100 Best Restaurants 2009: Liberty Tavern
No. 58: Liberty Tavern
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli, Rina Rapuano, Eve Zibart
Comments () | Published February 1, 2009
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Liberty Tavern
Address: 3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201
Phone: 703-465-9360
Neighborhood: Arlington, Arlington, Clarendon/Courthouse
Cuisines: Modern, Pizza, American
Opening Hours: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner.
Nearby Metro Stops: Clarendon
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Arctic char, smoked in-house and folded over johnnycakes; apple-and-endive salad; fiery fra diavolo macaroni with fresh lobster; autumnal gnocchi with celery root and blue cheese; Vermont pizza with white cheddar and apples; skirt steak; schnitzel-style s

Cuisine: Chef Liam LaCivita’s never-straining sensibility, informed by his Italian heritage and stints in kitchens in New England, drives this likable gastrotavern.

Mood: The downstairs bar is a nightly party. Upstairs, the atmosphere does a 180—the mood in the handsome dining room is low-key and sophisticated, geared to couples and families and right for conversation.

Best for: A rollicking night out; a laid-back dinner with a pal; a family confab.

Best dishes: House-smoked trout with johnnycakes; crisped pork belly au poivre with LaCivita’s offbeat take on “split pea” soup; succulent Amish half-chicken with caramelized-onion gravy; fried smelts with escarole; house-made maccheroni with short-rib gravy; wood-fired pizzas, particularly the Vermont and a version with smoked linguiça; modern-retro beef stroganoff at lunch; meatball sliders on the bar menu.

Insider tips: You can order pizzas, meatball sliders, and other plates to take home from Liberty to Go, a separate operation in the back of the restaurant.

Service: ••

Open Monday for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for brunch and dinner; bar menu available daily. Moderate.

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