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Lunch near Fort Belvoir -- a culinary wasteland or am I missing something?

I work for an agency on Fort Belvoir right off the Fairfax County Parkway but grew up near Fairfax. I never thought much of Springfield then and in the seven years I've been working on post, not much has changed my mind restaurant-wise.

I've been to a lot of bad lunches at mediocre places but there are a few go-to places I've enjoyed such as Thaibox (Thai/Cajun) on Telegraph, KongChong on Backlick for great Korean/Chinese, two decent Thai places, two decent Indian Buffets and a good Vietnamese place right outside the gate. Once I even ventured to A&J's in Annandale (I know the back way to get there from work ;-). it was good but the whole no credit card thing doesn't work for some and next time I go it really, really need to bring a co-worker who could read the menu for me....

Next month my boss is taking the team out to lunch to celebrate my promotion. Any chowhounds have a fave place in lunching distance from Belvoir that I might have overlooked all these years?

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  1. El Costalilla is about 15 minutes away from you, if that isn't too far. Counter service.

    Do a search on this board for discussion and specific items to order.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      Second El Costalilla. La Mexicana Bakery is not that much farther, but their tortas are well worth the effort, particularly the ahogada. Although the sopes at Costalilla aren't too shabby. Hunan Deli nextdoor to Thaibox has excellent Korean (the soups are substantial). Kinda small (just like Thaibox) so if you're going with a group, try Kimchi House on Route 1. Two little old Korean ladies who use the vegetables that grow  in their garden. Can't get much more locavore than that. Su Pollo does some pretty kickass Peruvian chicken; blows El Pollo Rico out of the water. 5 Ten Food Mart does obscene amounts of pho for next to nothing. You can kill yourself for $9 in there. Definitely not formal dining, though. It's a sandwich/fastfood kinda breakfast joint that also does tacos. Cosmopolitan Grill does solid Balkan fare; good sevapcici and pleskavika on fresh baked bread. 

      1. re: monkeyrotica

        A big second to Hunan Deli, Kimchi House, & 5 Ten, I didn't mention them because they're not really group places (maybe Kimchi House), but they're solid lunch picks. The only one I haven't tried yet on your list is La Mexicana, I don't seem to be able to make it past El Costalilla.

        1. re: thistle5

          The tortas at La Mexicana are outstanding, which makes sense since they make their own bread, which is half the battle. Their tacos are great, but you really want their sandwiches.

          1. re: monkeyrotica

            I'll try to make it up this week, I also really like the sopes at el Costalilla, although I'm trying to limit my carbs (PITA)-every time I'm at my local bakery (Family Bakery & Mrs. Donut), I see lots of folks buying the rolls & baguettes in bulk -I asked when I first moved here if they did banh mi, they would clean up, I think....

    2. I work right near you and we've had several nicer team lunches at Monty's Steakhouse on Old Keene Mill at Rolling Road. About 7 miles.

      I tend towards the types of places you list, mainly along Backlick, but for a group of diverse eaters, Monty's is a nice place with plenty of options in the steak, seafood, burger range. I've had lamb chops, sea bass, and burger and all were good.

      http://montyssteakhouse.com

      1. I work near there off Edsall Rd. There's always Mike's American on Backlick. I like Gamsamot for Korean in that shopping center off Backlick across from the VRE station next to El Grande market. There is a bunch of Asian and Latino places in that plaza. Sugar Palm Thai off Edsall on the east side of I-395 is pretty good.

        1. Osteria Marzano & Kumo Asian Bistro (opposite sides of the Beulah/Manchester intersection) are both good; I like ThaiBox, too, but it's a small space-don't know how large your group is.

          3 Replies
            1. re: Milocat1

              thistle5 and Milocat1 Thanks! Kumo Asian Bistro and Osteria Marzano sound very interesting, Kumo Asian Bistro might be good for my team but I owe a lunch to a dear friend so Osteria Marzano might be perfect for that.

              OTOH we all love, love Thaibox, yes we can fit in there :-) So we might end up back at an old favorite.

              1. re: HokieAnnie

                Osteria Marzano is new & a little hard to find, but I had lunch w/ a friend a week ago & it was great-I had a lunch special of a salad & sm meatball panini, it was delicious.
                Kumo has a lot of variety, if you like Asian food-sushi, Thai, generic Chinese, good service & it's an attractive place, w/ plenty of parking.

          1. I'm going to guess the other Thai places might be Thai Ghang Waan (off Backlick) & Thai Nakorn (Cooper Rd., off Rt. 1), but what's the Vietnamese restaurant? The only one I can think of close to Belvoir is Le Bledo Bakery on Backlick, for pho & banh mi.

            2 Replies
            1. re: thistle5

              Well our go to Thai have been the place in the strip mall in the Springfield Mall lot off of Loisdale Road and Rice and Spice in the Kingstowne shopping center. In the same shopping center as Rice and Spice there's Pho place that thought was decent and tasty but I'm not as familiar with Vietnamese to know with confidence.

              1. re: HokieAnnie

                I like Thai Cafe, too, & a recent COC ceremony was catered by Rice & Spice Thai (a welcome change from Panera & Red Hot & Blue)-you might also like El Paso (standard Tex-Mex) & Su Pollo (Peruvian grilled chicken), they're casual, cheap, & close alternatives. Tacos el Costalilla has wonderful ceviche- you can skip the tostada & just spoon it up. For lunches that will please folks that don't want anything different, Cosmopolitan & Mamma's Kitchen have good lunch specials.