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Ask Adam: Eat Like an Arlington Local

by ARLnow.com — January 22, 2013 at 11:45 am 3,573 136 Comments

This periodic sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email.

Question: I know this is a bit outside the scope of real estate, but my husband and I just moved to Arlington from the west coast and are looking for some insider tips on places to eat. What restaurants should we try?

Though this doesn’t have much to do with real estate, it is a subject near and dear to my heart, so why not…

Pupatella is a great new addition to Arlington. Every town has to have a go-to pizza place and the competition has heated up in Arlington. What can I say, I love the authentic brick oven pizzas and the charm of this little spot. I recommend eating there so your pizza is straight out of the brick oven.

Mala Tang serves Chinese hot pot, which I recommend trying at least once. It’s the Chinese version of fondue. I usually order the spicy Mala broth (mild and vegetarian available). I recommend the lotus root, watercress, king mushrooms, fish balls and Mala beef. As for the sauce bar, try the Chinese BBQ sauce with cilantro and chili peppers. It’s a very different kind of dinner experience.

Ray’s The Steaks and Ray’s To The Third are worth a visit. Either one is sure to satisfy your carnivorous cravings, but Ray’s The Third includes a more casual menu. They aren’t fancy, but the food is better than any of the big name chains that come to mind. They are located along Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. Sorry, they don’t have a website.

El Chilango Truck is a food truck that sits on the north side of the Route 50 access road near Queen Street in Courthouse. If you can’t find it, ask anyone in the area and they should be able to point you in the right direction. It’s hard to find good Mexican food in Arlington, but El Chilango is legit.

The Italian Store has become a landmark in Arlington. So much so that you need to take a number when visiting, regardless of the time or day. But, it’s worth it. Start with any one of the sandwiches and I’m pretty sure you will be back for further exploration. My latest trick is buying their pre-made pizza dough to make my own pizza at home.

Crisp & Juicy is one I almost left off, but I have at least a dozen friends who would be upset if I did. You can smell the charbroiled chicken from a couple blocks away. The fried yuca is awesome. As is the chimichurri sauce.

I’m hoping there will be some commenters who are willing to share their favorites…

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

  • Antonin

    Call in your order to Italian store to avoid the number system so you only have to stand in the line to pay (or grab one of the pre-wrapped sammiches) and then get in the check out line. FWIW, I’ve seen Sandra Bullock wait in line with everyone else.

    • Lee-n-Glebe

      That’s indeed the trick. Also, if you haven’t had their white pizza, you’re missing out.

      • Hee-Haw

        Nino’s !

  • Doug

    Ravi Kabob at 305 North Glebe Road, is the best place to eat in all of Arlington. This cannot be argued.

    • Dave

      Actually, yes it can. Kabob Palace in Crystal City is the best Kabob place in the area.

      • CrystalMikey

        Love me some Kabob Palace!

    • Sam

      Check out their county health records online. Enjoy!

  • NtvArlingtonian

    I’m assuming this was the only question you had but anyway – Crisp and Juicy smells amazing but compared to El Pollo Loco…it is generic and flavorless. Carlyle should be on the list as well for those who enjoy amazing food and service….just saying.

    • NtvArlingtonian

      Maybe I meant El Pollo Rico….the one that is near GMU law school but years ago it was closer to Clarendon. They have the best food ever – they just need a larger parking lot or more locations :)

      • Clarendon

        Pollo Rico is good but I don’t care for the lack of variety on the sides. The steak fries are solid but the coleslaw is not my favorite. The old location used to produce billowing clouds of smoke. They seem to have cleared that up at the new location.

        • ARLChixExpert

          Super Pollo on Quincy is the best of all chicken worlds. Great chicken, huge variety of sides, big portions. Location on Wilson is not as good, don’t know why.

        • there’s the school of thought…

          If you do something right, you don’t need a huge variety… I have to say El Pollo Rico CLEARLY doesn’t suffer from it’s lack of variety since it does what it does very well! I love their coleslaw as it’s not sweet or have suspicious surprise ingredients but their fries and rice (a newer addition, but around over a year now) are amazing. And when done right, why do you need more choices? It’s just that good. :) Really great family that runs it too… they know their regulars! Also, though it’s far, they have a great location out in Woodbridge too where one of the brothers lives; if you’re ever out that way.

          There’s a handful of “good” chicken places similar and for their own reason, but for all the reasons listed above I am 100% an El Pollo Rico supporter. :) Mmm now I wish I hadn’t skipped lunch.

          • John Fontain

            No offense, but comments like this one saying El Pollo Rico’s fries are amazing demonstrate something interesting. Their french fries are standard bagged fries that come off the Sysco truck (at most). You can find these exact fries in any hospital cafeteria. Yet somehow they take on a new persona when associated with EPR.

          • there’s the school of thought…

            John, I totally agree… and I guess I mis-stated as if these are the most amazing fries I’ve ever had…. which they’re not, BUT they’re always cooked well (which not every place does) and their rice, though done in a rice cooker and “standard” is also awesome primarily because of their compliment to the full meal itself. The sauce, the chicken, the sides are a WONDERFUL combination to me and my family… they are just what satisfies us. Would I vote their fries alone as the best ever? Nope… but would I vote that full plate of food for just over $5 one of the best meals ever for the value? 100% :)

          • Frito Pie

            The steak fries get really tasty once all the chicken grease has dripped all over them – I am proud to be a Pollo Rican!!!

          • Sunshine

            Mix the sauces together and dip the fries and yucca in the sauce. The chicken is fantastic on it’s own. I love all of the chicken joints around here but my favorite is still Super Chicken on 29 near Hillwood. I know, Falls Church, but it’s not very far.

      • eliz27

        Pollo Rico is by far the best chicken. Period.

  • Becoming Indifferent

    Ray’s does have a website:

    http://raysthesteaks.com/

    And I wouldn’t call Puppatella new, although it is quite good.

  • JB

    I can’t believe anyone would say Crisp & Juicy. There is only one “best” chicken place and that is El Pollo Rico.

    • DS

      agreed. Mens Health wrote up El Pollo Rico as the BESTchicken spot in the country. how could that possibly be overlooked!?

      http://www.menshealth.com/mhlists/americas-best-guy-foods/americas-best-chicken.php

      • JamesE

        No yucca

        • Laura

          Doesn’t matter. El Pollo Rico’s chicken cannot be beat in Arlington.

          • Ralph

            That’s nice…. except it is, by Crisp & Juicy. So there’s that.

          • Ralph

            Except it is, by Crisp & Juicy. So there’s that.

      • Frito Pie

        Plus Anthony Bourdain went there on No Reservations.

    • CMC

      Crisp and Juicy is SO much better than El Pollo Rico!

    • Bdgg

      Crisp & Juicy is far and away better than El Pollo Rico. Not even close.

      • Ziv

        I love Crisp & Juicy and like El Pollo Rico, C&J is just a better bird, try the hot sauce, it ain’t that hot and it is packed full of flavor. Plus the rice and beans are pretty good, and the yucca is decent as well…

  • Will

    East West Grill on Wilson Blvd hands down best Kabob in Arlington next to Kabob Palace. (www.eastwestkabob.com/).. How about The Broiler on Columbia Pike best steak and cheese all day (http://thebroileronline.com/).. Can’t forget Carlyle in Shirlington all their food is amazing (http://www.greatamericanrestaurants.com/carlyle).

    • jackson

      Agree with you on The Broiler. YUM.

  • Will

    Yes cannot forget El Pollo Rico always slammin chicken never fails.

  • Drunk_IrishChick

    O’Sullivans for there Irish pub fare and a pint!! The new expansion is set to open soon and will feature a brandnew Whiskey Bar and a revamped menu…plus hot bartenders and doormen

    • Jake

      Sayeth the propreitor posting as a drunk irish chick…

      • Deadite

        No no, she’s a regular around her.

  • Deadite

    El Chilango for life.

    • John Fontain

      And along the same line, El Charrito on Washington Blvd near Pershing. Great tacos for $2 and great burritos for $4.

      • Ziv

        You can’t go wrong with either Jose or Jesus, or TECC and El Chilango, respectively. TECC makes my favorite taco in NOVA, the cabrito/goat, though the lengua/tongue is good too. And the chorizo is pretty fair, as well.

  • Sunshine

    SunshineDecember 12, 2012 – 2:57 pm#61056Reply

    From a similar thread in the forums mid-December……. In no particular order, Ravi Kabob, Atilla’s (chicken bursa, koy tavuk, fries), Bangkok 54, Dama Ethiopian, Abi Azteca. Though not in Arlington but close by in Falls Church, Bamian, Meaza and Super Chicken.

  • Buckwheat

    Great list Adam.

    I’ve always passed on Pupatella thinking it was a pupuseria. I’ll have to try it now.

    El Chilango is my taco spot! Say hi to Jesus and his brother Geraldo when visiting.

    El Pollo Rico is known as Kenmore chicken in my house. I liked it better before they moved from where 1021 is today. I could smell it everyday!

    Ravi Kabob is a favorite. Don’t make my mistake and go before the sun sets on Ramadan. A lot of hungry people watching me eat:)

    • drax

      Better to have hungry people watching you eat than standing in line behind hungry people after sunset.

  • allie

    Super Pollo >>>>> El Pollo Rico

    better chicken, and more side options FTW.

    • Bill

      this x eleventy billion

    • http://www.iammike.org Mike

      +1. SP cannot be touched.

      • thebrickwall

        YES! Super Pollo on Quincy is the best of all worlds. Great chicken, lots of sides, big portions. Wilson location isn’t as good in my opinion.

  • Shawn

    No mention of Earls?

    Ravi needs to be added.

  • Justin Russo

    What next, asking Michael Landrum for real estate tips?

  • Chris (no not that one)

    I am not posting my favorite sit-downs because they are already too crowded, but I will give Earl’s Sandwiches are terrific.

    Anyone been to the Carriage House on Lee/Quincy across from the Honda dealership. It looks like an Arl institution, but I don’t know anyone who has eaten there.

    • Patty

      Carriage House is great. It’s a family-owned and operated restaurant and Essy and Janet are very friendly and welcoming. It’s quiet and you can have a conversation (unlike most of Arlington). Their veal chop is one of the best cuts of meat I’ve ever had. Prices include a simple green salad, veggie and potato. They don’t nickel and dime you like some steak places.

  • Missing a lot

    Tallulah, Green Pig Bistro, Cava, Lyon Hall, Willow.

    • Deadite

      While those places are all good, I think you’re kind of missing the point. The reader asked for “some insider tips on places to eat”, not a list of the most popular restaurants in town.

      • Missing a lot

        Oh, I didn’t realize Pupatella, Ray’s the Steaks and the Italian Store aren’t some of the most popular restaurants in town.

        • Deadite

          Adam, as well as everyone in the comment section except you, is giving suggestions for restaurants that are a bit off the beaten path and which might go unnoticed to a newcomer (hence, “insider tips”). You listed nice/fancy restaurants located in the heart of Clarendon (i.e. the most painfully obvious restaurant recommendations, not “insidery” at all). Someone new to town might look at El Chilango or Pollo Rico and think “no way I’m eating there” based on appearances alone. Nobody would say that about your suggestions.

          • missing a lot

            Oh sorry, I’m a horrible person for suggesting good restaurants to a person that doesn’t know the area. Ok, how about Quarterdeck, District Taco, do those make you happy?

          • Frito Pie

            Thai Curry next to Ravi Kabob is pretty darn good as well.

          • Frito Pie

            Thai Curry next to Ravi Kabob is pretty darn good as well.

      • drax

        To someone who just moved here, there’s no difference, Deadite.

  • Ben

    El Chorito is another great chicken and taco place.

    But I seem to notice every single one of these places is in North Arlington. El Chiliango is good too, but where’s the love for Bob & Ediths, an Arlington Local diner that’s been there for 30+ years. Also, Pedro and Vinny’s right down the pike for great burritos. And finally, Kabob Palace for late night Kabob amazingness. Open 24/7, even during snowmageddon, and every cabbie and local I know swears by their chick peas.

    But yeah, good list as how to eat like a North Arlington local.

    • Ben

      Oh hi there Ben

    • picky eater

      my wife and I gave Bob and Ediths several tries, but couldnt get over the fact that their biscuits all tasted like blueberries- maybe from blueberry pancakes? I dont know. Anyways, it ruined the biscuits and gravy for me, and that’s a go-to breakfast staple at a diner.

    • ziv

      If you are brave enough to cross the Great Wall of Arlington, my favorite would have to be Thai Square, anything with basil (squid is great), the catfish when they have it, the red curry, the somtum reminds me of Ko Tao, nam sod is good here.
      Also the Pike Pizza has a pretty good saltena, though it isn’t the best I’ve had. And the broiler has a killer steak and cheese which is most definitely not a cheese steak. And Bangkok54 has a great grocery store with carryout food that is way in the front in the hidden part on the restaurant side, if you park in the lot. If you come in off the sidewalk the prepared foods are on the right. Check out the squid, it is pretty darned good.

  • Melissa

    Our favorites are Ravi Kabob, El Pollo Rico, Liberty Tavern, Atilla’s (been there since my husband’s childhood) …. We choose El Pollo Rico over Crisp & Juicy ANY day. (El Pollo is known as “cheaper chicken” in our family). We also like BGR and Hard Times just for fun.

  • Ben

    +1 for Melissa! Can’t believe I forgot about Atilla’s.

  • JamesE

    Arby’s

    • Chris (no not that one)

      There’s an Arby’s in Arl?

      • JamesE

        ballston mall food court

      • RRS

        There is one on Lee Hwy in Merrifield. That is Fairfax though.

  • D.

    I got horrible food poisoing from Rays the Steaks. Never again.

    • Hee-Haw

      Did you confirm it was from Ray’s? Did anyone else with you get sick? Did anyone else with you eat the same thing and not get sick ?

      • eater

        I always blame my sickness on the last meal I had.

        • Hee-Haw

          but some food poisoning cases can take longer to affect you than the time-frame from the last meal…

          • eater

            I know, but I’m irrational like that. I also think cold temperatures cause the flu.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    And this is what’s wrong with the current county board, the first 4 places on this list haven’t been here more than a few years. They’ve forced almost all the places with any history out. And the only places with any quality at all will blead you dry.

    • David

      I beg to differ, this is what’s right with this county, not sure what you mean by places being forced out, but the fact that the top for on Adam’s list are new is a great trend, means our dining options are getting better. So the county forced out a restaurants so Pupatella could move in?

    • 1RLI

      Agreed.

    • drax

      If you hate change, you’re going to be frustrated for the rest of your life.

  • Antonin
  • Melissa

    How about Fire Works Pizza in Courthouse? Love!

  • Georgia Sam

    Lost Dog Cafe!

  • RRS

    Kabob Palace in Crystal City is great! Their chickpeas and rice are without a doubt the best around.

  • kdub

    I’ve enjoyed: Guajillo (www.guajillogrill.com) & Bayou Bakery (www.bayoubakeryva.com).

    Cava is yummy too- just way too loud for holding a conversation – you basically end up yelling at each other.

    Too bad Wilson Tavern changed owners, I used to like that place.

    • Mike

      Really have to agree with you here re: Wilson Tavern. For the short while it was under the original ownership, they had fantastic food, fresh oysters, soft shell crab sandwiches, lamb tacos…all really reasonably priced. It was also remarkably douchebag-free. Unfortunately now, filled to the brim with bros and they serve generic sysco-brand bar crap.

  • novasteve

    If we had a Roy Rogers, that would be the best restaurant in Arlington.

    • John Fontain

      Bro hug on that one steve. Couldn’t agree more.

      • drax

        I would have lunch with Steve and John at Roy’s.

        • Hee-Haw

          that sounds like a punch in the face good time !

          • Dude Where’s My Car

            You’re thinking of Red Barn, Hee Haw. CAW! CAW! CAW!

    • FrenchyB

      I do miss the days when we had numerous Roy Rogers locations in Arlington and Falls Church.

    • nom de guerre

      The former location of Bob & Edith’s II and Sauca and the new location of El Tutumaso on the Pike used to be a Roy Rogers back in the day.

    • WD

      There’s one right off GW Parkway past Old Town. It is still delicious.

      • novasteve

        Do they have the super duper soda dispensing machine there? Went to the one in Germantown, MD and was amazed by the soda machine.

      • John Fontain

        Another close one is in Springfield (Manchester Lakes) near the Walmart.

    • Jake

      Used to be on at George Mason & Lee Highway up until the early nineties. Then Friendly’s bought it and knocked it down, only to go under in 5 years and become the Chevy Chase Bank, which is not Capital One.

    • Deadite

      Maybe I’m biased because I’ve only been to Roy Rogers on the Jersey Turnpike, but that place has literally the worst fast food in America. They stick god-awful burgers under heat lamps all day and people help themselves buffet-style. Gross.

      Are the non-Turnpike versions better?

  • Andy

    What I love about Arlington is that each neighborhood have places that you can get too easily (walk perhaps). They might not be the absolute best, but they are great places to eat without going far. So places like Taqueria El Poblano, Pietanza, Pasha and Lost Dog always make our top picks.

  • South Awwlington

    Italian Store: A+

    And do yourself a favor, call it in!

    • thrak

      Anyone know which (if any) of the “adults” that man the registers are owners? The food is certainly good but after often waiting way too long to get the food, it’s very annoying to give money to someone that believes they are doing you some big favor by accepting the money. Rarely a greeting of any sort, a smile, or a “thank you”. I’ll have to try calling an order in next time, as anything more than a 5-6 number ticket wait translates into 15+ minutes of waiting around.

      • South Awwlington

        Typically s shorter, older female with dark, short hair waits on me and is very sweet and polite. Yes, lot’s of kids do work here. Yes, it’s still worth the hassle IMO.

        Good Luck!

      • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

        actually – a lot of times people will come in, take a number, then realize the line is too long for them or they will grab slices (that you dont need a number for) and will end up leaving. I have seen them go through 10 numbers in a minute because not everyone stays. Word from the wise.

        • thrak

          I haven’t had any issues with the kids that make the food, but the rotating few older folks that work the cash registers rarely seem to be in a good mood. Given the amount of money that place must rake in, you’d think they’d be a bit more appreciative of their customers.

          • ziv

            I hear the Italian Store 2 is opening in Westover this year. Taking the 7-11′s spot. Shorter lines and closer to home, whats not to love?

  • Bob

    Man, how could you not include Two Chef’s?! That is a wonderful family owned and friendly place with great food. It’s an Arlington staple. I remember when they first opened. So glad they’re going strong!

  • Bluemonter

    I will second the votes for Bayou Baker and Ravi Kebab. Greate Place! Also like the already mentioned options: Pupatella, Rays, Italian Store and Crisp & Juicy (El Pollo Rico is ok but are lacking in the sides)

  • David

    Great list. I’ll have to give El Chilango a try. But I’m really surprised no one’s mentioned Pho 75 in Courthouse (or Rosslyn?). The stuff’s addictive. Also, Bayou Bakery’s become my go-to place for coffee and baked goods, and the rest of their menu isn’t bad either.

  • BBMS

    Essy’s

  • Frank

    Essy’s? How creepy is that place? No one eats there. No one I even know who’s grown up in Arlington has even stepped inside that place. Actually, we did once, just out of morbid curiousity, and the greeting wasn’t “Welcome! Have a seat!” it was (and I quote): “You two from out of town?” No one in Arlington or surrounding areas ever, ever says “Hey, let’s go eat at Essy’s!” F’d up place!

  • nom de guerre

    This week’s special at Essy’s Carriage House features Ballston squab, brined in a tamari infused red sea salt mixture and smoked over locally sourced, derecho harvested apple wood, accompanied by sustainable Belgian endive sautéed in pork belly fat and topped by organic micro greens, surrounded by a sherry, shallot and mustard reduction, along with a porcini mushroom and blood orange risotto topped with aged pecorino cheese.

    • KathyInArlingtonVA

      nom de guerre — It is really rude to make up an unappetizing dish and attribute it to a restaurant. It’s not funny at all.

  • Clarendon

    My go-to spot is Astor Mediterranean in Lyon Park. I really like their pizza and they have great grilled steak and chicken and a good variety of sides. Great for take-out and very chill for eat in.

    • yepp

      yeppp. Astor is legit. Great Gyros, roasted chicken and Hummus as well.

    • Deadite

      Yes I love Astor. I’m worried it’s going to be overcrowded now with that new apartment/condo complex just across the street.

  • Rory

    Lost Dog

    • pet finder

      sorry to hear that Rory

    • drax

      Hope you didn’t lose your dog near a Chinese restaurant.

  • vc

    I like to support the culinary students at the Art Institute…just had a terrific lunch there

    Email to request menus..great prices

    Culinaire Restaurant
    The Art Institute of Washington
    1820 North Fort Myer Drive
    Arlington, VA 22209

    Phone Reservations: (703) 247-3841
    Email Reservation Requests: AIWCulinaire@aii.edu

    We are pleased to announce that Culinaire Restaurant will once again be serving lunch and dinner during the Winter Quarter. Culinaire Restaurant will be open Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of every week starting on Tuesday, December 15th and ending on Wednesday, March 13th. We will be accepting reservations from 11:30am-1:00pm and 7:30pm-9:00pm. If you would like to make a reservation, please send an email to AIWCulinaire@aii.edu or leave us a voice mail at 703.247.3841. Please see our new menus, attached.

    Please note that we will be closed on the following dates:
    Monday, January 21
    Monday, February 11
    Monday, February 18

    Last day of service this quarter will be Wednesday, March 6.

  • http://nationleprechaun.com/ jinushaun

    Can’t really argue with the list. El Pollo Rico was on Food Network and Travel Channel–they don’t need any “local help” with word of mouth. Same with Ray’s Hell Burger.

    Pupatella and El Chilango are the two spots on the list that we pretty much eat at all the time. It’s an extension of our grocery budget. Great owners. Great food.

  • Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Ravi Kabob House on Glebe
    Pho75 on Wilson
    Astor Mediterranean on Pershing
    Taste of Morrocco in Clarendon
    Shirlington Village
    the entire Eden Center at Seven Corners (technically not Arlington)

  • novasteve

    When is arlington going to get a Lets Pizza vending machine? I want my vending machine pizza!

  • Karen

    Agree — Lost Dog Cafe is a great find!

  • arlingtonfoodie

    La Union – excellent Salvadorean food. Get the El Tipico!
    Castro’s Bakery, although I think it’s now technically in Falls Church but is all the same an Arlington landmark – best cakes, hands down.
    Lost Dog – pizza and sandwiches
    Pho75 – soup!
    Italian Store – sandwiches and pizza
    New, but delicious alternative to the Italian store (for sandwiches) is a place called “Natural Cafe”
    Ray’s The Steaks, of course – best steak in the world
    Crisp & Juicy – Peruvian chicken and amazing yucca/sauce
    Aroma – Indian food in Shirlington.

  • BBMS

    Surprised Pasha Cafe does not get more love. Been going to that place for years.

  • Arlingtonian

    Caribbean Grill. Can’t believe it hasn’t been mentioned already.

    • Jake

      Thumbs up. Great chicken, cubano, great sides, same staff always adding up your bill on a calculator…

  • NoVA RN

    District Taco?

  • Dude Where’s My Car

    As others have said:

    Earl’s: I was originally like, “A sandwich place? Really?” I mean how good can a sandwich be? BEST TURKEY SANDWICH IN MY LIFE. (“The Louie.”) EVER.

    Bob & Edith’s: 24-hour diner. Your basic mom-and-pop, all-American greasy spoon. You can’t claim to have lived here and never have eaten there. It’s just a requirement if you want to “eat like a local.”

    Pho 75: Again, a requirement. You don’t get the Arlington card unless you’ve eaten here once.

    The Italian Store: the closest thing to New York pizza you can get this side of the Lincoln Tunnel. The long lines are because it’s that good. (They also have H&H bagels on Sunday for the expatriate New Yorkers.)

    El Paso Café: where George Bush used to go when he missed Tex-Mex.

    El Pollo Rico: the “gold standard,” the one by which all other chicken places in this corner of the galaxy are judged.

    Ray’s Hell Burger: currently closed, but hoping it will re-open. When you are President of the United States and the President of Russia says he wants a burger, this is where you take him.

    Weenie Beenie: A greasy roadside hotdog stand, for when you just want a half smoke or chili dog. As immortalized in the Foo Fighters song, “Weenie Beenie.”

    There are definitely better places to eat “in the area” — e.g. the Peking duck at the Peking Gourmet Inn in Falls Church, trust me — but you need to hit the above list to get your Arlington credentials.

    • George

      Thank you for mentioning Earl’s! I cannot believe that people actually put Lost Dog’s pedestrian sandwiches (a large variety of sandwiches made with mediocre ingredients) on this list; we’re talking food here, not “neat menu”. As far as the El Pollo Rico vs Crisp and Juicy debate goes: there is none if you are talking about the chicken. Sure, talk about the sides if you want, but when it comes to the Main Course, only the “Crack Chicken” at El Pollo Rico sits at #1. BTW – I live near Crisp and Juicy, and I do frequent them out of convenience (and yes the yucca), but when I want to impress someone or if I’m in the neighborhood – its CRACK CHICKEN. Never fails.

  • Dude Where’s My Car

    also:

    Atilla’s: it’s been a while, but the hummus is a thing of beauty, freshly made with a slick of garlicky butter pooling on the top

  • Mis

    Mario’s steak and cheese, gotta get it with the slaw and pickles!
    Cafe Sazon on Columbia Pike for good Bolivian food.
    Panamerican Bakery on the Pike and George Mason has the best salteñas.

  • no-arl

    Top 3 regulars yum!
    Delhi Club
    Lost Dog Cafe
    Astor’s Med

  • Sunshine

    I second Panamerican Bakery and the connected Pike Pizza next door. I wonder how many people go in there expecting a pizza joint, only to find a dive Bolivian place. Ha

  • Lee

    Cassatts in Lee Heights is a keeper along with Portabello’s in Cherrydale – real local.
    Across from Portabello’s is Pasha Cafe— also good.
    And, the Diner 29 on Lee Highway at Glebe – great portions; never disappointed.
    Finally – the Village Bistro in Rosslyn – has been there for years.

  • mosprott

    Westover Market’s limited, but fun. Good sausages.

    Taqueria el Poblano on Col. Pike is really consistent, friendly – glad to have them in the neighborhood.

  • MissKittenCat

    Crisp And Juicy??? more like Burnt and Dry. El Pollo Rico is the best.

  • Jake

    Linda’s Cafe. The food may be awful, but it’s made with love, and it will do a hangover good.

  • PL25rd

    Cassat’s on Lee Hwy in the Lee-Harrison shops. Best meatloaf around.
    Pietanza. Yes, I know it’s a chain, but I like their pizza much, much better than Lost Dog, and the service is good, too.
    Not exactly off the beaten path, but it hasn’t been mentioned for the entire comment thread. I love Eventide in Clarendon. The decor is beautiful, service and food are excellent.

  • What, No Thai?

    Crystal Thai – you can’t “eat like a local” unless you’ve been at least once.
    Sawatdee – love this place.

    • BBMS

      I like Crystal Thai, although some of my friends do not care for it. The decor never thrilled me though.

      Old school Arlington Thai recommendations should also include Ghin Na Ree at Lee-Harrison.

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