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Whether you're eating paleo, sensitive to dairy, allergic to nuts or have Celiac disease, Arlington restaurants have you covered.
Here, dietary restrictions won’t keep you from eating your way around the world with global cuisines like Thai, Vietnamese, Balkan and many more. You’re already ahead of the curve by researching, and we’ll help you scope the dining scene.
Whether it’s for dairy, nut, shellfish or other allergies, many restaurants are prepared to inform diners of potential allergens and accommodate their special requirements.
“We live in an area with a lot of choice and more awareness of people needing things a little bit different or to their needs,” said Lise Gloede, a registered dietician and nutritionist in Arlington. “Become fast friends with your waiter, ask if foods can be prepared in a certain way, ask if the food is already prepared. That’s helpful and often it can be accommodated.”
If you are really severely allergic, make sure to confirm that the staff cleans surfaces and cooking utensils before preparing your food to avoid cross contamination. Some restaurants with small kitchens might not be able to accommodate this request, so it is best to call ahead.
Here are some Arlington highlights, and you can find more on our dining page.
You’ll find an abundance of vegetarian and vegan options throughout Arlington’s neighborhoods. At Galaxy Hut in Clarendon, you’ll find a menu where almost everything can be made vegan: Try a vegan Reuben or cheesesteak with eggplant fries.
Sweetgreen, with locations in Arlington’s Ballston, Clarendon, Crystal City, Pentagon City and Rosslyn neighborhoods, is a homegrown chain serving up made-to-order salads with gluten-free dressings and protein-packed bowls.
In Clarendon, Silver Diner is modeled after the classic American diner and has locally sourced ingredients, with menu options marked for vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and heart-healthy diets.
Honeygrow, at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, will delight you with stir-fry offerings and signature homemade sauces. Their menus clearly list vegan and gluten-free menu options, and all stir-fry options are fully customizable so you can modify your ingredients, toppings, sauce and protein to your liking.
At Elevation Burger, you’ll find two meatless burgers are on the menu. Veggie and vegan burgers are made with whole grains and veggies seasoned with organic spices, and you can order it on iceberg lettuce or a potato roll.
For international flavor, Ambar’s Balkan cuisine in Clarendon has a large selection of vegetarian dishes artfully presented such as baked beans with paprika, braised cabbage with a hint of spice, and eggplant and garlic spread.
A vegan-friendly Ethiopian restaurant in the Crystal City neighborhood, Enjera Ethiopian offers vegan chicken strips as part of its vegan sampler. Try sides of collard greens, spicy lentils, and yellow split peas.
Planning to dine out when you have gluten-free dietary restrictions can sometimes present a challenge, but Arlington boasts many options.
Lebanese Taverna, a family-run Arlington restaurant with locations in Pentagon City and Westover neighborhoods, has a mezze-rich menu with assorted styles of hummus. The restaurant also offers a gluten-free menu, which includes a version of fattoush salad with a pomegranate dressing, along with other Mediterranean favorites.
At Busboys and Poets in the Shirlington neighborhood, nearly every menu selection has a gluten-free alternative at this favorite known for its shrimp and grits, fried chicken and vegan “beef” sliders.
Also in Shirlington, sit down to eat at nearby Carlyle restaurant, a high-energy bistro that’s a local favorite for brunch, and you automatically get a separate gluten-free menu without even asking.
The Little Beet in the Rosslyn neighborhood, offers a customizable menu based on your dietary needs like dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and nut-free. Try the Yuzu Poke Bowl (salmon poke, grilled avocado, cucumber, sea vegetables, pickled ginger, sesame seeds and brown rice with spirulina) or Sweet Beet Bowl (beet falafel, organic quinoa, sweet potatoes, chipotle kale, corn, chickpeas, avocado bean dip, turmeric tahini sauce) for a fast-casual choice on the go.
Gluten-free diners on Yelp rate Clarendon’s Oby Lee the best place to dine in Arlington. Oby Lee is known for crepes, salads, and on Friday evenings, special Polish dinner fare like pierogis. It also has a serve-yourself wine fountain.
You’ve only just gotten a taste of what’s in store. See all of Arlington’s diverse dining scene.
Author: Kathleen Murphy