                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                        For Korean BBQ-Honey Pig is good, & Kogiya (which I haven't tried yet, it's new) is getting good reviews. For more homestyle Korean, To Sok Jip & Gom Ba Woo- all of these restaurants are close together.

                        In that area, for Vietnamese, I like Saigon City & Le Bledo (lunch only, I think). Thai Ghang Waan, right across the street from Le Bledo, is good, & also Tanpopo Ramen House (ramen & sushi-I've only had the sushi & gyoza, which were delicious).

                        I thought Walker's Grille was ok, but not special, but Kumo Asian Bistro (which is across the street) has great lunch specials. Hope I'm not too late w/ suggestions, have a fun trip...

                  3. re: Jerseygirl111

                    The Lexington Market and Faidley's both close at 5 p.m. so you can't go there at night anyway.

                    And you wouldn't get to Faidley's by driving past Baltimore. You would have to exit I95 onto the Baltimore Beltway, then take 83 into downtown Baltimore. Definitely out of your way.

                    1. re: Just Visiting

                      Haha! Thanks. To us, anything between NJ and VA is passing by. We will try to make a trip in June to Faidleys.

                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                        Baltimore is also the home of pit beef. Both Chaps and Pioneer are just off the Baltimore beltway and well worth a quick lunch detour.


                2. pretty good bbq at dixie bones in woodbridge (not too far at all). they have a buffet on sunday, too. i like their white bbq sauce on the smoked pulled pork, but i think it is meant for something else. excellent sides, like the collards.


                  1. Do you want to stay in Springfield? One overlooked place in that area is Afghan Kebab Restaurant. It's poorly named (sounds like a fast food order at the counter place), tucked behind the street and looks almost like a bordello from the outside but the food is good and really nice on the inside (tablecloths, candlelight). I would never have tried it out but Afghan friends of ours highly recommended it. The mantu and aushauk appetizers are excellent.

                    How far are you wiling to travel? It sounds like you're willing to go far? Instead of Oohhs and Aahhs, there is also Flavors Soul Food in Falls Church which is closer. We got for the fried chicken.

                    One place I just thought of that does have crab cakes is Walkers Grille, on the border of Springfield and Alexandria near INOVA Springfield. I haven't had crab cakes there but the food has always been very good, supposedly local produce when in season. I haven't been in a few months and it looks like, disappointedly, they've changed their menu a little. They used to have a good duck breast salad.