2500 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201
Neighborhood: Arlington, Clarendon/Courthouse, Arlington
Open Tuesday through Thursday 11 to 10, Friday and Saturday 11 to 11, Sunday 11 to 10.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: Court House, Clarendon
Price Range: Inexpensive
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Not Needed
Pork vermicelli, both northern (saltier) and southern (sweeter); banh xeo; fried shrimp-and-yam patties; dill-laced catfish, to be broken into hunks and folded into giant leaves of lettuce; a clay pot of sweet/peppery caramel sauce and bits of catfish; ch
Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly
Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.
For diners new to Vietnamese food, a trip to this gem of a restaurant offers an excellent précis of the vividness and complexity in one of the world’s great cuisines. But even those accustomed to the flavors are likely to experience a jolt or two because the cooking at Anh Nguyen’s place is more intense—brighter, smokier—than that of its many competitors.
The marvelous bun cha, a noodle bowl with grilled pork, is juicy and irresistible. Look for the dishes meant to be bundled into leaves of fresh lettuce, then dipped in the tangy nuoc mam, a nicely balanced sauce of fermented fish, vinegar, and chilies. Shrimp-and-yam fritters are one such dish, and they’re a must-order.
Forgo the Western-style desserts in favor of the superb Vietnamese coffee, brewed on the premises and served hot or over ice.
Also good: Crispy half-moon crepe, to be broken and folded into lettuce leaves; bun thit nuong, Southern-style grilled pork with vermicelli; caramel chicken or fish; grilled, lemongrass-flavored short ribs.
Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. Inexpensive.