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I know I took a break from talking about pho, but I left the best for last.  I love Pho Saigon and it’s closely tied with Pho Xe Lua for the best pho so far.   Here’s the menu:

phosaigon-menu

  • Food: What makes this one of the best pho places? The broth was incredibly aromatic and flavorful.  The beef was super lean and razor thin.  They gave me lots of Asian cilantro, basil, etc.  The only complaint was that there wasn’t as much beef as most restaurants provide, but there were enough noodles that it was still filling.

Pho Saigon Pho Tai To Go  Pho Saigon Pho Tai

  • Service: They’re very polite.  You pay up front and I *think* it’s cash-only.  I can’t remember!
  • Atmosphere:Like most pho restaurants, there’s not much.  The interior is small with only 10-12 tables.  Over the main door, you’ll see a flat screen airing, what I assume to be, Vietnamese TV shows. 

Pho Saigon Pho Saigon

  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall:You won’t go wrong when you try this pho restaurant.  It’s just so darn delicious!

Details:

  • Hours: Monday-Sunday 8AM–8 PM
  • Address: 6795-1B Wilson Blvd; Falls Church, VA 22044
  • Ph: 703-677-0523

3 days with a car and at least 5 bowls of pho.  Obsessed I tell you!  Anyway, I continued to work my way through to the pho places throughout Eden Center in Falls Church.  Today’s pho bowl is from Viet Royale.

viet-royale-page-1  viet-royale-page-2

  • Food: Well, I think their broth is truly outstanding…and it might even be better than Pho Xe Lua.  But, you’ll see the beef is cooked…even though I asked and the waitress promised that the beef would be raw.  Despite the delicious broth, I thought their pho was OK.   The beef was a bit tough, onions were cut too thick, etc. 

Viet Royale - Falls Church VA  Viet Royale Pho Tai  Viet Royale Pho Tai

  • Service: I ordered to-go so it was fine.
  • Atmosphere:Interior has more character than a lot of pho places.  It’s one big room with probably 25-30 tables.  In the back, they have a small bar which is where you order your food-to-go.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price:  $
  • Overall:I’d skip the pho and order some of the other Vietnamese dishes they offer. 

Details:

  • Hours: 10 AM-11 PM Daily
  • Address: 6767 Wilson Blvd; Falls Church, VA 22044
  • Ph: (703) 533-8388

Next to So’s Your Mom is Astor Mediterrean, a neighborhood joint that prominently thrives on takeout orders.  Here’s their menu.

  • Food:I’ve ordered a lot of their chicken kebobs and lamb (or chicken) gyros in the five years I’ve lived here.   Despite their sometimes dry chicken, it’s still delicious.  The fries are super crispy and hot — a must in my book.   

Astor Mediterrean - Lamb Gyro and Fries

  • Service: When you walk in, they have a large display case with their various sides and above that, a huge menu of options.  When you’re ready to order, go to the cash register to order and pay.  Then you huddle around the counter (or run other errands) while you wait for your number to be called.
  • Atmosphere:In the summer, they have 3-4 tables and chairs, and if you like to people watch, it’s a perfect spot to go.  You’re on the sidewalk by the Bank of America ATM line.  They did a renovation to the restaurant a few years ago, which greatly improved the interior, but it’s still not that conducive to sit-down dining.  Instead, most pick-up their food orders and take it back to their respective homes. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall:If you’re new to the Adams Morgan neighborhood, this is a must.  And if you’ve lived here for decades, chances are you’ve visited this nondescript restaurant because the food is good and reasonably priced.  At least that’s why I keep coming back. 

Details:

  • Hours: Mon-Sat 11 AM-10:30 PM; Sun 11 AM-9:30 AM
  • Address: 1829 Columbia Road NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-745-7495

I used to go to the Safeway across the street from Pollo Granjero on a weekly basis — then the Harris Teeter opened up and well, I rarely go anymore.  But, during one of the warmer “winter” days we were having, I decided to make the hike — twice.  And, I even took a photo of their menus!

Pollo Granjero - Adams Morgan  Pollo Granjero Menu  Pollo Granjero Menu

  • Food:  The first time I ordered the 5 piece grilled chicken with fried yuca and salad (you get a choice of two sides).  The chicken was greasy with a subtle, mild flavor.  And when I opened my container, I didn’t see 5 pieces of chicken (do you?).  The five pieces cost $7.99.  In my opinion, the best rotisserie chicken is still at La Granja De Oro

Pollo Granjero Grilled Chicken

I went back a second time because I heard they had the best fried chicken.  This time, I only went for two pieces.  Their mixture is not a heavy coating, but it isn’t light either.  You can detect a slight taste of cornmeal in their batter.  The best?  I wasn’t convinced, but it was good.

Pollo Granjero Fried Chicken

  • Service: It’s fine.
  • Atmosphere: It’s a fast food-type establishment so ambiance isn’t their thing.  They do have a decent number of tables and chairs though. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: I think it’s a decent place for inexpensive food.  But since it’s a bit inconvient for me to go and La Granja De Oro (and my own rotisserie) is closer, well, you know. 

Details:

  • Hours: Not sure, but I think it’s probably 10:30 AM-9/10 PM Daily
  • Address: 1742 Columbia Rd (between N Champlain St & N Ontario Rd); Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: (202) 464-4444

I’ve passed by Capital BBQ a thousand times and have heard from a lot of people that this is THE place for BBQ, but never went in until now.  Here’s their menu

  • Food: I thought I’d get food for lunch and dinner so I ordered their 2 meat plate with 2 sides.  I picked chicken and brisket and smoked home fries and cole slaw.  I figured it’d be a piece or two of chicken and a few pieces of brisket.  Umm, it was actually 4 pieces of chicken and 1/4 lb of brisket.  That’s a lot of food for $14!  The brisket was so tender and moist with bits of crunch and fat.  So awesome.  The chicken was really good too.  They asked whether you want mild or hot BBQ sauce and I, of course, ordered the hot which had a great (small) kick.  Unlike a lot of places, their BBQ sauce wasn’t overly sweet either.  Nice.  I didn’t love the smoked home fries, mostly because they were a bit undercooked.  Also, I didn’t taste the smoked flavor at all, but did taste the pepper.  I’m not a big cole slaw fan, but this one was really creamy and took the heat away from the BBQ sauce. 

Capital Q BBQ Chicken and Brisket  Capital Q BBQ Chicken and Brisket

  • Service: Good and polite.
  • Atmosphere: It’s super casual.  On the tables, they have rolls of paper towels and on the walls, lots of one dollar bills from their customers with messages. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: Bottom line?  You have to go and try their BBQ.  It’s a good thing I don’t live in Chinatown because I think I’d be there all the time!  

Details:

  • Hours: Mon-Thurs 11 AM-9 PM; Fri & Sat 11 Am-10 PM; Sun Noon-8 PM
  • Address: 707 H Street NW; Washington, DC 20001
  • Ph: 202-347-8396

Variety Deli opened up several months ago, but I never went…until recently.  Here are photos of their menu. 

Breakfast menu:

Variety Deli Breakfast Menu  Variety Deli Breakfast Menu

Lunch and Dinner menu:  

Variety Deli Menu  Variety Deli Menu  Variety Deli Menu  Variety Deli Menu  Variety Deli Menu  Variety Deli Menu 

  • Food: I ordered the New Yorker sandwich with pastrami, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and coleslaw on perfectly toasted rye.  While I know that may sound crazy, I’ve found a lot of restaurants don’t let the bread actually toast until it’s light brown.  Instead, they figure if it’s gone through the toaster it’s “toasted.” 

Variety Deli New Yorker Sandwich

  • Atmosphere: The interior is fun with red walls and white tables and chairs.  In the back of the deli, there’s mirrors so the place seem a bit bigger than reality. 
  • Service: The woman behind the counter was very nice and was fast when she was making my sandwich. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: For a quick sandwich, it’s a good spot. 

Details:

  • Hours: 7 AM-9 PM Mon-Thurs; 7 AM-10:30 PM Fri-Sat; 12 noon-7 PM Sun
  • Address: 2120 18th Street NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-234-3354

Nando’s Peri Peri has certainly made a tremendous mark on the city.  I feel like it was the “It” restaurant for a few months.  Anyway, I finally went to try their chicken and to see what those of us in Golden Triangle have to look forward to when it opens.  Here’s their main menu and their take-out menu is here.

  • Food:I felt it was wrong if I didn’t order their chicken so I ordered the 1/4 chicken with medium spice (always feel like medium spice is safe) with a side of their butternut squash and grilled corn.  First, the chicken.  It wasn’t super spicy so then I got a couple of containers (when you pay, ask the cashier for it, not the person who hands you the bag).  Anyway, in the 4th photo, you’ll see I put in the hot sauce (left) and lemon & herb (right) sauce.  The hot sauce definitely had a good kick, but not crazy hot.  The herb sauce had a pungent vinegar smell and a bit of an overwhelming vinegar taste, but it’s OK.  The chicken is moist, but not as moist as La Granja De Oro.  The butternut squash side was good, but not a ton of flavor.  Next time, I’ll try some of their other sides. 

Nando's Peri Peri 1/4 Chicken with Butternut Squash & Grilled Corn  Nando's Peri Peri 1/4 Chicken  Nando's Peri Peri Butternut Squash & Grilled Corn  Nando's Peri Peri Sauce  Nando's Peri Peri

  • Service: I phoned my order in so I wouldn’t have to wait since I had limited time.  So I was pleased when I placed my order they asked if they wanted the chicken to be done before I got there or if they should wait until I arrive.  I asked to have it done before.  Unfortunately, something was lost in translation because I ended up having to wait.  But all their staff were nice and friendly.
  • Atmosphere: Their Interior is comfortable and inviting and makes one think your meal will cost way more than it actually will.  There’s a lot of seating — booths in the back and tables in the front.  The way they work reminds me of Noodles & Company except when you walk in, you are greeted with a number.  Then you put down your things and order at the register/counter.  They then will bring your food at your table and clear your dishes when you’re done. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: Would I go back? Since my meal cost under $9, it’s a tasty bargain.  Does it beat La La Granja De Oro’s 1/4 chicken for under $7?  Definitely not…but it’s still good. 

Details:

  • Hours: 11:30 AM -10 PM Sun-Thurs; 11:30 AM-10:30 PM Fri & Sat
  • Address: 819 7th St NW; Washington, DC 20001
  • Ph: (202) 898-1225

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