If you’re going to gift-shop till you drop, make sure it’s not from hunger. For dishes that are a step up from the typical food-court offerings, head to these restaurants — all at different price points — near Washington's shopping hubs.
After you’ve maxed out your credit card, be kind to your wallet with a meal at Esaan, a small Thai restaurant in McLean that serves spicy dishes from the northeastern region of Thailand. Heat levels can be atomic, but sticky rice soothes the tongue. For consistently good food that pleases a crowd, Coastal Flats is a beach-inspired mini chain with delicious burgers. TenPenh, a sleek Pan-Asian restaurant that formerly lived in downtown D.C., serves such menu standouts as smoked lobster and whole crispy fish.
Esaan, 1307 Old Chain Bridge Rd., McLean. 703-288-3901.
Coastal Flats, 7860-L Tysons Corner Center, McLean. 703-356-1440.
TenPenh, 7900 Westpark Dr. 703-910-3096.
Tysons Corner Center
If you’re shopping at Tysons Corner Center, it doesn’t get much more convenient than Street Kitchen, a casual-yet-ambitious Indian food stand within the mall. Stick to the dosas and you’ll be pleased. For a more formal, sit-down meal, try Kizuna — a Japanese restaurant serving sushi and piping bowls of ramen — or Nostos, a Greek restaurant that offers classic Mediterranean dishes with a modern bent.
Street Kitchen, 7943B Tysons Corner Center, second level, Tysons Corner. 571-633-1820.
Kizuna, 8221 Leesburg Pike, Vienna. 703-442-7888.
Nostos, 8100 Boone Blvd., Vienna. 703-760-0690.
For a quick, healthy bite, Chaia satisfies. The vegetarian taco shop started as a farmers market stand and grew into a split-level restaurant serving juices and handmade tortillas stuffed with meat-free goodness (3 for $11). Chez Billy Sud, from the same team behind 18th Street Lounge and the Brixton, among others, is a cozy French bistro with enough wine to undo shopping stress. More soothing yet is Kintaro, a shoebox of a Japanese restaurant with minimalist decor and a menu loaded with fresh, simple flavors.
Chaia, 3207 Grace St. NW. 202-333-5222.
Chez Billy Sud, 1035 31st St. NW. 202-965-2606.
Kintaro, 1039 33rd St. NW. 202-333-4649.
Fashion Center at Pentagon City
If you picked up some new clothes for yourself, perhaps you can change into them after visiting Epic Smokehouse, a combination steakhouse and barbecue joint filled with the intoxicating smell of smoked meat. For lighter fare, try Honeygrow’s veggie-heavy menu with healthful stir-frys, salads and juices. Fyve Restaurant and Lounge is a glitzy spot within the Ritz Carlton serving American standards with a global slant, including grilled half chicken with mashed yucca ($25) and Chilean sea bass with rice noodles ($35).
Epic Smokehouse, 1330 S. Fern St., Arlington. 571-319-4001.
Honeygrow, 1100 S. Hayes St., Arlington. 703-418-0180.
Fyve Restaurant Lounge, 1250 S. Hayes St., Arlington. 703-412-2762.
Chef Amy Brandwein dishes out homey Italian dishes at Centrolina, an osteria and market with highlights that include seasonal, house-made pastas and wood-fired meats. Del Campo, from chef Victor Albisu, offers charred Argentine fare and, on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., tacos via a new Taco Bamba lunch counter.
Centrolina, 974 Palmer Alley. 202-898-2426.
Del Campo and Taco Bamba, 777 I St. NW. 202-289-7377.
At Brine, a seafood restaurant from the same team behind Rappahannock Oyster Bar in Union Market, you can expect just-caught fish and, of course, fresh oysters. (Hit up the restaurant on weekdays during happy hour between 4 to 7 p.m. for $1.25 bivalves.) Jinya Ramen is a buzzy spot serving ramen with silky broths and dense noodles, while Four Sisters draws loyal regulars and newbies with classic Vietnamese dishes.
Brine, 2985 District Ave., Suite 120, Fairfax, 703-280-1000.
Jinya Ramen, 2911 District Ave., Suite 140, Fairfax. 703-992-7656.
Four Sisters, 8190 Strawberry Lane, Suite 1, Falls Church. 703-539-8566.
Old Town Alexandria
When you’ve grown tired of taking advantage of Old Town’s Black Friday deals, consider making a pit stop at BGR, a solid burger chain with pillow-soft buns, juicy patties and crispy fries. For a more refined meal, Nasime is a sleek Japanese restaurant from chef Yuh Shimomura that serves delicate cuts of fish in an intimate space.
BGR, 106 N. Washington St., Alexandria. 703-299-9791.
Nasime, 1209 King St., Alexandria. 703-548-1848.