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The Best Arlington Restaurants

Whether you live here or you crossed the river for the night, here’s your guide to the best Arlington restaurants.

13 Spots
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15 Spots
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If you live in DC, you probably think of Arlington as your redheaded stepchild. But there’s a reason half of your office lives here - it’s convenient, cheaper, and has a lot going on, including some really great restaurants. If you already live here, consider this guide more proof you don’t need to take a $23 Uber ride into the District with a driver who won’t give up the aux cord to have a good meal. Here are the best places to eat in Arlington.

the spots

Ambar Clarendon

$$$$ 2901 Wilson Blvd

Ambar is one of our favorite spots for a group dinner in Arlington. The food is Balkan, which means you can expect a mix of Mediterranean and Eastern European, with flatbreads and croquettes, as well as things like lamb pate and crispy smelt. You’ll inevitably have trouble narrowing down your order, so our advice is to go for the “Balkan Experience,” which gets you unlimited small plates for $35. After your fourth bowl of tzatziki, have a post-dinner drink at Baba, Ambar’s cocktail bar next door. They also serve a limited food menu if you’re looking for a quicker bite.

Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza

PizzaItalian  in  Arlington
$$$$ 5104 Wilson Blvd

Located between a gas station and a 7-11, Pupatella may not look like the home of the best pizza in Arlington. But don’t let appearances keep you out - this place is the real deal. If aliens ever landed in Ballston, we’d present them with one of their meatball pizzas as a peace offering. Takeout is usually our move here, but there are a few seats inside and a nice patio out back. Also, two pizzas get you a half-priced bottle of wine. Schedule that third date accordingly.

The Italian Store

$$$$ 3123 Lee Hwy

You can’t go wrong with any of The Italian Store’s classic subs, each topped with hot and sweet peppers and their special dressing. Our favorite is “The Napoli,” in all its pepperoni-ham-mozzarella glory. If you don’t want a sandwich, New York-style pizza is good too, and can be ordered by the slice. Seating is tight (they do have a small patio at the Washington Blvd. location), so we’d suggest taking your order to-go. If you’re feeling really motivated and want to actually cook for yourself, their market, with hundreds of bottles of wine, gelato, cheese, and pasta, has all the ingredients you need for an Italian feast.

Pho 75

$$$$ 1721 Wilson Blvd

Pho 75 is cash only, no frills, and no nonsense. And delicious. The service is quick, and we’d carry around a water bottle of their broth if it were socially acceptable. The inside looks like a middle school cafeteria, but instead of day-old frozen pizza you get authentic pho and no anxiety about getting invited to the cool table. You’ll be in and out in a half hour completely satisfied, and a meal for two comes in under $20, making Pho 75 one of the best cheap eats options in Arlington.

The Liberty Tavern

$$$$ 3195 Wilson Blvd

Liberty Tavern is our pick for an early in the game date spot in Arlington. Get there before your reservation and start the night with a few drinks at their street-level bar, and then head to the upstairs dining room for dinner. The menu has stuff like jalapeño hushpuppies, pizza, and spicy crab spaghetti, and all of it is pretty good. If things are going well at the end of the meal, you’re a short walk to the rest of Clarendon’s bars to continue the night.

Cava Mezze

$$$$ 2940 Clarendon Blvd.

In the middle of Clarendon, Cava Mezze is a solid spot for a light dinner and a few drinks before heading to the bar. Go with a group and fill up the table with a mix of their Mediterranean small plates - get the spanakopita. Check it out on the weekends for a $35 all you can eat brunch.

Mussel Bar & Grille

$$$$ 800 N Glebe Rd

At Mussel Bar, the name speaks for itself. Pots of mussels are the move - try the broth with mushrooms, bacon, and truffle, get extra bread, and soak up the pot until it’s dry. When it’s not too humid out, grab a table for Happy Hour on their outdoor patio.

Green Pig Bistro

$$$$ 1025 N Fillmore St

A few blocks off the main drag of Clarendon, Green Pig Bistro is one of the best restaurants in Arlington. Come with a few friends, sit at one of the large communal tables, take in the smells coming from the open kitchen, and prepare for a meat-heavy meal. And make sure that meal includes the meatballs and the pork shank, which will make you want to bow to the next pig you see.

Screwtop Wine Bar

$$$$ 1025 N Fillmore St

Cheese boards, grilled cheese, mac and cheese, brie sandwich - notice a trend? If you’re not a fan of cheese, first, look in the mirror and reevaluate your life, decisions, and beliefs, and second, just skip to the next place on this list. Cheese is central to practically everything on Screwtop’s menu. This small wine bar is ideal for dinner with the parents or an early date. Seating is first come first serve for parties of four or less, but get glass of wine to go with the complimentary truffle butter popcorn and the wait will be a breeze.

Peter Chang

$$$$ 2503E N Harrison St

Finding good Chinese food in Arlington isn’t easy, but Peter Chang is an exception. Chef/owner Chang is the former chef of the Chinese embassy, and if you’ve ever wanted to use a straw to consume a dumpling, “Peter’s Big Bun” soup dumplings will help you accomplish that goal. For things that don’t require slurping, get some of the massive stir-fry hot pots. You will not leave hungry.

Texas Jack's Barbecue

BBQ  in  Arlington
$$$$ 2761 Washington Blvd

Texas Jack’s has one of the best weekday Happy Hour deals in Arlington. Post up at the bar for $5 brisket sandwiches, $6 beer, wine, or rail drinks, and plenty more cheap, smoked meats. Their barbecue brunch is also a nice change of pace and a good excuse to eat short rib before noon.

Northside Social

$$$$ 3211 Wilson Blvd

When Jessica, that girl you vaguely remember from high school English class, randomly messages you on Facebook saying, “Let’s catch up!!”, either ignore her and pretend you were too lazy to ever download the Messenger app, or go to Northside Social. During the day, it’s a coffee shop with healthy-ish options for lunch (and excellent homemade poptarts) and a low-key patio. At night, the upstairs turns into a wine bar perfect for grabbing drinks and a light bite. It’s great for a low-commitment meet up. With Jessica or anyone else.

Super Pollo

$$$$ 550 N Quincy St Ste C

In Arlington, it feels like you’re never too far from a lobbyist-in-training on his way to either Gold’s Gym or this Peruvian chicken chain. Both locations dish out cheap and reliable fast food, and it takes the willpower of a Tibetan monk to walk past and not be physically pulled in by the smell of their charcoal chicken.

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