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a plate of loaded fries and a bottle Mexican Coke on an outdoor table at Fairfax’s Epicure
Epicure’s space includes plenty of outdoor seating options.
Epicure/Facebook

Where to Eat and Drink in Fairfax

Year-round crab feasts, perpetual Mardi Gras, and vegan cafes all part of the local charm

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Epicure’s space includes plenty of outdoor seating options.
| Epicure/Facebook

Fairfax is known for a rich history and the ever-evolving scene around George Mason University. A diverse group of restaurants has been feeding locals, college students, and their parents for decades.

The city has experienced a mini-beer boom in the past year with the openings of High Side craft beer bar and Ornery Beer Company, among others. But some evidence of the current pandemic remains (stalwarts such as American restaurant Artie’s, for example, are temporarily closed; and diners should double-check restaurant operating hours, given COVID-19). Meanwhile, homestyle institution 29 Diner was recently gutted by a kitchen fire. But the city perseveres — here are some destination places to drink and dine in Fairfax; head here for tips for nearby Merrifield/Dunn Loring.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Pho Thang Long

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3071 Nutley St
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 208-9679

Assertive broth, springy meatballs, and quality meat help make this one of the standout bowls of pho in Northern Virginia. The bare-bones restaurant also has some additional soups and appetizers, from spring rolls to fish sauce-marinated chicken wings. Contact the restaurant directly for takeout.

A bowl of pho with meatballs with chicken wings and another pho bowl blurry in the background.
Pho from Pho Thang Long.
Missy Frederick/Eater

2. Chutzpah

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12214 Fairfax Towne Center
Fairfax, VA 22033
(703) 385-8883
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A New York-style deli that ticks off every box, from egg creams to complimentary pickles and matzo ball soup. Chutzpah serves all-day breakfast, which includes bagels and bialys, and has sandwiches packed with brisket, chopped liver, and tongue. Entrees stay classic, too, with corned beef and cabbage, chicken in a pot, and bacon-wrapped meatloaf. Takeout available here.

A pile of french fries with a loaded corned beef sandwich in the background.
A stacked sandwich from Chutzpah.
Chutzpah/Facebook

3. Meokja Meokja

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9619 Fairfax Blvd
Fairfax, VA 22031
(571) 459-2875

This Korean barbecue joint has quickly become a favorite, commanding hours-long waits for its pork belly, bulgogi, and stellar customer service. Delivery available here.

4. Marumen

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3250 Old Pickett Rd
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 352-6278
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One of Northern Virginia’s best options for ramen, the restaurant offers the soup in varieties like shio, curry, and spicy miso, as well as the dipping ramen known as tsukemen. There’s also a small selection of rice dishes and small plates, including super-crunchy karaage and a heaping portion of togarashi-spiked chicharrones.

Shio ramen topped with egg and chashu, with a pile of fried chicken fuzzy in the background.
Shio ramen from Marumen.
Missy Frederick/Eater

5. Mama Chang

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3251 Old Lee Hwy
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 268-5556
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One of the area’s best Chinese restaurants, this offshoot of the Peter Chang empire focuses on the homestyle cooking of the women in the Chang family, particularly Lisa and Lydia Chang. There’s a selection of dim sum, plus standout dishes like hot and numbing beef in stone pot, dry-fried cauliflower and pickled chili flounder with tofu. Some Peter Chang classics like giant bubble pancakes and bamboo fish, also make a cameo. Order online here.

Four crispy pastries topped with sesame seeds.
Mama Chang shaobing.
Rey Lopez/Mama Chang

6. Captain Pell's

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10195 Fairfax Blvd
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 560-0060
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This long-standing crab house serves some seafood a la carte, including shrimp, scallops, and snow crab legs. Steamed blue crabs can be devoured as part of an all-you-can-eat option or sold by the dozen for carry-out. Order online through the website.

A large platter of crabs, with two plates each of hush puppies and steamed shrimp, plus mallets, all on top of newspaper.
A tray of seasoned crabs at Captain Pell’s.
Captain Pell’s

7. Dolce Vita Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar

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10824 Fairfax Blvd
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 385-1530
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A neighborhood favorite for more than 20 years, Dolce Vita excels at the red sauce-joint classics, from fried calamari to a mean penne vodka. Find Italian-American dishes here that aren’t universally prevalent around D.C., like veal saltimbocca and chicken sorrentino. The restaurant makes its own pastas and incorporates a festive wine bar with a generous early bird happy hour (from lunchtime opening until 6 p.m.) under the roof of the same restaurant. Order online here.

Rings of calamari with red sauce on the side.
Calamari from Dolce Vita.
Missy Frederick/Eater DC

8. Anita's New Mexico Style Mexican Food

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10880 Fairfax Blvd
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 385-2965
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Great Tex-Mex isn’t necessarily the D.C. area’s strongest point, but Fairfax is lucky enough to boast two solid destinations for it — quirky Austin-based national chain Chuy’s, and the local Anita’s mini-chain. Try enchiladas draped in both green and red sauce, crispy taquitos, and a very good breakfast menu, particularly for those nursing a hangover. Order online through the website.

A crispy taco, Mexican rice, and enchiladas in red sauce all lined up next to each other on a plate.
A combo platter from Anita’s.
Anita’s/Facebook

9. Bakery, Bread & Grill

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11186 Lee Hwy
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 691-2253
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This Latin American shop serves a rotating array of cheesy breads, saltenas, tamales, and traditional Bolivian dishes such as silpancho, which is breaded and fried ground beef served with rice, potatoes, and eggs. Up for a challenge? Try the tranca pecho, a giant sandwich filled with steak, fried eggs, rice, and pico de gallo.

An orange colored soup topped with sour cream and chives.
A soup dish from Bakery, Bread and Grill.
Bakery Bread & Grill

10. Epicure Cafe

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11104 Lee Hwy
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 352-9193
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This former two-story biker bar transformed into an art collective also houses a restaurant covered in a canopy of twinkling lights. Live music by locals sets the stage for a Mediterranean menu that caters to vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free customers. Dishes often have a musical theme, like the “Jessie’s Girl” falafel wrap or the pesto-and-feta “Bohemian Rhapsody” pizza. The “Angry Vegan” cocktail (bourbon, lemon, ginger beer, bitters, and “magic”) is also a hit. Order online through the website.

A pizza with a glop of cheese in the center.
A standout pizza at Epicure: the hummus-topped “Be My Lil Chickpea” with vegan cheese and olive oil and garlic base.
Epicure Cafe/Facebook

11. Ornery Beer Company

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3950 University Dr Suite 106
Fairfax, VA 22030
(571) 459-2143
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Of Fairfax’s two breweries, Ornery has the more extensive food selection (though shoutout to Chubby Squirrel for offering both poutine and pierogi). Lunch, dinner, and brunch are all options at the full-service restaurant, with a full slate of pizzas, electic entrees ranging from jambalaya pasta to schnitzel, and lots of sandwiches. Order online here.

12. The Auld Shebeen

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3971 Chain Bridge Rd
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 293-9600
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This traditional Irish pub is a destination for live music and offers formidable food to match. Give items like the french fries with curry sauce, or traditional fish and chips a try. Delivery available through GrubHub.

Three slices of corned beef nestled atop braised cabbage.
Corned beef from the Auld Shebeen.
The Auld Shebeen/Facebook

13. High Side

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4009 Chain Bridge Rd
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 865-8181
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A wide selection of independent brews is paired here with an Asian menu of dumplings, bao, and fusion-y sandwiches like Taiwanese sausage or crispy tofu. There are some larger dishes, too, like fried rice and tofu dan dan noodles. Order online here.

14. Eerkins Uyghur Cuisine

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4008 University Dr
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 352-1121
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After a tiny boom a few years ago, Uyghur food has again become tricky to find in D.C. But this Alexandria restaurant (which has multiple locations in the area) excels at the cuisine’s signature dishes, from cumin-scented kebabs to hand-pulled Laghman noodles and plenty of lamb dishes. Online ordering here.

Little square pieces of noodle in sauce with chicken and vegetables.
Chop fried soman with chicken from Eerkins.
Missy Frederick/Eater DC

15. Curry Mantra

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9984 Main St
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 218-8128
Visit Website

For consistent, well-executed Indian food, Curry Mantra is a winner. Goat curries, tandoori dishes, biryani and more are handled with care and precision. Order online here.

Grilled meats with an orange marinated hue on a steaming stone platter with vegetables.
A platter of grilled tikka at Curry Mantra.
Curry Mantra/Facebook

1. Pho Thang Long

3071 Nutley St, Fairfax, VA 22031
A bowl of pho with meatballs with chicken wings and another pho bowl blurry in the background.
Pho from Pho Thang Long.
Missy Frederick/Eater

Assertive broth, springy meatballs, and quality meat help make this one of the standout bowls of pho in Northern Virginia. The bare-bones restaurant also has some additional soups and appetizers, from spring rolls to fish sauce-marinated chicken wings. Contact the restaurant directly for takeout.

3071 Nutley St
Fairfax, VA 22031

2. Chutzpah

12214 Fairfax Towne Center, Fairfax, VA 22033
A pile of french fries with a loaded corned beef sandwich in the background.
A stacked sandwich from Chutzpah.
Chutzpah/Facebook

A New York-style deli that ticks off every box, from egg creams to complimentary pickles and matzo ball soup. Chutzpah serves all-day breakfast, which includes bagels and bialys, and has sandwiches packed with brisket, chopped liver, and tongue. Entrees stay classic, too, with corned beef and cabbage, chicken in a pot, and bacon-wrapped meatloaf. Takeout available here.

12214 Fairfax Towne Center
Fairfax, VA 22033

3. Meokja Meokja

9619 Fairfax Blvd, Fairfax, VA 22031

This Korean barbecue joint has quickly become a favorite, commanding hours-long waits for its pork belly, bulgogi, and stellar customer service. Delivery available here.

9619 Fairfax Blvd
Fairfax, VA 22031

4. Marumen

3250 Old Pickett Rd, Fairfax, VA 22031
Shio ramen topped with egg and chashu, with a pile of fried chicken fuzzy in the background.
Shio ramen from Marumen.
Missy Frederick/Eater

One of Northern Virginia’s best options for ramen, the restaurant offers the soup in varieties like shio, curry, and spicy miso, as well as the dipping ramen known as tsukemen. There’s also a small selection of rice dishes and small plates, including super-crunchy karaage and a heaping portion of togarashi-spiked chicharrones.

3250 Old Pickett Rd
Fairfax, VA 22031

5. Mama Chang

3251 Old Lee Hwy, Fairfax, VA 22030
Four crispy pastries topped with sesame seeds.
Mama Chang shaobing.
Rey Lopez/Mama Chang

One of the area’s best Chinese restaurants, this offshoot of the Peter Chang empire focuses on the homestyle cooking of the women in the Chang family, particularly Lisa and Lydia Chang. There’s a selection of dim sum, plus standout dishes like hot and numbing beef in stone pot, dry-fried cauliflower and pickled chili flounder with tofu. Some Peter Chang classics like giant bubble pancakes and bamboo fish, also make a cameo. Order online here.

3251 Old Lee Hwy
Fairfax, VA 22030

6. Captain Pell's

10195 Fairfax Blvd, Fairfax, VA 22030
A large platter of crabs, with two plates each of hush puppies and steamed shrimp, plus mallets, all on top of newspaper.
A tray of seasoned crabs at Captain Pell’s.
Captain Pell’s

This long-standing crab house serves some seafood a la carte, including shrimp, scallops, and snow crab legs. Steamed blue crabs can be devoured as part of an all-you-can-eat option or sold by the dozen for carry-out. Order online through the website.

10195 Fairfax Blvd
Fairfax, VA 22030

7. Dolce Vita Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar

10824 Fairfax Blvd, Fairfax, VA 22030
Rings of calamari with red sauce on the side.
Calamari from Dolce Vita.
Missy Frederick/Eater DC

A neighborhood favorite for more than 20 years, Dolce Vita excels at the red sauce-joint classics, from fried calamari to a mean penne vodka. Find Italian-American dishes here that aren’t universally prevalent around D.C., like veal saltimbocca and chicken sorrentino. The restaurant makes its own pastas and incorporates a festive wine bar with a generous early bird happy hour (from lunchtime opening until 6 p.m.) under the roof of the same restaurant. Order online here.

10824 Fairfax Blvd
Fairfax, VA 22030

8. Anita's New Mexico Style Mexican Food

10880 Fairfax Blvd, Fairfax, VA 22030
A crispy taco, Mexican rice, and enchiladas in red sauce all lined up next to each other on a plate.
A combo platter from Anita’s.
Anita’s/Facebook

Great Tex-Mex isn’t necessarily the D.C. area’s strongest point, but Fairfax is lucky enough to boast two solid destinations for it — quirky Austin-based national chain Chuy’s, and the local Anita’s mini-chain. Try enchiladas draped in both green and red sauce, crispy taquitos, and a very good breakfast menu, particularly for those nursing a hangover. Order online through the website.

10880 Fairfax Blvd
Fairfax, VA 22030

9. Bakery, Bread & Grill

11186 Lee Hwy, Fairfax, VA 22030
An orange colored soup topped with sour cream and chives.
A soup dish from Bakery, Bread and Grill.
Bakery Bread & Grill

This Latin American shop serves a rotating array of cheesy breads, saltenas, tamales, and traditional Bolivian dishes such as silpancho, which is breaded and fried ground beef served with rice, potatoes, and eggs. Up for a challenge? Try the tranca pecho, a giant sandwich filled with steak, fried eggs, rice, and pico de gallo.

11186 Lee Hwy
Fairfax, VA 22030

10. Epicure Cafe

11104 Lee Hwy, Fairfax, VA 22030
A pizza with a glop of cheese in the center.
A standout pizza at Epicure: the hummus-topped “Be My Lil Chickpea” with vegan cheese and olive oil and garlic base.
Epicure Cafe/Facebook

This former two-story biker bar transformed into an art collective also houses a restaurant covered in a canopy of twinkling lights. Live music by locals sets the stage for a Mediterranean menu that caters to vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free customers. Dishes often have a musical theme, like the “Jessie’s Girl” falafel wrap or the pesto-and-feta “Bohemian Rhapsody” pizza. The “Angry Vegan” cocktail (bourbon, lemon, ginger beer, bitters, and “magic”) is also a hit. Order online through the website.

11104 Lee Hwy
Fairfax, VA 22030

11. Ornery Beer Company

3950 University Dr Suite 106, Fairfax, VA 22030

Of Fairfax’s two breweries, Ornery has the more extensive food selection (though shoutout to Chubby Squirrel for offering both poutine and pierogi). Lunch, dinner, and brunch are all options at the full-service restaurant, with a full slate of pizzas, electic entrees ranging from jambalaya pasta to schnitzel, and lots of sandwiches. Order online here.

3950 University Dr Suite 106
Fairfax, VA 22030

12. The Auld Shebeen

3971 Chain Bridge Rd, Fairfax, VA 22030
Three slices of corned beef nestled atop braised cabbage.
Corned beef from the Auld Shebeen.
The Auld Shebeen/Facebook

This traditional Irish pub is a destination for live music and offers formidable food to match. Give items like the french fries with curry sauce, or traditional fish and chips a try. Delivery available through GrubHub.

3971 Chain Bridge Rd
Fairfax, VA 22030

13. High Side

4009 Chain Bridge Rd, Fairfax, VA 22030

A wide selection of independent brews is paired here with an Asian menu of dumplings, bao, and fusion-y sandwiches like Taiwanese sausage or crispy tofu. There are some larger dishes, too, like fried rice and tofu dan dan noodles. Order online here.

4009 Chain Bridge Rd
Fairfax, VA 22030

14. Eerkins Uyghur Cuisine

4008 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030
Little square pieces of noodle in sauce with chicken and vegetables.
Chop fried soman with chicken from Eerkins.
Missy Frederick/Eater DC

After a tiny boom a few years ago, Uyghur food has again become tricky to find in D.C. But this Alexandria restaurant (which has multiple locations in the area) excels at the cuisine’s signature dishes, from cumin-scented kebabs to hand-pulled Laghman noodles and plenty of lamb dishes. Online ordering here.

4008 University Dr
Fairfax, VA 22030

15. Curry Mantra

9984 Main St, Fairfax, VA 22031
Grilled meats with an orange marinated hue on a steaming stone platter with vegetables.
A platter of grilled tikka at Curry Mantra.
Curry Mantra/Facebook

For consistent, well-executed Indian food, Curry Mantra is a winner. Goat curries, tandoori dishes, biryani and more are handled with care and precision. Order online here.

9984 Main St
Fairfax, VA 22031

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