Throughout Northern Virginia, there are a number of excellent restaurants that serve great food -- but are nothing to look at from the street.
The result is that hundreds of thousands of people drive right by, not even realizing that the best meal of their lives is likely waiting for them in one of these hole-in-the-wall restaurants ... Well, we want to change that. We're going to be running a series on some of the best restaurants that deserve more attention than they tend to get. This is just part one of this series. If you have a favorite restaurant that more people should know about, let us know in the comment section at the bottom!
These are nine of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Northern Virginia that you need to stop driving past!
1. Taco Bamba -- Locations in Falls Church, Vienna, and Springfield, Virginia
Ok, if you're "in the know" about the wonderfulness that is Taco Bamba, then you already know what we're going to say. But if you've been driving past any of these three locations without stopping in, you literally don't know what you're missing. What should you try first? Definitely go for the sweetbread tacos. They will blow your mind.
2. Thai Ghang Waan -- Springfield, Virginia
I can't tell you how many times I drove past this place before I was finally hungry enough to stop in. And boy, was I kicking myself for not stopping in sooner! The fried watercress salad is delicious, and you really can't go wrong ordering any of their sauté entrees.
3. Ravi Kabob -- Arlington, Virginia
This tiny little restaurant doesn't look like anything special from the street. But for those in the know, this is THE spot to get tasty kabobs. The boneless chicken kabob is my go-to and is definitely a good dish to try out if you don't typically frequent Middle Eastern or Pakistani/Afghan restaurants.
4. HeeBeen -- Alexandria, Virginia
I don't really know why I went so long without trying Korean barbecue. I love barbecue, and I love Asian food. I'm not sure why I didn't put it together that the combination would be amazing. Two words: meat buffet. The premise is pretty simple. You tell them what kind of meat you want, and they cook it for you at your table. Still hungry? Go back for seconds or thirds.
5. Cholito Chicken -- Chantilly, Virginia
I don't think I'd ever sat down and said to myself, "I'm in the mood for Peruvian chicken!" So whenever I drove past this strip mall, I never felt the urge to stop in. That is, until I actually tried Cholito Chicken. I just tried the quarter chicken, with a side of yucca fries, and this is definitely my new go-to lunch spot when I'm in the area.
6. The Deli -- Sterling, Virginia
"Where do you want to go to lunch?" "The Deli." "Which deli?" "The Deli.
" That is how the conversation went when a coworker suggested we go to The Deli. And after trying their subs, the name absolutely fits. There are
no other delis.
7. Bob and Edith's Diner -- 4 Locations in Alexandria, Arlington, and Springfield, Virginia
There isn't much that is more Americana than a 24-hour diner, and Bob and Edith's Diner hits that genre out of the park. You won't see this diner on any Michelin lists ,and the decor certainly won't be winning any awards, but it's definitely worth stopping in, especially if you get a craving late at night.
8. El Paso Mexican Restaurant -- Woodbridge, Virginia; other locations in Springfield and Alexandria
I can't speak for the other locations, but El Paso is definitely a gem in the Potomac Mills Mall-area, and it continues to be drowned out by new restaurants opening up every month. But El Paso is definitely
a gem. It might not look like anything special from the street, but the margaritas are spot-on, and I've yet to find anything on the menu that I wouldn't order again.
9. Hong Kong Palace -- Falls Church, Virginia
Finding a good Chinese restaurant in Northern Virginia can be tough. I can't tell you how many times I've been burned . If you want Americanized Chinese food, like General Tso's or Orange Chicken, theirs is excellent. If you're looking for real Szechuan cuisine, that's where Hong Kong Palace really shines. -- Obviously, this is just a running list and definitely not complete! We want to hear from you. Which hole-in-the-wall restaurants should we add to Part Two? Let us know in the comment section below!