Arlington, Virginia, right outside of Washington, D.C., is an increasingly bustling city with a lot to offer in terms of shopping, entertainment, employment, social meet-ups, bars, and more.
But the dining scene, which D.C.s often overshadow, is worth checking out as well. From fine dining to fast-casual, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant area.
But the best Arlington restaurants have a memorable atmosphere, excellent service, and, of course, the best food in town.
In this article, I’ll share some of the top restaurants in Arlington so that you’ll know exactly where to go if you visit the area or if you’ve recently moved there.
2901 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201
Ambar is in the Clarendon area of Arlington, close to the Clarendon metro station. There are a lot of excellent, inviting eateries in this hub, but what makes Ambar stand out is its delicious and unique Balkan fare.
The bright windows bring in a lot of light, making the restaurant feel even more inviting than it would already feel with its comforting design.
They serve small plates, so get ready to order many dishes, but the best include the rakia, the kaymak, and crusted chicken with ajvar.
If you tend to get overwhelmed with decision fatigue, then scrap the menu, go for their all-you-can-eat brunch, and tell them to serve up all the dishes available. Just make sure to bring friends and come hungry!
1025 N Fillmore St Suite D, Arlington, VA 22201
Green Pig Bistro is a modern-styled restaurant tucked away behind The Crossing Clarendon mall, across from 11th street park.
This well-rated restaurant is appropriately named because its pork dishes are the best items.
I’m obsessed with the pork egg benedict and pork schnitzel, but their fried shrimp, hanger steak, and even their waffles are worth trying as well.
If you’re challenging yourself to test the waters and step a bit outside of your comfort zone, go ahead and order the bone marrow as well – you won’t be disappointed.
Ultimately, this is a fantastic restaurant to go to for brunch, after the workday, or any time you want to avoid food regret.
3100 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201
I’ll be honest. I’ve mostly gone to Lyon Hall – on the corner of Washington and Highland – for their vast beer selection.
But there are tons of fantastic food dishes there as well, from their soups to their meats to their vegetables.
People love their French onion soup, Brussel sprouts, and steak. Many French restaurants in the DMV are quite upscale, which is excellent for a fancy date night.
But if you’d prefer a more casual and trendy atmosphere, you’ll appreciate this French-German brasserie where you can get the best of both worlds – upscale food and down-to-earth vibes.
They have an excellent happy hour for an assortment of drinks, but I recommend ordering the hefeweizen to start.
Pupatella is a top-rated Neapolitan pizza joint with two different locations in Arlington – one on Wilson close to Fields Park and one further south by the Army Navy Country Club near Alexandria.
People love their wood-fired pizzas, and for a good reason. They have a delectable crust with the perfect level of crispiness, use fresh mozzarella, and cover their pizzas with high-quality toppings.
It’s hard to recommend a specific pizza because it depends on your preferences, and they are all amazing. However, no matter what you do, you should definitely add arancini to your order!
1000 N Randolph St #3a, Arlington, VA 22201
Rus Uz might sound like a strange name for a restaurant, but once you find out that they serve food from Russia and Uzbekistan, you get the idea.
Rus Uz is a great spot to go if you’re looking for something different from your usual pizza and burger places and try traditional recipes on items you might have tried elsewhere.
For example, you might have eaten beef stroganoff, but the authentic Russian version is to die for. I would also get the borscht and try out some sweets as well, like the honey cake.
The restaurant’s design is simple and homey, which provides a welcoming feel. Plus, Rus Uz is one of the most cost-effective dining options in Arlington.
3195 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201
The Liberty Tavern is one of the best bars in the Arlington area, but they serve delicious food in their own right.
Some bars skimp on the food because they know they’ll make most of their money off of drinks anyway, but The Liberty Tavern’s food should not be overlooked.
Located on the busier end of Wilson Blvd, right by the Clarendon metro, it’s the perfect spot to go for happy hour after work, so you can enjoy both their food and drinks at the same time – and, of course, at a discount!
I love their gnocchi and burgers for dinner and their eggs benedict and mimosas for brunch. And if you love to dance, don’t hesitate to come by on a Friday or Saturday night!
800 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22203
Are you hoping to find some tasty mussels in the Arlington area? If so, you can head straight to the Mussel Bar & Grille in the Ballston area of Arlington near Fields Park.
They have an agreeable assortment of mussel flavors, their white wine option behind the most popular.
I’m not a huge fan of mussels myself, but my friends say they are the best mussels you can find in the area by a long shot.
If you go and you want something other than mussels, there are still plenty of options, such as oysters, wood-fired pizzas, and crab dip. Whichever dish you choose, you’ll surely appreciate Mussel Bar’s classy yet cozy environment.
1721 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209
Pho 75 is the most popular Vietnamese restaurant in the Clarendon area of Arlington, and if you go during the lunch hour, the long line out the door will prove my point.
Pho 75 is so popular because they serve genuinely authentic pho for a very reasonable price. Also, despite the long lines, the service is super quick.
Perhaps this is because everyone knows their exact order since most people are frequent customers. This is a supremely casual, no-frills restaurant, and the only reason why people might look dressed up is that they are coming from work.
You should also keep in mind that Pho 75 is a cash-only restaurant. They do have an ATM within the store, but getting money will slow down the process even further, so I highly recommend coming prepared!
1063 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007
Filomena is a beautiful, upscale Italian restaurant serving freshly made pasta in an eclectic, decorative environment. The staff is friendly, the food is authentic, and the prices are reasonable for what you get.
This restaurant is technically not directly in Arlington, but it’s in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C., which some people see as an extension of North Arlington.
In any case, it’s well worth the trip for the cannelloni scampi di mare and the Cardinale lobster sauce!
3211 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201
If you’re looking for the absolute best breakfast spot in Arlington, look no further than Northside Social Coffee & Wine.
They have the absolute tastiest breakfast sandwiches with poached eggs. The bacon, sausage, and salmon are all great, but I especially adore the bacon one.
Plus, the settings of this cafe are admirable as well. I love chilling outside when the weather is nice or relaxing in their cozy, intimate indoor space when it’s colder.
However, it can surely be hard to find a seat sometimes, so arriving at an odd hour is a good idea. And did I mention they have an upstairs wine bar? What more could you ask for?
Arlington is growing day by day, and the restaurant scene is booming as a result. New restaurants are hitting the scene that are worth checking out, but if you want to start with the top-rated dining options that have been around for a while, the restaurants listed above are all great choices!
So whether you’re looking for some pho to slurp on a cold day or some fresh pasta to twirl around your fork, you can find it all in Arlington. Of course, if you’re dining nearby in Bethesda, MD, be sure to check out these spots!
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!
Best Restaurants in Arlington Virginia
- Green Pig Bistro
- Lyon Hall
- Rus Uz – Arlington
- The Liberty Tavern
- Mussel Bar & Grille
- Pho 75
- Filomena Ristorante
- Northside Social Coffee & Wine