2. Go west, young man. Specifically, get on I-395, get off at exit 5 King Street, and take the west exit. Then take Lee Highway and keep going. It will look a little sketchy, but stick with it. You are leaving the tourist attractions and entering the promised land of ethnic food.
3. For a wonderful, calming atmosphere, check out the Afghan restaurant Bamian on Lee Highway. It doesn't look like much from the road, but the inside has delightful little nooks where you can eat in semi-privacy. And the food. Oh my word, it is swallow-your-tongue good. It's a great place to eat if you're not super-adventurous, because the food is quite mild. If you like Middle Eastern food, you'll adore it. (And the prices are great).
|It looks gross, but these vegetables are melt-in-your-mouth|
4. Practically right next door, you'll find Dungrat's, which for my money is the best Thai restaurant in the area, with reasonable prices. But the best thing about this place is the Asian grocery next door. My husband cooks Asian food like a pro, and we get all our curry sauces, rice noodles, rice paper, etc, at this little place.
5. Honey Pig Gooldaegee Korean BBQ. I haven't been there yet, but I have heard raving reviews. It's a family-owned Korean BBQ joint, open 24 hours a day. You can jump right in with the Hot Small Intestine or play it safe with the boneless ribs.
|Heart attack on a stick|
6. If you need a sushi fix, check out May Island in northern Alexandria (farther east than the rest of these places). This is our regular sushi joint, because the chef is a freakin' genius. He creates beautiful works of art rivaling anything the city has to offer. The building looks kind of like this:
|Not the exact place: add Christmas lights and a Shell station next door|
But the food looks like this:
7. But if Asian food isn't your thing, try the Arlington Cinema and Draft House. If you're over 21, you can watch a $2 movie plus beer (for extra, but not bad prices). The movies are a little older, but they're still recent, and they have appetizers along with the (excellent) beer. The atmosphere is casual, with tables in front for your beer and food while you watch the show. Genius. (They do live shows too, but I've never been to those).
P.S.: don't go to Busboys and Poets. Just don't. It's achingly pretentious and overpriced, and you can find better food. They describe themselves as "a space for art, culture and politics to intentionally collide...we believe that by creating such a space we can inspire social change and begin to transform our community and the world." Maybe they'll heal the planet and make the oceans recede while they're at it.