No one hates DMV traffic more than I do…which is why this post is so worth the read. These 5 NoVa restaurants are absolute must-tries, and I can’t wait to tell you more about each spot. We’re covering everything from peking duck to some of the BEST hot chicken sandwiches in the country so be excited. Very, very excited.
Annandale’s known for their incredible Korean food, but chef Justin Ahn’s doing something really special over at Incheon. They’ve received accolade after accolade in 2021, and the praise is so well-deserved. They’re currently open from Tuesday to Saturday, and they offer two tastings per evening at 5PM & 8PM.
This delicious multi-course menu’s priced at $65 per person, and you have the option of adding an beverage pairing with your meal. Expect to enjoy dishes like green curry dduk (rice cakes), duck breast ssam (Served with spicy radish, pickled napa and walnut ssamjang), and mushroom juk (made with mushrooms, arborio rice, dashi and pecorino romano). Click here for reservations!
If you haven’t been to this spot yet, you are truly, TRULY missing out. Head to this hidden gem in Falls Church for some of the best (if not THE best) peking duck in the area. Get either the half or whole portion and enjoy said magic with freshly made pancakes, sliced cucumbers, hot peppers, hoisin, and spring onions. So. Ridiculously. Tasty.
In addition to duck, I highly recommend their Spicy Five Spiced Beef and their Jeo-Yen Shrimp. The former’s stir-fried with king mushrooms, red and green chili peppers, and its supposed to be spicy…BUT it isn’t for me. I know others find it to be hot though so make sure you’re into heat or have a glass of milk handy before digging in.
And the shrimp? Insanely good. They give you ginormous shrimpies that are cooked to crisp perfection and dusted with uber flavorful seasoning. I wish I could recommend more, but I literally only get those 3 dishes every time I go so y’all will have to tell me what you like by commenting below.
3. Hot Lola’s
I’m about to list TWO hot chicken sandwich joints so be excited, NOM fam. Located inside Ballston Quarter, Hot Lola’s is Kevin Tien’s fast casual sammie concept. I love all things spicy so my go-to’s their Flippin Hot Sando, coated with Sichuan peppercorn, Thai chili + cumin then topped with slaw, pickles and comeback sauce on a big marty’s bun. Enjoy it with a side of their seasoned waffle fries for the ultimate meal!
If you’re brave enough to try their code blue chicken sammie, go for it. It’s honestly one of the SPICIEST things I’ve ever eaten, but I still found it to be manageable…ish. Not gonna lie though, I was high key sweating during the meal. It’s made with Carolina Reaper so yeah, consider yourself warned.
Personally, their code red’s my handheld of choice. It’s still hot AF, but it doesn’t hurt – well…it doesn’t hurt me, lol. My friend’s the chef-owner there, but I promise I’m not biased when I say they have some of the best chicken sandwiches I’ve ever had. They use antibiotic + free range chicken and fry everything in peanut oil – the oil is shockingly clean BTW so know that you’ll be getting the freshest fry possible.
Their sando’s HUGE, and it’s only $12. Really though, the size of the breast will legit shock you, which is why it’s so dope that they now offer a smaller size (aka the junior). It comes with ciderslaw, butter pickles, and comeback sauce on a potato bun. I also recommend getting their waffle fries – they also have fried okra, but I haven’t had the pleasure of trying that yet. If you can offer insight, please comment below.
This all-day restaurant’s one of Arlington’s best, EASILY. There’s so much for love about their menu, and they have one of the best brunches in all of the DMV so go ASAP if you haven’t yet.
You honestly can’t go wrong with anything you get, but their BBQ’s a must for dinner, and you gotta try their apple donuts and apple pie pancakes for brunch. PS. Save room for cookies. Anddd you’re welcome in advance.
Alright Nomsters, I hope you’re excited to venture out to NoVa for these amazing eats! Let me know what some of your go-to spots are by leaving a comment below, and head to this tab to read more about delish Virginia recs – until next time, friends.