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“Hey! It's Ballston.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Willow Restaurant

Willow Restaurant
4301 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 465-8800
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Ranked #41 of 654 restaurants in Arlington
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: American
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Bar scene, Large groups, Doing business, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night, Dessert
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Utah
Transit: Public Transit Stops Two blocks from the Ballston Metro.
Virginia, USA
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Hey! It's Ballston.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2013

It is often hard to find a decent restaurant, especially anything close to upscale, when you're captive to the Orange Line. Willow was a nice surprise and I plan to go back. True, some of the menu and bar items are far pricier than needed, but overall it is not unreasonable. The wine list suffers from the same mass-produced overpriced junk that most city restaurants offer, but I did get a decent Gruner and my friend had a very good whiskey cocktail. The kitchen produced two very nice soups, a passable smoked salmon offering, and an okay pasta dish for a reasonable price again. The service in my part of the Willow was very good and the server gave some very good suggestions.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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131 reviews from our community

76% Recommend
    54
    47
    22
    5
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Great Falls, Virginia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“The food was delicious but ........”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2013

The $9 Caesar Salad was advertised with anchovies. It came with 1 paper-thin sliver of an anchovy. It also came with a chunk of the thick stem from one of the lettuces. Pretty disappointing for a $9 salad. When I pointed these things out to the waitress, she appeared to not care at all which was even more disappointing.

The salads and entrees came all together and right on top of our not yet finished, and very delicious, flatbread appetizer. It has to be said that their tuna entree is absolutely delicious.

The water was “flavored” with some sort of over-ripe vegetable … was it cucumber?

Perhaps the worst moment was when, just as our table of 3 was finishing the meal with dessert and coffees, a bus boy came to clean the table next to us (less than 2’ away from us) and sprayed a most foul-smelling cleaner which pretty much wiped out the wonderful flavors that had been lingering on our palates.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria, Virginia
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“good atmosphere, good wait service”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2013

Willow has a good atmosphere, really good wait service. The menu is interesting but would be much better IF the folks in the kitchen (chef et al) would stop putting dill in and on everything....destroys the flavor and aroma.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ArlingtonVA
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Great for a special occasion”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2013

This restaurant has wonderful food and excellent service. The tables are well spaced so one can ignore the "snooty clientele" cegnau refers to in his/her review. The spinach salad was the best ever, My mahi mahi was prepared just right, and my husband's lamb shank must have been superb because he left not even the tiniest morsel. Even though this is a large restaurant, and it was quite busy; the noise level was just fine. You did not have to raise your voice. My only disappointment was that the signature dessert, sticky toffee pudding, was not available the evening I was there.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
63 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Excellent Food and Service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2013

If you can ignore the snooty clientele, this place is great. The service was really great--the staff was incredibly nice and attentive. The menu is a little different--American and French, maybe? I had the Willow spinach salad and it was lovely. Fresh and full of flavor without over-doing it on the dressing. The I enjoyed the butter poached lobster tail with lobster ravioli. Well, I don't think I need to tell you that this dish was sooooooooo good. The raviolis were light and full of lobster; the sauces were buttery and yummy, and the asparagus was just perfect. For dessert I tried the bourbon chocolate souffle cake--this was pretty good, but not my favorite. I probably should have just had a drink, I was pretty full. The cake was intense and rich, more like a mousse. I noticed that the whipped cream wasn't as light as real whipped cream usually is. But the caramel ice cream was amazing. My favorite part of the dessert.
I went alone, but the bar was packed. So I'm not sure about their happy hour---I'm a huge proponent of fine dining happy hour. You get some really great dishes and drinks for a fraction of the price. And it's always fun to talk to the bartender or one of the locals just getting off work.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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