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Seeking authentic Korean & Vietnamese Restaurants


Industrychick
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Having recently arrived in the area from chinatown, NYC, I'm in search authentic Korean, Laotian and Vietnamese restaurants, prefereably located in DC or not more than a 45 min drive away. While I'm willing to pay large sums for great food, I don't think I should have to in this category, so reasonably priced choices are preferred. If anyone has any suggestions for such places that are particularly wonderful for groups of 8 or more, feel free to chime in - the food still has to be great though. Thanks!

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There's a place in Arlington that I'm forgetting the name of off hand, but it's basically a small shopping mall with literally everything Vietnamese. Jewelery stores, clothing stores, juice shops, and lots and lots of restaurants. I'll try and remember the name or look it up, but if you ask around or look in Arlington, you should be able to come up with something. Good luck.

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I'm pretty sure that Eden Center is the shopping area to which the earlier poster was referring. It's technically at a Falls Church address. The area is called Seven Corners. It's right at the dividing line between Arlington and Falls Church, where several major roads intersect. The roads include Rt. 50, Rt. 7 and Wilson Blvd. One of the better regarded restaurants (Four Sisters aka Huong Que) lists their address as 6769 Wilson Blvd. There are a number of Vietnamese Restuarant located at Eden Center. There are also several good Korean restaurants in the bordering neighborhoods.

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I'm pretty sure that Eden Center is the shopping area to which the earlier poster was referring.  It's technically at a Falls Church address.  The area is called Seven Corners.  It's right at the dividing line between Arlington and Falls Church, where several major roads intersect.  The roads include Rt. 50, Rt. 7 and Wilson Blvd.  One of the better regarded restaurants (Four Sisters aka Huong Que) lists their address as 6769 Wilson Blvd.  There are a number of Vietnamese Restuarant located at Eden Center.  There are also several good Korean restaurants in the bordering neighborhoods.

Three Sisters restaurant in Eden Center gets a lot of press, but I prefer the restaurant next door, which I believe is called Viet Royale. Get the Vitenamese "fondue" and the lime soda. Get the lime soda even if you're drinking beer or wine wirth dinner, it's ridiculously good.

In town, I like Pho 79 in Cleveland Park quite a bit, but prefer the carry-out as the service there is rather abrupt. Match the squid curry with a decent Alsatian Gewurtzraminer and you're half-way to heaven, if not Eden (Center).

Recent forays to Arlingon's "Little Saigon," out Wilson Boulevard, have been disappointing, but perhaps someone else can point out a good restaurant I have missed. A recent trip to Dalat -- once considered one of the finest Vietnamese restaurants in the area -- was bad beyond words.

Edited by Busboy (log)

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Avoid the side-by-side Vietnamese restaurants on M St. in Georgetown at all costs. The food isn't remotely Vietnamese but rather blander versions of Americanized Chinese takeout.

I highly recommend Han Sun Oak in Falls Church for excellent Korean barbecue and other dishes.

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I'm a big fan of the pho place on Rt. 50 and Annandale road, in the strip mall next to the wierd cowboy-looking grocery store. The place is usually empty (or nearly empty) but it's very good. Besides their superlative pho (except for the beef ball, which is much better elsewhere), there's some good apps (I recommend the chicken rolls), some noodle dishes (fried and other), and some other soups (including a great seafood soup with a fried shrimp-pancake on top). There's also some seriously good bubble drinks--my personal favorite is avacado: it's big enough that two or three people ordering soup could split it. Prices are cheap. One drawback is that it has the absolute worst atmosphere (even for pho standards), and the waitstaff is somewhat surly. And, since the place is so dead, the servers have little else to do but sit at a table in the back and stare at you. Sometimes, the staff will bring in their kids and watch them play hand held video games. But, even then, these drawbacks are charming in its own way.

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Avoid the side-by-side Vietnamese restaurants on M St. in Georgetown at all costs. The food isn't remotely Vietnamese but rather blander versions of Americanized Chinese takeout.

Yeah man, what's the deal with those? Someone told me once that they share a kitchen but that they're completely different restaurants.

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At Eden Center, to the left of 3 Sisters by the Vietnamese Bakery, there is a little hole in the wall full of smoke but incredible food! They would be my choice and unfortunately I can't remember their name! They have an OLD New York Times review on their window and don't accept credit cards. Try it, you will not be sorry!

(To the left as you are facing it!)

Edited by raisab (log)

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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I'm kind of feeling sorry for the fourth sister who keeps getting left out. ;) At Eden Center, I love Four Sisters/Huoung Que. I used to like Viet Royale quite a bit but, honestly, I saw them written up in the Washington Post for health code violations one too many times to feel comfortable eating there anymore. Out this way (Reston/Herndon), Le Grille in the Clocktower is quite good. Other cannot, should not misses:

In Arlington (Clarendon), the still fairly new Minh's is excellent -- it competes with Huoung Que comfortably for the "best" title. Little Viet Garden isn't as good as some of the other restaurants, but their patio makes up for a multitude of evils. Nam Viet is very tasty, although I haven't been in some time so that might have changed. Queen Bee used to be considered one of the best, but it has toppled quite far off that list, in my opinion, and the inside of the restaurant looks ragged and the service is abrupt, bordering on full-on rude.

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  • 1 month later...

Il Mee Buffet in Annadale, VA on Little River Turnpike is a great place to eat Korean food. They have a good Korean buffet and a variety all you can eat Korean BBQ meats that you can grill at the table. (Well, I do it myself. Normally the waitstaff does it for you and I get funny looks when I ask to do it myself)

It's a good place to take someone who familar with Korean food. They have jap chae, duboki, a good selection of panchan and a sweet rice drink to end your meal with. (Sorry I don't know the name!) If you take someone who's not familar with Korean food, be forewarned - there are no labels on anything. There is sushi as well. The sushi isn't the greatest but you're not there for the sushi - you come for the kal bi!!!

(Yes, buffets aren't really authentic but this is a great place to get your grub on!)

Edited by Gastro888 (log)
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Four (not three) Sisters is really good for some things, esp. anything with black bean sauce -- usually the recommendations by the sisters or their younger brother are reliable. The same family also has a sandwich shop almost next door called Song Que. The grilled pork sandwiches are a bargain, and the bubble drinks are very good. They also have pork bao and prepackaged take out food.

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Il Mee Buffet in Annadale, VA on Little River Turnpike is a great place to eat Korean food.  They have a good Korean buffet and a variety all you can eat Korean BBQ meats that you can grill at the table.  (Well, I do it myself.  Normally the waitstaff does it for you and I get funny looks when I ask to do it myself) 

It's a good place to take someone who familar with Korean food.  They have jap chae, duboki, a good selection of panchan and a sweet rice drink to end your meal with.  (Sorry I don't know the name!)  If you take someone who's not familar with Korean food, be forewarned - there are no labels on anything.  There is sushi as well.  The sushi isn't the greatest but you're not there for the sushi - you come for the kal bi!!!

(Yes, buffets aren't really authentic but this is a great place to get your grub on!)

Aieee!

The name is hardly an enticement :laugh:

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I suppose I ought to put some real substance in that post -

For some reason, the Koreans love them some buffets (I think it's the idea that they're getting away with something - you'd be either amused or horrified to see the things my grandmother does to "cheat"...hiding nigiri sushi rice under lettuce leaves after peeling the fish off, etc), so in that respect, it's actually pretty authentic :laugh:

For what it's worth, I don't think Il Mee is very good, though the selection is certainly vast and you won't walk away hungry. Seemingly everything there is heavily sweetened - one could go into insulin shock just looking at the bulgogi - my major dealbreaker for Korean restaurants.

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I suppose I ought to put some real substance in that post -

For some reason, the Koreans love them some buffets (I think it's the idea that they're getting away with something - you'd be either amused or horrified to see the things my grandmother does to "cheat"...hiding nigiri sushi rice under lettuce leaves after peeling the fish off, etc), so in that respect, it's actually pretty authentic :laugh:

For what it's worth, I don't think Il Mee is very good, though the selection is certainly vast and you won't walk away hungry.  Seemingly everything there is heavily sweetened - one could go into insulin shock just looking at the bulgogi - my major dealbreaker for Korean restaurants.

Huh, I never thought twice about the name! :smile:

Eunny, I can relate to your grandmother's habits! My mom has some as well. Funny how we Asians have this image of being refined and polished when we can be hella ghetto sometimes! :biggrin:

I don't know what authentic kal bi should taste like - I've only had it at the local MD/VA restaurants. I like Il Mee's kal bi b/c it has nice chewy and fat bits in it. I dislike lean meats...bad for the heart, I know!

I didn't know that everything at Il Mee there is overly sweetened. Thanks for the insight!

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For the Korean foodies, Hee Been has recently reopened, after a long absence. They have remodeled and added a lunch buffet, which is around $14. I'll go so far as to say it's the best Korean buffet in the area. Four kinds of BBQ (beef bulgogi, kalbi, chicken kalbi and pork), the sushi is fresh, and the kimchi and panchan (side dish) choices are good.

It's a good way to be introduced to Korean food, as you get to see and smell everything before making a choice.

Hee Been is just off the Little River Turnpike exit from I-395. 6231 Little River Tpke, Alexandria, VA 22312 · 703-941-3737

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  • 8 months later...

Three articles about Korean cuisine and restaurants in the Montgomery Extra section today:

An Enlightening Taste of Korea's Cuisine

Korean Restaurants: Barbecue and Beyond

A Primer on Korean Food

The second article is a comprehensive list with short reviews of Korean restos in MD, VA, and the one DC place.

Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I like Taste of Saigon in Rockville (I haven't tried the one in VA) but it is more upscale, and while it has lots and lots of Vietnamese dishes, it also shows the French influence that was so strong in Viet Nam. But the food is good, the family that owns them is indeed Vietnamese, and it is reasonably priced.

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Three articles about Korean cuisine and restaurants in the Montgomery Extra section today:

This was also in the Loudoun section, so my guess is it is everywhere.

The reviews in the Loudoun section are of different restos -- all in Va. So the link to the Maryland reviews is helpful. Not that I'll be getting to any of those places anytime soon, what with my one-year-old twins. :wacko:

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Definitely Eden Center for Vetnamese, although I prefer Huong Viet over 4 Sisters, since it is less geared towards americans. Seems more authentic. There are also places for bahn mi and pho.

Other good SE Asian:

Burmese: Myanmar in Falls Church and Mandalay in MD (Silver Spring). Burma in Chinatown (DC) as a third choice.)

Malaysia Kopitiam for malaysian in Dupont. Not Penang.

I like Thai Square in Arlington for Thai. Supposdly Duangrat and Rabieng in Bailey's are really good, although oen si upscale.

-Jason

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Welcome to DC area!!! Check out this website. I like his web site a lot and have tried many of the resturants he refers to. You will not go wrong. http://www.gmu.edu/jbc/Tyler/ethnic.htm

For Vietnamese, you'll be pretty happy exploring Eden Center. It is located in the 7 corners area of Arlington. Let me know if you can't find direction. A lot of different resturant. There is one place of note that I just went to. I can't remember the name but it specializes in tofu. I got some of their tofu dishes this week as well as some fresh soft tofu. It is excellent.

Best Pho: Pho 75 I think they are great. I think they have the best broth around and the worst service but its a pho place. There is also a place in the Eden center right next to Viet Royal (can't remember the name). It serves pho and the ambiance is great (a nice dive type of place).

Best Bun Mi: Next to Pho 75 is a place (don't quote me: DC bun mi???). Its on Rt 50 across the street from Lohmann's plaza. They bake the bread right on premise. Really good. I like it better than any place I've tried in Eden center.

Best V-Rest: Viet Royal but I have found them incosistant. When they are great, it is amazing. But even on the same dish, its a pot luck on if it will be great or not. They would run these shrimp and crab specials at half price. My family would be hard pressed to spend $30 buck there.

Korean there a lot of great places but you have to go out to the burbs. Again referred to tyler's website. The washington post also had this past Thursday in the Fairfax section, a number of articles about korean food and resturants. Check it out.

For the beginner, I'd recommend places like Woo Lee Oak or Sorak Garden. You get a good overview of stuff and things most people are familar with. There are a few places that I like.

VitGol (sp??) on columbia pike near the annandale fire house and behind the burger king (sorry I don't have the address or better directions). PM me and I'll find it for you. I think it is the best place for Soon Duboo which is a soft tofu stew.

Seoul SoonDae House: Specializes in SoonDae, korean black susauge. This places specializes in parts of pigs you'd see on fear factor. Really good susage and susage soup and excellent hamul pajon.

Yaechon: best place after a long night out. Good all around. BBQ are good. Try the BBQ meal that comes with 4 of 5 different kinds of meats and seafood. Really good. Their HaeJangGuk is the best one i've found around washington.

Woo Lee Oak: Best Nang Myun in DC.

Lunch Box: Korean Chinease. Really good Jam Pong and Ja Jang Mein. On Little River Turnpike.

Super H: Best Korean Grocery (if you want to cook yourself). Also has a "food court" and can get good korean dishes. Lotte, which is also close by has a good food court.

Le Matin de Paris: korean bakery. Good coffee, great pastries and great couches (although not enough).

I do not like Buffets. I think Il Mee has the worst food and would urge people to stay away but I also know other who like the place.

I believe Tyler on the website I've referred to at the top of the page actually has most of these places with address and phone number. Good luck and happy eating.

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