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Visiting Arlington for a weekend. Where should I eat?

My wife is on a teaching fellowship in Arlington for the summer. I am visiting her the last weekend in June (Sat-Tues). So the question is, where do I need to go and what do I need to eat? We are both adventurous eaters and experienced gourmets. What do you recommend?

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  1. Location?
    Got transportation or near Metro?
    Budget?
    Things you particularly like?
    Things you have plenty of where you live?

    7 Replies
    1. re: MikeR

      we will be in Arlington and will have a car. Not looking to spend a fortune, but prepared to drop good money for good food. We are both adventurous eaters and will try damn near anything. Relatively low tolerance for heavy/greasy food, generally prefer things that both taste good and feel good in the body. Not looking for a food-coma experience. No dietary restrictions. We live in the Boston/Providence area and get plenty of good seafood. Well experienced with Szechuan, Korean, Indian, Japanese, Ethiopian, French and Thai cuisines. Open to all, but would be looking for something special and NOT dumbed down for American palates. Not looking for generic experiences. We tend to prefer smaller, more intimate settings, love family run establishments. Totally comfortable being the only Americans in an establishment.

      1. re: Ryourido

        Both for my own edification (I visit RI about once a year) and to give an idea of what you're looking for, how about five places in Providence that you really like?

        1. re: Bob W

          In no particular order:

          Rasoi/ Kabob & Curry

          Garden Grille

          Mama Kim's (food truck)

          Sun & Moon

          Flan y Ajo (LOVE tapas)

          Chez Pascal

          Pot au Feu

          1. re: Ryourido

            Thanks -- may I hazard a guess that you live on the East Side? 8<D I am a big fan of Chez Pascal; haven't been to the Pot in 25 years so I'm glad to see it's alive and well. If my visits to RI were longer, I'd eventually get to Garden Grille (always looking to spend money in Pawtucket, where I grew up).

            Since you have a car, the DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia) is your oyster, and you should not be subjected to a bad meal. And since you love tapas, I'd suggest Jaleo -- I've only been to the original in Penn Quarter in DC, but I see they have a location in Crystal City too.

            More generally, you should have no trouble finding places where you are the only Americans (I love that too). You didn't mention Vietnamese, but you might want to take the short drive to Eden Center in Falls Church and browse around. For Szechuan, definitely Hong Kong Palace in Seven Corners (right near Eden Center) -- ignore the name, which is from a previous regime.

            Some of the regulars on here can give you very detailed, current recs for all of the cuisines you named. I have young kids and don't get out to "challenging" eateries nearly as much as I'd like.

            But, for Father's Day I did get to go to MoKoMandy -- a Korean-Cajun place in Cascades. It's not fusion, the owner' is half-Korean, half-Cajun, and the menu is full of dishes from both cuisines. Nothing like it in RI (or anywhere else, I'd suspect!).

            Hope your wife has a great stay.

        2. re: Ryourido

          No need to drop a lot of dough or go into a food coma for a great experience. Northern Virgina is filled with some very interesting choices. None of these meals are heavy even if they sound like it:

          Lao: Go to Bangkok Golden and ask for the Lao menu. There is also a paper menu at the cash register with additional choices, so you may want to ask for that. In addition, the chef can make some things completely off-menu with a little warning or sometimes no warning at all. Nam kao, moak normai, mieng muang luang, grilled pork neck, beef jerky, sai oua, dried pounded fish, soup with lao basil, is just the tip of the iceberg. If you see something special on it the Chef's Facebook page that inspires you, ask for it in advance:

          https://www.facebook.com/BangkokGolden

          Eden Center is a Vietnamese shopping Center with over 23 restaurants. Aside from the many places surrounding the public parking, there are hidden little interior corridors to explore.

          Outside, Rice Paper is one of the popular 'nice' choices. Get the #100 Combo Rice Paper Wrap.

          Inside, if you are adventurous to try one of the tiny family-style places: Bay Lo (miscellaneous salad, and the Bay Lo 7 Special), Nha Trang (special nem nuong, minced clams with rice stone pot), or Hai Duong (grilled fish with dill, de xao lan goat curry). This center is worth exploring and is an activity itself.

          Bolivian: At Luzmilla's (open only until 6pm): get the saltenas and the sopa de mani. Mocochincho to drink. Or do the same at La Caraquena, open for dinner.

          Burmese: Get the ginger salad, tomato tofu, okra, and the whole roasted fish with onions. Ask for it spicy. If you are not averse to dried shrimp, order their homemade condiment, balachong.

          Alsatian: Lyon Hall, get the kraut garnie, pickled vegetables, and the soft warm pretzels.

          Jaleo for Spanish tapas: this is where you'll spend more, but can keep things reasonable with their verduras. Get the quail with rosemary sauce, patatas bravas, and the mini-hamburguesa. Also the spinach with raisins, the grilled asparagus with romesco, garlic mushrooms, beet salad with citrus, and the baby wrinkled potatoes. Order 3 tapas at a time and go from there.

          1. re: Steve

            I knew Steve would come through!

            1. re: Bob W

              Wow chaps! That is EXACTLY the kind of advice I was looking for. Thanks so much! I think it's going to be a good trip!

      2. Pupatella for pizza. Quarterdeck for crabs.

        1. I would also add Green Pig Bistro or Screwtop Wine Bar if you are looking to go that route.

          Second the recs for Rice Paper, Puputella, La Carenquena and Lyon Hall. And wandering and eating the Eden Center.

          1. So I actually arrive on a Saturday morning, at Reagan. Any good brunch places to recommend? Ideally, we'd get something creative, not too greasy and not too crowded. Looking for more than eggs Benny and blue plate specials. Suggestions?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Ryourido

              With the caveat that I have not been to this location, I would check out the Oby Lee Coffee Roastery-Winery-Creperie. Oby Lee (the owner's real name) used to have a coffee roastery/creperie in Rehoboth Beach, DE, that had outstanding coffee and breakfast items.

              He appears to have gone for a similar concept, with the addition of wines.

              http://www.obylee.com/

              1. re: Ryourido

                If I had my brunch pick I'd choose Liberty Tavern. Excellent and inventive buffet, also very creative a la carte items.