The Best International Restaurants in Northern Virginia

This “What I Ate Wednesday” has been months in the making. You know I love food, and you might guess that I love finding authentic international food wherever I am–especially at home! D.C. has amazing food and all, but you know whose food is underrated? Northern Virginia. So I’ve taken it upon myself to find the best international cuisine in what we affectionately call “NoVA.” So here it is. Next time you’re in the D.C. area, hop over the river when you’re in the mood for amazing global cuisine!

Egyptian: Fava Pot

Locations: Falls Church, Arlington Village, and Union Market (D.C.)

This is some of the best food I have ever eaten, anywhere in the world! While I’d love to go to Egypt to see everything (and eat everything), for now I’ll be satisfied with occasional trips to Fava Pot! I loved everything about this place, from the decor to the music to the food, but I also really enjoyed learning about famous Egyptians and facts about Egypt. Be sure to check out their murals while you’re here!

Egyptian Black Tea with Mint and Cardamom
Iced Mint-Lime
Baba ganouj with Pita, Grape Leaves with Yogurt Sauce, and Egyptian-style Liver
Hawawashi (beef and lamb cooked inside a pita) and Pickled Parsnips
Kofta Sandwich (beef and lamb with greens and tahini sauce in pita)
Egyptian Bread Pudding with Pistachio and Raisins
Baklava 5 Ways
The first time I had authentic Egyptian food was in… Qatar!
What to Eat in Qatar

French: Le Vingt Trois Cafe (Le 23)

Location: Herndon

This is the most adorable place, and I’m so grateful I stumbled upon it one day! Not only do they have the most beautiful china, they also have the most authentic French food outside of France. This cafe-style restaurant truly seems to have been plucked from the streets of a small town outside of Paris, but do you know how I could tell that the food was authentic. The butter. It just tastes different in Europe, and from the first bite, I could have sworn I was back on “the Continent.”

Don’t waste your time on fancy-schmancy, pretentious, expensive French restaurants. Get the real thing on a quick trip out to Herndon.

Jambon Beurre
Pumpkin Pie Latte
Read on: How to Enjoy Dining Solo

Greek: Taverna Cretekou

Location: Alexandria

Want real Greek food but can’t make the flight to Athens? Look no further than Taverna Cretekou in Old Town Alexandria. This mainstay has been serving authentic Greek fare, made from authentic Greek recipes, for nearly 50 years, all by the same family. From the time you step into the restaurant, you’ll think you’ve stepped back in time to ancient Greece. If you’re fortunate enough to sit on their secluded back patio, you’ll feel like you’re dining in a family garden. And then you’ll taste the food, and you’ll never look at Greek food the same way again!

Fun fact: When I lived in Old Town as a single mover and shaker, there were two restaurants I always told my dates to take me to. This is one of them!

The Appetizer Sampler
Step into Greece!
Keep eating: The Best Restaurants in Old Town Alexandria, VA

Sushi: Momo Sushi

Location: Alexandria

What was the second restaurant I used to make my dates take me to? Momo’s. I like to think I don’t bring this up overly often, but I lived in Japan. I ate sushi every day, for two meals as often as possible. Sushi is my favorite food, so trust me when I tell you this is the most authentic and delicious (or oishi) sushi available outside of Japan. They have traditional rolls and nigiri, but if you’d like to branch out, they also have a fun selection of flavor combinations. You’ll swear you’ve just landed in Tokyo.

Quite a variety!
The best sushi I’ve had since being there: The Best Food I Ate in Japan

Indian: Bombay Velvet

Location: Reston

I’ve never been to India (not yet anyway). However, I love Indian food. Bombay Velvet is upscale, yet friendly, warm, and welcoming. You’ll get the best samosas, the most delicious naan, the tastiest tikka, and butter chicken that tastes like it was flown in from Delhi that morning. I’ve never had a bad experience here, and I recommend it to everyone, including you!

Fresh samosas with mint and tamarind sauces
Three types of Tandoor with rice and naan
More here: The Most Exotic Food in the World

Swiss: The Swiss Bakery

Location: Annandale

I used to have friends in Switzerland, so I’ve spent more time there than in any other country besides the USA and Japan. When I found this place over 10 years ago, it was like I’d arrived in Swiss Heaven! They have products here that I’ve never seen outside of Switzerland, or at least outside of Europe. Their raclette, which is a cheese and potato dish, is verifiably authentic, and of course, their pastries are a delight! Come in for the baked goods, stay for the savory meals at their cafe. And don’t forget the Swiss mocha–made with Swiss chocolate milk!

Fresh-made cookies and pastries
Perfect pastries
Berner Roesti (Potatoes, Roesti Cheese, Bacon, Egg)
Their Swiss Mocha is the best!
Keep eating: The Best Food to Eat in Switzerland

Turkish: Taste of Istanbul

Location: Reston

This Turkish place in Reston is basically unbelievable. Their pita, their baba ganouj (eggplant dip), their grape leaves, their doner–it’s all the best I’ve had since my trip to Turkey! And I’m not ashamed to say that the family working here recognize me when I stop in. Not sure if Turkish is your thing? Try the pide, which is the Turkish version of pizza! There truly is something for everyone, and it’s the kind of place you want to go back to over and over again… Like I do!

Mezze Sampler (clockwise from the top): Dolma (grape leaf), Sucuk (beef sausage), Sigara Borek (cheese-filled phyllo), Baba ganouj (eggplant dip), Tomato, Feta, Hummus with Olive, Haydari (yogurt with garlic and mint)
Donner (shaved beef and lamb) Wrap with Fries
Pistachio Baklava
Kunefe (shredded phyllo stuffed with kasar cheese with sugar syrup) topped with Pistachio
More here: What to Eat in Turkey

Vietnamese: Caphe Bahn Mi

Location: Alexandria

Think all Asian food is the same? Not so! Vietnamese cuisine is one of my all-time favorites. From pho (soup) to bahn mi (sandwich) to vermicelli (noodles), I’ve never had a bad meal here. Be sure to save room for the Vietnamese coffee, too (hello, sweetened condensed milk!). It’s one of the best coffees in Old Town.

Summer Rolls
House Pho (made with beef and noodles)
Toppings for Pho (Lime, Jalapenos, Sriracha, Basil, Bean Sprouts
Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bun (Chicken, Crushed Peanuts, Imperial Roll, Veggies, Vermicelli Noodles, Sweet Sauce)
Vietnamese Coffee (made with sweetened condensed milk)
Don’t forget to order a Vietnamese coffee! The Best Coffee Shops in Alexandria, VA

Still hungry? Take a look at my World Foods Page for some of the best food and dining experiences!

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