Tysons and its neighbors, Vienna and McLean, have a lot to offer to the NoVA community — far beyond the shopping opportunities and office buildings. These six restaurants near Tysons, selected by our critics as some of the Best Restaurants of 2023, prove that the area is a top-tier dining destination.
Tysons | Mediterranean | $$
There is so much more to Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine than pita and hummus, as Agora demonstrates.
The menu is ideal for sharing, so come with friends and order several different dishes. Between the spreads and unlimited pita, tableside flambéed saganaki, hot and cold mezzes, and pide flatbread, one can easily fill up before even reaching the second page of the menu.
The menu appeals to omnivores. The köfte — tender, juicy patties of ground lamb and New York strip steak — are highlights, but vegetables take center stage in the form of dolmades and falafel.
For a decadent ending, order the künefe, crispy shredded phyllo surrounding a sweet cheese center, saturated in simple syrup and served warm with fragrant Turkish rose ice cream and crushed pistachios.
Yes, you can order the hummus, but at Agora, guests get to experience an array of dishes that goes beyond the familiar.
See This: The open kitchen gives diners the opportunity to see the action as they’re escorted to their table.
Eat This: Htipiti spread, pide flatbread, künefe
Service: The kitchen is speedy getting dishes out to diners; waitstaff gets the job done but doesn’t offer much in the way of menu guidance
When to Dine Here: Your group of adventurous eaters is eager to share a large variety of smaller plates.
McLean | Afghan | $$
For both connoisseurs and newcomers to Afghan cuisine, there’s something for everyone at this well-appointed restaurant. The feast of flavors begins with warm flatbread accompanied by three tempting sauces: mango chutney, cilantro yogurt, and chatni, with mouth-puckering heat and garlic-cilantro freshness.
To sample a variety of Afghan cuisine, and get the best bang for your buck, order the Taste of Aracosia at $50 per person, opening the floodgates for a mountain of traditional food. First on deck is a dumpling assortment, offering spicy beef, pumpkin, and leek-scallion versions. Drizzled with tangy yogurt and herbs, the appetizers awaken diners’ palates for the extravaganza that follows.
Delight in perfectly grilled beef tenderloin and lamb chops, succulent Lamb Shank Moghuli, Rumi’s Veal, and chicken sabzi lawaan. Each flavor-packed meat is a testament to the culinary traditions of the region. Aracosia doesn’t skimp on sides — enjoy tasty stewed chickpeas, herb-forward sabzi greens, kadoo butternut squash, or eggplant, as well as two versions of basmati rice.
Aracosia enchants while it preserves the culinary heritage of Afghanistan, evident in every marvelous dish.
See This: Gorgeous multicolored glass lighting fixtures enhance the elegant dining room.
Eat This: Taste of Aracosia sampler platter
Service: Helpful and efficient
When to Dine Here: Your adventurous group is hungry to try many dishes.
Vienna | Korean | $$$$
Interactive restaurants — hibachi, hot pot, and Korean steakhouses — incorporate diners into the preparation of their own food at their table. But there can be drawbacks to these restaurants (think smoke, lack of clear cooking instructions, and noisy grills) that can cloud anyone’s enjoyment. Ingle Korean Steakhouse manages to avoid every potential pitfall.
Upon entering Ingle, diners would never guess there are grills at each table; they are small and discreet, and the chic, modern décor grabs your attention instead. Servers carefully tend to their tables’ grills, ensuring each cut of meat is cooked properly and then cut into smaller pieces to be shared by chopstick-wielding guests. Diners can sit back, relax, and enjoy their hands-off meal without worrying about under- or overcooking their meat. After all, nobody wants to ruin a $60+ piece of wagyu.
Speaking of the luxe beef, steak is the star of the show at Ingle. If you want to splurge, the wagyu strip loin is a great choice. For a more budget-friendly cut, try the outside skirt (tender and flavorful, despite minimal marbling) or marinated galbi (more marbling and very tender).
The supporting cast — the starters and sides — are just as important to round out the meal. Don’t miss the japchae: The thin glass noodles are tossed with an umami sauce and an abundance of mushrooms and vegetables. The scallion pancake is a greasy treat featuring crispy scallions and shrimp. Ingle even manages to transform basic fried rice into an elevated experience. This version is topped with a generous scoop of roe and filled with an indulgent amount of lump crab.
If interactive restaurants aren’t usually your cup of tea, give Ingle Korean Steakhouse a chance; the high-quality meats, satisfying starters and sides, and attentive service may change your mind.
See This: Your own steak grills to perfection (and your preferred temperature) in front of your eyes, at your table.
Eat This: Japchae, wagyu strip loin, crab fried rice
Service: Friendly, polite, attentive to grills, and willing to guide customers with recommendations
When to Dine Here: You want an upscale, fuss-free, interactive dining experience and are willing to splurge on high-quality meat.
Nostos (No. 6)
Vienna | Greek | $$$
The white tablecloths are a good indicator — this is not the place for a gyro. Nostos proves that there is so much more to Greek cuisine.
To start, you can’t go wrong with spanakopita; two large, perfectly crisped phyllo triangles are stuffed with spinach, feta, and scallions. The dips with pita are made to be shared, so opt for the combination of three, including tzatziki, tyrokafteri, and taramosalata, and spread the love.
You’d be remiss to not experience the arni youvetsi, a generous, fall-off-the-bone-tender portion of lamb shank that’s braised in a wine-tomato sauce and served with orzo. Meat lovers also will appreciate the moussaka, a rich, layered dish of baby eggplant, potatoes, ground beef, and béchamel.
Seafood’s key role in Greek fare isn’t overlooked here. The garides saganaki — sautéed shrimp served in a tomato-based sauce with feta, onions, and raisins — and lavraki (branzino) are both winners.
It will be a challenge to save room for dessert, but three different baklava variations beckon. These interpretations are the kind of upscale sweet you’d have to go to a fine restaurant to try, even in Greece.
See This: The subtle nods to Cycladic architecture, such as curved, white-washed walls, are an ideal backdrop to saganaki flamed tableside.
Eat This: Combination of dips, arni youvetsi, traditional baklava
Service: Knowledgeable, welcoming, and attentive
When to Dine Here: You want a traditional-yet-elevated meal that will show you the finer things in Greek life.
Vienna | Italian | $$$$
Comforting Italian cuisine goes upscale at this chef-owned haven. Step inside and embrace the warm ambience, where stunning Chihuly glass light fixtures add intrigue to the homey dining areas.
Begin your meal with tempting antipasti like aragosta e granchio — exquisite crab-and-lobster salad enhanced with buttery avocado and a Parmesan dressing. Or try the fiori di zucca — fried zucchini blossoms with ricotta, mint, and a hint of nutty cheese. Neither should be missed.
Entrées include ever-changing pasta dishes that showcase seasonal produce and the artistry of acclaimed chef Roberto Donna. Indulge in a bowl of velvety fettuccine alla Parmigiana, created tableside from a monstrous wheel of cheese. Or savor the richness of a perfectly balanced fettuccine con bolognese bianca, draped in a white bolognese sauce showcasing a 50-50 blend of veal and pork. Branzino al forno is accompanied by a dollop of fresh pesto, creating a harmonious blend of textures and flavors in every bite.
Donna’s tantalizing housemade desserts include a not-to-be-missed chocolate mousse tiramisu that delivers a creative take on the rich classic. For a gustatory adventure that goes far beyond spaghetti and meatballs, this new Vienna classic is a must.
See This: Multicolored Chihuly glass lighting fixtures set a tone of quiet opulence.
Eat This: Bread basket with pane sfogliato, aragosta e granchio, fettuccine alla Parmigiana
Service: Caring without being intrusive
When to Dine Here: You’re seeking an intimate Italian dinner with a touch of class.
McLean | Japanese | $$$
Everyone needs a reliable, go-to neighborhood sushi spot, and Tachibana is that place. The menu is varied, offering a wide selection of classic sushi and Japanese specialties — making it a satisfying option for parties with a mix of sushi and non-sushi eaters.
For some crowd-pleasing appetizers, look no further than the fried shumai, gindara misoyaki (broiled black cod), and gyoza. Shrimp and vegetable tempura (offered in appetizer or entrée-size portions) is also a must — the shrimp are large and the portion is generous.
Beyond sushi, the vegetable sukiyaki is a favorite; boasting plenty of vegetables, tofu, a rich-yet-light broth, and thin glass noodles, this soup will keep you and your spoon coming back for more. For something a bit heavier, the chicken katsu is an excellent choice; the portion is sizable, it’s not overly greasy, and it arrives pre-sliced, making the dish simple to eat with chopsticks and ideal for sharing.
If you’re looking for a no-frills, classic, Japanese meal that will satisfy everyone’s cravings and preferences, make Tachibana your next sushi night spot.
See This: The décor is minimal and traditional with the centerpiece of a lengthy sushi bar.
Eat This: Gindara misoyaki, shrimp and vegetable tempura, vegetable sukiyaki
Service: Attentiveness is hit or miss depending on how busy the restaurant is, but service is friendly and polite.
When to Dine Here: You want a solid, no-frills meal and a variety of Japanese dishes beyond just sushi.
Editor’s note: Jiwa Singapura was featured in the print edition of the Best Restaurants list but permanently closed on December 4.
Feature image courtesy Agora