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Best of Vienna
In Vienna, you’ll find good ethnic restaurants, unusual shops, and an old-fashioned general store.
1 Elegant Underthings
Classically beautiful bras and lingerie are the focus of the specialty shop Trousseau (306 Maple Ave. W.; 703-255-3300). Brides can browse an exquisite selection of wedding-night corsetry, and everyday underwear shoppers can expect expert fittings, pretty options for larger chests, and an elegant assortment of sleepwear by Kenan and Claire Pettibone.
2 Best Gyros in Town
Stuffed with pork roasted on a vertical spit, tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki, the pork gyro at Plaka Grill (110 Lawyers Rd., NW; 703-319-3131) is an A-lister on its own. But the smattering of fries tucked into it take it way over the top. Other plates worth the trip include spicy feta dip with hot and sweet peppers, lemony roast chicken, airy taramasalata, and fragrant loukaniko (sausage). Murals of Greek street scenes and a lineup of Greek wines along the counter add a bit of charm to this cafe.
Photograph By Andrew Propp.
3 City Cool
At the tiny, glass-wrapped Maple Ave Restaurant (147 Maple Ave. W.; 703-319-2177), chef/owner Tim Ma—who studied under bad-boy chef David Chang at Momofuku Ko in New York City—has created a locally sourced menu that nods toward Asian, Latin, and French cuisines. Moroccan-spiced chicken leg gets a creamy swoosh of cool saffron, shrimp and grits is made new with blueberry-studded venison sausage, and bitter greens and Vidalia onions crown a sandwich of braised beef cheeks.
4 Taste of the Middle East
Eggplant or French fries? Both are possible toppers for gheymeh, a long-cooked stew of split peas, beef, onions, and tomato at the family-run Persian eatery Rose Kabob Restaurant (126 Maple Ave. W.; 703-255-2557). There are also succulent kebabs—such as saffron-scented Cornish hen and kubideh, made with spiced ground beef—heaped on mounds of buttery rice or versions studded with barberries and orange peel. And don’t forget the condiments such as yogurt sauce and the spicy green cilantro-jalapeño combo.
5 Head-to-Toe Pampering
Eastern-inspired Sesen Spa (111 Church St., NW, Suite 202; 703-281-0822) offers a full array of services, but we return time and again for its thorough, relaxing pedicures. Owner Lisa Tep was featured on the Today show for her hygienic equipment, including a pipeless drainage system that ensures that no dirt or bacteria are left in the foot bowls. Treatments range from Island Paradise—which features a decadent coconut-and-papaya blend—to hot-stone therapy to the Foot Fetish, which includes reflexology for high-heel lovers.
6 Beauty Sleep
Aimee Wedlake Lange curates an upscale boho aesthetic worthy of the finest Southern California home at her luxury-linen and home-accessories boutique, Valerianne (111 Church St., NW, Suite 201; 703-242-1790). Even if you’re not in the market for bedding, this second-story shop offers luxurious potions, lotions, and other bath products for your next housewarming party..
Photograph By Andrew Propp.
7 Pretty Gifts
Every curio on the packed shelves at Pear Tree Cottage (130 Maple Ave. E.; 703-938-1331) is worth a second look. Embellished nesting boxes are piled beside vintage bookends and modern and vintage chandeliers, and the lush green plants in glossy ceramic planters make visitors feel as if they’ve stepped into one of Shakespeare’s enchanted forests.
Photograph By Scott Suchman.
8 Margaritas and More
New kid on the block Alegria (111 Church St., NW.; 703-261-6575) gets many things right. Chips are thin and crispy, margaritas cold (the house version is best), and guacamole, chunky with diced onion, has that just-made taste. Mini-tacos are filled with crunchy cod and pickled cabbage or pork confit with a hint of roasted pineapple. And you can almost taste the chocolate in chicken mole made with juicy thigh meat. Grilled pineapple with vanilla ice cream makes for a cool ending.
9 Step Into Local History
Out on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail with your kids? Break from your bike ride at the historic Freeman Store (131 Church St., NE; 703-938-5187), which over its 150-year history has served as everything from a Civil War hospital to a fire department. The downstairs general store is stocked with old-fashioned toys and candy, history books, and patriotic knickknacks; upstairs, rotating exhibits typically focus on daily life of generations past. Open Wednesday through Sunday noon to 4.
Photograph courtesy of Jammin Java.
10 Rock Out
Jammin Java (227 Maple Ave. E.; 703-255-1566) is a great place to hear live music. With shows seven nights a week plus kid-friendly acts many mornings, there’s something for everyone—from rock bands to acoustic singer/songwriters. Headliners are mostly regional and local names, but Bon Iver and Ingrid Michaelson both graced the stage on their way to the top. Bonus: The venue has fully stocked bars (of both the alcoholic and espresso varieties) as well as a light dinner menu.
11 Posh Accents
From hand-painted bed frames to gilded gold chairs and bright embroidery, most pieces at the sprawling furniture and home-decor showroom Posh! (419 Maple Ave. E.; 703-319-7674) are bright and detail-laden. Displays are dedicated to every room in the house; we find the nursery section, brimming with stuffed animals, especially charming.
12 Flavorful Kebabs
On weekends, Persian families fill the tables at Shamshiry (8607 Westwood Center Dr.; 703-448-8883), a mirrored dining room that looks like a scene out of old Tehran. They come for the restaurant’s singular specialty: kebabs and rice. Crisp-skinned Cornish hen on the bone and chelo kebab kubideh, made with ground beef and spices—both dishes on Everestlike mounds of rice—are top draws. Go native and order a raw egg to crack on top, which “cooks” as you mix it in.
Photograph By Scott Suchman.
13 Greek Chic
With sculptural branches as art, stark white walls, and black-and-white photos of village scenes, Nostos (8100 Boone Blvd.; 703-760-0690) channels Greek chic. Fans come for mezze such as the briny mousse-like taramasalata and whipped eggplant with olive oil. For entrées, try the fork-tender roast leg of lamb, grilled fish such as dorado and branzino simply done with olive oil and lemon, and an airy moussaka. To finish, galaktoboureko delivers the best of both worlds: semolina custard and phyllo crunch.
14 Summer Concerts and More
For 40-plus years, Wolf Trap (1551 Trap Rd.; 703-255-1900) has been one of Washington’s major performing-arts venues, with its own opera company, a children’s theater, and a 7,000-seat open-air pavilion, the Filene Center. Performances peak in summer, when you can pack a cooler and picnic on the lawn; this month brings Alan Jackson, the Steve Miller Band, and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The rest of the year, the Barns offers a 400-seat indoor space with a variety of acts from music to dance to comedy.