5 Best-Kept Secret Eateries in Arlington, VA

Arlington, Virginia sits just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. Visitors to the nation’s capital often find themselves staying in Arlington because of its convenient location by Ronald Reagan National airport and DC itself, as well as the number of attractions worth seeing in the city including Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon Memorial (even though it technically has a DC address), the Air Force and Marine Corps Memorial, and the high end shops within the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. As you spend the day in the city, you’ll likely end up seeking out a place to eat at some point in time and when you do, definitely try to seek out one of these best kept secret restaurants in Arlington, VA.

5 Best Kept Secret Restaurants in Arlington, VA

Northside Social Coffee & Wine

There’s an argument to be made that Northside Social Coffee & Wine is the most beloved coffee place and hangout bar by locals. The place is huge and has plenty of both indoor and outdoor seating. Despite of its size though, the cafe manages to keep a friendly ambiance, which makes it a favorite afternoon and weekend hangout.

The food and drink are both pretty good and inexpensive too. Come here for brunch and you’ll find a selection of freshly made pastries and small savory items such as egg or avocado toast with a full menu of locally brewed coffee or espresso drinks. Lunch features light sandwiches and healthy (but tasty) salads. In the evening, the café turns itself into a bar complete with a menu of artisan cheeses and meats to accompany the wine flights.

5 Best Kept Secret Restaurants in Arlington, VA: Northside Social Brunch
Northside Social Brunch

Address: 3211 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

Nearest Metro: Clarendon (Orange and Silver)

Screwtop Wine Bar

Not too far from Northside Social lies a cozy wine bar and retail shop that remains one of the best kept secret restaurants in Arlington, VA. Screwtop Wine Bar offers a great selection of bottled wines and wines by the glass. Its location in Clarendon makes it a perfect appero or pre-going out spot and was even voted by locals as great place to host small social events. In addition to the excellent wine selections, Screwtop also offers a rotating seasonal menu comprised of light appetizers and small bites. The accompanying retail shop within makes it easy for any customer to purchase the wines offered at the bar as well as bulk cheeses, crackers, and a wide variety of other bottled beer and wine.

5 Best Kept Secret Restaurants in Arlington,VA: Lettuce Wraps at Screwtop
Lettuce Wraps at Screwtop

Address: 1025 N. Filmore St., Arlington, VA 22201

Nearest Metro: Clarendon (Orange and Silver)

Bayou Bakery Coffee Bar & Eatery

It was Bayou Bakery Coffee Bar and Eatery’s freshly made beignets, refreshing drinks, and a menu of authentic Southern-style dishes that endeared it to locals all those years. The funky decor and friendly service of this New Orleans café-style spot also contributed kept people coming back. Soon enough, this neighborhood joint that was once one of the best kept secret restaurants in Arlington, VA, suddenly became the go to spot for Washingtonians alike. As a result, Chef David Guas and his team opened a sister location in the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, D.C. to accommodate its growing fan base. Thankfully, its popularity hasn’t wavered the quality of food served at the original location. Make sure you check out the daily specials, which include items such as red beans and rice, seared Louisiana crawfish cake Sammy, and shrimp burger. It also has one of the best happy hours in the area with daily bite offerings starting at $3.

5 Best Kept Secret Restaurants in Arlington,VA: Beignets at Bayou Bakery, Arlington
Beignets at Bayou Bakery, Arlington: Photo on Flickr by Justgrimes / CC BY-SA 2.0

Address: 1515 N. Courthouse Rd, Arlington, VA 22201

Nearest Metro: Courthouse (Orange and Silver)

Pho 75

Making the perfect bowl of pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, isn’t as easy as one might think, but the ones you’ll get at Pho 75 is as close as it gets. The Vietnamese chain remained one of the best kept secret restaurants in Arlington up until its sister location in Philadelphia gained popularity thanks to Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover television show. The most popular dish is the traditional or original version that comes with thin slices of eye-round steak, fatty brisket and fresh leaves of basil, mint, and cilantro. You can add hoisin or sriracha sauce for added flavoring but for me the bowl of steaming broth, rice noodles, and meat is perfect just the way it is. It’s hearty, but light at the same time and quite possibly the best hangover cure this side of the river.

5 Best Kept Secret Restaurants in Arlington,VA: Bowl of Pho and Tea
Bowl of Pho and Tea

Address: 1721 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

Nearest Metro: Courthouse (Orange and Silver)

China Garden

For those of you who are ardent Yelpers, I say to you, just this once, to ignore what the reviews say about China Garden in Rosslyn. That’s because for most of the week, it’s just any other Chinese restaurant but on weekends, it offers dim sum, small plates of steamed and fried meat, seafood, and veggies, brought along to your tables in carts. This weekend-only special is one of the best kept secret restaurants in Arlington and also one of the cheapest meals especially if you come with a crowd. Ask for the mushrooms, eggplant, traditional pork shumai, pork buns, and Chinese broccoli to start.

5 Best Kept Secret Restaurants in Arlington,VA: China Garden Dimsum
China Garden Dimsum

Address: 1100 Wilson Blvd, Rosslyn, VA 22209

Nearest Metro: Rosslyn (Blue, Orange and Silver)

About Iris A

Website: http://www.travelingwithiris.com

Born in the Philippines, but grew up in Texas, Iris has been traveling and writing about her experiences for well over a decade. Her work has been published on well-known travel sites like Hipmunk (#hipmunkcitylove) and D Magazine Online Travel Club. She has been all over Europe, the US, and has recently started exploring Latin America. She loves trying local cuisine and visiting UNESCO deemed World Heritage sites. Her favourite city is New York, with London, following a close 2nd. You can follow her on Twitter @sundeeiris or through her travel blog, Traveling With Iris.

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