News & Politics

The Best of Reston and Herndon

Where to find artful sushi, stylish bathing suits, piled-high burgers, and a laid-back neighborhood bar.

The Tasting Roomin Reston serves a changing list of domestic and imported wines.

  • Scallop Ceviche/Photograph by David Phillipich

    1 First-Rate Seafood

    Kick things off at PassionFish, a two-level seafood emporium, with a round of oysters and chilled lobster from the very good raw bar, then move on to a globe’s worth of dishes: Japanese-style tuna tartare, shrimp-stuffed spring rolls, and a whole fried flounder with a terrific tamarind dipping sauce. For dessert, it’s tough to say no to the warm doughnuts and Key-lime tart. 11960 Democracy Dr., Reston; 703-230-3474.

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  • 2 Something for All

    At Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge, servers are cheerful and on-point, the bread basket holds one of the best guilty pleasures around–warm savory rolls with honey butter–and the food is creative and comforting. Deviled eggs, overstuffed and laden with chopped pecans, are nearly upstaged by the strips of sugary bacon on the side. Other good bets include a salad with warm goat cheese, tender sea bass in a sherry-soy broth, and marshmallow-topped lemon pie. 11927 Democracy Dr., Reston; 703-437-0800.

  • 3 Fine Wine

    Well-dressed professionals fill the marble bar and heated patio at the Tasting Room most evenings after work. Owned by Middleburg’s Boxwood Estate Winery, the bar serves a changing list of domestic and imported wines, including Boxwood’s well-regarded reds. You can pour yourself a glass from the Enomatic dispenser or buy a bottle and recork it to take home. 1816 Library St., Reston; 703-435-3553

  • Photograph By David Phillipich

    4 Elements of Syle

    The Reston Town Center branch of the local chainlet South Moon Under carries bikinis and one-pieces from Vix, Nanette Lepore, and Juicy Couture. Trend-conscious women also come to browse the extensive selection of stylish separates from Audrey 3+1, J Brand Denim, and Joie as well as monogram necklaces by Jennifer Zeuner, Rebecca Minkoff bags, and Dolce Vita shoes. The smaller men’s section features such brands as John Varvatos, Penguin, and RVCA. 11950 Market St., Reston; 703-435-0605.

  • 5 Expert Tailoring

    Designer David A. Eisele knows the importance of a great-fitting suit. Inside his shop, Davelle Clothiers, businessmen work with him to create custom jackets and slacks from Italian fabrics or to pick something off the rack. Brands include Hickey Freeman, Dormeuil, and Ermenegildo Zegna. There’s also a selection of conference-room-ready shoes and ties. 11904 Market St., Reston; 703-904-0011.

  • 6 Build Your Own Burger

    BRB–Be Right Burger sources organic and local fixings for its Angus-beef patties. We go for the Wild West with bacon, mushrooms, barbecue sauce, and smoked mozzarella or the Hangover with lettuce, tomato, Angus chili, fried egg, bacon, and cheddar. There’s also a roster of toppers from Sriracha mayo to pico de gallo along with skin-on fries and sweet-potato fries. 1820 Discovery St., Reston; 571-926-9428.

  • 7 Stylish Furniture For Less

    Photograph by David Phillipich

    Tucked in a business park, the furniture warehouse Urban Retreat is a find. Owner Cynthia Schneider works directly with manufacturers to provide custom-made pieces at wholesale prices–her out-of-the-way location and no-frills showroom mean furniture often goes for 45 percent below retail. We also love the cheerful pops of color you’ll find in her decorative accessories. 11409 Sunset Hills Rd., Warehouse I, Reston; 703-689-3404.

  • 8 Thrill of the Hunt

    In business more than 35 years, the Closet is a prime destination for thrifters. You’ll have to wade through disorganized racks of men’s and women’s clothing, dishes, kitchenware, books, knickknacks, and everything in between, but the hunt usually turns up something good–we once found knee-high black-leather riding boots for $35. 845 Station St., Herndon; 703-437-7652.

  • Photograph by David Phillipich

    9 Pristine Sushi

    Love tuna? Do your tastebuds thrill to yellowtail–or maybe salmon? At Ariake, themed boxes deliver your favorite fish four ways: sashimi, sushi, in a roll, and either spiced in a “salad” or grilled. There are also more-sedate thrills: airy shrimp tempura, nasu dengaku (tender Asian eggplant with miso), and grilled whole squid with teriyaki sauce. Even the requisite miso soup bursts with flavor. 12184 Glade Dr., Reston; 703-391-9006.

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  • 10 Everybody Knows Your Name

    Even if you’re not a regular, the staff at Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern will treat you like one. The laid-back tavern with a long wooden bar draws sports fans with ice-cold beers and spicy wings as well as younger bargoers who make a beeline for the dance floor on Friday and Saturday nights. There’s also trivia every Tuesday and an open-mike night–with lots of local bands–on Wednesday. 697 Spring St., Herndon; 703-435-5467.

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  • 11 Comforting Kebabs

    Charcoal Kabob takes the skewered-meat-and-rice formula one better with dishes that go beyond the usual. Boolanee is a savory turnover to dip in garlicky yogurt; sambosas are crisp and assertively seasoned; and haleem, a yellow-lentil stew with shredded chicken, is comfort in a bowl. And don’t miss the karahis, aromatic stir-fry/stews made with chicken or lamb and piled on blistered rounds of fresh Afghan flatbread. 394 Elden St., Herndon; 703-435-2400.

  • 12 Some Like it Hot

    Minerva Indian Cuisine serves up incendiary curries, chutneys, and masalas. You’ll also find a departure from the typical culinary playlist of most Indian restaurants: In bhindi masala, roasted okra is steeped with onions and fragrant spices; Chicken 65, a house specialty, is aromatic with curry leaves; and chepala pulusu, a fish stew, marries the tartness of tamarind with red chili peppers. 2443-G1 Centreville Rd., Herndon; 703-793-3223.

    Read Our Full Review ››

  • 13 Local Favorite

    Since opening in 1991, Zeffirelli Ristorante Italiano has earned a loyal following. The restaurant’s specialty is its veal chop–a 16-ounce bone-in slab that’s remarkably tender and surrounded by a lemony sauce. Start with the expertly fried calamari and zucchini, tossed together and served with marinara, and finish with a crisp-shelled cannoli sprinkled with crushed hazelnuts or a tartufo, chocolate-covered gelato with a cherry inside. 728 Pine St., Herndon; 703-318-7000.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Sarah is the Editor-in-Chief of Washingtonian Bride & Groom, and writes about weddings, fashion, and shopping. Her work has also appeared in Refinery29, Bethesda Magazine, and Washington City Paper, among others. She is a Georgetown University graduate, lives in Columbia Heights, and you can find her on Instagram at @washbridegroom and @sarahzlot.