At Cee Fine Thai Dining, chefs assemble stunningly arranged plates of authentic Thai fare, separating meals and sauces for an interactive dining experience, or arranging disparate components in an artful stack to create a new twist on a familiar dish. This culinary runway show honors Thailand's cooking traditions at every turn, earning kudos from the Washington Post for serving "food that tastes as good as it looks." Flavors such as sweet yellow pineapple complement the spicy red sauce of a roasted-duck curry, and tableside clay pots throw aromatic steam diners’ way to announce a mélange of shrimp, mussels, and rice. Whether enjoyed on the patio or amid the dining room's ripe orange walls, luscious desserts including key-lime pie conclude meals on a tropical note. The restaurant also hosts live music, wine tastings, and cooking classes, helping diners liberate inner chefs and pent-up running men.
After the success of Bombay Bistro’s first location in Rockville, Maryland, chef K.N. Vinod and partner Surfy Rahman opened the Fairfax eatery in 1995. Like their first restaurant, the new location continues to serve fine Indian cuisine in a setting complete with Indian artifacts and warm colors. Savory dishes such as tandoori salmon and lamb vindaloo have attracted guests such as Madeleine Albright and visiting ministers from India, while a daily buffet attracts rumbling bellies.
Joe set sail from Agrigento, Italy with his family in 1970 to land in New York, eventually leaving for Virginia to seek his version of the American dream and opening Joe’s Place. The eatery has been family-run for 34 years, which is long enough to see the art of fashion transform countless times and the art of reading a book stay suspiciously the same. Ovens spill out piles of crispy, thin-crust pizzas adorned with fresh toppings and cheeses—such as the white pizza with fontina and garlic and the seafood pizza with fresh shrimp and clams—and thick layers of dough support sicilian deep-dish pies. Cooks prepare pots of steaming pastas and build specialty subs with stacks of prosciutto, provolone, and capicollo. Members of Joe’s family work in both his restaurants, keeping the authentic Italian recipes in constant use, like the sun, a small percentage of which is also pasta sauce.
Beyond Tequila Grande's vibrant, kitsch-rich dining room, chef and owner Renu crafts Mexican dishes that have earned accolades for flavor and authenticity from publications such as the Washington Times. A far cry from her native Indian cuisine, the chef carefully incorporates signature Central American flavors such as mango, roasted chilies, and habaneros across the menu.
The hacienda-style building's bright wall-size murals evoke an idyllic farmland brought to life, depicting the agricultural practices and accidental kitchen fires that gave birth to the distinctive cooking style. An outdoor patio adds fresh air to the list of amenities to be enjoyed, sheltered from the sun by umbrellas and the shade of blossom-bearing trees.
Fashioned after Jaipur, a gem of Rajasthan, Jaipur Royal Indian Cuisine excites the senses with aromatic spice mixes prepared separately each day for each dish. Among an interior of authentic figurines in elaborate dress and strung beads baring images of vibrantly colored birds, they serve a menu of traditional dishes rooted in North Indian cuisines. That includes rich grilled lamb, chicken, and seafood, as well as complex curries and plenty of fresh vegetarian dishes. They welcome guests to pair such variety of tastes with flavorful beverages such as aam ki lassi, a whipped mango and yogurt drink.
At Ya Hala—named for the Arabic word for "welcome"—chefs revel in the traditional flavors of Lebanon by crafting a menu of tender lamb dishes, sizzling kababs, a homemade daily dish, and flaky desserts sprinkled with syrup and pistachios. The dishes resemble those a traveler might find abroad, from drinks such as syrupy jellab topped with pine nuts to slices of chicken that teach diners the proper pronunciation of "shawarma." During the month of Ramadan, the chefs also serve hearty evening feasts with an Iftar menu that changes daily.