Latest Eats in Arlington

While we still have the chance to travel occasionally, we are currently pretty well immersed in the day-to-day of working 9-to-6 office jobs. It’s not like we don’t have fun or try new restaurants, though, so I’d like to premiere a new series of posts on new restaurants we’ve tried. Since we are living (and for me, working) in Arlington, I thought I’d start with new Arlington restaurants we’ve tried lately.

Bob & Edith’s Diner

My friend Greg is a big fan of the original Bob & Edith’s on Columbia Pike. When we heard that a new location was opening up right near us, we decided to finally try it. It was a Sunday at dinner time, and most of the 4 person booths were full. There weren’t many people on staff, which is perhaps why it took absolutely forever to get our food. When it finally did come, mine was pretty good. I got 2 eggs with corned beef hash. The eggs were cooked well, the hash browns were fine, and the corned beef hash was nice and salty which was what I was in the mood for. Jeff said his fried chicken dinner was under-seasoned. The atmosphere and menu are very classic American diner, and made me feel right at home. While the food was slow in coming, the service was friendly and fairly attentive. The bill came to $20 before tip which is good for 23rd Street, though there are also cheaper items on the menu than what we ordered. I would probably go back if I wanted a milkshake, pie, or something greasy late at night. The 24 hour open time is a nice feature.

At a Glance:

  • Location: 539 23rd St S. (Crystal City); 2310 Columbia Pike (Columbia Pike – the original)
  • Hours: Open 24 hours
  • What to Expect: Greasy American diner food at any time at an okay price.

Kapnos Taverna

After receiving good news on the medical front, I wanted to go somewhere interesting to celebrate. I pulled together a couple of friends and a reservation at Kapnos at the last minute. I was sort of surprised when I got there and they seated me right away despite being only one of four, but then noticed that at the time (6:30) it was not at all crowded. It is a fairly large restaurant with nice décor. It’s big and open but surprisingly not too loud. Kapnos has Greek small plates so we all shared everything. We ordered 8 plates for 4 people to start. The waiter had recommended 3 dishes per person but one of us wasn’t too hungry.

As everything came out, we were happy to have not ordered more. These were not the usual tiny tapas portions, they were pretty big. Our first dish to arrive was the three dip sampler with tyrokaftari (cheese dip), taramasalata (potato, cauliflower and roe dip) and favosalata (lentil and black garlic dip). They came with two pieces of large, freshly baked flatbread. The bread was delicious and so were the dips. Next came the kolokithokeftedes, or zucchini and cheese patties. They were also awesome. The beet salad was quite tasty.

I can’t quite remember the order of the other dishes, but they were as follows:

  • Saganaki – I liked the honey. It was sadly not on fire. Also, I feel it should have come with bread.
  • Spanakopita – Good but nothing special.
  • Asparagus – Nicely grilled, but the peppers underneath were overpoweringly spicy.
  • Cremini mushrooms – I didn’t try these.
  • Horta – This was a kale and chard dish. It was fine.

Overall, the dishes were not evenly tasty. Some of them were excellent, but others were not. The price of the meal wasn’t terrible for a fairly upscale small plates place. The dips were the real stars.

At a Glance:

  • Location: 4000 Wilson Blvd (Ballston)
  • Hours: Lunch and dinner Monday thru Friday (closed 3-5 pm); brunch and dinner Saturday and Sunday (closed 3-5 pm)
  • What to Expect: Fancy but hit-or-miss Greek small plates.

Big Buns

Someone I met at a networking lunch shared a love of travel and Southeast Asia so we decided to get another lunch together to talk about that. She works in Ballston so I suggested Big Buns as it had been on my list of places to try. I got a burger with cheddar, grilled onions, pickles and lettuce. I also got ranch dressing, and a side of fries.

The fries were thin and crispy and pretty good. The burger was good though I wish they let you pick how it’s cooked with a burger that thickness (not over-thick, but not thin enough that you don’t care if it’s well done – that is, if you prefer medium or medium-rare as I do). The flavors reminded me of Five Guys (perhaps partly because of my chosen toppings) but it’s more expensive. I don’t think it’s too likely that I’ll go back.

At a Glance:

  • Location: 4401 Wilson Blvd #104 (Ballston)
  • Hours: Monday thru Saturday 11 am to 10 pm, Sunday noon to 8:30
  • What to Expect: Decent fast-casual burgers with lots of topping options.

Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream

I had some medical testing at Virginia Hospital Center and Jeff picked me up afterwards. He suggested ice cream and Yelp pulled up this little shop in Westover. It’s small, with not much seating. The staff was nice, and the ice cream was good. The price was right: a little over $2 for “1 scoop” of ice cream that was really two scoops. Westover is a cute little neighborhood; I’d definitely go back if I was in the area!

At a Glance:

  • Location: 5849A Washington Blvd (Westover)
  • Hours: Monday 7 am to noon; Tuesday thru Friday 7 am to 9 pm; Saturday 8 am to 9 pm; Sunday 8 to 8
  • What to Expect: Tasty and fairly cheap ice cream; not many seats inside.

Bakeshop

This has been on my “try” list for so long that I only vaguely remember the source of the recommendation, but I think it was some kind of list of nutella dishes in the DC area. They do, indeed, have a nutella cream pie, which is what I got. It is ridiculously rich and hard to eat the whole thing – it is possible that, maybe, I don’t like nutella as much as eating this pie requires. It was good though, and I’d like to come back sometime to try a cookie or cupcake.

At a Glance:

  • Location: 1025 N. Fillmore St (Clarendon)
  • Hours: Monday thru Thursday 8 am to 9 pm; Friday open til 10 pm; weekends open at 9 am until 10 (Saturday) or 8 (Sunday)
  • What to Expect: Cute little bakery with cupcakes, macaroons, and cookies, mostly.

Green Pig Bistro

This cutely decorated neighborhood bistro made this year’s Washingtonian Top 100 Restaurants. Jeff and I went here one Sunday evening without a reservation and didn’t have to wait. We shared a skillet full of cornbread (quite good, but not Founding-Farmers-level good) and a cheeseburger. Everything was very good, but we definitely felt the price was quite high. Not necessarily that it wasn’t worth the price, but it didn’t exceed our expectations so therefore we are unlikely to want to go again since it’s more than we typically want to spend on dinner.

At a Glance:

  • Location: 1025 N. Fillmore St (Clarendon)
  • Hours: Open for dinner at 5:30 every day except Tuesday; brunch at 10:30 to 2:30 on the weekends
  • What to Expect: Fancy dishes at fancy-restaurant prices that are good, but too expensive.

Osteria da Nino

Our friends are regulars here, and it’s easy to see why. Things I love about it:

  • Some of the best service around
  • The owner will come to your table and ask how you’re enjoying the food. I like that personal touch
  • Amazing, incredible pastas
  • Wonderful desserts
  • Pesto dip with the bread
  • The atmosphere – somehow both a friendly neighborhood spot and also kind of upscale. Nice enough for a first date, but no need to dress better than casual if you don’t want to.

It’s not cheap, unfortunately: pastas are around $16-20 per dish. But let me tell you, it is worth it! I can highly recommend the bucatini carbonara and the orechiette con salami anatra. For dessert, the panna cotta is fantastic. I’ve been twice, and I know I will be back.

At a Glance:

  • Location: 2900 S. Quincy St (Shirlington)
  • Hours: Sunday thru Thursday 11 am to 9 pm; Friday and Saturday 11 am to 10 pm
  • What to Expect: A non-pretentious but slightly pricy place with some of the best Italian food around.

Courthaus Social

This place opened up recently near my work in the former Velocity 5 spot. As it turns out it has the same owners and even mostly the same staff, but it’s been redone inside. I never tried Velocity 5 because it seemed kind of grimy, but my coworkers report that the food is better and the decor is better. I had a sausage platter that was really decadent for lunch. The sausages were really nice. I don’t know if they’ve improved them but when I went (during the soft opening) the chairs were torturously uncomfortable (at least the ones inside). I know they do District Trivia and that the beer garden is quite popular.

At a Glance:

  • Location: 2300 Clarendon Blvd (Courthouse)
  • Hours: Every day from around 11 am to around 1:30 am
  • What to Expect: A beer garden with decent German food and uncomfortable chairs.

Where have you been eating lately?

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  1. Pingback: Latest Eats in Northern Virginia - World Flavor

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