Solo dining - Pentagon City or Yellow/Blue line
I'll be spending 3 weeks at the Sheraton Pentagon City for work. I've been there before, and I know there's a good thai restaurant on Columbia Pike, and a Nando's at Pentagon Row.
Where else can I go for dinner? I don't mind taking the metro a few stops in any direction, or walking up to a mile or so. I'm looking for places that are decently healthy, since I'll be eating out 20 nights in a row. Also, I'll generally be eating alone, so places where I can sit at the bar or are very casual would be great. Recommendations for sushi, mexican, thai, korean, big entree salads, etc, are appreciated.
As far as the Yellowline goes.......a couple stops south will take you to King Street which is the Old Town Alexandria stop. There are tons of places in Old Town to check out (search this site, or donrockwell.com). They have a free bus (that looks like a trolley) that will take you from the metro stop all the way down to the Potomac River with stops seemingly every block.
Going north on the yellow line for a couple of stops will take you to Gallery Place/Chinatown. Another hoppin' spot with tons of choices, but not much Chinese! Speaking of Top Chef......Mike Isabella's Graffiato is here, and Speaking Jose Andres', his Zaytinya are here. I love both places.
Further north on the yellow line will take you to U St. This is the new super hot spot with a bunch of brand spankin' new places (again with Mike Isabella.....he just opened up a Greek place here called Kapnos. I love that one too!)
I'll second or third the recommendation for Jaleo in Crystal City (one of Jose Andres' places). They have a huge menu (over 60 items) and you can even do a totally free form chef's tasting menu - - you tell them what you like and don't like and how wild you want to be and the chef will customize it for you.
Also in Crystal City are Kora (italian) http://www.korarestaurant.com/ct/index.html
and Neramitra (thai) http://www.neramitra.com/Neramitra.htm
Those three are right in a row on Crystal Drive. A little further down the same street, on the same side is Good Stuff Eatery (burgers, fries, shakes). It's by a former Top Chef contestant
All are worth a visit or at least a look-see.
re: Lori D
The Kosary is very good, as is the falafel (though made with chickpeas, not fava). This past week they rolled out another Egyptian bean dish - basically a hummus type thing with a bunch of fresh veggies.
The schwarma is good albeit a tad greasy. Someone on the board posted one time that the cheesesteak was good. Might be alkapal - but someone who I generally trust. I haven't tried it myself. The main owner is fantastically friendly, there's generally very nice music playing and there are a number of tables. For days like we've had recently it's a dream destination.
Jaleo for tapas in Crystal City - but the cost can climb pretty quickly. Of the expensive part of the menu, get the quail with rosemary sauce and the mini-hambuguesa made with iberico ham. Excellent less expensive dishes include patatas bravas, spinach with raisins, and grilled asparagus.
At Lyon Hall (per Alkapal above) get the kraut garnie and the soft pretzels.
If you have an interest in venturing further afield, i am in the habit of organizing group Chowhound meals in the area. My e-mail is in my profile.
Clarendon is a great place to explore -- and it is right there on the Orange line.
Check out the threads on Clarendon.
Mr. Alka loves the Teralingua chili at Hard Times Cafe (Clarendon). They have pretty good wings, too.
We second Dennis' rec for Nam Viet -- really good food.
Steve will weigh in with his rec for Lyon Hall - Alsatian food (sorta).
Liberty Tavern is good value for good food. Nice folks.
Don't poo-poo the Silver Diner -- they are offering local/sustainable fare for a year or so, now -- and it is pretty darn good.
Near Ballston metro is Rio Grande-Uncle Julio's for Tex-Mex. We love the beef fajitas, (the Patron margarita) and the Jalisco platter. Best chips and salsa around.
A 15 minute walk from Ballston station is one of the best pizzas around -- Pupatella. If they have the burrata platter -- get it! And the arancini.
Look for any threads on Crystal City as well. Specific to CC would be Jaleo for Tapas, Athenas Pallas for Greek. There's a decent enough pizza place halfway btwn CC and P City, just off of 15th street (forget the name, sorry). There was a good Vietnamese place in P City (Saigon, Saigon I think) but I haven't been in a few months - they had good pho. Excellent Vietnamese can be had in Clarendon just off the metro at Nam Viet.