In Prince William County and the City of Manassas, diners will find top-of-the-line dining opportunities, from a charming French bistro to a chic American eatery. Our critics selected these four restaurants in Prince William and Manassas as some of the 50 Best Restaurants of 2023.
By Olga Boikess, Dawn Klavon, Alyssa Langer, Alice Levitt, and Renee Sklarew
Price Key: Entrées = $ 15 and under | $$ 16–25 | $$$ 26–40 | $$$$ 41 and over | * = prix fixe only
Woodbridge | French | $$$
What a delicate balance it is to enjoy upscale dining in a comfortable, relaxed setting. Such is the case for diners at this charming bistro. From the moment guests sit, attentive servers dote, presenting freshly baked bread and a tureen of soft whipped butter.
Take a look around this former Chinese restaurant, renovated by owner Youssef Eagle Essakl and opened in 2007. Embrace the cultivated French provincial feel, with freshly cut flowers on every table and an eclectic mix of knickknacks.
Sample a myriad of irresistible appetizers, like Gratine des Hâlles onion soup (excellent, delivered beneath a slice of Gruyère-encrusted bread) or friture d’huîtres, a scrape-the-plate-clean serving of crispy oysters enhanced with avocado mousse and saffron aioli. Seafood fans swear by crevettes à l’ail — large, sautéed garlic shrimp partnered with Israeli couscous and baby spinach, surrounded by a decadent moat of herb-infused sauce.
Bistro L’Hermitage’s chefs create memorable dishes like salade Cesar classique, poulet rôti, and mousse au chocolat, seamlessly delivered to eager diners. Refreshingly light pommes au gratin, enhanced with vanilla ice cream, provides a sweet ending to an impressive meal. Guests head home satisfied and thoroughly spoiled by this quaint bistro’s meticulous attention to every detail.
See This: Charming knickknacks cover every wall.
Eat This: Friture d’huîtres, Coquilles St. Jacques, poulet rôti
Service: Outstanding and attentive
When to Dine Here: Bring your family for monumental moments to feel comfortable, pampered, and indulged.
Manassas | Mediterranean | $$$$
Doting service and memorable cuisine in a tranquil setting define this old-school gem. Located in Old Town Manassas, this family-owned restaurant has served Italian and Portuguese dishes for 37 years.
Most notable is the Fred Flintstone–sized costelao de vaca, 32 ounces of bone-in prime rib on a rich bed of roasted garlic mashed potatoes. After you and your guests get over the sheer size of the dish, enjoy the seasonings and tender meat. Topped with mushrooms, peppers, and a Barolo demi-glace, the indulgent dish exceeds expectations.
Another standout is the veal medallions, served with risotto, sugar snap peas, fontina cheese, and asparagus. We’re always on the lookout for an impressive veal dish, and Carmello’s offering is just that. Cooked to perfection, the blend of butter-bathed green vegetables with decadent risotto is an ideal backdrop for the generous portion of veal.
Worth-the-calories dessert options include a Black Forest cake and crème brûlée, both reliable ways to cap the evening.
Carmello’s is a quiet restaurant, with Rat Pack tunes gently playing for ambience. Diners don’t come here for trendy dishes or a cosmopolitan vibe, but the elegance it exudes is palpable.
See This: The impressive glass-encased wine refrigerator holds many delights.
Eat This: Vitello Rafaelo, costelao de vaca, paelha Valenciana
Service: Exceptional, with extra touches like complimentary sparkling Portuguese wine upon arrival
When to Dine Here: On a date night or when you want to impress a group
Manassas | Italian | $$$
From the moment diners are greeted by the polished hostess until they are sampling the outstanding Italian cuisine created by chef Franklin Hernandez, this unassuming strip-mall restaurant hits the mark. The service staff is practically clairvoyant — one step ahead, delivering new cutlery, butter, lemon, or whatever your heart desires.
Simple treasures like the calamari fritti stand out with zippy marinara sauce accompanying the crispy squid, while generous portions of creamy formaggio enhance the burrata alla Caprese. Seafood fans embrace exceptional linguine di mare, heaping with meaty clams, mussels, and scallops in tangy cherry tomato sauce. Meat seekers enjoy the ample veal saltimbocca, finished with white wine sauce and earthy sage.
Pasta is housemade and Hernandez puts noticeable TLC into every creative dish. Try the ravioli polpa di granchio — a lump crabmeat-filled pasta surrounded with indulgent lobster bisque.
Delicious desserts are in large supply, but the namesake semifreddo is the bucket-list item here. The light-as-a-feather frozen mousse, with caramelized walnuts and amaretto cookies, tops the meal with a flavorful ending.
Semifreddo sets a high bar and brings civilized, excellent Italian cuisine to the table — all hidden in its strip-mall setting.
See This: The open kitchen reveals entertaining chefs creating culinary art.
Eat This: Calamari fritti, lamb meatballs, fettuccine Alfredo con gamberi
Service: Some of the best in the region
When to Dine Here: Bring a date to this dark horse for an unforgettable evening.
Manassas | American | $$$
Looking for a setting that matches the quality cuisine? Whether you’re in the mood for a simple BLT or a more refined miso-sake sea bass, the army of servers in blue-and-white-checkered-shirts here has you covered.
The centerpiece of Farm Brew Live in Manassas, The Black Sheep caters to an eclectic audience — all of whom are at this refurbished, 94-year-old dairy barn for interesting takes on world-inspired comfort food. A Nueske bacon tower, torched table-side; jalapeño honey-drizzled crispy chicken sandwich; and grilled filet mignon with Béarnaise are all stunners.
Diners may dress up or dress down; either way they’ll fit in nicely in the barn-chic setting, and the locally sourced menu’s variety meets every budget. A robust selection of whiskey, wine, and other adult beverages attracts a cocktail-toting crowd. Massive semicircular booths line the barn’s chandelier-punctuated dining room, and extra touches like purse stands dot the open floor.
On weekends, diners come for dinner, then enjoy live music just out the door at the impressive amphitheater. The Black Sheep is a destination for the whole family, as evidenced by the throngs of multigenerational visitors to the Farm Brew campus. It has a winning combination: outstanding cuisine and excellent service in an Insta-worthy setting.
See This: Glistening chandeliers light the high ceilings of this historic barn.
Eat This: Spanish garlic shrimp, jambalaya, Mongolian beef bowl
Service: Attentive but not over the top
When to Dine Here: Enjoy brunch, lunch, or dinner with family — get dressed up or wear jeans to this stunningly refurbished setting.
Feature image of Bistro L’Hermitage by Rey Lopez