Nice Places to Eat in Vienna, VA
January 29, 2014 11:07 AM   Subscribe

NOVA Mefites - I am looking for a reasonably-priced, non-chain place for two old friends to eat and hang out while catching up for a couple of hours. We'll eat almost anything...
posted by The Blue Olly to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Below are some ideas, I have been to all and they are all good. Amma is especially delicious but very informal depending on the atmosphere you are seeking. Bazin's and Maple Ave might be on the expensive side for your budget.

Sweet Ginger (pan-asian)
Amma (south indian)
Plaka Grill (gyros)
Sushi Yama
Sunflower (vegatarian)
Maple Avenue Restaurant
posted by seesom at 11:25 AM on January 29, 2014

Well, depending on your definition of "nice" and "reasonably-priced" ...

Amphora has a large menu and is relaxed and I could see if you kept ordering drinks/food, you could hang out there for a bit.

Tequila Grande was better than expected (although still fairly basic tex-mex). Vienna Inn is basically your classic diner/etc. -- it can get crowded.

Maplewood Grill is pleasant and the food is good. It's not that big, though, so depending on the time you go, you may want to make a reservation.

Plaka Grill maybe be hard to hang out in for too long (it's counter service) but very good. Sushi Yama is great, although I'm told not as good as it used to be. I'm a big fan of Natta Thai, if that's what you're looking for.

I am now realizing I have spent a lot of time in Vienna.
posted by darksong at 11:55 AM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm a fan of Amphora linked above. If you want lighter fare Jammin Java has a decent menu for a coffee shop, and they have a bar too. Just check and make sure there isn't live music the night you want to go.
posted by COD at 12:07 PM on January 29, 2014

Seconding Maple Avenue Restaurant. Not cheap, but so, so delicious.
posted by Gonestarfishing at 12:10 PM on January 29, 2014

Anita's for Mexican food? A chain, but a local one. I would have sent you to the Tortilla Factory in Herndon but it just recently closed its doors after 30-some years.

Amphora is a very solid choice if you're looking for someplace to chill for a couple of hours. It's a Greek diner with a huge menu and big, comfortable booths.
posted by killdevil at 12:23 PM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Background: Lived in Falls Church from Feb. 2008 to Aug. 2009, worked in Vienna and/or Tyson's Corner from Feb. 2008 to Feb. 2009.

Avoid the Vienna Inn at all costs. I have a feeling recommending that dingy, dirty, dive is a huge in-joke played by long time Northern Virginia residents on newbies to the area. It also gets loud and crowded so it's not a good place to have a conversation.

Seconding Sunflower. (It's actually a two restaurant chain, with a second location at Seven Corners -- this is the one I always went to and I've never been to the Vienna location.) Since it was vegetarian I did not think I would enjoy it but I was surprised.

Foster's Grille if you're a raging carnivore. I think that's a chain, though.

If Tyson's Corner counts as Vienna (I was never sure of that), I always liked Gordon Biersch in the mall, though it's another place that gets loud (it's in the mall!) which makes it difficult to have a conversation.

There was a small sushi place my co-workers and I occasionally went to which was nice and quiet. I forget the name. It's in the strip mall with the Subway that's on Old Courthouse Road near the Toilet Bowl Building.

Bombay Bistro is nice, but I think that's actually in Fairfax City.

I'm now realizing I don't have a lot of recommendations.
posted by tckma at 12:31 PM on January 29, 2014

Bazin's may well stretch your budget, but I'd suggest it's worth the stretch.
posted by Naberius at 1:27 PM on January 29, 2014

I would list Sunflower as "Chinese" (that happens to be vegetarian). Love that place (both locations, though it's been a little while since I was at the Vienna one).
posted by inigo2 at 1:29 PM on January 29, 2014

Seconding the Vienna Inn.
posted by ryanshepard at 2:12 PM on January 29, 2014

posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 2:58 PM on January 29, 2014

Wow, can't believe I missed this question. Hope these suggestions aren't too late for you:

Natta Thai is some of my favorite suburban Thai food. It has a nice chill atmosphere. Really consistently good food and great staff.

Anita's New Mexican Style Food is technically a chain, because they have a hand full of restaurants in New Mexico, and... Vienna, VA. No idea why or how that happened but imagine my surprise moving from Albuquerque to 1mi from Anitas. I will admit to snobbery about their food, having grown up in New Mexico, but I have had some great food there. Get the relleƱos. And then maybe get a breakfast burrito before hitting the road in the morning.

Sunflower has a really charming, slightly kooky atmosphere. Their food is vaguely "asian" and all vegetarian. Quiet and you could chat for hours without the staff raising an eyebrow.

Same relaxed atmosphere at Amphora, though the food is OK. It's a 24 hour diner, with a greek influence. This would be the place to go if you're not ready to say goodbye to those friends. Sit, have a slice of their truly awesome desserts (they also run a bakery) or mug of lavaza coffee or hot cocoa.

Skorpios is a family run gyro place. It doesn't have much atmosphere, it's counter service, but the friendly owner turns out fast and tasty food. There's a strong following of regular customers, mostly takeout. It's the kind of place you could sit and chat for hours. Their various pastries/baklava are all amazing.

The Vienna Inn is not the quiet place to catch up with old friends. It is the place to drink shitty beers and have canned chili + industrial cheese on hot dogs and shout "what?" to the person sitting next to you. (For which there is a time and a place, and Vienna needs a counter to the creeping yuppie influences.)

Sushi Yoshi would be a great place to sit for a while and order from their small plate menu. Lots of items out of the ordinary to share.

Maple Ave is a shoebox sized place. You'll need dinner reservations. It has great, creative food all well executed and imaginative in a 50's style storefront. I'm frequently stunned a place like this exists in Vienna. It will be a great spot for dinner, but you'll probably want to vacate the table after you're done eating. It's on the pricier side, but worth it.

I wouldn't recommend Bazin's. Noise levels are crazy. Their kitchen is competent but, the menu is pretty boring classic upscale American food. I don't remember what I had, and for a tab north of $80/person I want something memorable. You might need reservations on a weeknight, definitely need them on the weekend, and again you'll be pressured to flip the table.

Allegria is a Mexican upscale place, owned by Bazin's. It is probably some of the best food in Vienna right now, made the Washingtonian's Top 100 list, but the owners are changing formats to be more american/bistro bland stuff like Bazin's. I have sat next to old yuppie couples that didn't know what a "fa-gui-tah" was (fajita), and was terrified of salsa being spicy, so maybe I understand Vienna might not be ready for upscale Mexican food.

Ok, I'm verging into "get a blog" territory here, so I'll stop now.
posted by fontophilic at 6:28 AM on February 5, 2014

Thanks for the ideas, everyone. We wound up at Amphora's, since it's nice and quiet on a Thursday night.
posted by The Blue Olly at 5:12 AM on February 7, 2014

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