America Eats Tavern
After a bumpy start two years ago, this ode to Americana by Spanish chef José Andrés has hit its stride. In the airy farmhouse-style space, look for tweaked classics such as lobster roll with mayo espuma, suckling-pig jambalaya, and a strawberry-shortcake ice-cream bar à la Good Humor. Fixings are seasonal (watermelon salad), historic (Martha Washington’s triple-chocolate cake), local (Virginia oysters and wines), and—from the clever cocktails to creative finishes—very much an Andrés experience. Ritz-Carlton, 1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean; 703-744-3999.
Barrel & Bushel
The barrels house 30-plus kinds of bourbon, and there are local brews as well at this beer hall gone California-earthy, with its accents of stone and wood. Don’t miss the fried chicken with French toast, the lump-filled blue-crab roll, and mac and cheese with Spam (yes, Spam)—which tastes like crumbly bits of bacon. Tysons Corner Center; 703-848-6340.
Greek cooking goes fast-casual at this local chainlet offering mix-and-match pitas, lentils, grains, or greens with dips and spreads (we love the piquant “crazy feta” and eggplant/red pepper) and a protein topper such as falafel or harissa-lamb meatballs. Gild it all with tidbits like cauliflower quinoa or Sriracha Greek yogurt. Tysons Corner Center; 703-288-0005.
It’s always summer at this beach-housey restaurant. Deviled eggs with sugar-cured bacon, buns piled with lobster or shrimp, crabcakes, and mustardy beef ribs with slaw make us long for July. Reservations are limited during peak hours, but the call-ahead policy gets you on the waiting list. Tysons Corner Center; 703-356-1440.
Entyse at the Ritz-Carlton
Clubby chairs and a roaring fire give this lounge a Downton Abbey feel at tea time. With morsels such as finger sandwiches, scones, and pastries, and live piano, it’s a place to get lost for an afternoon. 1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean; 703-506-4300.
Come summer, there will be nine Mike Isabella dining options at Tysons Galleria. Among them: an outpost of the Top Chef competitor’s flagship Graffiato along with Requin Raw Bar, Kapnos Marketa, a coffee lounge, and a classic ice-cream parlor. The 41,000-square-foot space with its soaring ceiling will include individual restaurants as well as open seating serving several eateries. Tysons Corner Galleria, third floor.
Greek classics with a modern twist: At this serene, spare white-walled eatery in an office park near the malls, make a meal of mezze—taramasalata,grilled octopus with fava purée, fried feta with sesame and honey. Or go for a big fish, like whole grilled branzino drizzled with olive oil and lemon. 8100 Boone Blvd., Vienna; 703-760-0690.
Juicy burgers, thick shakes, and crinkle-cut fries have made this fast-casual chain popular—not to mention the flat-top dogs, crispy chicken sandwiches, and frozen custard. Picnic tables on the plaza position you for some post-meal table tennis or a warm-up by the fire pits. Tysons Corner Center; 571-620-0383.
Plates stacked with basmati and kebabs are the reason to seek out this Persian eatery in a generic office park. Spiced ground-beef chelo and Cornish-hen chunks are the best of skewered offerings; silky eggplant dip and pickled vegetables add pungent notes. For dessert, take cues from the many Persian families and split the paludeh, a pile-up of shaved ice, noodles, and fruit syrup reminiscent of ice cream. No alcohol. 8607 Westwood Center Dr., Vienna; 703-448-8883.
This gleaming diner with a social conscience dishes up local, organic, and non-GMO fare across from Tysons Corner Center. Trendy plates such as wasabi salmon sliders (the fish is sustainable) and wood-roasted-vegetable salad share space with homey chicken pot pie and meatloaf, though even these get the Silver treatment: The chicken is organic and the meatloaf made with Angus beef. 8101 Fletcher St., McLean; 703-821-5666.
This article appears in the December 2016 issue of Washingtonian.