Where to Eat and Drink in National Landing
Find weekend brunch, late-night kebabs, treats for your sweet tooth and cocktails with a view in this rapidly evolving dining district.
What a difference a new neighbor makes—especially when that new neighbor happens to be Amazon. Crystal City and Pentagon City have undergone some dramatic changes since 2018, when the tech giant selected the area as the site for its East Coast HQ2. With the new name—National Landing—comes a large-scale reinvention that includes new office, residential and retail space, and a bevvy of new restaurants.
DMV eateries like Taqueria Xochi and gastropub Makers Union are planning sibling establishments in the neighborhood, while other openings on the horizon include the return of Peruvian Brothers (a favorite for chicharron sandwiches, empanadas and addictive hot sauce) and Queen Mother’s Fried Chicken, which chef Rock Harper is relocating from Columbia Pike. The latter will make its new home in a reimagined Water Park featuring 10 outdoor food pavilions.
In the meantime, the lively stretch that includes Crystal City, Pentagon City, Westpost (Pentagon Row) and Potomac Yard is still home to plenty of time-tested establishments that are worth a taste. Here are some oldies, goodies and newbies to try…with more to come.
Beauty is a wine bar, bottle shop, bistro and boutique all rolled into one, tucked inside a cute navy blue Victorian-style house on 23rd Street. Owner Zena Polin’s idea, back in 2022 when Beauty first opened, was to appeal to the neighbors, whether they were in need of a great bottle of wine, a cute housewarming gift or a sweet pick-me-up like a slice of cake or “Fruity Pebble” krispy treats. Stop in for a glass of Malbec, something sparkling or a drink that’s more unique, such as mead from Maryland’s Orchid Cellar Meadery. Tasting flights are available if you can’t pick one pour. The succinct and savory bistro menu includes goodies like cheese boards and bacon-wrapped dates. // 576 23rd St. S., Arlington
At Tim Ma’s freestanding glass-box sandwich shop in Westpost, the short-and-sweet menu includes cheffy creations with quality ingredients, all for a mere $10. Satisfy your lunch hour cravings with a banh-mi with Virginia ham; burrata and tomato with house-made aioli; peanut butter and jelly with potato chips; or a classic meatball sub. //1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington
You don’t have to leave Arlington to find great Eritrean and Ethiopian food. Enjera serves appetizers like sambusas stuffed with lentils and potatoes or marinated beef, as well as big platters that appeal to vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Plant-based combos include options like spicy lentils, collard greens and yellow split peas, and the kitchen’s traditional dishes (such as kitfo and tibs) can be made with vegan meat and vegan butter upon request. The menu also includes a sizable beer, wine and cocktail list, and 16 flavors of hookah. // 549 23rd St. S., Arlington
Crystal City isn’t exactly known for its oceanfront real estate, but that hasn’t stopped Freddie’s, a fixture in the LGBTQ+ community for more than two decades, from bringing the tropical vibes inland. Owner Freddie Lutz describes his business as a “gay, straight-friendly” bar, and every night is karaoke night, even if the singing comes on the heels of a rollicking round of bingo or a drag show. The campy decor—feather boas, disco balls, paper lanterns, Barbie dolls galore—is top-notch, as are the pretty pink drinks mixed with watermelon and pomegranate vodka. Pair one with a plate of “Nacho Daddy” nachos, a fried shrimp basket or a Tiki turkey wrap. Freddie’s also hosts a popular weekend brunch buffet. // 555 23rd St. S., Arlington
This all-day cafe aims to be your go-to from early morning breakfast all the way through to evening cocktails. Opened by restaurateur and Arlington native Nick Freshman in 2021, the eponymous restaurant turns out lattes, avocado toast on grilled sourdough, and egg-and-cheese sandwiches with Virginia ham in the morning, plus a weekend brunch featuring plates of huevos rancheros and buttermilk pancakes. Later in the day, the food menu branches out with snacks, sandwiches, burgers, and tempting plates like seafood linguini and steak frites. Slide into one of the cozy leather booths or, on nice days, snag a spot on the big patio. // 2011 Crystal Drive, Arlington
The divine doughnuts are made fresh daily in seasonal flavors such as apple cider and brown sugar bourbon cream. But they aren’t the only draw at this family- and veteran-owned cafe that got its start in Ballston and now has a second location in Amazon’s Met Park. The wide-ranging menu also includes all-day breakfast sandwiches and bowls, toasts, soups, salads, tacos and kid favorites (think quesadillas, mac ‘n’ cheese and apple slices with house-made caramel). Plus cocktails and beer for the parents. // 510 14th Street S., Arlington
The teambuilding event is over, and you need to find a bar where your entire department can hang out. Head to the 7,000-square-foot Highline RxR, a second-story watering hole with a great view of the neighborhood and retractable windows that open on nice days. This bar from the Tin Shop restaurant group boasts more than 30 beers on draft, pulling in local DMV options like DC Brau, Right Proper, Caboose Brewing and Denizens Brewing Co., along with its own Highline Golden Pilsner. The food menu includes bar classics like smash burgers, fried pickles, buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches, tater tots and jumbo pretzels with cheese dip. And if you need more reasons to stick around, there are plenty of televisions and board games, plus special events like standup comedy showcases. // 2010 Crystal Drive, Arlington
Sometimes you need sustenance at 2 a.m. When that craving hits, this neon-lit storefront is fired up and ready to greet the late-night crowd with aromatic Afghani kebabs, curries, biriyani, fresh bread, baklava and mango lassi drinks. Open 24 hours, the bustling eatery serves Halal meats and has been a local go-to since 1992. //2315 S. Eads St., Arlington
Lebanese ex-pats Tanios and Marie Abi-Najm opened their first restaurant in Westover in 1979. Today their children are carrying forth the family business and its traditions with multiple restaurants and markets in the D.C. area. In Westpost, find a seat in the cozy dining room or on the patio overlooking the plaza and feast on silken hummus, fresh-baked bread (which arrives warm and chewy), garlicky shawarma, falafel and other comfort foods. Or take a few mezze platters to go and feed a hungry crowd at home. //1101 S. Joyce St., Arlington
For “American Chinese by a Chinese American,” grab takeout from this Westpost operation conceived by Taiwanese American chefs Tim Ma and Andrew Chiou. Dishes such as crab Rangoon, duck-fried rice, veggie lo mein and mapo tofu come in individual or family-size portions for sharing. Pro tip: Our dining critic is partial to the Taiwanese omelet with dried radish, which he describes as “the sleeper on the menu.” //1101 S. Joyce St., Arlington
Craving a brioche cinnamon roll or a doughnut filled with vanilla bean pastry cream? You’ll find these delights and a whole lot more in the pastry case at this tony bakery, which originated in New York City and is rapidly expanding in the DMV. In July, the Crystal Drive location unveiled an expanded menu featuring not only sweets, but breakfast, lunch and dinner fare, too. Stop in for bread-pudding French toast, a curried chicken salad sandwich, or steak frites served with mâitre d’hôtel butter and crispy fries. // 1550 Crystal Drive, Arlington
Named after chef Cathal Armstrong’s Dubliner grandparents, this Westpost pub is a sure bet for fish and chips, corned beef, black pudding, Irish breakfast all day, and of course a proper pint of Guinness, Smithwick’s or Harp. Happy hour from 3-6 p.m. brings discounted draft brews, oysters, cheese fondue and other hearty bar snacks. //1301 S. Joyce St., Arlington
Thick crust or thin? You can have your pizza either way at this ’90s-style brewpub by chef Johnny Spero, restaurateur Scott Parker and Aslin Beer Co, where the throwback decor is reminiscent of The Max in Saved by the Bell. The pies, with crust options that include tavern-style thin, cauliflower, hand-tossed or Detroit-style squares, include toppings like pepperoni and hot honey, sausage and peppers, or cheesesteak. Sliders, wings and poutine round out the bar snacks menu. //1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington
For old-school Italian, look no further than Portofino, a neighborhood fixture on Crystal City’s charming “restaurant row” since 1970. More than half a century later, the family-owned business is still turning out reliable Northern Italian favorites like lasagna Bolognese, bucatini alla carbonara, saffron risotto with lobster and braised veal stuffed with fresh mushrooms in a sherry wine sauce. Find refreshment in a limoncello martini, a crisp Pinot Grigio from Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giulia region or a full-bodied Piemonte Barolo, and end the evening on a sweet note with tiramisu or pistachio creme brulee. // 526 23rd St. S., Arlington
D.C.’s Indian fast-casual chain Rasa branched out to Virginia in 2021, serving colorful, build-your-own bowls piled high with toppers such as chicken tikka, turmeric ginger shrimp, lamb kebab or sweet potato tikki. Pick a base (rice, greens or rice noodles) and a protein or veggie, then add on toppings like mango salsa and lentil chips and embellish with sauces such as tamarind chili or coconut ginger. The atmosphere in the space is as vibrant as the food. Don’t forget the masala chai chocolate chip cookies or vegan soft serve for dessert. // 2200 Crystal Drive, Arlington
At Skydome, the scenery outside the windows is constantly changing. That’s because the restaurant, which occupies the 15th floor of the DoubleTree by Hilton, is one of only a few rotating restaurants in the country (and the only one in the D.C. area). After a pandemic hiatus, the sky high restaurant reopened in 2023 with a more upscale menu, including craft cocktails, Faroe Island salmon and honey-garlic glazed pork chops. From the appetizer list, snack on green curry hummus, mushroom truffle pizza or a cheese and charcuterie board while taking in a panoramic view that includes the D.C. monuments and the National Mall. // 300 Army Navy Drive, Arlington
Tucked in a back room behind Scott Chung’s Bun’d Up bao bun joint (which is also worth a stop), this speakeasy-style mahjong parlor serves dim sum, noodles, pork belly and other temptations in a moody setting. From the cocktail menu, try a classic Jungle Bird (rum, campari, pineapple and lime), or one of the many artful spirit-free creations, such as the Forbidden Horchata (forbidden black rice, cinnamon, clove and soy milk). Want to learn how to play mahjong? You can sign up for a lesson. //1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington
Order spicy margaritas all around at this popular NYC taqueria chain that touched down in National Landing in 2021 as part of a big D.C. expansion. The indoor/outdoor spot is inspired by the cuisine of the Yucatan, with a simple menu of tacos, tostadas, quesadillas and burritos put together with the kitchen’s own corn and flour tortillas. If you check multiple taco options on your order ticket, make sure one of them is the beer-battered fish. // 1550 Crystal Drive, Arlington
The hometown scoop shop and Best of Arlington winner that originated in Westover now has a satellite location at Amazon’s Met Park. Stop in for a scoop or cone in small-batch flavors like bittersweet chocolate, purple ube, green tea, traditional butter pecan or calamansi sorbet. The offerings also include shakes, sundaes, ice cream cakes and coffee. //510 14th St. S., Arlington