Finding the best places to eat in Northern Virginia was not an easy job. We had a team of tasters scouting restaurants all over NoVa. They sampled some of the best foods prepared by talented chefs. Northern Virginia is filled with phenomenal cuisine and wonderful places to eat. Here are the top 5 choices that we determined to be the Best Restaurants in Northern Virginia.
Best Restaurant in Northern Virginia
1.703 Bar and Kitchen: Chef Peter McCall has brought his passion for Southern cooking to Northern Virginia. How lucky we are to have this taste from the South in a fantastic location. Our tasters enjoyed a sneak peek of new menu items that will be available starting March 2018. If you love Southern food you must make a reservation for 703 Bar and Kitchen. Each dish is derived from secret family recipes, like Etta Belle’s Cornbread (the chef’s great grandmother’s) made right in a cast iron pan. Many of the ingredients for these dishes are locally sourced. Each dish from the new menu not only looked stunning, but also tasted delightful. Some of our favorite dishes included:
Chef Peter’s Buttermilk Biscuits: These biscuits were light as air and each bite melted as soon as it hit your mouth. The fresh salted butter and apple butter both complimented the biscuits flavor nicely. Starting in March, these biscuits will be served to all diners instead of traditional dinner rolls.
Mom’s Pimento Cheese: This unique and savory appetizer was an unexpected delight. Each slice of rich Texas Toast was topped with the smoothest and softest fresh pimento cheese. Each toast was delicately topped with thinly sliced bread and butter pickles. This appetizer was perfectly unique and left us wanting more.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken: The chickens used in the fried chicken are locally grown at Yohanan Farm in Purcellville. The pasture-raised birds are brined and fried to perfection by Chef McCall. The honeycomb served on the side, from the Apex Bee Company was a surprisingly perfect pairing. Why haven’t we tried honeycomb with fried chicken before now? This entree is comfort food at its finest.
703 Chocolate Pie and Lemon Bars: Make sure you save room for dessert. The 703 chocolate pie and the lemon bars were both a splendid way to end a fun meal. The desserts were not too sweet and were an ideal size to share.
2.Sisters: The Living Room Cafe:
Sisters Thai: The Living Room Cafe is a warm, inviting, delightful place to enjoy some superb Thai food. When you sit down in the Sister’s living room, you immediately feel at home. The line out the door demonstrates just how popular this restaurant is. If you are a fan of Thai cuisine you must try Sisters. The staff was extremely attentive and friendly and made us feel at home. Some of our favorite dishes included:
Pad Thai: The Pad Thai was a bit deconstructed. The peanuts were crushed and on the side. Shredded vegetables were also on the side. The noodles were well cooked and covered in the traditional Pad Thai sauce. The Pad Thai worked perfectly together and had just a hint of spice, a perfect amount for this dish.
Crispy Duck Ka-Pow: This was our favorite dish. The duck skin was very crispy while the duck meat underneath was soft and tender. It was served with a delicate sauce with delicious vegetables on the side as well as some rice. You can choose how spicy you want your dish to be at Sisters. We chose medium spiciness and there was a slight kick of spice which was perfect for us.
Duck Curry: The duck curry was served in a soup bowl. It was aromatic and each component was skillfully cooked. The pineapple included in the curry was a pleasant surprise. The curry sauce was slightly spicy and tasted delicious over the rice. This curry dish was a great lunch for a cold day. It warms from the inside out.
Crispy Wontons: This appetizer was our favorite. Each wonton was crispy with a perfect amount of filling inside. The sweet and sour sauce was an excellent flavor match to elevate the taste of the wontons. Plenty of vegetables came with the wontons and we enjoyed dipping them into the sweet and sour sauce as well.
Strawberry or Lychee Freeze: The Thai Tea Freezes are not to be missed! These drinks are served in large glasses with lightly sweetened whipped cream on top. There are 7 different freeze flavors. Our favorite flavors were the Milo Volcano (tasted like a chocolate malt) and the Lychee Freeze. The Freeze drinks taste so natural and would make a refreshing treat on a hot day.
Strawberry Shortcake: We sampled a few slices of the Sister’s freshly prepared cakes and they were each light as air. The Matcha green tea chocolate cake had a very mild Matcha flavor and was slightly sweet. The Strawberry shortcake was an exceptional dessert. It was fresh, slightly sweet, and light as air. Each bite melted in the mouth and left you wanting another bite.
Sisters: The Living Room Cafe is located at 4004 University Dr. in Fairfax, VA in the Old Town area of Fairfax.
Bellissimo is a hidden gem in Fairfax. This tiny restaurant has been serving the most delightful dishes from Northern Italy for the past 15 years. What a perfect place to go on a romantic date or special occasion. Try to make a reservation, as the dining room is small. This restaurant provides a truly intimate experience that you will never forget.
The magnificent food is created in the tiniest kitchen. We were so impressed with the bold flavors we found at Bellissimo. The staff was attentive and knowledgeable about the Northern Italian cuisine and each dish was served with great pride. Some of our favorite dishes included:
Calamari: The calamari in this dish was super soft and cooked perfectly. It was served over a soft polenta and topped with a slightly spicy marinara sauce. The polenta was so comforting and tasted fantastic with the calamari and marinara. Each flavor blended together to make a delightful appetizer.
Osso Buco: The osso buco we enjoyed was a daily special. The generous portion of tender veal was served over fresh pappardelle. The vegetables in the Osso Buco were so tender as was the veal, which fell right off the bone and melted in your mouth.
Gnocchi alla Bava: The delicate gnocchi in this dish was served in a rich fontina cheese sauce. Each potato pillow was covered in the magnificent cheese sauce. Each bite was somehow more delightful than the last one.
Cannoli: The cannoli was perfectly sweet and so delicious. There was a rich layer of melted chocolate on the bottom of the cannoli shell that paired beautifully with the sumptuous ricotta filling. The cannoli shell was firm and crunchy, making a nice contrast to the smooth center.
Bellissimo is located at 10403 Main Street in Fairfax, VA in the Old Town area of Fairfax.
4.Paradiso Italian Restaurant:
Paradiso Italian Restaurant is a parent’s dream come true. Imagine a quiet dinner date for adults, with a place for the kids to eat and play in a room next door. Adults can enjoy some satisfying Italian food while the kids are fed and supervised. You simply cannot find a more knowledgeable staff or a better dining experience than Paradiso. Children 3-10 years old can watch movies while they eat and play, and enjoy their own dining room or dine with their family. The food at Paradiso is unmatched, these classic Italian dishes are served in a home away from home environment. There is a reason that Paradiso has been serving customers for the past 20 years, incredible food and excellent service.
Paradiso not only serves amazing food, they also host wonderful events each week. Check their Facebook page to keep up to date with all the latest experiences. Some of the activities that you can find at Paradiso include:
- poker nights
- paint nites
- kids eat free nights
- karaoke nights
- live entertainment nights
- lunch buffets daily
- Sunday brunch with a huge selection including made to order omelets and mimosas
- private supervised dining room for kids 3-10 with delicious kids food and movies
Some of our favorite dishes included:
Arancini: These Sicilian rice balls were lightly fried with a delightful surprise in the center. Each arancini was stuffed with risotto, peas, mozzarella and ground beef. The flavors inside were increased when they were dipped into the tangy marinara sauce. This appetizer is a perfect way to start a meal.
Margherita Pizza: The pizza ovens at Paradiso bake some incredibly divine pizza pies. We tried a margherita pie and it was perfection. The crust was slightly thin and there was an ideal sauce to cheese ratio. The pizza was large enough to share, even though one of our tasters wanted to eat the entire pizza himself.
Chicken Frascati: This chicken dish was served alongside a bowl of spaghetti and marinara sauce. It was aromatic and surprisingly light. The tender chicken was topped with spinach, onions, tomatoes and a light wine sauce. The Chicken Frascati was beyond compare, a pleasing and filling dish.
Fettuccini Alfredo: Fettuccini Alfredo is a classic Italian meal. Paradiso prepares a fantastic version with a generous portion and a super cheesy sauce that was perfectly seasoned. The fettuccini was cooked perfectly. Each bite of the alfredo was a little bit of heaven, reported one of our tasters.
Burrata Salad: The burrata salad was`expertly prepared and is something you would expect at the finest of Italian restaurants. This salad was served with heirloom tomatoes, lettuce and lightly dressed with balsamic. The burrata was the star of the dish. Light and bouncy, with just enough flavor to play off of the other elements of the dish. This dish tasted fresh and light.
Paradiso Italian Restaurant is located at 6124 Franconia Rd. in Alexandria, VA.
5.Coal Fire Pizza:
Sometimes you need to grab a quick pizza dinner and Coal Fire is a perfect place to stop. Coal Fire serves their artisan pizzas from a 900-degree coal oven. Each pizza can be topped with a classic sauce, a signature sauce, or a spicy sauce. We tried four different pies and they were all excellent. Coal Fire also sells wings, pasta, sandwiches, fries and onion rings, and salads.
Buffalo Chicken Pizza: Bite-size pieces of oven-roasted buffalo chicken were scattered all over this pie. Some savory scallions were also on top. The ranch and buffalo swirl of sauce over the entire pie kicked the flavor up a notch. This pizza had tons of flavor and just the right amount of heat.
Margherita Pizza: A simple but delicious pizza for those in your family that like a traditional pie. A classic pizza with fresh mozzarella and plenty of basil make this a fan favorite. The flavors all worked together perfectly and everyone enjoyed this pie.
Prosciutto Cipolla: This pie was covered with thinly sliced prosciutto and roasted onions. This pizza is best for the adventurous eaters who enjoy bolder flavors. The roasted onions on this pie added a lovely flavor to the salty prosciutto.
Coal Fire Pizza is located at 9276 Old Keene Mill Rd in Burke, VA and also in South Riding and Cascades in Virginia as well as a few locations in Maryland.
Now that I made you quite hungry, which Restaurant would you like to try first?