Lauded for both its cuisine and its atmosphere, Woo Lae Oak seats diners in spacious tables, booths, and portable pods, in which they can enjoy a distinctly Korean-American blend of abstract wall furnishings and traditional Korean artwork. The expansive bar, centered about a large fireplace with a modern tile hearth, features ample space for enjoying Soju and sushi. Please call ahead to confirm your reservation.
Chandeliers made of shimmering gold scales light up red-and-gold damask wallpaper. Tomato-red chairs stand out boldly against a bar lined with white tufted leather. The bold hues that decorate Panache Restaurant's Tysons Corner location match the bold flavors of its Italian dishes. Chefs stuff lobster into house-made ravioli and slow-braise lamb to make their specialty house ragù. Grilled free-range Angus filet mignon pairs with a choice of more than 150 wines. An outdoor seating area hosts al fresco dining, and music from a live jazz band harmonizes with patrons' satisfied "mmm's" on the second and fourth Friday of every month.
A panoramic panoply of wall-mounted flat-screen TVs flickers inside Chics N Wings' spacious dining room, as ardent sports fans dig into a menu of rib-sticking bar fare. Piping-hot pots of house-made chili offer a hearty meal, and 10 types of wings migrate to reach warm pools of ranch, barbecue, or cilantro dressing. Freshly cut chips accompany a sizzling spread of seven Hall of Fame burgers, as guests lean back in high-backed cherry-red chairs, and DJs spin tunes and the occasional dinner plate every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. Sudsy drafts from Sam Adams and Stella Artois are dispensed at the bar, quenching the thirst of sports fans that are parched from auctioneer-style color commentary.
Spicy scents waft through the air to greet guests with the aromas and atmosphere of South Asia. The product of more than 25 years of South Asian–cuisine experience, Diya Restaurant, Lounge & Banquet's menu suffuses both meat and vegetarian dishes with potent herbs and spices. Tandoori ovens roast servings of salmon, jumbo shrimp, chicken, and lamb chop. Though fans of Indian cuisine can savor their old standbys, the restaurant has a few tricks up its sleeve as well—burgers tinge pub favorites with exotic spices, and ingredients take on even more flavor through Dumpukth—a technique of slow-roasting dishes over a fire in a tightly-sealed clay pot and seasoning food with specialized herbs and spices. The dining room's decor further strengthens the South Asian feel as bright colors embolden earth-toned walls and match the hues of ambitious side dishes vying for a starring role.
Nostos Restaurant quells the moans of ravenous stomach sirens with lunch- and dinner-menu selections made with extra-virgin olive oil, Dodonis feta cheese, and fresh Mediterranean fish. Noontime noshers wrap their hands around the Greek–style burger known as pita bifteki, which comes slathered with tzatziki and is swaddled in a pillowy pita pocket ($13). Show off kindergarten-honed sharing skills with Nostos’s toothsome roster of mezedes (small plates), including a htapodi xidato that features marinated octopus backstroking in a flavorful pool of olive oil, vinegar, and herbs ($11 lunch, $12 dinner). Chefs slow-roast arnaki fournou, the boneless leg-of-lamb entree ($16 lunch, $17 dinner), and they season the fresh grilled sea bass ($26 lunch, $27 dinner) with pure olive oil, lemon, and mermaid tears. Unclothed pitas dive gleefully into dips such as zing-infused taramosalata, a lemony fish-roe mousse ($6 lunch, $6.50 dinner).
In the dead of night in 1976, the Abi-Najm family boarded a cargo ship bringing only what they could carry; an escape from Civil War in Lebanon called for a quick getaway. They traveled across the ocean to safety in Arlington, Virginia, where they were able to open a small restaurant in 1979. To save money, they changed the eatery’s name from “Athenian Taverna” to “Lebanese Taverna” so that they only had to update one word on the eatery’s marquee.
From these modest beginnings grew a series of eateries that today comprises of six restaurants and four quick-service cafés, all still operated by the Abi-Najm clan. One look at the menu explains the success: chicken shawarma, spicy hummus, lamb tartare—all Lebanese staples that helped the restaurant earn a spot on Northern Virginia magazine's list of 25 Iconic Eats. There's even kibbeh, or stuffed meatballs, which blend ground beef, lamb, almonds, and pine nuts into fried spheres suitable for felling miniature bowling pins on top of the table before entrees arrive. The decor is as striking as the cuisine; inside the Bethesda location, light filters through the colored glass lanterns that decorate the dining room.