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Best food in fairfax va

Best food in Fairfax VA is at the Fairfax Food Truck Festival. The festival is a great way to get some local food and support the local business owners of this area.
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By Stefanie Gans and Rina Rapuano

afghan cuisine on white plate
Photograph by Rey Lopez

Afghan Bistro

Springfield | Afghan | $$

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When Afghan Bistro opened three years in the past it felt like a brand new chapter for Central Asian eating within the area. There’s at all times been nice strip mall kabab homes, however this restaurant in Springfield discovered fame with composed plates and large chunks of tender meats, just like the Arcosian goat seasoned with garam masala, that seemingly dissolves into rice adorned with shredded carrots and raisins. The vegetable dishes ought to get simply as a lot consideration: roasted eggplant that’s only a delight, savory, spicy, soulful. Whether or not tucked within a dumpling or snuggled as much as a melange of different greens, fall-approved, orange-hued winter squash is only a trace candy and may ramp up due to the quad of home sauces on the desk (a favourite is the brilliant inexperienced avocado one with a touch of jalapeno). Most the whole lot is cooked lengthy and gradual, making this cozy, crowded spot a spot to tuck into because the nights creep cooler. // 8081 Alban Highway, Suite D, Springfield

fried fish from amoo
Photograph courtesy of Rey Lopez

Amoo’s Restaurant **No. 7

McLean | Persian | $$$

It may be an informal Tuesday afternoon lunch with a pal, however the minute a plate of extremely moist and flavorful chimichurri lamb served with a mound of shirin polo hits the desk, lunch immediately looks like a celebration. The lamb arrives with a spicy inexperienced sauce that goes shortly, and you are feeling vindicated with this obsession when overhearing different tables asking for extra. There are numerous variations of rice right here, such because the crispy tahdig working nice with hearty dishes just like the braised lamb shank, however the shirin polo is an alluring pile of fluffy grains topped with pomegranate, pistachios, candied carrots and orange zest, lending every chew sweetness, crunch and pop. Begin with a refreshing iced tea laced with rose water and saffron and finish with an off-menu saffron ice cream sandwich. // 6271 Outdated Dominic Drive, McLean

This publish initially appeared in our November 2019 difficulty’s 50 Finest Eating places cowl story. For extra meals evaluations, subscribe to our weekly publication.

asian noodles
Photograph by Rey Lopez

Asian Origin

Chinese language | McLean | $$

Pickled, diced string beans, crumbles of floor pork, wilted spinach and scallions create a primary layer above a tangle of noodles. Toss and toss and toss earlier than digging chopsticks into this vegetable-heavy model of dan dan noodles. Cumin lamb is velvety in texture and heady in scent. Crinkly dry-fried inexperienced beans are normal difficulty from the Sichuan playbook, if rather less spicy on this model. However why it’s price navigating although Tysons Nook to a nondescript workplace constructing is for its fantastical show of fish. A big silver tray hoisted above the desk on 4 legs frames an entire fish adorned in layers of aromatics and spices and herbs and the fish is tender to the contact, but in addition electrical. It’s a vibrant show of the Chinese language cabinet, and a meal match for day by day celebrations. // 1753 Pinnacle Drive, Tysons

pizza going in oven
Photograph courtesy of Rey Lopez

Assaggi Osteria & Assaggi Pizzeria

Italian | McLean | $$$$ & $$

Farro swirled round a pot like risotto is even higher than the Arborio rice model, nuttier, chewier, a mound of grains with extra integrity, and one way or the other steals the highlight from a duo of delicate scallops, pudgy rounds each tender and virtually juicy. Through the day at Assaggi Osteria, it’s a ladies-who-lunch scene, and the ladies know the place to seek out subtle dishes, housemade bucatini, lengthy, hole strands glossed in pecorino Romano and plenty of pepper; crisp-skinned branzino subsequent to a contemporary, full of life mattress of greens; and a meal accomplished with foamy cappuccinos and bombolini, big, spherical doughnut holes which are heat and creamy and even higher swiped via a patch of Nutella or lemon curd. Subsequent door, a extra informal resolution is Assaggi Pizzeria, which fires up chewy pies adorned in creamy cheeses and salty meats. Snacks embrace fried pasta balls (as a result of why fry up rice, as arancini, when noodles sauced in carbonara is an possibility?), and artichokes, fried the place each petal is coated and crunchy and primed for dipping right into a smoked aioli. The kitchens share pastry duties, so go forward and order these doughnuts on this aspect, too. // 6641 Outdated Dominion Drive, McLean

fish on fried crabcake
Photograph courtesy of Rey Lopez

Ciao Osteria

Centreville | Italian | $$

“I’ll have the penne alla vodka.” It was an announcement, not a query. This dish isn’t on the menu at Ciao Osteria, a homey Italian-American restaurant that instructions strains on the weekends in its spot in a Centreville strip mall.

The server wrote down the order, no query. Ciao Osteria is a spot of consolation, with requirements from the red-sauce-joint canon (on menu or off), and likewise expertly charring Neapolitan-style pies. The toppings—mozzarella, prosciutto de Parma, arugula—are deliberately sparse, higher to let the chewy crust have its second. Comply with the trail most adopted and order the boozy, wealthy, creamy, can’t-go-wrong tiramisu for dessert. // 14115 St. Germain Drive, Centreville

green sprouts on silver plate
Photograph courtesy of Rey Lopez

Readability

Vienna | Fashionable American | $$$$

It couldn’t be extra clear. It was on the high of the menu with a field round it. In fact, it’s what the restaurant desires visitors to order. Is touting “first of the season Alba white truffles” a gimmick? Certain, truffles and its oil handed via the pattern machine (on pizza, popcorn, mac and cheese) however the actual imports from Italy are an important day. Readability employed the fungi over a plate of radiatore pasta, little nubs resembling radiators, and it delivers on paying $27 for an appetizer portion as quickly as that pungent, intoxicating scent floats via the air. A final-of-the-summer soup is thick with peppers, corn and okra, and slightly spice cuts via the creamy texture. Softened beef cheeks sink right into a soupy polenta that’s all the higher for the meat’s drippings. Dessert feeds the chocolate monster in us all with a luxe, elegant and large-portioned plate full of chocolate in numerous types, most significantly as an enormous disk of pot de creme. // 442 Maple Ave. E., Vienna

noodles with veg and chopsticks
Laghman, a housemade noodle dish with lamb and veggies, is served with an intense selfmade chili mix. (Photograph by Rey Lopez)

Eerkin’s Uyghur Delicacies

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Fairfax | Uyghur | $$

Possibly the predictions from 2017 that Uyghur meals is the following large factor—when three native eating places opened in lower than two years—didn’t come to fruition. Possibly we nonetheless want a pronunciation information: WEE-gur. Possibly we nonetheless need assistance understanding this cross between Chinese language, Center Japanese and Central Asian meals, a Silk Highway-fueled journey of the Uyghur folks. And, possibly we nonetheless want a nudge to do this meals. Head to Eerkin’s in downtown Fairfax, a small restaurant with the complete vary of Uyghur delights: kathlama naan, 4 golden triangles which are buttery, crispy and flaky, like a flattened croissant; lamb kabobs, the quintessential meat-on-a-stick with the spices so closely utilized you’ll be able to style the feel; and manta, dumplings which are all a couple of salty, savory sauce freshened with cilantro. The true joys are the assorted noodle dishes—be it the housemade laghman, thick and chewy, virtually harking back to Japanese udon, or dapanchi, an enormous plate with hen and potatoes, plus silky, flat, jagged-cut noodles, extra like a shaggy Italian tagliatelle—no possibly about it. // 4008 College Drive, Fairfax

plate of thin bread with dips
Photograph by Stefanie Gans

Enatye

Herndon | Ethiopian | $$

When visitors come into city and wish one thing native, one thing that represents the eating scene, Ethiopian is the best way to go. The DMV has the biggest Ethiopian inhabitants outdoors of the nation itself. It’s our native delicacies. Strolling a beginner via the meal for the primary time is a deal with: Use the bread, injera, to scoop up the sauce, not a spoon, knife or fork. It’s in contrast to meals wherever else, the earthy aura amped up with fiery, however at all times balanced, warmth. “It’s an entirely new flavor,” says the newcomer, speaking in circles in regards to the spices, and the greens, and the way “the combination of textures …” and she will’t even end the sentence. “I feel so dumb for never having tried it.” We’re not all as fortunate to dwell in Little Ethiopia. // 275 Sundown Park Drive, Herndon

soup with chicken wing
Photograph by Jonathan Timmes

Esaan

McLean | Thai | $$

There’s no pad thai on the menu right here. In truth, lots of the Thai staples American diners have come to know are conspicuously lacking. Whereas some may be postpone by this, others will respect the chance to climb out of the inexperienced curry rut and revel within the spicy, bitter, natural and fish sauce-scented dishes of Northern Thailand. Carnivores mustn’t even think about leaving this place with out attempting the spicy grilled pork shoulder—slices of tender meat loaded with dried and contemporary chiles, contemporary mint and cilantro, onion and fish sauce. Cracked, toasted rice lends a pleasant crunch to the jumble. Different menu wins embrace a starter of tiny hen wings brightened by lemongrass and an array of aromatics; an entire fried rockfish piled excessive with cashews, ginger and chiles all swimming in a puddle of pungent fish sauce; and a dessert of coconutty, candy sticky rice (sporting a enjoyable blue shade due to butterfly pea flower) topped with a creamy Thai custard. // 1307 Outdated Chain Bridge Highway, McLean

three pieces of food with crab
Causa, chilly potato desserts, function an entry level into Peruvian delicacies at Inca Social. (Photograph by Rey Lopez)

Inca Social

Vienna | Peruvian | $$

From the primary moments inside, taking within the glittery pink tiles behind the bar, the eye-catching wall designs created with vibrant inexperienced moss and the large-but-not-quite-life-sized stuffed animal alpaca close to the door (or is it a llama?), there’s a way that enjoyable is excessive on the agenda at this contemporary Peruvian spot. Its location close to the Dunn Loring Metro and the 23 faucet strains that includes primarily Virginia-made craft beers and ciders make it a pure joyful hour spot, and the festive patio is a superb place to unwind. For these uninitiated in Peruvian delicacies, it is a excellent spot to proper that improper. Servers are extraordinarily pleasant in explaining conventional dishes like causa—a base of chilly potato desserts that style like potato salad that’s mashed, fashioned right into a disk and topped with mounds of chopped and dressed beets, hen or shrimp. Inca balls are one other profitable appetizer, that includes that very same causa potato combination filled with cheese or floor beef that’s then breaded and fried. Lomo saltado, a stir-fry of soy-glazed beef, onions and tomatoes, celebrates the affect Asian delicacies had on a few of the nation’s most iconic meals. Or maintain issues lighter with an order of the El Cuzco salad, a squat cylinder of avocado, quinoa and mango with a ardour fruit-lime French dressing. // 2670 Avenir Place, Vienna

fettucini with shrimp
Photograph by Rey Lopez

L’Auberge Chez François & Jacques’ Brasserie

Nice Falls | French | $$$$* & $$$

Taking a step again in time isn’t at all times a superb factor. One exception: having fun with a leisurely meal in a restaurant impressed by a nostalgic French nation inn plunked down in pastoral Virginia. Settle into the white-tablecloth expertise both within the charming eating room or on the equally enchanting patio and put together to be pampered. A meal begins with an amuse-bouche, corresponding to a wealthy cream of lentil soup, and strikes via a roster of Gallic favorites like French onion soup, lobster bisque and trout amandine. Diners can go gentle, as with a lobster and citrus salad dressed with vanilla French dressing, or heavier with dishes like a stick-to-your-ribs beef cheek stew teeming with mushrooms, greens and wine served in a mini Le Creuset crock. With dinner entree costs hovering round $85, it makes extra sense to order the prix fixe menu for a similar worth—which buys diners at the very least 4 programs and a number of other good extras like espresso or tea with mignardises. Irrespective of which approach you go, go for a meal-ending souffle. For these with Champagne tastes on a beer funds, strive the a la carte Jacques’ Brasserie, a extra informal expertise discovered on the restaurant’s decrease stage. // 332 Springfield Highway, Nice Falls

rice dish with egg
Dishes at Malaysian Kopitiam are each comforting and electrical, like nasi goreng, fried rice with shrimp and a puffy egg. (Photograph by Rey Lopez)

Malaysian Kopitiam

Centreville | Malaysian | $$

All of us swore we’d by no means do it. We had been younger and funky and lived within the metropolis. After which … life. And right here we’re within the suburban sprawl of Fairfax County. Fortunately, Malaysian Kopitiam made the transfer, too. What was as soon as a restaurant on the sting of downtown and Dupont Circle, is similar core restaurant (so is that metropolis child in a suburban dad or mum physique!), however now in Centreville. Fish puree wrapped in a sheet of tofu is fried to a crinkly, puffy, silky texture; it’s magical, like if tissue paper had been edible. The lengthy menu is flush with numerous rice and noodle dishes in numerous soups and sauces, just like the curry laksa and mee goreng, and so they all discover methods to style each comforting and electrical. And for dessert, overlook what you already know about mochi. Right here it’s one thing totally different: a heat sphere filled with sesame paste and coated with crushed peanuts and sugar, and it’s salty and savory with a blast of nutty richness. It’s the primary time in a few years of eating that the phrase uttered by the server—“It’s not ice cream”—got here not as a disappointment. // 5085 Westfields Blvd., Centreville

table full of food at Mama Chang
The way in which to get probably the most out of a go to from Mama Chang is to order as a lot as you’ll be able to and share the whole lot, just like the (from left) Wuhan sesame noodles, chili fried lamb, inexperienced beans, chili flounder fish and dry-fried cauliflower. (Photograph by Rey Lopez)

Mama Chang **No. 5

Fairfax | Chinese language | $$$

The house is vibrant, open, gleaming white with gentle wooden. This isn’t the low-key strip mall digs the place Sichuan sensation Peter Chang normally units up store. That is Mama Chang, the famed chef’s newest enterprise and one impressed by the ladies in his life: his mother, Ronger Wang, his spouse, Lisa Chang, and daughter, Lydia Chang. The balloon-like scallion bubble pancake is likely one of the few Chang signatures represented in Fairfax, and it nonetheless wows diners with its quantity and fantastical deflation. Past which are the fiery dishes, a brutally spicy dry-fried cauliflower, a spicy, heady chili flounder and the chili-cumin bits of lamb. A wealthy, nutty sesame sauce coats noodles and crinkly inexperienced beans are salty and snappy. The top can go easy with a squishy pineapple bun or unexpectedly Euro with a darkish chocolate sesame flourless cake, that includes a slim line of fudge, and only a contact of sweetness to squelch the burn. // 3251 Outdated Lee Freeway, Suite 101, Fairfax

carrot cake with cream
Photograph by Rey Lopez

Maple Ave Restaurant

Vienna | European | $$$

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It’s not that Juste Zidelyte doesn’t care {that a} assortment of odds and ends has no enterprise sitting subsequent to one another on a tasting board, it’s that she is aware of higher than we do. There’s hen liver mousse, pairing properly with currant jam, after which herbed ricotta, which might slide throughout a halved marinated egg—or is that bacon jam topping hen liver mousse, or bacon jam on the egg? However wait, additionally discover caponata and pickles and pickled raisins and olives. What’s occurring right here? Unsure? Doesn’t matter. It’s enjoyable to play on this Lithuanian-native’s creativeness of what mixes and matches. Not the whole lot is a puzzle. A lamb ragu over housemade cavatelli is simply that: saucy, meaty, vibrant, kicky. However wait, discover peas and Calabrian chili, and funky, creamy burrata, and nothing is as thrilling as discovering a meal inside a sleepy house that has no enterprise serving meals this good. // 147 Maple Ave. W., Vienna

plate of colorful food
Photograph by Stefanie Gans

Marumen

Fairfax & Sterling | Japanese & Korean | $

Increasing to contemporary digs in Sterling doesn’t imply there aren’t nonetheless a number of compelling causes to go to the unique in Fairfax, in what, as any ’80s child is aware of, is clearly the repurposed eating room of a former Pizza Hut. The chashu floating in each the shio and shoyu ramen broths was each bit as luscious and flavorful as slurpers need it to be. The server deftly fielded questions on which broth is lighter for one diner, which may be richer and deeper for an additional diner. Success comes within the type of every declaring their broth is the very best. Izakaya mainstays like karaage (Japanese-style fried hen) and a seafood okonomiyaki (pan-fried battered pancake) showcase the kitchen’s capability to serve up all of the issues that go properly with a night of drinks. A 3-piece order of mochi speared with toothpicks is the one acceptable option to finish. // 3250 Outdated Pickett Highway, Fairfax; 21438 Epicerie Plaza, Sterling

barbecued meats
It’s at all times a enjoyable evening out with barbecued meats and all of the little small plates at Meokja Meokja. (Photograph by Rey Lopez)

Meokja Meokja

Fairfax | Korean Barbecue | $$

Korean barbecue could be a frenetic affair with Ok-pop blasting, numerous meats in numerous marinades scorching and smoking and little plates (banchan) settling into any pocket of open house on the desk. It’s a enjoyable time, for positive, however not all galbi is similar. As an alternative of hiding behind candy sauces, Meokja Meokja lets the meat itself shine: a 16-ounce prime rib-eye is a beautiful, marbled hunk with solely salt to carry out its fatty flavoring. A couple of minutes on a searing-hot grate—an inset within the desk, and manned by servers—helps, too. The perimeters might be enjoyable, like a vat of melted mozzarella and corn, and conventional, like gyeran-jjim, the custard-like steamed egg over broth that’s cause sufficient to go to the land of Korean barbecue theatrics. // 9619 Fairfax Blvd., Fairfax

cheese cubes from nostos
Photograph by Rey Lopez

Nostos

Vienna | Greek | $$$

Has one even been to a Greek restaurant if the dip sampler wasn’t ordered? It’s uncertain, and within the case of this white-tablecloth spot tucked right into a Tysons Nook workplace park, simply go forward and dig into the trio of spreads. Discover whipped favas, satiny eggplant and creamy, lemony taramosalata full of the deep umami of fish roe. There are numerous kinds of mezedes (aka, Greek small plates) for grazing, and likewise hefty entrees just like the homey pan-roasted hen, herb-flecked and served with grilled asparagus and roast potatoes. Fish ready within the easy Greek type of olive oil and lemon are one other go-to right here, with choices of sea bass, salmon, halibut and an entire branzino that’s fileted tableside. Whereas taking a number of bites of the jam-glazed Greek reply to cheesecake, sit again and drink in the best way the decor seamlessly marries modernity and nostalgia with its grey stone accents, black-and-white images and white partitions evoking a visit to Mykonos. // 8100 Boone Blvd., Vienna

french fries with parm
A steak dinner isn’t full with out the suitable potato accompaniment. (Photograph by Rey Lopez)

Randy’s Prime Seafood & Steaks

Vienna | Steakhouse | $$$$

“It’s definitely out of our wheelhouse,” says Jon Norton, the CEO of Nice American Eating places, a model recognized for mid-range pricing, mainstream flavors and an unflinching dedication to consistency. Randy’s is the primary new idea in a decade for the native model constructed within the Nineteen Seventies. (Anybody bear in mind Implausible Fritzbe’s Flying Meals Manufacturing facility?) Named after founder and patriarch Randy Norton (Jon’s dad), the high-end steakhouse in Tysons Nook feels each like a departure and a continuation of this fleet of feel-good eating places. Would a single monster-sized tiger prawn, priced at $22 at lunch, dare present up at Coastal Flats? In all probability not. However the always-professional, always-smiling service feels simply as sunny. Steaks are charred and gleaming, cooked excellent and made to please. Sides really feel particular, particularly creamed corn became a brulee scenario topped with shards of crisp bacon. Or, simply get the truffle fries showered in Parmesan; a steakhouse is a no-rules land of indulgence. Brown-bag the leftovers and order The Chocolate Cake, a slice that wants all caps to compete with its 5 layers of cake and ganache that’s held along with, what else, a steak knife. // 8051 Leesburg Pike, Vienna

rice dish with chicken
Big hunks of meat sit atop beautiful grains of rice on the Yemeni Saba. (Photograph by Rey Lopez)

Saba

Fairfax | Yemini | $$

Carry mates and put on socks to Saba. It’s because the parts are beneficiant and meant for sharing, and it’s finest to sit down on the again stage space the place there are couches, however everybody sits on the ground, shoeless, huddled round mashed bowls of fava beans cooked down with tomatoes (breakfast is obtainable all day!), served with foot-long swaths of naan. Yemini meals is stuffed with long-cooked meats paired with rice, which will get as a lot consideration from the kitchen as any protein. Sluggish-roasted lamb (haneeth) is wealthy and satisfying and hen mandi is a few of the finest roast hen within the area. Order a hummus right here as a result of despite the fact that you will get this ubiquitous product at 7-Eleven, when it’s whipped contemporary, it’s an entire new world. // 3900 Pickett Highway, Unit A, Fairfax

sense of thai food
Photograph by Rey Lopez

Sense of Thai St.

Ashburn | Thai | $$

Like several new city middle attempting to determine that proper mix of retail and eating places, there’s at all times the short-lived failures, the seasonal pop-ups and those who’ve come to anchor the place and provides it character. One Loudoun ought to be pleased about Sense of Thai St. Throughout eating hours, it exhibits off a assorted world of Thai meals, particularly in haunting dishes just like the crab phak curry, a creamy, spicy sauce with noodles as delicate as a whisper. Backed by an experimental bar program (summer season means tiki time), Thai iced espresso is a composed drink with the addition of roasted rice and caramel. And are available evening, properly, it’s a legit celebration. In a city middle. Reston, you paying consideration? // 20413 Change St., Ashburn

chicken in bowl
Trummer’s rebrand facilities round a brand new kitchen toy: a French-inspired rotisserie for chef Jon Cropf to play with. (Photograph courtesy of Trummer’s)

Trummer’s **No. 4

Clifton | Fashionable American | $$$

This longtime favourite within the coronary heart of quaint downtown Clifton not too long ago closed for a couple of month, reopening in early autumn sporting a redesigned eating room, a brand new bistro-style menu and even a brand new title, because it dropped “on Main” from its moniker. However as a substitute of an entire overhaul, house owners Victoria and Stefan Trummer managed to maintain the whole lot that labored whereas revamping simply sufficient to make it really feel up to date and contemporary. The tropics-inspired ceiling followers nonetheless command the attention, however fashionable art work, a brand new gentle fixture made with what seems like driftwood, a enjoyable and funky mural on the stairwell wall and pops of pink and teal velvet carry the three-level restaurant into a brand new period. The menu, too, deftly blends previous and new, due to chef John Cropf, who fortunately caught round to play with the brand new rotisserie in his kitchen. Alternatives from the spit embrace prime rib and an entire (or half) roasted hen, the latter served with ultra-sweet corn, smoked mushrooms and a wealthy black truffle sauce. Gnocchi additionally leans closely on fall with the addition of native squash, sage, pears and parmesan. Considerate salads can nonetheless be relied upon, corresponding to a bowl of creamy, stringy stracciatella cheese receiving bitter from chicory, contemporary crunch from apples and tartness from a balanced French dressing. The darkish horse was a dish of spit-roasted carrots scented with vadouvan (the French model of masala spice) over a puddle of herbed yogurt and a vibrant kale sauce. Who knew a carrot might steal the present? Desserts from the proficient Meagan Tighe are nonetheless playful but elevated, with new sweets trying awfully just like these she’s served up to now (suppose crumbles, fairly blobs, gels and flower petals), however with up to date taste profiles. Her nod to proprietor Stefan’s Austrian heritage, the layers of chocolate cake and apricot jam generally known as sachertorte, is a revelation to those that have solely sampled variations offered to vacationers. So, is Trummer’s new? Sure and no. But it surely’s nonetheless excellent. // 7134 Fundamental St., Clifton

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