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Seared chicken from True Food Kitchen
True Food Kitchen/Facebook

Where to Eat and Drink Around Merrifield

Find spicy hot pot, family-friendly Vietnamese, and plenty of pizza

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Seared chicken from True Food Kitchen
| True Food Kitchen/Facebook

Nestled between Fairfax and Falls Church, this pocket of Fairfax County has been steadily attracting more restaurants, particularly after the Mosaic District complex opened in 2012.

This map highlights the most essential choices in the neighborhood, ranging from Chinese hot pot and Japanese ramen to gourmet pizza and local beer. Beyond these picks, find additional sit-down restaurants — like oyster bar Brine — and a variety of quick-service alternatives, such as hot chicken favorite Nando’s Peri-Peri.

Recent additions to the development include wine bar Cheesetique, Los Angeles-based Poke Bar, and hot pot chain Little Dipper. The development is still waiting to welcome whiskey bar MacMillian’s, Japanese restaurant RyuKai, and French Parc Bistro from Eric and Ian Hilton.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Mediterrafish Restaurant & Seafood Market

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2727a Merrilee Dr
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 462-9644
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Originally a tiny seafood market inside the Mosaic District, this fish market relocated to Halstead Square last year and opened a cafe serving seafood and Turkish fare. Grilled fish, salads, coffees, and breakfast items are all available — and the fish market lives on next door to the restaurant.

Turkish breakfast at Mediterrafish
Mediterrafish/Facebook

2. Lost Dog Cafe (Multiple locations)

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2729 Merrilee Dr
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 205-9001
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This outpost of the Northern Virginia family of restaurants has everything residents have come to expect from the quirky brand: goofy dog murals on the walls, pun-tastic dish names (many of them dog-themed), a huge selection of specialty brews and sandwiches, and plenty of pizza. The Italian Pie, topped with onions and multiple meats, is a fine choice among the pizzas. For sandwiches, the pesto and chicken-stuffed Phoenix is a good bet. Smart diners always order the seasoned waffle fries on the side.

Pizza and beer at Lost Dog Cafe.
Lost Dog Cafe/Facebook

3. Open Road Grill

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8100 Lee Hwy
Falls Church, VA 22042
(571) 395-4400
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This neighborhood bar always has a festive atmosphere when sports fans show up to cheer on their team of choice. There is spacious seating both indoors and throughout the enclosed patio section outside. Wings are smoky, the beer selection rotates frequently, and even salads can be a nice surprise here.

Burgers and beer at Open Road.
Open Road Grill/Facebook

4. B Side

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8298 Glass Alley
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 676-3550
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B Side is one of the best destinations for drinking in this corner of Virginia, a place where beer lovers, wine drinkers, and cocktail aficionados can all find something to love. It’s fine to order a drink off-menu from one of the engaging bartenders, but B Side’s narrow cocktail menu always lists a few interesting options. The bar is tiny, so expect to wait for a seat during peak hours. Drinkers can snack on options like pimento cheese or charcuterie, but hungrier diners can go for something more substantial on the meat-focused dinner menu. B Side shares the space with sibling sandwich and butcher shop, Red Apron.

A steak dish at B Side.
B Side/Facebook

5. Caboose Commons

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2918 Eskridge Rd
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 663-8833
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Vienna-based Caboose Commons recently opened this second outposts, and crowds have been pouring in since. The gathering place features their beers, as well as coffeeshop items like pastries and breakfast sandwiches. Dinner brings wings, fried pickles, and other bar snacks.

Caboose Commons’ new location.
Caboose Commons/Facebook

6. Pastry Xpo Cafe

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8190 Strawberry Ln #6
Falls Church, VA 22042
(571) 282-4970
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This underrated gem is the neighborhood’s go-to option for ornate desserts. The cafe sells beautiful pastries including macarons, eclairs, croissants, cakes, cupcakes, and original creations like their apple classic tart. Palmiers are gigantic; ham and cheese croissants are a good savory breakfast option. There’s cafe seating, Illy coffee, and some Mediterranean lunch specials as well.

Assorted desserts at Pastry Xpo.
Pastry Xpo/Facebook

7. True Food Kitchen (Multiple locations)

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2910 District Ave Suite 170
Fairfax, VA 22031
(571) 326-1616
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This burgeoning chain focuses on anti-inflammatory foods, and menu items can read a little eye-roll trendy (think poke bowls, quinoa burgers, and plenty of kale). The end result, though, is a mix of appealing, colorful dishes that won’t put diners into a food coma. Among the standouts: seasonal salads — there’s butternut squash and sprouts tossed with a sharp horseradish vinaigrette for the winter —cocktails spiked with refreshing juices, and charred cauliflower with tahini dressing.

A seasonal salad at True Food Kitchen.
True Food Kitchen/Facebook

8. Four Sisters

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8190 Strawberry Ln #1
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 539-8566
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Originally an occupant of Vietnamese district the Eden Center, Four Sisters arrived in Merrifield in 2008, long before there was a Mosaic District. This family-friendly destination boasts a huge menu of Vietnamese dishes. Shrimp toast and crispy spring rolls have been beloved for years, and it’s usually a good idea to order anything that’s been prepared in a clay pot. There are a number of crepes, soups, bun noodle dishes, and stir-fries, too.

Lemongrass beef
Abegail A./Yelp

9. Bartaco Mosaic

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2920 District Ave
Fairfax, VA 22031
(571) 549-8226
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This casual chain offers a variety of tacos a la carte. The more traditional Mexican flavors tend to trump the fusion tacos. But a main reason to hit up this relatively new addition to Mosaic is the lively bar scene, where margaritas and palomas are flowing nightly.

A spread of items from Bartaco
Bartaco/Facebook

10. Jinya (Multiple locations)

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2911 District Ave #140
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 992-7656
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This California-based chain impresses with its sheer variety of ramen, ranging from a wonton chicken soup to more classic tonkotsu and miso versions. Original flavors like a garlic lover’s ramen pack an assertive punch. The restaurant also has a smattering of small plates, including pork buns and tempura Brussels sprouts. Lines can be long here, though — sometimes it’s quicker to hop in the car and drive all the way to nearby Fairfax competitor Marumen than it is to snag a table at the busy destination.

Jinya Ramen Bar [Photo: Official]
A bowl of ramen at Jinya.
Jinya [Official photo]

11. Alta Strada (Multiple locations)

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2911 District Ave #150
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 280-0000
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Rich pastas are the way to go at this outpost of restaurateur Michael Schlow’s Italian eatery, including a ribbon-shaped mafalde noodle with mushrooms and a creamy carbonara during brunch. Don’t sleep on dessert — Schlow’s corporate pastry chef Alex Levin is a D.C. superstar.

A mushroom-studded plate of pasta at Alta Strada.
Annie N./Yelp

12. Choolaah (Multiple locations)

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2911 District Ave
Fairfax, VA 22031
(571) 357-3923
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This mini-chain, which has two locations in the D.C. area, serves high-quality, quick-service Indian fare. Dark-meat chicken has a nice char, naan comes piping hot out from the restaurant’s tandoor, and dishes like dal and tikka masala are satisfying for the price. The restaurant’s array of condiments and sauces are necessary for perking up some of the create-your-own-bowl options, though.

A wrap at Choolaah.
Choolaah Indian BBQ/Facebook

13. Uncle Liu's Hot Pot

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1018, 2974 Gallows Rd
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 560-6868
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At Uncle Liu’s, one of the first places around D.C. to serve hot pot, customers choose from a variety of vegetables and proteins for dipping, as well as two different broths for cooking (go with the split pot, which offers both). The interior is unassuming, and the prices are low. Bonus: there’s a small menu of Sichuan classics, many of which mirror sibling restaurant Hong Kong Palace’s offerings, including dan dan noodles, beef in hot pepper broth, and fried shrimp wontons. Delivery is available, too. Hot pot fans can also find a location of chain Little Dipper in the Mosaic District.

A family-style feast at Uncle Liu’s.
Zach K/Yelp

14. Elephant Jumps

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8110 Arlington Blvd, Entrance is on Gallows Rd.
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 942-6600
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Nestled in a corner of an unassuming shopping center off Gallows Road, Elephant Jumps can be tricky to find, but it’s worth the effort. The Thai restaurant doesn’t hold back on spiciness. Some of the more interesting dishes on the menu include a funky tuna curry, a Thai play on spaghetti, and the sen yai ladd na moo mug, a well-balanced mixture of marinated pork, rice noodles, pickled pepper, and Chinese broccoli. Lunch specials are reasonably priced.

A noodle dish at Elephant Jumps.
Elephant Jumps/Facebook

15. Sweetwater Tavern (Multiple locations)

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3066 Gate House Plaza
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 645-8100
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The homegrown Great American Restaurants group has made a name for itself over the past 40 years, offering fresh baked goods, reliable American dishes, and a commitment to good service (which is always refreshing in a metro area that’s low on reliable servers). Diners can devote major calories at this chain brewery to the rolls served with whipped honey butter or the queso with chicken. With nearly 10 salads on the menu, it’s not hard to take a more virtuous route. Jambalaya pasta and fajitas help round out the eclectic menu.

A fried chicken salad and seasonally inspired beer at Sweetwater Tavern.
Sweetwater Tavern/Facebook

1. Mediterrafish Restaurant & Seafood Market

2727a Merrilee Dr, Fairfax, VA 22031
Turkish breakfast at Mediterrafish
Mediterrafish/Facebook

Originally a tiny seafood market inside the Mosaic District, this fish market relocated to Halstead Square last year and opened a cafe serving seafood and Turkish fare. Grilled fish, salads, coffees, and breakfast items are all available — and the fish market lives on next door to the restaurant.

2727a Merrilee Dr
Fairfax, VA 22031

2. Lost Dog Cafe (Multiple locations)

2729 Merrilee Dr, Fairfax, VA 22031
Pizza and beer at Lost Dog Cafe.
Lost Dog Cafe/Facebook

This outpost of the Northern Virginia family of restaurants has everything residents have come to expect from the quirky brand: goofy dog murals on the walls, pun-tastic dish names (many of them dog-themed), a huge selection of specialty brews and sandwiches, and plenty of pizza. The Italian Pie, topped with onions and multiple meats, is a fine choice among the pizzas. For sandwiches, the pesto and chicken-stuffed Phoenix is a good bet. Smart diners always order the seasoned waffle fries on the side.

2729 Merrilee Dr
Fairfax, VA 22031

3. Open Road Grill

8100 Lee Hwy, Falls Church, VA 22042
Burgers and beer at Open Road.
Open Road Grill/Facebook

This neighborhood bar always has a festive atmosphere when sports fans show up to cheer on their team of choice. There is spacious seating both indoors and throughout the enclosed patio section outside. Wings are smoky, the beer selection rotates frequently, and even salads can be a nice surprise here.

8100 Lee Hwy
Falls Church, VA 22042

4. B Side

8298 Glass Alley, Fairfax, VA 22031
A steak dish at B Side.
B Side/Facebook

B Side is one of the best destinations for drinking in this corner of Virginia, a place where beer lovers, wine drinkers, and cocktail aficionados can all find something to love. It’s fine to order a drink off-menu from one of the engaging bartenders, but B Side’s narrow cocktail menu always lists a few interesting options. The bar is tiny, so expect to wait for a seat during peak hours. Drinkers can snack on options like pimento cheese or charcuterie, but hungrier diners can go for something more substantial on the meat-focused dinner menu. B Side shares the space with sibling sandwich and butcher shop, Red Apron.

8298 Glass Alley
Fairfax, VA 22031

5. Caboose Commons

2918 Eskridge Rd, Fairfax, VA 22031
Caboose Commons’ new location.
Caboose Commons/Facebook

Vienna-based Caboose Commons recently opened this second outposts, and crowds have been pouring in since. The gathering place features their beers, as well as coffeeshop items like pastries and breakfast sandwiches. Dinner brings wings, fried pickles, and other bar snacks.

2918 Eskridge Rd
Fairfax, VA 22031

6. Pastry Xpo Cafe

8190 Strawberry Ln #6, Falls Church, VA 22042
Assorted desserts at Pastry Xpo.
Pastry Xpo/Facebook

This underrated gem is the neighborhood’s go-to option for ornate desserts. The cafe sells beautiful pastries including macarons, eclairs, croissants, cakes, cupcakes, and original creations like their apple classic tart. Palmiers are gigantic; ham and cheese croissants are a good savory breakfast option. There’s cafe seating, Illy coffee, and some Mediterranean lunch specials as well.

8190 Strawberry Ln #6
Falls Church, VA 22042

7. True Food Kitchen (Multiple locations)

2910 District Ave Suite 170, Fairfax, VA 22031
A seasonal salad at True Food Kitchen.
True Food Kitchen/Facebook

This burgeoning chain focuses on anti-inflammatory foods, and menu items can read a little eye-roll trendy (think poke bowls, quinoa burgers, and plenty of kale). The end result, though, is a mix of appealing, colorful dishes that won’t put diners into a food coma. Among the standouts: seasonal salads — there’s butternut squash and sprouts tossed with a sharp horseradish vinaigrette for the winter —cocktails spiked with refreshing juices, and charred cauliflower with tahini dressing.

2910 District Ave Suite 170
Fairfax, VA 22031

8. Four Sisters

8190 Strawberry Ln #1, Falls Church, VA 22042
Lemongrass beef
Abegail A./Yelp

Originally an occupant of Vietnamese district the Eden Center, Four Sisters arrived in Merrifield in 2008, long before there was a Mosaic District. This family-friendly destination boasts a huge menu of Vietnamese dishes. Shrimp toast and crispy spring rolls have been beloved for years, and it’s usually a good idea to order anything that’s been prepared in a clay pot. There are a number of crepes, soups, bun noodle dishes, and stir-fries, too.

8190 Strawberry Ln #1
Falls Church, VA 22042

9. Bartaco Mosaic

2920 District Ave, Fairfax, VA 22031
A spread of items from Bartaco
Bartaco/Facebook

This casual chain offers a variety of tacos a la carte. The more traditional Mexican flavors tend to trump the fusion tacos. But a main reason to hit up this relatively new addition to Mosaic is the lively bar scene, where margaritas and palomas are flowing nightly.

2920 District Ave
Fairfax, VA 22031

10. Jinya (Multiple locations)

2911 District Ave #140, Fairfax, VA 22031
Jinya Ramen Bar [Photo: Official]
A bowl of ramen at Jinya.
Jinya [Official photo]

This California-based chain impresses with its sheer variety of ramen, ranging from a wonton chicken soup to more classic tonkotsu and miso versions. Original flavors like a garlic lover’s ramen pack an assertive punch. The restaurant also has a smattering of small plates, including pork buns and tempura Brussels sprouts. Lines can be long here, though — sometimes it’s quicker to hop in the car and drive all the way to nearby Fairfax competitor Marumen than it is to snag a table at the busy destination.

2911 District Ave #140
Fairfax, VA 22031

11. Alta Strada (Multiple locations)

2911 District Ave #150, Fairfax, VA 22031
A mushroom-studded plate of pasta at Alta Strada.
Annie N./Yelp

Rich pastas are the way to go at this outpost of restaurateur Michael Schlow’s Italian eatery, including a ribbon-shaped mafalde noodle with mushrooms and a creamy carbonara during brunch. Don’t sleep on dessert — Schlow’s corporate pastry chef Alex Levin is a D.C. superstar.

2911 District Ave #150
Fairfax, VA 22031

12. Choolaah (Multiple locations)

2911 District Ave, Fairfax, VA 22031
A wrap at Choolaah.
Choolaah Indian BBQ/Facebook

This mini-chain, which has two locations in the D.C. area, serves high-quality, quick-service Indian fare. Dark-meat chicken has a nice char, naan comes piping hot out from the restaurant’s tandoor, and dishes like dal and tikka masala are satisfying for the price. The restaurant’s array of condiments and sauces are necessary for perking up some of the create-your-own-bowl options, though.

2911 District Ave
Fairfax, VA 22031

13. Uncle Liu's Hot Pot

1018, 2974 Gallows Rd, Falls Church, VA 22042
A family-style feast at Uncle Liu’s.
Zach K/Yelp

At Uncle Liu’s, one of the first places around D.C. to serve hot pot, customers choose from a variety of vegetables and proteins for dipping, as well as two different broths for cooking (go with the split pot, which offers both). The interior is unassuming, and the prices are low. Bonus: there’s a small menu of Sichuan classics, many of which mirror sibling restaurant Hong Kong Palace’s offerings, including dan dan noodles, beef in hot pepper broth, and fried shrimp wontons. Delivery is available, too. Hot pot fans can also find a location of chain Little Dipper in the Mosaic District.

1018, 2974 Gallows Rd
Falls Church, VA 22042

14. Elephant Jumps

8110 Arlington Blvd, Entrance is on Gallows Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
A noodle dish at Elephant Jumps.
Elephant Jumps/Facebook

Nestled in a corner of an unassuming shopping center off Gallows Road, Elephant Jumps can be tricky to find, but it’s worth the effort. The Thai restaurant doesn’t hold back on spiciness. Some of the more interesting dishes on the menu include a funky tuna curry, a Thai play on spaghetti, and the sen yai ladd na moo mug, a well-balanced mixture of marinated pork, rice noodles, pickled pepper, and Chinese broccoli. Lunch specials are reasonably priced.

8110 Arlington Blvd, Entrance is on Gallows Rd.
Falls Church, VA 22042

15. Sweetwater Tavern (Multiple locations)

3066 Gate House Plaza, Falls Church, VA 22042
A fried chicken salad and seasonally inspired beer at Sweetwater Tavern.
Sweetwater Tavern/Facebook

The homegrown Great American Restaurants group has made a name for itself over the past 40 years, offering fresh baked goods, reliable American dishes, and a commitment to good service (which is always refreshing in a metro area that’s low on reliable servers). Diners can devote major calories at this chain brewery to the rolls served with whipped honey butter or the queso with chicken. With nearly 10 salads on the menu, it’s not hard to take a more virtuous route. Jambalaya pasta and fajitas help round out the eclectic menu.

3066 Gate House Plaza
Falls Church, VA 22042

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