It’s easy to stop at the outer ring of the Eden Center—the shopping and dining complex’s exterior beckons with popular restaurants and bakeries hawking fresh pastries—but an exploration of its inner halls yields rewards. Case in point: Nha Trang, a central-Vietnamese cafe sought out by expats for hot pots, soups, and noodles. Beloved chef/owner Nguyen Ly died in 2013, and her children have carried on a tradition of superb home-style cooking. Don’t miss an appetizer of soft spring rolls stuffed with grilled pork, pickled carrot, herbs, and fried scallions. (It’s tempting to make it a double, but portions are robust.) Mi quang soup swims with house-made turmeric noodles, tender pork, and shrimp. Rice hot pots carry a bountiful mix of seafood and vegetables; underneath, the bed of grains has caramelized in the skillet, rendering sweet and crunchy forkfuls.
Where you can find it: 6757 Wilson Blvd., Falls Church; 703-534-1657
Also good: Roast quail with oranges; grilled flank steak with lime dressing; rice hot pot with marinated beef.