No doubt, DC proper has some fantabulous choices when it comes to eating out, and a lot of variety too. We have one of the most competitive Ethiopian dining scenes in the nation; a ton of great ramen shops; a new influx of Eastern European cuisine; several spot-on taquerias and literally so much more that if we were to list them all out, we'd have ourselves a veritable eBook.
However, just because we're sated in the District when it comes to most cuisines, doesn't mean we have it all. Fortunately, that's where the 'burbs come in. While not always the most convenient to get to/or even reachable by public transit, there are a few places out of town worth renting a car for, many of them featuring stellar international cuisine. Check 'em out:
Honey Pig Gooldaegee Korean Grill
You know when famous chef's praise a place, it must be good. This Korean BBQ joint is one of Spike Mendohlson's favorites. It's also one of ours.
Address: 7220 Columbia Pike, Annandale, Va.
Sure, as noted, there's no shortage of ramen in this town, but you know what they (or at least we) say: "You can never have too much ramen in your life." This is one of the region's best.
Address: 11403 Amherst Ave., Wheaton, Md.
Nestled in Eden Center, a Vietnamese-focused strip mall in Falls Church, the food here is legit. While the pho is good, the caramelized lemongrass dishes are even better.
Address: 6785 Wilson Blvd., Falls Church, Va. 22044
El Charrito Caminante
This Washington Blvd. staple sells classic Latin American fare (think pupusas and tacos) at classic Latin American prices. There might not be a better deal in town.
Address: 2710 N. Washington Blvd., Arlington, Va. 22204
One of the more accessible eateries on this list to get to (it's smack dab between the Rosslyn and Courthouse 'tros), obviously, order the pho here. Not only is it magnificent (and cheap), but it comes out about as quickly as a Big Mac at McDonalds.
Address: 1721 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va. 22209
If you can't score a reservation at Thai Xing, don't fret. To get to this Thai favorite, you can even ride the metro...to Wheaton. But trust, one sip of the Floating Market Soup and the long ride will be worth it.
Address: 11301 Fern St., Silver Spring, Md. 20902
Bamian Afghan Restaurant
Although this restaurant has the facade of a Baker's Square or some chain, the food luckily doesn't match. Not only is Afghan food hearty (kabobs, large dumpings and more), but it offers complex flavor profiles that will get all your senses high-fiving each other.
Address: 5634 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Va., 22041
Inn at Little Washington
While most people craving five-star chef-centric meals drive into the city, many DC residents are driving out. Over an hour out to be exact because The Inn at Little Washington is a full sensory experience, down to the velveteen furnishings. Come hungry... and with a lot of cash. Truffle-sprinkled popcorn is as expensive as it is tasty.
Address: 439 Main St., Washington, VA (and not that's not a typo) 22747
Another destination restaurant in the far-off 'burbs is Bryan Votaggio's Volt. With a sleek interior (opposed to the Inn's classic decor) fades into the background when your food comes out. This is food at its finest.
Address: 228 N. Market St., Frederick, Md. 21701
Last but not least (and also probably not really last because there are SO MANY great eateries in the outskirts of the DMV) is a cozy little place that serves up the best of Burma. A sort of culinary crossroads, Burmese food has Chinese, Indian and Vietnamese influences that make it super craveable, so beware. Once you tried your first pickled tea leaf salad, you're gonna want it again.
Address: 617 S. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg, MD 20877