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Dining in Kingstowne


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Will be moving from the very north end of Van Dorn street (Alexandria City) to the very south end of Van Dorn street (Kingstown/Telegraph Rd.) soon. Is there anything decent besides GAR's Mikes Grill south of the beltway in this area? Any recommendations are appreciated. I've been scouring the web and coming up with mediocre cheap eats at best. Thanks in advance.

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Kingstowne is pretty iffy in the restaurant department, I have to admit. Most options are chains. Other places may have a dish or two worth returning to, but aren't exactly "destination" restaurants. We've lived in Kingstowne for almost ten years, and I still can't get the plaza names right, so please bare with me.

In the plaza with Shoppers:

Johnny's New York Pizza - The pizza is not bad, but not really what I think of as "New York style." Obviously, avoid the slices that have been sitting under the heat lamps for too long, though made to order pies are okay. The real jems here, if you like red sauce, are the manicotti and the garlic knots. Still, comfort food, and not much else.

Lucky's Sports Bar & Grill - Better food than I expected at a sports bar. Most of the food has been pretty decent (ahi tuna appetizer, most salads, marsala pork chops) a the price point, but a "fried chicken" salad was so soaked in oil it was inedible. Yeah, probably my error for ordering it.

We've never tried Bungalow Billiards, so no comments on that.

In Kingstowne Towne Center (plaza with Safeway)

Mostly chains. Moby Dick's (kebabs) isn't bad at all.

Pasara Thai - Not bad Thai food, but not my favorite.

In the plaza with Giant

There's a King Street Blues that some swear by. We had a terrible meal there, once, years ago and haven't been back though.

We've been underwhelmed by the sushi/hibachi place, whose name I can't think of.

The local farmer's market was here last year (previously it had been in the Towne Center parking lot), and I expect it will be back here this year. Not sure on the opening date, probably sometime in May, but it's been held Friday evenings from 4-7. It's not huge, but has a good assortment of vendors.

A bit further than Kingstowne Proper...

There are a number of places on Franconia, though not many that we've returned to. Burrito Joynte was great for a quick, inexpensive meal for a while, but changed hands. We've only been once under the new management, and didn't like it. There's a nice little Mediterranean store in the plaza on the right headed towards Springfield mall that serves sandwiches and the like out of the back. It's nowheres near as big as the shop down on Pickett, but it's nice.

As Franconia turns into Old Keene Mill, there's a plaza with a Hard Times Cafe. Back behind that plaza, around Mike's Grill, are many Asian restaurants (a Vietnamese soup-not just pho - one stands out in my mind, but I can't recall the name). There's also a working butcher back there. In the streets to the other side of Old Keene Mill, there are other ethnic options that we've barely sampled, and a Five Guys that we've found to be decent.

Landsdowne Center, down Beulah, has a number of non-chain choices. Matsui Sushi is one of the better local options (along with Akasaka further down Van Dorn). There's an Indian restaurant that recently changed hands; we liked it under the old management, but haven't been enough to form an opinion under the new management. There's a Thai restaurant that has killer appetizers, but the dinners have felt a bit flat. This plaza also houses the local library, hidden on the far side of the plaza.

So, that's it in a nutshell. Lots of options for "I don't want to cook tonight," but not a stellar restaurant scene. Generally we travel to Old Town, Arlington, or DC for our planned nicer dinners.

Feel free to PM me if anything here doesn't make sense, or if you have additional questions.

Ann-Marie

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I hate the choices in Kingstowne. Chain City USA.

Down Franconia Road about 2 miles away is Mediterranean Gourmet Market, at 6122 Franconia Road, in a little strip mall with the reborn Sampan Cafe. It's the best Middle East menu within about a 10 mile radius, and beats the pants off the Mediterranean Bakery in Alexandria for quality and price.

Mediterranean Gourmet Market has a few inside seats and a few outside seats. I like to get take-out, but it will accommodate you for a sit-down meal during the off hours when the tables are not jammed with Middle Easterners.

The husband is Egyptian and the wife is Lebanese. From my moniker, you can probably tell I have some familiarity with the food of that region. Trust me, this is good grub.

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We went to Pho Kim the other day while visiting Tuesday Morning, there was no one there, so we ate inside.  We had two Bahn Mi and some Cha Gio.  The Bahn Mi were good, light rolls, good filling.  The Cha Gio weren't the best, not bad, just not noteworthy.  We kind of thought we should order noodle soup since we got to eat inside, but we weren't in the mood for hot food, so it is what it is.

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