Cheap Eats 2015: Punjabi Junction

Where we go for our favorite biryani.


Go for the goat: Both a curry and this egg-topped biryani are good vehicles for the meat. Photograph by Scott Suchman

About Punjabi Junction


23520 Overland Dr
Sterling, VA 20166

Turning up the culinary heat can be tricky. Authentic spicing may challenge some Western palates, but go easy on the fire and accusations of dumbing-down start flying. This Punjabi eatery is willing to have it both ways. Say the word, in fact, and the kitchen will muster up all the chili-fueled power in its arsenal for a dish like goat curry with bone-in hunks of meat—not only is it a scorcher, but it also delivers a serious hit of vinegar. Tamer but no less delicious is the colorful rice biryani, with hard-boiled eggs, nuts, and herbs. The kitchen has a nice touch with pakoras and samosas, and breads from the tandoor are made with care—hot and glistening with butter. The naan is among the best around, but the onion kulcha is even better.

Cuisine: Indian

Where you can get it: 23520 Overland Dr., Dulles; 703-996-8810

Also good: Bhindi masala, a stew of okra, tomato, and onion; samosa chaat, with tamarind and yogurt; dal tarka, with yellow lentils and ginger; kadai goat; tandoori lamb chops.

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.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.