Where to Eat in Arlington: The Best Restaurants and Bars

April 14, 2018 Terina Blouin

Known for walkable urban villages like Crystal City, Rosslyn and Ballston, Arlington was part of the "10 miles square" surveyed in 1791 to be the United States capital. Just across the Potomac from Washington, Arlington is home to the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima), Air Force Memorial and Pentagon Memorial. With 11 Metro stops, Arlington is car-optional and offers visitors everything from eclectic theater to Bohemian cafes.
Things to do in Arlington

1. Ambar

2901 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201-3807 Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Free Off-Street Parking, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Accepts Discover Eastern European, European, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night SGD 7 - SGD 45 +1 703-875-9663
Excellent
73%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 226 reviews

Ambar

Our aim is to put together the finest products of the New World and Old World for your dining pleasure. Perennially on the edge of great empires, the Balkans owes much of its food culture to its history, geography, and climate. The term Balkan is generally believed to come from the Byzantine word meaning: "a chain of wooded mountains." With a desire to introduce Virginia to cutting edge Balkan cuisine, we created a dining space that will delight and indulge the senses. Primarily featuring "small plates," Ambar also offers wines and spirits from the Balkans not often experienced by the American diner. Ambar showcases the best dishes from the Balkan Peninsula with a modern twist. These dishes are presented artfully, with modern combinations that deliver the flavor profiles in a unique way. Serbian natives Ivan Iricanin and Uros Smiljanic developed the menu with the help of Executive Chef Dejan Pilovic .

Reviewed By Steph_RoadUnraveled - Washington DC, District of Columbia

This may be the best restaurant in Arlington. We visited after spending a week in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina because we wanted to relive a few of our favorite restaurant experiences there. The meal we had at Ambar was so close to what we enjoyed in the Balkans that was like being transported back; it's delicious and authentic.

We have been back quite a bit since our first visit, and Ambar is always consistent in its dedication to high quality food and great service. During our most recent visit (at the request of my dad, another fan, and my mom, who had not been before) our server gave us some great recommendations and constantly sent out plates for us to sample in addition to what we had ordered. We tried a few things we would never have ordered and found some great new favorites, particularly the Brussel sprouts and the lamb skewer. We love the plates on the slow cooked menu; the sour cabbage is incredible, and the lamb stew could melt in your mouth. The tzatziki with beets, cevapi (a ground meat sausage) and sausage flatbread were the biggest hits of the night.

We always go hungry and get the Balkan Experience, which is a deal at $35 per person and makes dinner exactly what it advertises- a relaxed experience where you can enjoy yourself and your dining companions without worrying about how much your individual choices might cost and allowing yourself to take a risk or two on something unfamiliar. Balkan cuisine is so good you'll want more than you think you will anyway!

Although the food is amazing, the service is impeccable, and that's what will always bring us back. Every time we have visited our servers have been friendly, knowledgable, and enthusiastic about ensuring we have a great experience, and the manager stops by our table every time to say hello. It feels like going to a friend's home for dinner. If you haven't tried it, doesn't be surprised when Ambar becomes one of your favorite restaurants!

2. El Pollo Rico

932 N Kenmore St, Arlington, VA 22201-2227 Takeout, Seating, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible Peruvian, Latin, Fast Food Lunch, Dinner, Late Night +1 703-522-3220
Excellent
63%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 426 reviews

El Pollo Rico

Reviewed By Lam N - Singapore, Singapore

We’ve been going back to this restaurant for over ten years. It is counter service, the décor is like a huge, neon-lit school hall. But the chicken is moist and succulent, the sauces addictive, and prices are low. On some evenings, the lines can be quite long.

3. Italian Store

3123 Lee Hwy, Lyon Village Center, Arlington, VA 22201-4207 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Wheelchair Accessible Italian, Pizza, Delicatessen, Vegetarian Friendly Lunch, Dinner +1 703-528-6266
Excellent
59%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 428 reviews

Italian Store

Reviewed By Jim H - Fairfax, Virginia

Very Good Pizza!!! The name tells the story. You come in after parking in ample parking area, to a store that has a great selection of Italian fare. Gellato to your right, we did not try but looks very refreshing. My daughter and I went straight back to get pizza. Relish, fresh, light and large pieces. Come try the "Store". Bring the family and make it a lunch, dinner or snack..... Go.....

4. Lafayette Restaurant

800 16th St NW, Washington DC, DC 20006-4102 Parking Available, Valet Parking, Free Wifi, Reservations, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Accepts Credit Cards American, Gluten Free Options, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Brunch, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner SGD 52 - SGD 66 +1 202-638-6600
Excellent
79%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 240 reviews

Lafayette Restaurant

Directly overlooking Lafayette Square towards the White House, The Lafayette is a destination restaurant in Washington, DC featuring a light-filled dining room and carefully prepared menu of upscale contemporary American cuisine. With an attentive staff, stately setting and meal service for breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, The Lafayette provides a truly unique fine dining experience in Washington, D.C.

Reviewed By MannyG2000 - Barcelona, Spain

Located in the Hay-Adams Hotel, the Lafayette faces south toward the White House and is bright and sunny at breakfast time. The usual breakfast items are offered, at very reasonable prices for a 5-star hotel.

My companion very much liked his eggs Benedict, though I was disappointed with my eggs and soldiers (egg undercooked and not shelled, bread oily and not presented as batons which can be dipped in the egg). However, the interior decor was so lovely that I rate the overall experience a 5.

5. Yayla Bistro

2201 N Westmoreland St, Arlington, VA 22213-1018 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Street Parking, Free Off-Street Parking, Television, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Accepts Discover, Reservations, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Accepts Credit Cards Mediterranean, Turkish, Middle Eastern, Greek, Gluten Free Options, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Dinner, Brunch, Lunch SGD 13 - SGD 39 +1 703-533-5600
Excellent
65%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 172 reviews

Yayla Bistro

Yayla Bistro offers a wide variety of traditional and healthy Mediterranean cuisine prepared fresh each day by our experienced Turkish chefs. See full menu on our web page. In addition to our main dining room, we have a full-service bar area (with TV) featuring special Happy Hour drinks and appetizers from 4-7 pm on Mon-Fri. We also have outdoor patio seating. Children's menu available. We are located one block from I-66 and 4 blocks from the East Falls Church metro, behind the Econo Lodge Metro. Open every day from 11am-10pm. We can accommodate groups up to 70. We provide take-out service, and we also offer catering for all types of meetings and events.

Reviewed By tjphilly - Falls Church, Virginia

A great Mediterranean bistro in off-street Falls Church. We had brunch at the nearby French bistro one Sunday, and the next-door menu was attractive. A month later, we went for dinner.

What a nice surprise! Much more comfortable and impressive inside than outside, although the outside terrace could be nice in good weather.

Turkish/Med menu, and the service and food were superb, and reasonably priced. We shared a mezze appetizer among four, and were satisfied. Moussaka, kofte kebab and salmon were all well-prepared. (Though the kofte was over-cooked.) Baklava and Sutlac were great shared dessert choices.

The service was excellent throughout, and the owner passed by discretely twice to see if all was well.

Less than $35 each for a really nice meal.

Free parking in the next door building, wellchair accessible, vegetarian and vegan friendly.

We'll be back!

6. Carlyle

4000 Campbell Ave, Arlington, VA 22206-3424 (Formerly Carlyle Grand Cafe) Parking Available, Television, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Street Parking, Free Off-Street Parking, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Accepts Credit Cards American, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night SGD 13 - SGD 39 +1 703-931-0777
Excellent
62%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Carlyle

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day we will be opening at 11:00 AM and serving brunch until 3:00 PM High energy, American bistro with seasonal outside dining and year round classic fare. A perennial brunch favorite.

Reviewed By ivytravel - Fairfax, Virginia

Carlyle is one of our favorites, as are all the Great American restaurants. We always stop in prior to our Signature Theatre plays. Consistently an excellent all around experience. Friendly, attentive efficient staff. Our server this time was Brittany were was engaging, funny and very attentive without being over bearing. We split an excellent 8 oz filet mignon. Great broccolini and capped off with a great cappuccino,

7. Marcel's by Robert Wiedmaier

2401 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC, DC 20037-1730 Reservations, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff, Valet Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar French, European, International, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Dinner, Late Night SGD 46 - SGD 66 +1 202-296-1166
Excellent
77%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 608 reviews

Marcel's by Robert Wiedmaier

Since 1999, Chef Wiedmaier infuses his Belgian heritage into Marcel's elegant haute French flagship restaurant. Regularly topping the best-of-lists in the nation's capital, in 2011 and 2012, it was rated the top restaurant for food by Zagat as well as one of the top five restaurants for service.

Reviewed By P G - York, United Kingdom

Dinner for 2 on a Saturday night. The restaurant is upscale and for a change it was nice to be in a place where folks had made the effort to dress elegantly. The food was frankly excellent and beautifully presented. The service was also polite and professional . Not cheap but special never is.

8. Pho 75

1712 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209-2504 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Wheelchair Accessible Asian, Vietnamese, Soups Lunch, Dinner +1 703-525-7355
Excellent
56%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 304 reviews

Pho 75

Reviewed By Tatiana F - Arlington, Virginia

A casual never disappointing pho experience! It can get busy on weekend nights but we have never waited for too long. We'll keep coming back.

9. Lebanese Taverna

1101 S Joyce St, Arlington, VA 22202-2064 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Accepts Discover, Reservations, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Television, Accepts Credit Cards Lebanese, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Gluten Free Options, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Drinks, Lunch, Dinner SGD 20 - SGD 39 +1 703-415-8681
Excellent
51%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 224 reviews

Lebanese Taverna

Lebanese Taverna Pentagon Row offers a warm and vibrant dining atmosphere with the beauty of traditional Arabic features. The 80 seat outdoor cafe serves as the neighborhood gathering spot for outdoor summer concerts series and Ice Skating in the winter. Located in the center courtyard of Pentagon Row Shops by the ice rink.

Reviewed By phutty - Tallinn, Estonia

The food here was good, if not exactly as-good-as-in-Lebanon, but no complaints really. At around $30 a head for mixed starters (baba ganoush, hummus trio and pumpkin kibbeh) with freshly baked bread and three salads (fattoush, chicken schwarma and falafel) plus drinks, including wine ($40 for that person), it was good value, too. The interior was slightly chilly and service ranged from attentive to inflexible and indifferent depending on who was serving.

10. Pupatella Neapolitan Pizzeria and Friggitoria

5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22205-1112 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Serves Alcohol, Wheelchair Accessible Italian, Pizza, Vegetarian Friendly Lunch, Dinner 571-312-7230
Excellent
63%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
4%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 254 reviews

Pupatella Neapolitan Pizzeria and Friggitoria

Reviewed By Heather T

We split a spinach salad with sardines, and I had a Melanzana (weekend special - eggplant, chorizo, and mozzarella with white sauce), my husband had a pizza with artichoke and sun-dried tomato, and my son got the garlic bread with cheese (kids’ menu), and of course we all got gelatos. I also tried the melon limoncello. First of all, everything is made in-house - even the bread was their own bread with buffalo mozzarella. The prices are also very reasonable - a gourmet pizza in Oklahoma (where we moved from) usually costs 20-25% more. But don’t go if you want American-style pizza - this is Italian-style.

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