Falls Church / Modern American/ $$$$
There’s no dining experience that will whet every appetite quite like a tasting menu. The anticipationthat buildsas you wait for the grand reveal of each course, the satisfaction as it arrives in front of youlooking irresistible, the sharingof a dish with the person by your side—it’s all a routine likely to whip you and your companion intoa frenzy.
And no one in NoVA does this theatrical hurry-up-and-wait with the same gusto as chef Bertrand Chemel. The first step to ecstasy is reading the menu, with its creative offerings that only hint at the artistry to come. What exactly is Canary Islands branzino “bulgogi”? you wonder. The fish course, also available made with maitake mushrooms for the vegetarians, is a flaky fillet with crunchy skin that indeed tastes like Korean barbecue, but is served over a matsutake-mushroom-and-shoyu foam with pinpricks of crispy black rice.
It’s one of five coursesthat your server will proffer, each with both an omnivorous and a veg-friendly option. They’ll includediverseingredients; a Japanese sea scallop starter is comprised of green almonds, apricot, Thaichile, and mint. And somehow,Chemelmakes them all sing in harmony, harnessing manifold flavors in a way that remains unfussy.
Desserts, from pastry chefKimberlynTurman, are forgivingly light, leaving you and your guest ready to take on the rest of the night.
See This: Drive into the woods, where you’ll arrive at an office building surrounded by water features, including a waterfall and a koi-filled pond. And that’s just outside the art-filled indoor space.
Eat This: Get the tasting menu and trust the chef.
Service:As close to perfection as you’ll find. A team tends to your every need with efficiency and a sense of humor.
When to dine here:Your date is as much of a foodie as you are.
Thebranzinois market price. You know that means it won’t be cheap. The whole fish was $35 when I tried it, and I still call it a bargain. That’s because there are few seafood dishes as splendid inNoVA. The meaty, moist white fish is colored a rich brown with sweet-and-sour pomegranate molasses. Like an Everlasting Gobstopper, each bite is slightly different. One may sing with saffron; another zaps the tongue with appealing acid.
Pair it withshirinpolo,buttery basmati rice bejeweled with candied carrots, orange peel, barberries and cranberries, almonds, and saffron-glazed pistachios. The fruity, nutty side dish only serves to amplify the oversized flavors of the fish, or any other grilled goods. The lamb loin fillet in saffron cream is another stunner. Even vegans can take advantage of the 100 percent plant-based version of thekoobidehkebab.
The saffron ice cream should end every meal atAmoo’s. It’s so popular that it has spawned a business of its own,KinroseCreamery. Take some home, along with what are sure to be ample leftovers from big, aromatic plates with portions that just won’t quit.
See this: The tiled floors and paintings of Persian life set a casual scene.
Eat this: Kashkbademjan,branzino,saffron ice cream
Service:Chef SebastianOveysi’sfather,Masoud,presides over thedining room; ifhedoesn’t greet you with a “God bless you,” you haven’t been toAmoo’s.
When to dine here:You’re seeking a relatively healthy flavor explosion without too many bells and whistles.
The plate is lush with prosciutto. It’s woven in wide ribbons along the curve of the plate. At first glance, it’s more damn ham than any reasonable person would want when there are still two more courses coming. But you are neither reasonable nor alone. You and your date eagerly scoop up slices of the prosciutto with cubes of jiggly Parmesan panna cotta and sweetbrûléedfigs, and crunch into salty Parmesan crisps.
This unusual meat-and-cheese plate comes from the mind of new chef FrancescoPescatore, a younggunwho arrived inNoVAafter tenuresin London and the Middle East. He has a way with unexpected flavor combinations. Octopus is paired with chamomile, pears, and artichoke. Delicatetortelliare filled with buffalo ricotta and spinach in a sauce flavored with pink peppercorn, vanilla, and black truffle.
Even desserts are stylish. Tiramisu is crafted to order and served in a metal cocktail glass. Chocolate mousse appears in a dome shape, filled with buttery caramelsauce. This chef is one to watch.
See this: If there is a more obvious central casting entry for the role of “upscale restaurant” in a movie, I’ve never seen it. The bar has a bit more character, including a pack of regulars.
Eat this: San Daniele prosciutto, gnocchi with braised short ribs, tiramisu
Service:A bit hands-off. Chances are,you’ll be waiting a while for your check after you’ve finished eating.
When to dine here:You have a date open to smaller portions and higher pricesif it means unique flavors.
A butter chicken enchilada. Puffy naan flavored with truffle oil. An Indian-spiced take on deviled eggs. Chef Deepak Sarin may not be new to the restaurant game, but decades into his career, he’s definitely not afraid of innovation.
He also doesn’t shrink away from hard work. Sarin splits his time between Bansari on the Fairfax-Vienna border andBhai Sahabin Leesburg. He prepares Indian classics with the boldest flavors in our region at both, but while he specializes in hard-to-find traditional dishes like a vegetarian Rajasthani thali in Loudoun, Bansari is his culinary laboratory for fresh ideas.
That also includes regional recipes you won’t find anywhere else.Amritsaritandoori chicken masala is one such delight. Deeply marinated poultry pieces bob in a spicy tomato sauce calmed bya drizzle ofcream.The already complexmashup of flavors inherits additional depth when you upgrade your bread to that truffle naan or, for that matter,pudinaparatha, with its refreshing mint leaves.
Don’t miss the Indo-Chinese dishes, either. Fieryhakkanoodles and tangy paneer 65 will addspice to your life in ways you probably weren’t expecting. But anything Sarin proffers will likely have your taste buds firing on all cylinders.
See this: A stylish brick diningroom is filled with bookshelves andbirdcage-shaped chandeliers.
Eat this: Paneer 65,Amritsaritandoori chicken masala, truffle naan
Service:Solid.Ask for recommendations, and you’ll get lots of great information.
When to dine here:A casual night with friends who love spice as much as you do.
Vienna / Modern Latin American / $$$$
Andrés-Julian Zuluaga knows how to design an eye-pleasing plate. Take, for example, the Chesapeake Bay rockfish. The seared, skin-up fillet reposes atop an island of roasted corn and cuttlefish. The sea? It’s a creamy peanut-seafood emulsion dotted with globules of crimson achiote oil. It’s a fantasia of colors, textures, and flavors.
The dishes might be multipronged attacks onyour senses, but theyneverinjure or unsettlea delicate palate. They willsimplyleaveitwanting another bite.These are no mere plates of a protein and a couple of sides. They are multisensory artworks.
Scallops costeño looks like a forest of sprouting mushrooms but tastes like a visit to a fine-dining restaurant hidden in the South American jungle. Chunky, optimally seared scallops are sunken in aji de parcha, a creamy sauce made from intensely puckery passion fruit and chiles. They’re buffeted by roasted turnips, pockmarked in the oven, showered in cashews, and haloed with more nutty achiote oil.
Feeling more like turf than surf? Order the chuleton, or rib-eye steak, that comes to Vienna via Lynchburg’s Seven Hills Food. The 16-ounce behemoth is a crusty paradigm of the Maillard reaction that reveals a pink center, flavored with squiggles of tangy red chimichurri. Zuluaga never fails to get diners to eat their vegetables, whether it’s the side salad that accompanies a steak or a meal of smoked cauliflower with toasted quinoa.
But whatever you choose, every sense will appreciate it.
See this: Inside is as much stylish café as it is restaurant (check out the coffee drinks),complete with local art, while outside is festive year-round with string lights and effective heaters.
Eat this: Ceviche, scallopscosteño,piñamaiz
Service:You’ll leave feeling like you’ve made a new friend who really knows their food and wine.
When to dine here:Your date is smart. Smart enough to appreciate this cerebral cuisine.
Vienna/Modern American/ $$$
It’s a challenge not to fill up on bread at Clarity. “I’ll bring you more if you want,” your waiter assures you, when he delivers your first roll.
“I need to save room,” you tell him.
“It’s just out of the oven,”he says.Damn.
Once you demolish the first one, at once airy and chewy, he lets you know that the second has chorizo in it.Foiledagain.
You will not be having dessert. You can’t skip the caramelized Maine day-boat scallop tartare. The finely chopped shellfish issurrounded by puddles of tangy, sweet charred-peach chutney.
You may order a burger, or a fish dish, or optimally medium-rare slices of local lamb.Or you may leave caution to the wind and bust a gut with the Nick Rib, a veritable paean to excess. It’s a cult hit that combines house brioche with tender fried pork in what may be the most compelling barbecue sauce you’ll taste.
Or will you be having dessert after all? There’s a creamy tahini-flavored custard with coconut granita and pineapple sorbet, a sort of Middle Eastern take on thepiñacolada. But it’s not too heavy, either. Perhaps that’s becausechefJon Krinn knows that you will not be able to resist the call of the roll.
See this: Score a seat at the chef’s counter to watch Chef Krinn work his magic, or soak up the sun in the cheery outdoors.
Eat this: The menu changes daily, but fish and meat dishes are especially reliable.
Service:Proud to serve great food, and happy to let you know it.
When to dine here:Dinner is great (and an opportunity for a tasting menu), but the lunch attracts buzz for a reason.
EsaanNortheastern Thai Cuisine
McLean / Northern Thai / $$
Too many of us think first of coconut milk andchileswhen Thai food is on the horizon.EsaanNortheastern Thai Cuisine is here to remind us that lime, fish sauce, and mint are just as important. After all, the nation’s chefs are famous for their use of the four major flavors:sweet, sour, spicy, and salty. All are prominent in the fresh fare here, but forget about the heavy curries you suck up when supping on Southern Thai food.
The lean, mean cuisine from the North is beautifully represented by a dishcalledyum kaizapp. The spicy deep-fried chicken salad could make the keto gods weep, but don’t worry: There’s sticky rice on the side if you need it to temper the heat. The juicy, crispy breast meat is lightly soaked in a lime-flavored dressing and gets a smack of heat from driedchiles. Mint, cilantro, and red onion light up the flavor like a sunny day.Just a reminder that there’s so much more than creamy curries when dining Thai-style.
See this: A full-sized motorcycle takes up one corner of this petite, dark wood–lined haven.
Eat this: Kaikrata, yum kaizapp, sticky rice with Thai custard
Service:Personalized. Expect ownerTuYutthponto check in on you himself when he’s there.
When to dine here:Chiles, lime, and mint will revive you during a workday lunch or wake you up after a long day.
Annandale / Korean/ $$$
The poke trend ishotinNoVAright now. We are thoroughly here for the raw-fish dishes. The only problem is we wouldn’t take a date we wanted to impress to one of the Chipotle-style counter-service spots that serve the stuff.
ButIhave a secret: You can get something similar, and just as delicious, at Han Gang Korean Restaurant.Hwedup bapsplits the difference between Hawaiian poke and Koreanbibimbap. A bountiful bowlof salad comes to the table topped with rosy-hued cubes of ahi, salmon, and yellowtail.
One of the friendly servers mixes in a bowlofwarm rice and then another filled with a crimson sauce of spicy gochujang and nutty sesame. The result is a lovably motley blend of flavors, from the briny fish to bright perillaleaves mixed with the lettuces.
This can be a warm-up for the top-flight meats ready to hit the barbecue grill at your table, but for a light meal, thehwedup bap here is one of the best bets in town.
See this: Tables and booths in this blue-toned restaurant are usually full of diners grabbing a bowl ofbibimbap.
Eat this: Haemulpajeon,modeumguicombination,hwedup bap
Service:A cast of caringajummashave been here long enough to know the menu backward and forward.Listen to their advice.
When to dine here:You’re willing to pay a little more for Korean that’s a literal cut above.
Tysons Corner / Chinese/ $$
The ceiling is decorated, Sistine Chapel–style, with a gold-and-blue peacock. Blue birds are on each plate, which you contemplate as your wait for a pot of floral tea to arrive. And then the fowl arrives at the table. It may be in the form of Peking duck, but if you called 48 hours ahead, it’s Han-style stuffed duck.
Undoubtedly the most ornate dish of this Cantonese kitchen, the bird is stuffed withrice that absorbs its juices, but also tender chestnuts, salty egg yolk, cubes of ham, dried scallops, and shrimp. It’s not the only upmarket dish here. Try the lobster stir-fried sticky rice or, for a surf-and-turf, add the velvety cubes of Han-style filet mignon.
For many, the main attraction here isn’t the opulent entrées, but the all-day dim sum. Get it at dinner with a colorful cocktail. Whatever you pick, don’t miss one of the sweet buns filled with egg custard. The hot center oozes into the diner’s mouth at first bite. It’s just sweet enough to make you forget the birds and think just about their gooey, lush ova.
See this: An avian theme in the dining room goes from ceiling to the ornate plates. And if you order right, it extends to what’s on the plate, too.
Eat this: Baked barbecue pork buns, Han-style stuffed duck, almond ball with custard yolk heart
Service:Concise. You won’t be learning your server’s life story, but you’ll get what you want, quickly and accurately.
When to dine here:Dim sum is calling, and you want it in a high-class setting.
Annandale / Korean / $$$$*
For decades, Annandale has been K-Town, home to Korean restaurants that range from the traditional spots for a kimchijjigaeto new-school entries with fusion dishes likebulgogipizza. But one thingthat I never expected to pop up was the kind of tasting menu restaurant one might findin a far larger city.
ThankchefJustinAhnand co-owner Brandon Kim for their boldness in trying something utterly unexpected in Annandale—a $60 round of fusion plates, along with cool cocktailsand interesting wines and beers.
ThoughAhnkicked off the menu with Korean fusion, he says that he’ll cook more from other traditions as the restaurant progresses.Look to dishes on his initial menus for a preview of what that might mean. For example, a Korean steamed-egg dish is showered withpriknampla, achile-filled Thai sauce.
You never know exactly what will spring fromAhn’smind to your plate. But chances are,it will be something new that you wish you could have again.
See this: Faux plants above diners’ heads add a little bit of green to the pragmatic setting.
Eat this: Trust the chef that the tasting will be something to remember.
Service:Often,chefJustinAhnwill personally deliver your dish and describe how he created it.
When to dine here:Youand your other half want to keep it casual for a meal full of gustatory surprises.
Great Falls/French/ $$$$*
Don’t let sticker shock get you down. Though entrées atL’AubergeChez François are labeled as costing between $94 and $99 (or up to $198 for the Châteaubriand deL’Auberge, sized for two), that actually gains diners entry to an exclusive club.For that price, guests of the Haeringer family are treated to course after course ofculinary history.
Current chef-proprietor Jacques Haeringer inherited the mantle from his father, François. He opened his restaurant in DC in 1954 and moved it to Great Falls in 1976. Since then, it’s been one of the region’s great treasures, an experience noted as much for its ambience of gardens and fountains outside as it is for its Alsatian cuisine.
This is the kind of place with an amuse-bouche that comes straight from the garden, perhaps a shot of gazpacho in tomato season. The salad course and your entrée are divided by ahousemadesorbet that will ready the palate for fireworks to come. And after you inhale a raspberry soufflé, there are still chocolate truffles waiting to complete your meal. Long-lasting memories are guaranteed—andthat is priceless.
See this: As soon as you turn into the driveway, you enter the Alsatian countryside, complete with kitchen gardens on 6 acres of land.
Eat this: Crêpe à laciboulette, LesDeuxTournedos,raspberrysoufflé
Service:A team of expert servers attends to your every whim.
When to dine:City-style French fare won’t do for your group.
Maple Ave Restaurant
Vienna/Modern European/ $$$$*
Romance on the menu?Your first thought is likelyone of the spots on thislist known for a gorgeous dining room with lots of atmosphere. But you’re more creative than that. You realize that seduction can come in the form of celebrity-worthy service, multiple courses that are ripe for sharing, and, yes, an intimate, but not showy, setting. And that calls for Maple Ave Restaurant.
Since reopening in August, the Vienna restaurant has been focused on four-course tasting menus featuring chef and co-ownerJustėŽidelytė’sgreatest hits.Even if you’ve had some of the dishes before, you’ve never tried them quite like this. The long pandemic closure, during which she hosted private parties and did takeout, allowedŽidelytėto further hone her craft. Thank her when you pass by as she tends to the herbssurrounding the restaurant.
Theyappear ina cast of colorful plates that draw inspiration from Japan to Latin America toŽidelytė’snative Lithuania.They’re also inspired by the seasons—the menu changes monthly and uses ingredients like local maple syrup to dress a bowl of crisp, hot apple-cider doughnut holes.To a romantic food-lover, this restaurant’s return deserves a warm welcome.
See this: Thepetite, no-frillsdining room just makes the vibrant plates stand out more.
Eat this: Mushroom-truffle risotto, pork confit steak, bittersweet chocolate mousse
Service:General manager and co-owner Ricardo Teves takes care of everything himself, so serviceis deeply personal.
When to dine here:You’re ready for a casual date night full of gustatory surprises.
When you crave Kabuli pulao, you go to an Afghan restaurant. If you wantsaffron-suffused kebabs, you’ll probably head out for Persian food. But for those who are craving both, as well as specialties from elsewhere in Central Asia and the Mediterranean, there isMazadarRestaurant.
Since Ida Beylee took over last year, the Fairfax restaurant has taken on vivid new life. Every day from 2 to 6 p.m., there’s an afternoon tea party featuring pots in flavors like ginger with honey and cinnamon. Guests sate their hunger with a wrap before moving on to one ofMazadar’shandcrafted desserts. Those includebuoyantrosewater flanand saffron ice cream that comes inpetiteDay-Glo yellow scoops so soft they threaten to melt into nothingness before they hit the table.This would be a crying shame; it’s worth a visit to the restaurant for the floral sweet on its own. It matches the chairs, too, which are decorated with black-and-white flowers.
At mealtimes,Mazadaris especially hospitable to vegetarians. The Vegetarian Delight is a plate divided between three meatless stews, each more delectable than the last. And they’re virtuous enough that there will be caloric intake left for ice cream.
See this: A fountain covered in aqua tiles burbles at the center of the chic space encircled with pillow-loaded banquettes.
Eat this: MazadarSampler, Vegetarian Delight, saffron ice cream
Service:Informal. Owner Ida Beyleetakes personalized care of her customers.
When to dine here:You’ve got a vegetarian you want to treat right—and you want a meaty kebab, too.
Tysons Corner / Greek/ $$$
I will rarely tell you to just throw up your hands and order the chicken. But at Nostos, that’s exactly what you should do. Of course, with your hands in the air, you’ll be shouting “Opa!” in deference to the intense Greekness of it all.
The chicken, or kotopoulo, is an unusually fine specimen of roasted poultry, with a lemon-herb marinade that deeply imbues every stratum of meat. It leaves it full of flavor and so tender you barely need a knife—but do use one to cut through the crisp skin. The soft potatoes, baby carrots, and al dente asparagus fight for your attention, too, but you’ll be too busy dipping your crusty bread into tangy chicken juice.
It may take two to dispatch the half-bird, but don’t fill up on all the fun appetizers, including skewered meats and fish and rich flaming cheese. It’s key to keep the end goal in sight—a trio of baklavas. Thestarof these is thebaxevanis, featuring warm apples, apricots, raisins, and walnuts between layers of phyllo and vanilla ice cream.But it’s best to taste your way through all three to decide on a personal favorite.
See this: Stark white walls are punctuated with black-and-white photos of Greek life, bringing a hominess to the upscale surroundings.
Eat this: Xifias souvlaki, kotopoulo, baxevanis
Service:This team knows the menu every which way and is always ready with a suggestion.
When to dine here:You want to get dressed up but don’t want dishes plated with tweezers.
Our Mom Eugenia
Fairfax and Great Falls/Greek/ $$$
Nothing can replace a mother’s love. A mother’s cooking, well, there are plenty of other moms out there to make you a moussaka. And your mother’s isn’t as good as that of Eugenia Hobson.
Fortunately for you, she’s the executive chef at a pair of restaurants in Fairfax and Great Falls. Even if she’s not the one personally pulling that casserole from the oven (and she may well be), the cook who did is following in her footsteps.
This is comfortable home cooking from a culture where that doesn’t have to mean a gut bomb. A starter like the feta psiti, a block of tangy cheese baked inside sesame-lined, honey-drizzled puff pastry, may fill you up, but you won’t feel weighed down. A vegetarian combo is even easier on the stomach, lighting up your taste buds with tomatoes and mint in stews that will make you forget about meat.
So she might not have pushed you into the world. In the culinary sense, Eugenia is your new mom.
See this: Intricate tilework makes even the floors a joy to behold at the bright Mosaic District location; hanging pots and pans give the Great Falls one a homey feel.
Eat this: Feta psiti, vegetarian platter, apple cake à la mode
Service:As warm as the waters of Mykonos. If you’re lucky, a Greek native will regale you with stories of the old country.
When to dine here:Your family wants an informal night of Hellenic cuisine.
Fairfax / French/ $$$
Ever people-watched over a plate of steak frites at a bistro in the ninth arrondissement? If you have, you’ve seen chic shoppers whiz by with their bags as you dip your crisp fries into some béarnaise sauce. Whether the real thing is a memory or an out-of-the-way fantasy for you, Parc de Ville, tucked into a corner of the Mosaic District, is bound to transport you.
The food is classic. You might have eaten duck confit just like the one here 50 years ago, and will again tomorrow. Whenever you enjoy it, the meat falls apart in tender shreds beneath a shroud of crispy skin, tumbling into a sweet, sticky reduction of Banyuls vinegar. Wilted Swiss chard and crunchy-jacketed potato rösti complete a picture that goes beautifully with a glass of wine, a Kir Royale, or just a San Pellegrino.
Even if you’re celebrating nothing more than a great purchase, mark the occasion with arizaulait. The rice pudding is swirled with salted caramel, which enhances its cinnamon flavor, and isbrûléedon top. You couldn’t do better, even on Boulevard Haussmann.
See this: Blue velvet banquettes and wallpaper covered in black-and-white trees set a stylish Parisian scene across the street from Anthropologie in the Mosaic District.
Eat this: Duck confit, steak frites, riz au lait
Service:Deeply informal. On my visits this year, service was not this restaurant’s strong suit.
When to dine here:You’re shopping at Mosaic and need some hearty sustenance.
Historically, austerity has been a benchmark of Japanese cuisine. At Tachibana, you will find rolls that combine pickled plum and Japanese mint, not foiegrasand truffle mayo. Looking for the latter? Go somewhere else. This warhorse has changed little since it moved from Arlington to McLean in 1996. And purists like it that way.
There are precious few Japanese-owned Japanese restaurants inNoVA. The fact that this has been one since its 1982 inception (original owner HideoEijiYahashipassed away last year)speaks volumes. The menu is packed with greatest hits.
To bear witness, just order a bento box. For $18, it contains five Nipponese kitchen favorites. A few soybeans whet the palate for crackling shrimp and vegetable tempura. A salmon fillet is lightly seasoned and grilled to a uniformly crispy sear. Yakitori, made from Rubenesque chicken thighs, avoids the sugary pitfalls many other iterations endure. The tamago is striated with paper-thin layers that make the sweet omelet a particular pleasure. Egg appears in the chirashi bowl, too, a well-curated sampling of some of the best fish the restaurant has to offer. This is a destination that not only resists trends, but long outlasts them.
See this: There’sa vintage feel to the atmosphere, but the kimonos and wall hangings are timeless.
Eat this: Bento box,chirashi,ume-shisoroll
When to dine here:You want to keep yourworkdaylunch efficient and light.
Falls Church / Italian/ $$$
The sign out front features light bulbs spelling one of the sweetest words that can bewritten: “pasta.” And whether it’s ricottacavatelliwoven with pulled porkragù, rigatoni clotted with beef Bolognese, or ravioli filled with eggplant, thenoodshere are worthy of note. But they are not the only reason to dine at Thompson Italian.
Married chefs Gabe and Katherine Thompson have so much more to offer than housemadepasta. Salads, for example, are worth the price of admission alone. One recent highlight: a ball of liquid-centeredburratacheese that servedas the centerpiece for a collection ofstone fruitand lightly charred radicchio. The creamy, sweet, and bitter ingredients combinein a thickened balsamic dressing beneath a liberal dusting of pistachio-dotteddukkah, a nutty Middle Eastern spice blend.
In Gabe’s deft hands, a hanger steak, a cut usually regarded more for its beefy flavor than pleasant texture, melts in a diner’s mouth. In contrast to pasta, it’s alow-carbdish,with roasted market and pickled peppers as sides. They’re dressed in a layer of tangy almond salsaverde.
Even if you’re cutting carbs, it’s a prerequisite to try at least one of Katherine’s desserts. A blackberry upside-down cake takes on the texture of gooey bread pudding, melting the sweet-corn gelato by its side.
Forget about pasta? It’s not anassignmentI’ll give you often. And go ahead and order a plate, while you’re at it. Just don’t miss the Thompsons’ hyper-seasonal specialties on its account.
See this: Foodie-themed art is a centerpiece to the hipster-comfy dining room.
Eat this: Burrata, hanger steak, blackberry upside-down cake
Service:Decorous and efficient.
When to dine here:You’re celebrating an occasion that doesn’t call for jackets and ties. Or just la dolce vita.
Clifton / Italian/ $$
Some restaurants are more about a feeling than the food. This is one of them. No doubt, you will enjoy your crispy-thin pizza at lunchtime or creamy gnocchi at night, but Trattoria Villagio is a meeting place, a spot to relax and enjoy the charming town of Clifton and all it has to offer.
Maybe you’re out to lunch with your BFF; meet them at the front trattoria area, lined in old brick that transports you to somewhere far more fun than a quick stop on a workday. Maybe you’ll indulge in a glass of wine, or a Silva Sangria. The latter is exceptionally refreshing thanks to its combo of pinot grigio, elderflower, strawberries, and grilled peaches. But you don’t need more than water with lemon to get that on-vacation feeling.
Time slows down, too, with a relaxing dinner on the patio, where you and your crew might start with an outsized tower from the raw bar. It’s not quite Tuscany, but there are moments when Clifton is even better.
See this: There’s lots to see here, from the raw bar out front to the back patio that surrounds a mighty outdoor fireplace.
Eat this: Short rib ragù, gnocchi, pizza Margherita
Service:It depends on the night; the friendly staff can get harried when it’s really busy.
When to dine here:The group you’ve assembled doesn’t want to dress up to get fine wine and Italian food in a charming setting.
Many restaurants have an identity so strong that a new chef does little to transform it. One might have thought thatTrummer’s, with its seasonal, Austrian-inflected cuisine, was one of those. That is, until DanielPerronmade a triumphant return to the kitchen late last year.
Perronfirst worked at the Clifton restaurant a decade before, as chef departie. In between, he earned serious cred, garnering Michelin recognition and rave reviews from critics at the DC restaurants where he cooked. Back atTrummer’s,the Woodbridge resident is bringing touches of his Korean heritage to the locally sourcedfare.
One example is a pork loin from the Shenandoah Valley’s Autumn Olive Farms. It’s prepared with a spicy-sweet strawberry gochujang,Perron’stake on Korea’s famous hot sauce. Served withchicharronesfrom the same pig, it gets a wholesome appealcourtesy ofpurple Okinawan sweet potato, tangy Japanese-style yuzukosho, andbokchoy. Another highlight is braised short ribs in a Korean barbecue–inflected sauce, served over creamy polenta diriso.
Not everything is explicitlyAsian. A fried pork terrine is Perron’sown; a fritter served in smoky broth and sweetened with lingonberries is a subtle nod to owner StefanTrummer’sEuropean heritage.But there is no question thatthe cuisine is all Perron.
See this: A beachy vibe pervades the all-white dining space upstairs, in part thanks to the oversized woven ceiling fans. Settle in for pub fare at the cozy downstairs bar.
Eat this:Crispy pork trotter and head terrine, Korean barbecue braised short ribs, Peaches & Cream
Service:Reliably friendly—even if you’re not a regular, they’ll remember your face.
When to dine here:A celebratory night that doesn’t require a jacket and tie but merits them nonetheless.
Great Falls/Afghan/ $$
Dor Niaz smiles as he takes your order. He grins when he delivers the food, and when he produces the check, he shows delight to have served you. The guy is a pleasure to be around. And you will see a lot of him when you dine at Zamarod.
The ever-present owner pours his heart into every detail of the meal, from uncorking international wines to serving housemade ice creams that will leave you craving your next visit as soon as you’ve dispatched them. Simply put, Niaz is at the restaurant far more than he’s not. It is right to expect that comfort food comes along with the cozy-but-elegant ambience.
Plates areuniformly visual gems on par with the restaurant’s name, which means “emerald.” But the predominant hue is red, not green. Theaushak, slippery-skinned dumplings filled with fine ribbons of scallion, are dressed in fresh, creamy yogurt; a heavy dusting of dried mint; and a crimson pool of ground-beef-and-chickpea stew.The dishes, from lightly sweet apple-filled stews like thequrmeseibto meaty lamb shanks, shimmer like rubies on their white plates. AndZamarodis worth more than its weight in jewels.
See this: Afghan rugs and even a scimitar cover the chandelier-lit walls
Eat this: Aushak, qurme seib, cardamom ice cream
Service:You’ll feel like a welcome guest in a beautiful home.
When to dine here:You’rehungry for home cooking more flavorful than Mom’s ever was.
From classic Italian food in a strip mall to a three-story steakhouse in Vienna, here are the 21 best places to eat in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Photo courtesy of Rey Lopez It might be a casual Tuesday afternoon lunch with a friend, but the minute a plate of incredibly moist and flavorful chimichurri lamb served with a mound of shirin polo hits the table, lunch suddenly feels like a celebration.. (Photo by Rey Lopez) Maybe the predictions from 2017 that Uyghur food is the next big thing—when three local restaurants opened in less than two years—didn’t come to fruition.. Head to Eerkin’s in downtown Fairfax, a small restaurant with the full range of Uyghur delights: kathlama naan, four golden triangles that are buttery, crispy and flaky, like a flattened croissant; lamb kabobs, the quintessential meat-on-a-stick with the spices so heavily applied you can taste the texture; and manta, dumplings that are all about a salty, savory sauce freshened with cilantro.. Other menu wins include a starter of tiny chicken wings brightened by lemongrass and an array of aromatics; a whole fried rockfish piled high with cashews, ginger and chiles all swimming in a puddle of pungent fish sauce; and a dessert of coconutty, sweet sticky rice (sporting a fun blue color thanks to butterfly pea flower) topped with a creamy Thai custard.. The way to get the most out of a visit from Mama Chang is to order as much as you can and share everything, like the (from left) Wuhan sesame noodles, chili fried lamb, green beans, chili flounder fish and dry-fried cauliflower.. Photo by Rey Lopez Has one even been to a Greek restaurant if the dip sampler wasn’t ordered?. One Loudoun should be thankful for Sense of Thai St. During dining hours, it shows off a varied world of Thai food, especially in haunting dishes like the crab phak curry, a creamy, spicy sauce with noodles as delicate as a whisper.
Von Stefanie Gans und Rina Rapuano
Das Lamm kommt mit einer würzigen grünen Sauce an, die schnell geht, und Sie fühlen sich mit dieser Besessenheit bestätigt, wenn Sie andere Tische belauschen, die nach mehr fragen.. Beginnen Sie mit einem erfrischenden Eistee mit Rosenwasser und Safran und enden Sie mit einem Off-Menu-Safraneis-Sandwich.. Foto mit freundlicher Genehmigung von Rey Lopez Assaggi Osteria & Assaggi Pizzeria Italienisch | McLean | $$$$ & $$. Foto mit freundlicher Genehmigung von Rey Lopez Klarheit Wien | Modern American | $$$$. Es könnte nicht klarer sein.. Für diejenigen, die noch nicht mit der peruanischen Küche vertraut sind, ist dies ein großartiger Ort, um das Falsche zu korrigieren.. Die Gäste können leicht gehen, wie bei einem Hummer-Zitrus-Salat mit Vanille-Vinaigrette oder schwerer bei Gerichten wie einem Rindfleisch-Wangen-Eintopf mit Pilzen, Gemüse und Wein, der in einem Mini-Le Creuset-Topf serviert wird.. Wuhan-Sesamnudeln, gebratenes Chili-Lamm, grüne Bohnen, Chili-Flunderfisch und trocken gebratener Blumenkohl.. (Foto von Rey Lopez) Mama Chang ** Nr 5 Fairfax | Chinese | $$$. Sie weiß es besser als wir.. Aber warten Sie, finden Sie Erbsen und kalabresisches Chili und kühle, cremige Burrata, und nichts ist so aufregend wie eine Mahlzeit in einem verschlafenen Raum zu finden, in dem es nichts zu suchen gibt, so gutes Essen zu servieren.. Foto von Rey Lopez Nostos Wien | Griechisch | $$$. (Foto von Rey Lopez) Randys Prime Seafood & Steaks Wien | Steakhouse | $$$$. Das dunkle Pferd war ein Gericht aus gerösteten Karotten, die mit Vadouvan (der französischen Version von Masala-Gewürzen) über einer Pfütze aus Kräuterjoghurt und einer lebendigen Grünkohlsauce dufteten.. Aber es ist immer noch genau richtig.
Fairfax Avenue has a reputation for being one of our city’s most diverse streets, a melting pot within a…
Check out our top picks for the best places to eat in the Fairfax District below, presented in no particular order.. NOTE : For purposes of this post we’re going to limit our discussion to restaurants with the borders of Romaine Street on the north, La Brea Avenue on the east, West Third Street on the south, and Fairfax Avenue on the west.. As for sushi you can bet on being served pristine fish from the Pacific and Atlantic as well as a myriad of maki sushi options.. Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s Italian restaurant is popular for it’s pizzas, pastas and meatballs.. Breakfast, brunch or lunch….. it’s all good at Karen and Quinn Hatfield’s La Brea hotspot.. The PCB is definitely one of the best burgers in town.. The spin-off location of Kevin Bludso’s revered bbq joint in Compton happens to be located in the Fairfax District.. If you can’t make it to Blu Jam in the morning don’t worry they serve breakfast all day so you can grab lunch with a side of pancakes whenever you want.. This pizza joint brings New York-style slices to Fairfax avenue at an affordable $2.75-$3.75.. Breakfast burritos and donuts are a must at this casual coffee shop located on the north side of Fairfax.. Pro tip: Whatever you do decide to order, make sure to include a blue crab hand roll, it’s kind of a big deal.. Definitely order a side of crispy fries with organic ketchup, as it really hits the spot after eating (slightly) healthy at this vegan gem.. The biggest star in the joint hands down is a hand tossed pizza named the Grandma made with marinated tomatoes, garlic and mozzarella, topped with fresh basil and Romano.
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