The Best Restaurants and Cafes of Arlington, VA

Arlington is a noted suburb of Washington, DC, one that has a strong personality of its own.

Like DC, it offers visitors ample opportunities to take a trip through the rich history of the nation and local area.

The crime rate is 61% lower than the national average and has an unemployment rate of 2.8%, making it a great place for married couples and young college grads alike.

It’s also culturally rich and diverse, particularly in the way of culinary fare.

As you consider Arlington real estate as a place to settle down, stop in at one of these favored restaurants and cafes.

Ambar (2901 Wilson Boulevard)

Ambar offers the best of Balkan cuisine not just in the area, but on the east coast. The restaurant is hailed by the Michelin Guide for its delicious dishes and is often noted as one of the best restaurants on various top lists.

The restaurant offers an array of dishes that can be tried for one flat price. The portions are small, but it allows you to try anything you want on the menu.

For dinner there’s Beef Short Rib Goulash, Sudzuk Flatbread, Drunken Mussels, Pork Neck, and Lamb Lasagna, to name a few of the prized dishes.

Brunch offers sliders and charcuterie, while the lunch menu has kebabs, seafood, and slow cooked dishes.

Northside Social Coffee and Wine (3211 Wilson Boulevard)

This comfy hangout spot offers coffee, sandwiches, and baked goods for breakfast and lunch, and has a second-floor wine bar for transitioning to a nighttime hangout.

Early birds flock for the 7 a.m. opening to indulge in homemade granola and breakfast sandwiches on freshly baked bread. They also make their own Pop Tarts, which you can snack on while sitting outside during the warmer months.

Ruthie’s All Day (3411 5th Street South)

Ruthie’s imparts a shot of Southern charm into Arlington, with a twist of vintage. It’s housed in a historic mid-century modern building that was the home of Mr. W’s, a 1950s chocolate factory and ice cream shop.

It offers a classic southern dish, the meat and three, where the diner chooses one meat and three sides dishes from a daily selection.

You can have biscuits and pimento cheese for breakfast, hush puppies and a brisket sandwich for lunch, or spare ribs and braised greens with smoked tomato for dinner.

Ruthie’s also has an extensive cocktail and wine list and rotates beers from several local breweries.

Greens n Teff (3202 Columbia Pike)

This Ethiopian eatery is a great vegetarian pick. This family-owned restaurant is run by Beakal Melaku and his wife Hanna Elias.

It’s a newer business, as it opened in 2020. Despite the pandemic it’s still going strong and has a loyal customer base.

Their stews include Mushroom Egnuday Tibs, which swaps the oft-used beef for mushrooms, and Shimbra Asa, or chickpea stew.

The Vegan Manchet uses shredded carrots in the place of an animal-based protein and Ethiopian spices shine especially well in the Whole Greens Lentil Stew.

Greens n Teff strives to be authentic, and notes their stews could have been on the menu during biblical times.