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As we settle into the winter months, comfort food is key – especially since we’ve all been cooped up for the better part of the last year. Arlington restaurants in every neighborhood are ready to satisfy those cravings for big, hearty meals – whether you’re dining inside at a socially-distanced table, takeout, or in one of about 100 TOSAs (temporary outdoor seating areas), where cozy, warm meals are key right now. After all, sometimes you just want that big bowl of chili, a plateload of carbs, and let’s not underestimate the seemingly magical powers of something like a big bowl of pho.You’ll find them all throughout Arlington.
The Irish are known for those big, hearty, stick-to-the-ribs dishes that combat the brisk winds of the Emerald Isle, and at Samuel Beckett’s in Arlington’s Shirlington neighborhood, you might as well be stopping into a neighborhood pub in the heart of Galway. Head straight for the “Traditionalist” section of the menu (available for dine-in or takeout) for comforting dishes like Shepherd’s Pie with organic lamb, veggies and Jameson mashed potatoes in a rich Guinness gravy (of course), or try the lamb stew served with Irish brown bread.
If you’re looking to warm up in the Ballston neighborhood, swing by the Quarter Market food hall and take advantage of a brand-new level of carby-goodness that’s pure comfort: pierogies. Zofia’s Kitchen centers around an eclectic interpretation on the pierogi, the dumpling best known for its Polish roots. Try the loaded baked potato pierogi or the pastrami and provolone pierogi for true comfort food goodness. Says owner/chef Ed Hardy, “Zofia’s is like the Polish grandmother you didn’t know you missed.”
Let’s face it. A big steaming bowl of soup is always a wonderful thing during the winter months, and there’s something that’s just a bit more special about a huge bowl of authentic Vietnamese pho. Clarendon’s Nam Viet, a longtime favorite for locals since the mid-80s, fits the bill. Nam Viet’s family recipes have been passed down through generations, using the best ingredients from Southeast Asia and working with local farms that bring the best, highest-quality meats for entrees. The traditional pho ga takes chicken noodle soup to an entirely new level, or you can enjoy your pho with a kick with bun bo hue, a spicy beef pho that is guaranteed to warm you up quickly.
Sometimes, you’re just looking for fantastic diner food – the simple, classic dishes that fill you up and get you through the day. In Arlington, Bob & Edith’s Diner has been serving just that to hungry Arlingtonians day and night for more than 50 years. At its original location along Columbia Pike, longtime regulars know that no matter what kind of comfort food you’re craving – whether it’s a big stack of pancakes, meatloaf, fried chicken or an enormous slice of apple pie - Bob & Edith’s is ready to comply. Under current restrictions, all Arlington locations (North Arlington, Columbia Pike and Crystal City) are open 7:00 a.m. – 9:45 p.m. for inside dining or takeout, but they’ll be back to their 24-hour status when the time is right.
Green Pig Bistro in Clarendon has seen changes over the years, but one commitment remains clear: Green Pig Bistro serves what may be more obscure cuts of meat in their finest form – food that is hearty, not heavy, in dishes that are approachable, solid and basic, yet premium. It's classic rustic French cooking. As you might guess from the name, the menu is decidedly pork centric, with entrees like pork schnitzel or pork cassoulet. But for that true comfort food feeling, check out the plats du jour, where depending on the day, you can find those classics like fried chicken, meatloaf, and chicken pot pie.
Newcomer Ruthie’s All-Day is a family-friendly, all-day neighborhood restaurant and bar. In the morning, the takeout counter features an evolving menu with ridiculously delicious breakfast biscuits and bowls, stone-ground grits, house-made sausage, and crispy fried chicken. For dinner, indulge in sticky spareribs, hot hushpuppies with shrimp and jalapeno, and tasty wood-grilled oysters. If you’re looking to warm up on a chilly winter day, order Ruthie’s and cozy up in the comfort of your home.
From cornbread and chili to baked lasagna or just a big diner breakfast of bacon and eggs with a heaping side of home fries, there is certainly no shortage of comfort food options to warm up with this winter in Arlington. Visit a full list of Arlington restaurants, and make a reservation or schedule takeout today.
Author: Cara O'Donnell