clock menu more-arrow no yes

Where to Eat and Drink Around Ballston

Explore a food hall, play shuffleboard, and dig into textbook Neapolitan pizza

View as Map

Arlington’s Ballston neighborhood has long been a place to find food from all over the world, from Egyptian foul at King of Koshary to Russian dumplings, Sichuan hot pot, or Peruvian chicken. Of late, D.C. area chefs have also been eyeing Ballston for expansion: award-winning chef Victor Albisu opened a Taco Bamba location on Wilson Boulevard in August, and Navy Yard’s popular seafood hangout the Salt Line has plans to open an outpost right around the block. The redevelopment that led to Ballston Quarter, a mixed-use mall with full-service restaurants and its own extensive food hall, Quarter Market, adds more exciting places to eat. Neighborhood Filipino bar Bistro 1521 is temporarily closed due to the pandemic.

Restaurants on this map may temporarily close due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, so check with a business before showing up. Virginia allows restaurant to host indoor dining without capacity limits as long as tables are spaced 6 feet apart. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns. The Washington Post is tracking coronavirus cases and deaths in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. More information can be found at coronavirus.dc.gov. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Rocklands (Multiple locations)

Copy Link
3471 Washington Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 528-9663
Visit Website

Rocklands is one of the area’s oldest sources for smoky barbecue. The local brand is also known for its catering operation, providing ribs, chicken, sausage, and more for parties. COVID-19 additions to Ballston include an ordering window for carryout and heat lamps along outdoor picnic tables.

2. Mala Tang

Copy Link
3434 Washington Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 243-2381
Visit Website

The sister restaurant to Merrifield’s Uncle Liu’s, Mala Tang is where Arlingtonians go for Chinese hot pot. The menu also offers a variety of appetizers and Sichuan dishes such as cumin lamb. Hot pots are customizable with dippers like fish balls, prawns, “mala’ spicy beef, and a number of vegetables. Choose from spicy, mild, and vegetarian broths, too. Delivery and online ordering available, with limited outdoor seating.

1110 N Glebe Rd
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 746-9822
Visit Website

This hidden gem just off of Ballston’s main thoroughfare is one of the area’s underrated destinations for Spanish food. Find robust paellas, a variety of tapas, Spanish wines, and traditional preparations of salt cod and roasted pork. Ser consistently provides stellar service, too, courtesy of gregarious proprietor Javier Candon. Outdoor seating includes an open-air tent featuring heat lamps throughout. Order takeout online here.

The side bar at Ser.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

4. El Pollo Rico (Multiple locations)

Copy Link
932 N Kenmore St
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 522-3220
Visit Website

This critically acclaimed Arlington eatery is one of the area’s most well-known destinations for Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken and sides. Expect spice-crusted birds, crunchy fried yuca, sugary alfajores, and fiery green chile dipping sauce. Order online here.

5. Rus Uz (Multiple locations)

Copy Link
1000 N Randolph St
Arlington, VA 22201
(571) 312-4086
Visit Website

Russian and Uzbek dishes appear alongside each other at this neighborhood restaurant, which serves sharp vinaigrette salads, plump manti dumplings, and savory pastries such as samsa and pirozhki. The Uzbek section of the menu tends to edge out the Russian fare (including the country’s national dish, rice-based plov), but there are still solid examples of the latter including beef stroganoff and chicken Kiev. The restaurant infuses its own vodka, but a simple Moscow mule is a pleasure during a sunny day on the patio. Order takeout here.

Assorted dishes at Ruz Uz.
Missy Frederick/Eater

6. The Bronson Bierhall

Copy Link
4100 Fairfax Dr #100
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 528-1110
Visit Website

Giant stuffed pretzels, chorizo and chicken brats, and schnitzel all go well with the 16 beers on tap at this modern German beer hall. Settle in at a communal table — there’s plenty of them outdoors — or play games like shuffleboard, bocce ball, corn hole, and ping pong. Order takeout or delivery through Doordash.

7. Crafthouse (Multiple locations)

Copy Link
901 N Glebe Rd #105
Arlington, VA 22203
(571) 483-0421
Visit Website

The modern American taproom shut down for a few months in 2020 but has since reopened to serve beer, cocktails, and bar snacks. An extensive tap list varies from week to week, featuring everything from Alexandria-based Port City’s Optimal Wit to a limited edition Hershey’s Chocolate Porter from Yuengling.

8. Grand Cru Wine Bar and Bistro

Copy Link
4301 Wilson Blvd #100
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 243-7900
Visit Website

Ballston’s original wine bar serves up a European-influenced dinner menu here with dishes such as French onion soup and braised lamb shank. Wine flights are available alongside bottles. Ample outdoor seating outfitted with heat lamps lines the outside of the restaurant. Order takeout here and call for curbside pickup.

9. Big Buns Damn Good Burgers (Multiple locations)

Copy Link
4401 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 276-3032
Visit Website

This homegrown burger spot keeps locals happy by serving substantial combinations — including customizable options and specials full of global flavors — as well as local brews, boozy milkshakes, and frozen cocktails. And if burgers aren’t your thing, the restaurant also features fried chicken sandwiches and vegetarian options. There are plenty of picnic tables for outdoor seating. Order takeout online here.

10. Rustico (Multiple locations)

Copy Link
4075 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22203
(571) 384-1820
Visit Website

Rustico, which started out in neighboring Del Ray, is known for its extensive beer list as well as respectable pizzas and pastas and comforting apps like a take on tater tots that’s made with risotto. The Ballston location features a large outdoor tent with ample seating and heat lamps. Diners place orders online by scanning a QR code assigned to each table, and orders (including drinks) are brought to the table.

11. Taco Bamba

Copy Link
4000 Wilson Blvd Suite C
Arlington, VA 22203
(571) 777-1477
Visit Website

Over the summer, Chef Victor Albisu sacked his plans for an egg-themed restaurant called Huevos and instead transformed the 1,500-square-foot space on Wilson Boulevard into another outpost of his inventive taqueria. The popular Mexican street food spot features a familiar menu of traditional tacos such as al pastor and carnitas, along with speciality additions only available at the Ballston location. The El Pollo Rico taco, a homage to the nearby Peruvian chicken institution, includes spiced chicken, green chili puree and aji amarillo mayo. Online ordering is available, along with limited outdoor seating.

Taco Bamba’s El Rico Pollo taco with green chile puree, aji amarillo aioli, salsa criolla, and crispy potato to “Peruvian-ish” chicken.
Taco Bamba’s El Rico Pollo taco with green chile puree, aji amarillo aioli, salsa criolla, and crispy potato to “Peruvian-ish” chicken.
Greg Powers/For Taco Bamba

12. Quarter Market

Copy Link
4238 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22203

The DMV’s food hall craze extends to Ballston at Quarter Market, where diners can load their trays with District Doughnuts, scoops from Ice Cream Jubilee, barbecue from Sloppy Mama’s, and pies from Timber Pizza Co.’s Turu stall. Another can’t-miss stop at this expansive food hall: Sichuan-hot hot fried chicken sandwiches from chef Kevin Tien’s  Hot Lola’s stall. Recent additions to the market include American sandwich and cocktail shop Suprette (make sure to check out their cheesesteak); Zofia’s Kitchen, an experimental pierogi stall; and Bollywood Bistro Express, a fast-casual Indian spot.

13. Sidekick Bakery

Copy Link
4238 Wilson Blvd, Suite 1130 SK
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 848-0640
Visit Website

Popular D.C. diner chain Ted’s Bulletin opened its first location with a sleekr, modernized design in in Ballston in 2019, pairing it with sibling bakery Sidekick. In addition to treats like Ted’s tarts (aka gourmet Pop-Tarts), cookies, and cinnamon toast crunch banana bread, Sidekick is known for its inventive “fancy croissants.” Example: a Frostee and Fries croissant stuffed with a malt chocolate and french fry cream and topped with a dark chocolate glaze and potato chip pieces.

14. Good Company Doughnuts & Cafe

Copy Link
672 North Glebe Road Retail 1
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 243-3000
Visit Website

A must-stop for doughnut lovers, Good Company Doughnuts & Cafe boasts an extensive rotating menu of yeast and cake doughnuts that in specialty flavors such as blueberry buttercream, Nutella toffee, and cherry vanilla bomb, as well as staples like cinnamon sugar and chocolate cake. In addition to doughnuts, Good Company has an all-day menu with other breakfast options, sandwiches, and booze. Online ordering and outdoor seating are available.

15. Pupatella (Multiple locations)

Copy Link
5104 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22205
(571) 312-7230
Visit Website

Pupatella’s certified Neapolitan-style pizzas are some of the best around D.C. The location near Ballston is the original for the franchise, which has since expanded into south Arlington as well as Dupont Circle, Reston, and Richmond, Virginia. Those interested in eating al fresco can do so in its new tented outdoor seating.

1. Rocklands (Multiple locations)

3471 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

Rocklands is one of the area’s oldest sources for smoky barbecue. The local brand is also known for its catering operation, providing ribs, chicken, sausage, and more for parties. COVID-19 additions to Ballston include an ordering window for carryout and heat lamps along outdoor picnic tables.

3471 Washington Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

2. Mala Tang

3434 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

The sister restaurant to Merrifield’s Uncle Liu’s, Mala Tang is where Arlingtonians go for Chinese hot pot. The menu also offers a variety of appetizers and Sichuan dishes such as cumin lamb. Hot pots are customizable with dippers like fish balls, prawns, “mala’ spicy beef, and a number of vegetables. Choose from spicy, mild, and vegetarian broths, too. Delivery and online ordering available, with limited outdoor seating.

3434 Washington Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

3. Ser

1110 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22201
The side bar at Ser.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

This hidden gem just off of Ballston’s main thoroughfare is one of the area’s underrated destinations for Spanish food. Find robust paellas, a variety of tapas, Spanish wines, and traditional preparations of salt cod and roasted pork. Ser consistently provides stellar service, too, courtesy of gregarious proprietor Javier Candon. Outdoor seating includes an open-air tent featuring heat lamps throughout. Order takeout online here.

1110 N Glebe Rd
Arlington, VA 22201

4. El Pollo Rico (Multiple locations)

932 N Kenmore St, Arlington, VA 22201

This critically acclaimed Arlington eatery is one of the area’s most well-known destinations for Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken and sides. Expect spice-crusted birds, crunchy fried yuca, sugary alfajores, and fiery green chile dipping sauce. Order online here.

932 N Kenmore St
Arlington, VA 22201

5. Rus Uz (Multiple locations)

1000 N Randolph St, Arlington, VA 22201
Assorted dishes at Ruz Uz.
Missy Frederick/Eater

Russian and Uzbek dishes appear alongside each other at this neighborhood restaurant, which serves sharp vinaigrette salads, plump manti dumplings, and savory pastries such as samsa and pirozhki. The Uzbek section of the menu tends to edge out the Russian fare (including the country’s national dish, rice-based plov), but there are still solid examples of the latter including beef stroganoff and chicken Kiev. The restaurant infuses its own vodka, but a simple Moscow mule is a pleasure during a sunny day on the patio. Order takeout here.

1000 N Randolph St
Arlington, VA 22201

6. The Bronson Bierhall

4100 Fairfax Dr #100, Arlington, VA 22203

Giant stuffed pretzels, chorizo and chicken brats, and schnitzel all go well with the 16 beers on tap at this modern German beer hall. Settle in at a communal table — there’s plenty of them outdoors — or play games like shuffleboard, bocce ball, corn hole, and ping pong. Order takeout or delivery through Doordash.

4100 Fairfax Dr #100
Arlington, VA 22203

7. Crafthouse (Multiple locations)

901 N Glebe Rd #105, Arlington, VA 22203

The modern American taproom shut down for a few months in 2020 but has since reopened to serve beer, cocktails, and bar snacks. An extensive tap list varies from week to week, featuring everything from Alexandria-based Port City’s Optimal Wit to a limited edition Hershey’s Chocolate Porter from Yuengling.

901 N Glebe Rd #105
Arlington, VA 22203

8. Grand Cru Wine Bar and Bistro

4301 Wilson Blvd #100, Arlington, VA 22203

Ballston’s original wine bar serves up a European-influenced dinner menu here with dishes such as French onion soup and braised lamb shank. Wine flights are available alongside bottles. Ample outdoor seating outfitted with heat lamps lines the outside of the restaurant. Order takeout here and call for curbside pickup.

4301 Wilson Blvd #100
Arlington, VA 22203

9. Big Buns Damn Good Burgers (Multiple locations)

4401 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

This homegrown burger spot keeps locals happy by serving substantial combinations — including customizable options and specials full of global flavors — as well as local brews, boozy milkshakes, and frozen cocktails. And if burgers aren’t your thing, the restaurant also features fried chicken sandwiches and vegetarian options. There are plenty of picnic tables for outdoor seating. Order takeout online here.

4401 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22203

10. Rustico (Multiple locations)

4075 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

Rustico, which started out in neighboring Del Ray, is known for its extensive beer list as well as respectable pizzas and pastas and comforting apps like a take on tater tots that’s made with risotto. The Ballston location features a large outdoor tent with ample seating and heat lamps. Diners place orders online by scanning a QR code assigned to each table, and orders (including drinks) are brought to the table.

4075 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22203

11. Taco Bamba

4000 Wilson Blvd Suite C, Arlington, VA 22203
Taco Bamba’s El Rico Pollo taco with green chile puree, aji amarillo aioli, salsa criolla, and crispy potato to “Peruvian-ish” chicken.
Taco Bamba’s El Rico Pollo taco with green chile puree, aji amarillo aioli, salsa criolla, and crispy potato to “Peruvian-ish” chicken.
Greg Powers/For Taco Bamba

Over the summer, Chef Victor Albisu sacked his plans for an egg-themed restaurant called Huevos and instead transformed the 1,500-square-foot space on Wilson Boulevard into another outpost of his inventive taqueria. The popular Mexican street food spot features a familiar menu of traditional tacos such as al pastor and carnitas, along with speciality additions only available at the Ballston location. The El Pollo Rico taco, a homage to the nearby Peruvian chicken institution, includes spiced chicken, green chili puree and aji amarillo mayo. Online ordering is available, along with limited outdoor seating.

4000 Wilson Blvd Suite C
Arlington, VA 22203

12. Quarter Market

4238 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

The DMV’s food hall craze extends to Ballston at Quarter Market, where diners can load their trays with District Doughnuts, scoops from Ice Cream Jubilee, barbecue from Sloppy Mama’s, and pies from Timber Pizza Co.’s Turu stall. Another can’t-miss stop at this expansive food hall: Sichuan-hot hot fried chicken sandwiches from chef Kevin Tien’s  Hot Lola’s stall. Recent additions to the market include American sandwich and cocktail shop Suprette (make sure to check out their cheesesteak); Zofia’s Kitchen, an experimental pierogi stall; and Bollywood Bistro Express, a fast-casual Indian spot.

4238 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22203

13. Sidekick Bakery

4238 Wilson Blvd, Suite 1130 SK, Arlington, VA 22203

Popular D.C. diner chain Ted’s Bulletin opened its first location with a sleekr, modernized design in in Ballston in 2019, pairing it with sibling bakery Sidekick. In addition to treats like Ted’s tarts (aka gourmet Pop-Tarts), cookies, and cinnamon toast crunch banana bread, Sidekick is known for its inventive “fancy croissants.” Example: a Frostee and Fries croissant stuffed with a malt chocolate and french fry cream and topped with a dark chocolate glaze and potato chip pieces.

4238 Wilson Blvd, Suite 1130 SK
Arlington, VA 22203

14. Good Company Doughnuts & Cafe

672 North Glebe Road Retail 1, Arlington, VA 22203

A must-stop for doughnut lovers, Good Company Doughnuts & Cafe boasts an extensive rotating menu of yeast and cake doughnuts that in specialty flavors such as blueberry buttercream, Nutella toffee, and cherry vanilla bomb, as well as staples like cinnamon sugar and chocolate cake. In addition to doughnuts, Good Company has an all-day menu with other breakfast options, sandwiches, and booze. Online ordering and outdoor seating are available.

672 North Glebe Road Retail 1
Arlington, VA 22203

15. Pupatella (Multiple locations)

5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22205

Pupatella’s certified Neapolitan-style pizzas are some of the best around D.C. The location near Ballston is the original for the franchise, which has since expanded into south Arlington as well as Dupont Circle, Reston, and Richmond, Virginia. Those interested in eating al fresco can do so in its new tented outdoor seating.

5104 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22205

Related Maps