Virginia's diverse culinary landscape ranges from down-home Southern fare to global cuisine offerings borrowing talent from the legendary diversity of Washington, D.C.'s culinary scene. Diners in Arlington and Alexandria can enjoy outposts of popular D.C. restaurants like pan-Asian favorite TenPenh or acclaimed Spanish-style tapas joint Paploma, acclaimed as some of the region's best international fare. Falls Church is home to a unique and diverse culinary scene, featuring local favorites like Fava Pot, which serves up authentic Egyptian-style fare. In Fairfax, hip taproom High Side showcases some of the best brews of the Virginia and D.C. beer scenes alongside Taiwanese-style street fare offerings.
© Nostos Restaurant
Nostos Restaurant is a delicious Greek-style restaurant in Vienna, named in honor of the Greek word for nostalgia, which carries connotations for a return to one's origins. The restaurant, which was opened in 2011 by restaurateur Despina Pagonis, has been a perennial award-winning favorite for years for its hearty Greek entrees and extensive international wine list. Diners can enjoy fresh takes on modern Greek dishes, including entrees prepared with Mediterranean fish selections like dorado, branzino, and sardines. Shareable mezedes plates are available for the entire table, including classic Greek selections like spanakopita, kolokithakia, and dolmadakia yialantzi. Land and sea favorites served up throughout the day range from fresh-fried calamari and swordfish skewers to souvlaki, biftekakia, and seasonal fish filets. Over 50 Greek bottles of wine are available for pairing with all meals.
8100 Boone Blvd, Vienna, VA 22182, Phone: 703-760-0690
2.Mia's Italian Kitchen
© Mia's Italian Kitchen
Mia's Italian Kitchen is a delicious Alexandria restaurant opened in 2018, inspired by restaurateur Dave Nicholas' childhood relationship with his great-grandmother, which was primarily anchored around food due to a language barrier. The restaurant uses Nicholas' family traditions from Naples in all of its menu offerings, including delicious housemade pastas, pizzas, and hearty Italian-style sandwiches. Diners can select from pasta favorites like rigatoni alla Calabrese, jumbo shrimp fra diavolo, spaghetti alla carbonara with guanciale, or bucatini cacio e pepe, served up throughout the day on all-day menus. House specialties like chicken parmesan, veal piccata, and bistecca alla Fiorentina are also served, along with classic meatball sandwiches, brick-oven pizzas by the slice or by the pie, and shareables like zucchini fries, stuffed calamari, and egg yolk raviolo.
100 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314, Phone: 703-997-5300
© Fava Pot
Fava Pot is one of Falls Church is most unique dining destinations, originally opened by restaurateur Dina Daniel in 2013 as a food truck. Since 2018, it has operated at its counter-service brick-and-mortar location, serving up delicious Egyptian-style delicacies with modern twists. Diners can choose from favorites like koshary bowls, stuffed with lentils, Egyptian rice, chickpeas, and spicy tomato sauce, or enjoy platters of grilled favorites like lamb kofta, chicken kebabs, and fava bean falafel. Signature entrees include oven-roasted stuffed artichokes, breaded veal escalope with macaroni bechamel, chicken molokheya, and lamb chops cooked with stuffed grape leaves. Desserts like om ali pudding, kunafa, and Egyptian-style miniature cookies made with ghee and cane sugar round out the menu.
7393 D Lee Highway, Falls Church, VA 22042, Phone: 703-204-0609
© High Side
High Side is a hip taproom in Fairfax that was opened to the public in 2018, known for its selections of cult favorite brews and locally-produced ales. The taproom's craft beer offerings rotate regularly, but frequently feature selections from breweries throughout North America, ranging from renowned favorites like Stillwater Artisanal Ales to up-and-coming microbreweries like Drekker Brewing Company, The Veil Brewing, Horus Aged Ales, and Modern Times Beer. Styles range from fruit-forward sour beers and barrel-aged ciders to dense, malty stouts and refreshing pilsner varieties. Food menus highlight Taiwanese-style street food offerings, including fried chicken bao buns, pork belly rice bowls, roti johns, and Malaysian-style tamarind shrimp platters.
4009 Chain Bridge Rd, Fairfax, VA 22030, Phone: 703-865-8181
© TenPenh Tysons
TenPenh Tysons is the reboot of the popular Washington, D.C. dining destination of the same name, opened in 2016 by executive chef Jeff Tunks. The restaurant, which formerly resided in a dining space overlooking the beautiful Potomac River, has been reopened in Virginia's trendy Tysons Corner district, showcasing delicious modern Asian menus. Its dining space is inspired by the decor of a traditional Chinese courtyard house, showcasing design elements like a contemporary-style moon gate and an open-plan kitchen. Diners can enjoy innovative menu selections highlighting Japanes, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Korean cuisine favorites, including steamed bao buns, artisanal ramen, hot stone rice bowls, and entree selections like Thai-style curry and hokkaido sea scallops.
7900 Westpark Dr, McLean, VA 22102, Phone: 703-910-3096
© ROOTS 657
ROOTS 657 is a charming cafe and local market in Leesburg, opened in 2016 by executive chef Rich Rosendale. The locally-inspired market offers dine-in and takeout services throughout the week, serving up regionally-curated dishes at lunch and dinner. Diners can enjoy excellent housemade soups, salads, and sandwiches, including Chesapeake favorites like Maryland crab and corn soup. Signature burgers range from classic double cheeseburgers to health-conscious black bean burgers topped with grilled vegetables and smoked corn salsa. Visitors can also carry out meats by the pound prepared on site, including country pulled pork, smoked turkey breast, and signature beef brisket. Local wines are served up by the glass alongside a tap list of regional and national craft brews.
42301 Spinks Ferry Rd, Leesburg, VA 20176, Phone: 703-779-9657
7.Magnolia’s on King
© Magnolia’s on King
Magnolia’s on King is an elegant Southern-style restaurant in Alexandria's Old Town district, opened in 2015 by restaurateur Steve Fogleman. The classy eatery is located within a bi-level building that is more than two centuries old, showcasing a beautiful lounge upstairs equipped with a cozy grand fireplace. Diners can enjoy delicious contemporary twists on Southern fare, including country fried chicken, confit duck and dumplings, hoppin' John with Carolina gold rice, and jumbo Gulf shrimp and grits platters. Shareables for the table range from po'boy shrimp sliders to Chesapeake classics like spicy Maryland crab dip seasoned with Old Bay. Upstairs, the restaurant's Palm Lounge serves up craft cocktails alongside a selection of hearty bar bites and appetizers.
703 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314, Phone: 703-838-9090
Pamplona is a delicious dining destination in Arlington named in honor of the Spanish city of the same name, which is best known for its annual Running of the Bulls festival. The restaurant, which was opened in 2017 by the restaurant team behind D.C. favorites Provision 14 and Bonfire, brings delicious Spanish tapas to a beautiful 3,600-square-foot space on Clarendon Boulevard, which features stunning romantic decor inspired by the works of Alexander McQueen and Paul LaCroix. Diners can enjoy an excellent selection of Spanish-inspired tapas, which are available individually by the plate or as part of a $35 all-you-can-eat Taste of Spain experience. Selections range from classics like patatas bravas and albondigas to signature recipes like chicken paella croquetas and gambas al ajillo in white wine butter sauce.
3100 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201, Phone: 703-685-9950
9.Sense of Thai
© Sense of Thai
Sense of Thai is the latest offering from restaurateur and bartender Jeremy Ross, located in the beautiful Virginia city of Ashburn. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining spaces, including a romantic patio strung with ambient twinkling lights and a bar adjacent to its lively cooking station. Decor elements are meant to evoke the vibe of authentic urban Thai restaurants, showcasing a repurposed Thai dining cart that has been converted into a host stand and replicated Thai-style temple doors. Thai street food takes center stage, including classics like street fried rice with Thai sweet pork sausage, lamb Massaman curry, and marinated pork ribs with sriracha. An extensive selection of fried rice and curry dishes are also available, along with noodle classics like pad thai gai, pad zee ewe, and drunken noodles.
20413 Exchange St, Ashburn, VA 20147, Phone: 703-858-1980
, Michigan beaches
Takumi is a unique Falls Church dining destination helmed by executive chef and restaurateur Jay Yu, opened in 2015. The restaurant, which offers limited seating for 32, is known for its excellent classic sushi offerings, which eschew modern twists for traditional Japanese flavorings and authentic preparations. Diners can enjoy sushi tasting menus that highlight six or nine chef's selections, including nigiri selections and house signature rolls. Sashimi tasting menus are also offered, highlighting 10 or 17 pieces. Specials rotate daily, but frequently highlight offerings like Japanese tai snapper, kinmedai, and fatty tuna. Donburi selections are prepared over sushi rice, including chirashi and unadon.
310 S Washington St B, Falls Church, VA 22046, Phone: 703-241-1128
10 Must-Try Virginia Restaurants
- Nostos Restaurant, Photo: Nostos Restaurant
- Mia's Italian Kitchen, Photo: Mia's Italian Kitchen
- Fava Pot, Photo: Fava Pot
- High Side, Photo: High Side
- TenPenh Tysons, Photo: TenPenh Tysons
- ROOTS 657, Photo: ROOTS 657
- Magnolia’s on King, Photo: Magnolia’s on King
- Pamplona, Photo: Pamplona
- Sense of Thai, Photo: Sense of Thai
- Takumi, Photo: Jag_cz/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: kichigin19/stock.adobe.com