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Mysterious NoVa


eunny jang
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I've lived in the DC area all my life - grew up in Gaithersburg and Rockville, and have lived in Dupont for the last four years or so. I know the city and the Maryland suburbs inside and out, but in all this time, I've barely even set foot in Northern Virginia, and have, I'm sure, subsequently been completely ignoring a substantial chunk of the DC food scene.

My office is moving in a month to Shirlington - right by the Carlyle Grand, in fact. I know everyone on this board is better-informed than I - does anyone have pointers for lunch spots I shouldn't miss, places to meet friends for drinks after work, places to have dinner? I've been trying to glean information from the many NoVa threads, but since I barely have a working understanding of where Arlington is in relation to Alexandria, I'm not doing too well.

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Shirlington has quite a collection of places that will fulfill most of your

dining/drinks needs. I used to live right across 395 in the Park Fairfax.

As I recently posted, THAI is my favorite Thai place around. Toro Tapas has pretty good tapas and decent sangria. I can't recall the name of the place, but the pool hall is a fun place to hang out. There's a Luna Grill which is always a great informal meal place.

The chinese place, the Indian place, the Mexican place are all, at best, average IMO.

Not a sushi fan, but there is (was?) a sushi bar there.

There's a Capitol City brew pub - always fun.

Bistro Bistro is nice for a drink and desert. Never had dinner there.

I always thought Carlyle Grand was incredibly overrated.

Across 395 and up the hill on Quaker Lane, there's a little strip of stores that has a good neighborhood bar, a decent pizza place, and a nice gourmet store/wine shop (i wasn't a big fan of the wine store in Shirlington). Head a little bit out Rte. 7 and you'll get to Five Guys.

You're about a 5-10 minute drive from Arlandria and Del Ray where people have mentioned lots of favorites throughout many threads (Taqueria Poblano, Bombay Curry Company, etc.). You're about 10-15 minute drive from Clarendon and its bars and restaurants. Same for Old Town Alexandria.

HTH

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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  • 9 months later...

NoVa is somewhat of a mystery to me, too. I've made tentative forays in that realm in the last year or so. For example, I have visited Tallula two or three times (couldn't place it on a map though) and I find Ray's the Steaks easily enough. :smile:

But what's near Iota? I've never been, but its web site says Clarendon.

There will probably be four of us and we'd prefer not to eat at Iota. I think Faccia Luna is out that way (not a fan). Something within walking distance would be great, but we're flexible. Inexpensive to moderate eats preferred. Ethnic eats are fine, although neither Thai nor sushi would be the group's top choice.

Thanks in advance.

[we're going to see my friend Mike's band 'No Second Troy' in case you're curious or might like to join us at the show. Web site is www.nosecondtroy.com]

Edited by JennyUptown (log)
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NoVa is somewhat of a mystery to me, too.  I've made tentative forays in that realm in the last year or so.  For example, I have visited Tallula two or three times (couldn't place it on a map though) and I find Ray's the Steaks easily enough.  :smile:

But what's near Iota?  I've never been, but its web site says Clarendon. 

There will probably be four of us and we'd prefer not to eat at Iota.  I think Faccia Luna is out that way (not a fan).  Something within walking distance would be great, but we're flexible.  Inexpensive to moderate eats preferred.  Ethnic eats are fine, although neither Thai nor sushi would be the group's top choice.

Thanks in advance.

[we're going to see my friend Mike's band 'No Second Troy in case you're curious or might like to join us at the show.  Web site is www.nosecondtroy.com]

I've gone to poetry readings at Iota and the food was much better then I expected from a low frills bar. However, they serve red wine not just room temperature warm, but hot.

You've got Minh's very tasty Vietnamese north of Iota on Wilson and Boulevard Woodgrill across the street.

And I know what you mean, NoVa throws me.

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If you care to drive further afield than Arlington/Alexandria, you can find:

Jaipur Royale Indian Cuisine: As mentioned in another thread, this is the best Indian food offered in the Fairfax/Merrifield area -- which is saying a lot since I can name off the top of my head 5 Indian restaurants in that area that I've tried, and have seen a couple more that I haven't bothered trying.

Natta Thai: This is a small, hole-in-the-wall 10-table restaurant in Vienna. They offer fantastic Thai food, including a delectable chili duck (battered and deep fried boneless duck meat in a chili-basil sauce). Ask for it extra spicy and they will gladly comply. I grew up in Louisiana and Texas, eating cajun and tex-mex. I like spicy food a lot, and it takes a considerable amount of heat to get my attention. The extra spicy chili duck got my attention. Their rather ugly website is here: http://www.nattathai.com/HomePage.html

That's Amore: Also in Vienna. This is a small regional chain, but they make excellent Italian food and they serve it family style if you want.

2941: Serious upscale dining in the outer reaches of Merrifield. http://www.2941restaurant.com/ is their website.

* AB drinks one of those "Guiness Pub Draught" beers, with the nitrogen cannister in the bottom of the can.

* AB wonders what Budweiser would taste like with one of those...

<AB> . o O (Like shit, still, I should think.)

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Shirlington has quite a collection of places that will fulfill most of your

dining/drinks needs. I used to live right across 395 in the Park Fairfax.

As I recently posted, THAI is my favorite Thai place around. Toro Tapas has pretty good tapas and decent sangria. I can't recall the name of the place, but the pool hall is a fun place to hang out. There's a Luna Grill which is always a great informal meal place.

The chinese place, the Indian place, the Mexican place are all, at best, average IMO.

Not a sushi fan, but there is (was?) a sushi bar there.

There's a Capitol City brew pub - always fun.

Bistro Bistro is nice for a drink and desert. Never had dinner there.

I always thought Carlyle Grand was incredibly overrated.

Across  395 and up the hill on Quaker Lane, there's a little strip of stores that has a good neighborhood bar, a decent pizza place, and a nice gourmet store/wine shop (i wasn't a big fan of the wine store in Shirlington). Head a little bit out Rte. 7 and you'll get to Five Guys.

You're about a 5-10 minute drive from Arlandria and Del Ray where people have mentioned lots of favorites throughout many threads (Taqueria Poblano, Bombay Curry Company, etc.). You're about 10-15 minute drive from Clarendon and its bars and restaurants. Same for Old Town Alexandria.

HTH

To expand on this:

Shirlington T.H.A.I. is a decent Thai restuarant, not as good as Thai Square, or Singh Thai, but still great.

Toro Tapas closed, it will soon be an Italian restaurant. I believe that this is not great loss, as I never had a good dish at Toro, and the sangria was always warm.

Luna Grill is my goto brunch location. They have a wonderful selection of egg dishes. One of my favorite is the chesapeake eggs benedict, a decent crab cake takes the place of the Canadian Bacon.

Charlie Chang's worse service of any Chinese restaurant that I have ever experienced. I will spare the details, but the food does not make up for it. Way below par.

Gaupo's is actually not that bad for a Tex Mex restaurant, not the best meal, but not the worse either. You really need to know what to order to enjoy the meal here. I tend to the faijitas, and have never had a bad experience, but most of the other dishes are just forgetable. I should note that the three milk cake is heavenly.

Aroma, the Indian place, is not bad. Are there better Indian places? Yes, Bombay Curry Club for one. I will drive twice as far just to go there.

Sushi Place (I also cannot remember the name) is just plain forgettable.

Cap City good beer, good pretzels, everything else is quite bad. One of the most dreadful hamburgers I have ever had was at this "pub".

Bistro Bistro, I agree, great place for a drink, and maybe desert. The food is not bad, it just is not worth the money. I have had some really good food, but also some really bad as well.

Carlye, I still want someone to explain to me what is the appeal of this place. Outside of a decent salad, and some nice bread the rest of the food is either boring or poorly prepared. I mentiond that at Bistro Bistro I had an awful hamburger, well it was eclipsed by the seared steak tartare that my wife had at brunch last year. She ordered it medium, and it came out raw. It then took 25 minutes for them to refire the thing. That can be explained away, but the flavorless meatloaf, the cloyingly sweet ribs, the uninspired steaks cannot. A diner would be better off spending half the time and money at Luna.

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first, people from northern virginia don't call it nova. the community college here is called NOVA, so if someone asks us if we are from nova, we just look at him or her with a confused glance. it sounds like you are asking us if we are from this community college, which is not actually that bad, just confusing.

i used to go to shirlington a lot for the indieish movie theater there. it's a nice little area: safe, friendly, and quite pretty at night.

the reccomendations above are pretty much spot on. I would like to add that Bistro Bistro has a pretty good brunch and that my brother swears by the carintas fajitas at guapo's. I also think that Carlyle is overpriced and kinda crappy, unless you like menu design by comittee style places.

I wanna say something. I'm gonna put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don't, send it right back. I want to be on you.

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I like the chocolate waffle at Carlye , I like the inside decor , I like the bar , I also think that girl working as a bartender (name should be Janice) is so hot. nothing else I like .

Corduroy

General Manager

1122 Ninth Street, NW

Washington DC 20001

www.corduroydc.com

202 589 0699

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first, people from northern virginia don't call it nova. 

You might not, but plenty of other folks do, and there are enough groups named NoVA thisthatortheother that I wouldn't worry about confusing people.

Can't speak personally to any of the food at Shirlington but THAI - but that's the go-to restaurant of a friend who works at WETA. He also speaks well of Best Buns and Maggie Moos, both next to Carlyle.

"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard
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Thanks for the recs.  Some of them I'm a little confused by (no Thai, but whatever), but mostly I need a geography lesson.  Are any of these near Iota?

Boulevard Woodgrill is probably your best bet. I haven't been there in over a year, but I remember having a tasty meatloaf there. It is also a very short walk from Iota.

http://www.boulevardwoodgrill.com/

"My cat's breath smells like cat food."

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No, all that I wrote about are in Shirlington. Iota is on Clarendon, or is it Wilson. Either way, it is in the middle of Arlington, while Shirlington is on the border Southeastern corner of Arlington bordering with Alexandria and Fairfax County.

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Thanks for the recs.  Some of them I'm a little confused by (no Thai, but whatever), but mostly I need a geography lesson.  Are any of these near Iota?

No (other than the ones that specifically mention being close to Iota, like Minh's.) Most of the places people are talking about are in Shirlington, which is off 395.

Iota is between Clarendon and Court House metro, which are near I66 - but it's closer to Clarendon. The food Iota serves isn't bad, if Boulevard Woodgrill's full. Ray's, which is closer to Court House, is not outside the realm of walking distance from Iota when it's not 20 degrees outside, but you probably wouldn't want to walk it at the moment.

There's a Hard Times right next to Clarendon metro, and Ireland's Four Courts is across the street. If you're really desperate, there's a Cheesecake Factory and a branch of La Tasca.

"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard
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Thanks for the recs.  Some of them I'm a little confused by (no Thai, but whatever), but mostly I need a geography lesson.  Are any of these near Iota?

No (other than the ones that specifically mention being close to Iota, like Minh's.) Most of the places people are talking about are in Shirlington, which is off 395.

Iota is between Clarendon and Court House metro, which are near I66 - but it's closer to Clarendon. The food Iota serves isn't bad, if Boulevard Woodgrill's full. Ray's, which is closer to Court House, is not outside the realm of walking distance from Iota when it's not 20 degrees outside, but you probably wouldn't want to walk it at the moment.

There's a Hard Times right next to Clarendon metro, and Ireland's Four Courts is across the street. If you're really desperate, there's a Cheesecake Factory and a branch of La Tasca.

And, right across the street from Clarendon metro is the Delhi Club. Very good Indian food.

A jumped-up pantry boy who never knew his place.

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Wow, a thread that's in large part about Shirlington and no mention of the Weenie Beenie? For shame! :raz:

Is it operating today? These are my last few days in DC before heading back to Indonesia, I'd like to have a chili dog today :raz:

Yetty CintaS

I am spaghetttti

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Venturing out a little ways from Shirlington will inevitably take you to Arlandria, the area of Mt. Vernon Ave that straddles Alexandria and Arlington, and further down Mt. Vernon to the Del Ray section of Alexandria. In Arlandira, RT's has been there since Christ was a corporal and is fairly consistent creole style food. I also like Po Siam across the street from RT's. Del Ray has good indian and tex mex Taqueria Poblano, Los Amigos and Los Tios. Also, Cheesetique is on Mt. Vernon Ave. You also will be fairly close to Crystal City which now has a fairly vibrant restaurant scene with Oyamel, Jaleo, Legal Seafood and McCormick and Schmick's. You also will be real close to Slavin's fish market.

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Also near Shirlington is Pentagon Row - mostly avoidable places, but I think the Lebanese Taverna there does better food than most of their locations (although the new Tyson's one is pretty good too.)

Bill Russell

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Del Ray has good indian and tex mex Taqueria Poblano, Los Amigos and Los Tios. Also, Cheesetique is on Mt. Vernon Ave.

Discovering Del Ray would be the best thing you could do if you want good, cheap food near your work. I've lived here for 5 years or so now, and I'm in the process of buying a tiny house in the area for a prince's fortune just because I cannot bear to live elsewhere. I love to cook and do so frequently, but I'm even downsizing my precious, precious kitchen space in this move because, living out of walking distance from Taqueria Poblano or Bombay Curry Company? that's not living, that's listlessly inhabiting some grey half-life where fabulous chicken kadai, margaritas, and crispy pork tacos aren't available at whim. Who'd want that? If work is bad (and when is it not?), you can burn it off with Bombay Curry Company's awesome vindaloo or drown your sorrows in tequila and tacos at the Taqueria. Go to both estabishments, Eunny, as quickly as you can.

And, if I ever do follow through and leave my SO for the lamb at Eve, I'd still be willing to cheat on the lamb with Jill Erber's cheeses. Cheesetique could be the first step on a path leading to a severe dairy fetish.

A jumped-up pantry boy who never knew his place.

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What a timely topic!

We just moved to Arlington last weekend -- right off Columbia Pike. From my house, we walked down to Matuba for dinner. (Pretty good, a little older looking than the one in Bethesda. Also... no eel in a sake box? Feh.)

- E.

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Oh, a restaurant recommendation: Cowboy Cafe in Adams Square shopping center. Very cute: breakfast all day, all sorts of hamburgers, and chess and checkers available behind the bar. Sadly, they'll be closing in June, leaving only one location open.

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Also near Shirlington is Pentagon Row - mostly avoidable places, but I think the Lebanese Taverna there does better food than most of their locations (although the new Tyson's one is pretty good too.)

Pentagon Row also has a Harris Teeter grocery, a Sur la Table, and a World Market. Also Baja Fresh.

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