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Italian Restaurants in Fairfax


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My son's soccer team is playing at George Mason Univ. next weekend, and I'm responsible for finding an Italian place near our hotel in Fairfax for our Friday night dinner. We're talking about a bunch of 13 and 14 year old boys who want to carbo-load before their games on Saturday. With parents and siblings, we'll have 40-45 people.

I tried Dolce Vita, but they can't handle such a large group.

Any other suggestions? Thanks in advance.

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My son's soccer team is playing at George Mason Univ. next weekend, and I'm responsible for finding an Italian place near our hotel in Fairfax for our Friday night dinner. We're talking about a bunch of 13 and 14 year old boys who want to carbo-load before their games on Saturday. With parents and siblings, we'll have 40-45 people.

I tried Dolce Vita, but they can't handle such a large group.

Any other suggestions? Thanks in advance.

I just went to Dolce Vita a couple weeks ago - none of the pasta is homemade, and you're not missing much (although the wood-burning pizza oven is funny because it has a face painted around it, the oven being the mouth).

Fairfax is a big place - where is your hotel? Until told otherwise, we'll assume that exquisitely fluffy gnocchi is going to be a lower priority than feeding a bunch of hungry teenagers.

Dare we send them to Magill's? Ugh. They have tour-bus parking, so they can easily handle 45 people.

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We'll be staying at the Holiday Inn Express at 10327 Fairfax Blvd. You're right, Don, we're not looking for that gnocchi (well, I might be, but the rest of the crew may disagree). We're actually eating at Johnny's Half Shell on Saturday night for a blow-out experience (which is what it would be for many of these kids).

In the end, we want a place where the kids can get some decent pasta and the parents can get some wine! Thus, a sit-down place may be better. I'd seen info on Joe's, and it looks like a glorified mall food court restaurant. Am I wrong?

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In the end, we want a place where the kids can get some decent pasta and the parents can get some wine! Thus, a sit-down place may be better. I'd seen info on Joe's, and it looks like a glorified mall food court restaurant. Am I wrong?

Joe's is a local pizza-and-pasta chain, and not a very good one. That having been said, I'd go there in a split-second before I went to Magill's, which caters to tour groups. I'm not optimistic about you doing much better than this, honestly, especially since we're talking about a Friday night just a week away. As mediocre as Dolce Vita is, it's a lot better than what we're discussing - let's see what others come up with. Why don't you call Sweetwater Tavern or Artie's and see if they can accomodate you?

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What about:

The Esposito's Italian Restaurant

9917 Lee Highway

Fairfax, VA 22030

703/385-5912

I've only been there once or twice for a group lunch, and I think the food was decent, reasonably priced and obviously they take groups. Anyone else know more about this place? It looks like it's not too far from your hotel.

Tyler Cowen says "The kind of Italian place you would expect in New Jersey. Indeed, the owners are from New Jersey. Some of the best pizza in the area, plus very good pasta. Exactly the sort of place you would think that northern Virginia shouldn’t have."

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That's Amore in Vienna isn't too far away.
That was my other thought - here's the website.

Another possibility, if you can't find somewhere that will take a group that size, maybe you can have something catered at your hotel (if they will let you use the breakfast space or have a meeting room). That's Amore does catering, so does Maggiano's, and, as a last resort, Olive Garden's carry out for groups is certainly edible. (we're talking 14 y.o. boys here right?)

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I saw That's Amore's site. Looks promising.

I've only been once and it was probably 10 years ago. It was definitely better than Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill or Joe's Place. They do family style, too, so that could help cut down on costs if that's a concern.

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That's Amore, with their family style offerings, might be perfect. I can't find anything substantive on Esposito's, which is REALLY close to the hotel. Anyone have any info?
Here's a link to their menu on menupages.com.

I know our sister office in Fairfax has going-away/birthday lunches, etc. there, so they can deal with a group and the food is decent and reasonably priced. As best I can remember they had space that should handle 40 people. Why not give 'em a call and see if they'll take the group and hopefully someone who knows a little more about the place will post something here. My Italian coworker from the office out there just told me he thinks it's very good!

Close is probably a good thing on a Friday night around dinner time in Fairfax :blink:

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After reading this thread, I think that Esposito's would be a fine choice. It is better that Olive Garden and Macaroni Grill and, to be honest, getting that many people into one of these places on Friday night would be impossible anyway. Dolce Vita is not an option and Joe's is just OK (Esposito's is better).

I do like That's Amore, but I would look at the prices some. I have only been there once and I felt that it was significantly more expensive than Maggiano's (and I like Maggiano's better). You won't be able to get into Maggiano's with that group and may have a tough time with That's Amore, but at the hgher price, I still like Esposito's better than That's Amore, it's much closer too.

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What about:

The Esposito's Italian Restaurant

9917 Lee Highway

Fairfax, VA 22030

703/385-5912

I've only been there once or twice for a group lunch, and I think the food was decent, reasonably priced and obviously they take groups. Anyone else know more about this place? It looks like it's not too far from your hotel.

Tyler Cowen says "The kind of Italian place you would expect in New Jersey. Indeed, the owners are from New Jersey. Some of the best pizza in the area, plus very good pasta. Exactly the sort of place you would think that northern Virginia shouldn’t have."

This is funny - I had dinner at Dolce Vita about two weeks ago (by the way, here's a picture of their pizza oven), and at The Esposito's about a month ago. The service was as friendly as can be, but a Margherita pizza was truly awful, the slices of tomato limp and mealy. A ravioli in cream sauce was surprisingly okay (I'm almost certain they source the ravioli from elsewhere). The best thing about The Esposito's is the patio, and the fact that it's directly across the street from Fairfax Racquet Club. That having been said, I do think it might work in this situation IF they can seat this many people.

Also try San Vito in Burke (703) 250-0171 and see if they can handle a party of this size. I suspect they can't, but maybe they'll have a suggestion for you - this place is not at all bad.

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Paula and I ate at That's Amore about 4 months ago using a gift certificate that we were given 2 years ago. Even with the gift certificate I still felt we got ripped off. The food was average-to-horrible, and the red wine was served at room temperature, if room temperature is defined as mid-summer heatwave with a broken air conditioner. Hopefully, you will have better luck than I did.

I have passed this place a couple of times, but don't know anybody that has eaten here. Anyone? Bueller?

Mama's Italian Restaurant

9715 Lee Hwy, Fairfax, VA

(703) 385-2646

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I remember eating at Mama's about 15 years ago - back then it was ok food (still better than the chains but not great), at above average prices.

Paula and I ate at That's Amore about 4 months ago using a gift certificate that we were given 2 years ago. Even with the gift certificate I still felt we got ripped off. The food was average-to-horrible, and the red wine was served at room temperature, if room temperature is defined as mid-summer heatwave with a broken air conditioner. Hopefully, you will have better luck than I did.

I have passed this place a couple of times, but don't know anybody that has eaten here. Anyone? Bueller?

Mama's Italian Restaurant

9715 Lee Hwy, Fairfax, VA

(703) 385-2646

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Paula and I ate at That's Amore about 4 months ago using a gift certificate that we were given 2 years ago. Even with the gift certificate I still felt we got ripped off. The food was average-to-horrible, and the red wine was served at room temperature, if room temperature is defined as mid-summer heatwave with a broken air conditioner. Hopefully, you will have better luck than I did.

I have passed this place a couple of times, but don't know anybody that has eaten here. Anyone? Bueller?

Mama's Italian Restaurant

9715 Lee Hwy, Fairfax, VA

(703) 385-2646

Mama's closed a while ago and has been replaced by a Greek restaurant called Mythos.

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Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be this difficult. Some people were completely evasive about specifics. Others never called me back. I know that it's a Friday night, but folks should at least have the decency to be, well, decent. Finally, someone came through -- totally nice and helpful with no demands: Bravo's Italian Bistro. Homemade pasta! Most of the pastas are in the 10-14 dollar range, which is not too bad in general and downright great for fresh pasta.

So, anyone been there?

Thanks for y'all's advice.

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I live right by there, can't believe that I forgot all about it.

It has been years since I have been there, but it is fine. I like Dolce Vita and Esposito's more, but for your group, you should be good to go. Enough carbs for the kids and it should offer enough variety and wine choices for the adults. And, to be perfectly honest, it is much better going to a place where you feel wanted as opposed to another place where you don't, especially with such a big group. My guess is that they will make some concessions for you and help you out some, good for so many people.

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I was really surprised that they didn't say that they had to limit the menu or anything like that. They really sounded happy for me to call in the first place. Anyhow, I'm relieved that I found a place, as I was starting to get worried. I had even started to call Joe's!

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Bravo's ended up being perfect for our group. The people there were fantastic, the service was ideal, and the food was actually quite decent. Hell, the coach even liked it (and Don, he ordered the gnocchi!).

Thanks to everyone for their input. We had a great weekend in Fairfax (we won our 3 games, too, by combined 12-0 score), and we even sneaked into town for a smaller dinner at Johnny's Half Shell.

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