My Favorite Restaurants Near Clarendon in Arlington, VA

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Clarendon is one of my favorite restaurant neighborhoods in Arlington! The area is generally very walkable. It’s busy but not too busy. And it has a great mix of eclectic shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, and lively night spots. 

This means you can easily find a wine bar, brunch spot, or great barbeque hangout to satisfy your appetite. 

The area is conveniently centered around the Clarendon Metro Station between Wilson Boulevard and Clarendon Boulevard, which means getting there is a breeze. Parking can be limited in the area, and so metro is a great option.

I’ve frequently gone to Clarendon with friends after work and on weekends, and I want to share some of our favorite restaurant spots with you! 

The Liberty Tavern – Best for Historic Charm

The Liberty Tavern is a reliable, cozy restaurant option for lunch and dinner. It’s located in a historic brick building and it’s full of charm and character. 

Liberty Tavern - one of the best restaurants near Clarendon in Arlington, VA.

It’s an equally great choice for a casual meal or special occasion.  

Despite the name “tavern”, they feature a lot of pasta and pizza dishes, including Rigatoni & Meatballs, Lobster alla Vodka, Gnocchi, and Wood-oven Pizzas.

If you’re in the mood for seafood or chicken, you’ll find Seared Salmon, Scallop Risotto, and Roasted Chicken Picatta. Plus, there are steak and burgers on the menu, so you’ll definitely find something for everyone. 

If you’re heading out with a larger group, The Liberty Tavern also features family-style meal specials for every day of the week, like Fried Chicken Monday, Tuesday Baked Rigatoni, and Friday Shrimp Scampi. 

Some of my menu favorites include the Butternut Squash Soup, the Crispy Brussels Sprouts, and the Grilled Cheese for lunch. 

On weekends, The Liberty Tavern is a top Clarendon brunch destination. They feature unlimited small plates (!) and include all of the best brunch dishes you could ask for: Deviled Eggs, Avocado Toast, Quiche, Biscuit & Gravy, Bacon, Eggs, Salads, Homemade Pastries, and much more. 

CIRCA – Best for a Dependable Great Meal

CIRCA is another hot spot in Clarendon. They have a lively bar area and outdoor seating when the weather’s nice. 

Circa Restaurant in Clarendon, VA

They have multiple locations throughout the area, including a restaurant in Foggy Bottom in D.C.

They make great, creative dishes. I’ve always had a good meal there. 

You’ll find a bit of everything at CIRCA. Some of their unique dishes include Brussels Sprouts with bacon, balsamic vinegar, and blue cheese; spicy shrimp with jalapeños, sweet chili sauce, and red bell peppers; and bruschetta with goat cheese, fig, prosciutto, and butternut squash. 

Their entrees feature a mix of pasta (like pumpkin ravioli); seafood (blackened Atlantic salmon and scallops); chicken, and beef. I personally enjoyed the salmon

CIRCA can be a good happy hour spot for after work. Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 4pm to 7pm, however the discounts on drinks and appetizers are a little small. 

Ambar – Best for Unique Balkan Cuisine

You may not have ever gone to a Balkan restaurant before, but Ambar is definitely one worth checking out! 

And to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the special flavors and dishes, Ambar actually offers unlimited dinner, lunch, and brunch menus. For a fixed price, you can try everything they have to offer! 

The incredible dishes include Beet Tzatziki Spread, Beef Short Rib Goulash, Slow Roasted Lamb, Chicken Stroganoff, Kevapi (Balkan Kebab), Sudzuk Flatbread, and much more. 

And for a truly unique brunch experience that goes beyond pancakes and avocado toast, be sure to stop by on weekends from 9:30 to 3:30pm. 

The unlimited brunch lets you try a mix of Balkan dishes from their lunch and dinner menus (like Beet Tzatziki Spread, Balkan Salad, and Sudzuk Flatbread), as well as brunch staples like Smoked Salmon Benedict, Shrimp Omelette, and waffles. You can’t go wrong! 

Screwtop Wine Bar – Best for Wine

For wine lovers out there, Screwtop Wine Bar is a definitely worth a visit! 

Screwtop Wine Bar - one of the best restaurants near Clarendon in Arlington, VA.

It has a cozy, inviting atmosphere that makes it a good stop to chill with friends after work. Thry also have a daily happy hour with discounted drinks from Monday to Friday, 3 pm to 6 pm. 

You can order from their large selection of wines by the glass, bottle, or as a wine flight. They have just about anything wine-related that you could imagine (Chardonnay, Malbec, Pinot Noir), plus specialty drinks like Frozes (frozen wine drinks), Sangria, and even seasonal cocktails. 

And if you want to try something new, Screwtop has a huge selection of clever seasonal wine flights to choose from, such as “Sweater Weather Whites”, “Tickled Pink Rose”, and “Sassy Senoritas” (featuring wines from Spain.) 

And if you want to take a bottle home with you, Screwtop also has a store with a large selection of literally hundreds of wines available for purchase by the bottle or case. They also sell chocolates and cheeses.

Green Pig Bistro – Best for Creative Cuisine

Green Pig Bistro serves up excellent and creative American cuisine in the heart of Clarendon. 

Green Pig Bistro in Clarendon, VA

It’s a great choice if your looking for unique, well-prepared, and flavorful dishes like Butternut Squash Soup with Toasted Pepita Seeds, Smoked Salmon Crostini with Horseradish Cream and Garlic Bread, and delicious Cornbread & Maple Butter. 

They have a nice variety of different entrees, including seafood dishes (Shrimp & “Fried” Cheesy Grits and Grilled Swordfish Kabob); handmade pasta (Lobster & Goat’s Cheese Ravioli); Short Ribs; Pork; Cheeseburgers; and more. 

Green Pig Bistro is also an excellent spot for Brunch. They feature classics like Stuffed Waffles with Eggs, Bacon, and Cheese; Salmon Benedict; Steak & Eggs; Shrimp & Grits; Avocado Toast; and much more. Brunch is available Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 2:30 pm. 

The Board Room VA – Best Fun Hangout

The Board Room is a good spot for happy hour or a fun lively night out. The name comes from the fact that they actually have board games for you to play when you come to visit!

The Board Room in Clarendon, VA

The food is standard, reliable pub fare, like a variety of Flatbreads, Tater Tots, Buffalo Wings, Tacos, Burgers, and more.   

The Board Room really shines when it comes to beer and creative cocktails. They brew their own award winning beer, which includes the Bishop Brown Dark Malt, the Ticket to Ride Red Ale, and the No Limit Lager. 

They also feature a good variety of Kolsch, Belgian-style ale, Traditional American Porter, IPAs, and more. 

The Board Room also features regular special events like Trivia Night, Bubble and Oyster Tastings, and new beer releases. 

Rocklands Barbeque & Grilling Company – Best for Barbecue and Beer

Rocklands is technically located in Virginia Square, just a few blocks from the Virginia Square metro, but it’s still close to Clarendon, and well worth the visit if you’re in the mood for beer and barbeque! 

Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company - one of the best restaurants near Clarendon in Arlington, VA.

They have a wide range of excellent beers available, including Kolsch, Lager, Pilsner, Belgian Ale, Cider, and more. 

For food, you can naturally find a large selection of Barbecue Ribs and Chicken, plus Barbeque Sandwiches, Grilled Salmon, Grilled Lamb, Mac & Cheese, Fries, Onion Rings, Baked Beans, Potato Salad, Coleslaw, and everything else you think of when you think of great BBQ. 

Rocklands is a great destination all year round. It has a cozy, inviting bar atmosphere that’s great for hanging out with friends on a cool fall or winter night. 

In the warmer months, they also have outdoor seating available with string lights hanging overhead. 

El Pollo Rico – Best for Authentic Peruvian Chicken

El Pollo Rico is a great choice for lunch and dinner. As you can guess from the name, they specialize in simple but delicious Peruvian chicken dishes. 

El Pollo Rico near Clarendon, VA

The restaurant was started by Peruvian immigrants way back in 1988 and has several locations in Virginia and Maryland.   

You can order chicken in different sizes (quarter, half, or whole), which comes with sauce, plus a choice of side dishes like French Fries, Coleslaw, Beans, Rice, and Fried Plantains. 

Save room for dessert, because they offer favorites like Flan, Tres Leches, Alfajor, and Rum Cake. 

Lyon Hall – Best for French Cuisine

Lyon Hall is a great choice if you’re in the mood for French and European cuisine in the heart of Clarendon. Even their wine menu focuses on small French wineries!

Lyon Hall - one of the best restaurants near Clarendon in Arlington, VA.

The restaurant features an eclectic mix of dishes like French Onion Soup, Crab Bisque, Mussel Pots, Risotto with butternut squash and mushrooms, Crab-crusted Halibut, and Filet Medallions with potato gratin. 

Definitely leave room for dessert, because Lyon Hall has some mouth-watering dishes, like Guava & Cream Cheese Bread Pudding, Chai Spice Crème Brûlée, and Double-Chocolate Cremeux. 

The venue is great for special occasions and events as well. They even offer several fixed price (prix fixe) menus to choose from for private events. Each menu includes your choice of appetizer, main course, and dessert.   

Northside Social Coffee & Wine – Best for Coffee and Snacks

If you’re looking for coffee or a lighter meal in Clarendon, then Northside Social Coffee & Wind is a great option. 

Northside Social Coffee & Wine in Clarendon, VA

You can find all of your favorite coffee drinks of course (espresso, cappuccino, latte, mocha, and chai). 

Food options include all-day breakfast sandwiches like Bacon and Poached Eggs, Avocado Toast, and Peanut Butter Hummus Toast. They also have a nice selection of Quiches, Salads, Sandwiches, and Soups. 

As you can guess from their name, Northside also has a selection of wines to choose from, and they even host a happy hour every day from 3 pm to 7 pm.   

They have a great outdoor seating section too, with picnic tables and string lights, which makes it perfect for days when the weather is nice.

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