Ambar - Arlington

4.6
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1882 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Tapas / Small Plates
Our aim is to put together the finest products of the New World and Old World for your dining pleasure. Perennially on the edge of great empires, the Balkans owes much of its food culture to its history, geography, and climate. The term Balkan is generally believed to come from the Byzantine word meaning: “a chain of wooded mountains.” With a desire to introduce Virginia to cutting edge Balkan cuisine, we created a dining space that will delight and indulge the senses. Primarily featuring “small plates,” Ambar also offers wines and spirits from the Balkans not often experienced by the American diner. Ambar showcases the best dishes from the Balkan Peninsula with a modern twist. These dishes are presented artfully, with modern combinations that deliver the flavor profiles in a unique way. Serbian natives Ivan Iricanin and Uros Smiljanic developed the menu with the help of Executive Chef Dejan Pilovic .

Specials

New Year's Eve Special Menus & Offers

Ambar will be offering 2 seating times for NYE, 4:30-8:00pm for $69 for unlimited small plates and $0.25 per each select drink and 9:00-11:00pm for $99 per person for unlimited small plates and $0.25 per each select drink. For a second seating bar seat will be $79 per person.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

What 1882 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.4
service
4.5
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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BS
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Fabulous, as always. The Balkan experience is something that you just have to try.

CP
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Enjoyed the the whole experience. Fun food, nice open feel and the music kept things upbeat. The lunch is also a good value.

AS
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Came here for thanksgiving day brunch for two. Wonderful food, great service - we had a wonderful time. This place is a gem - highly recommend.

OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2019
Overall3food5service3ambience5

The food and service during dinner were good. Attentive server during dinner, water constantly filled, empty plates regularly removed. However, after we ordered dessert we never saw our server again. It seemed as if she had switched sections and our table was forgotten. I flagged down the MOD when we were ready for our check as our server never came by after the desserts were dropped. He told me he would get our check but he never came back. I saw him drop a dessert for a table beside us but never came by with our check. The server who was taking care of the table next to us gave us our check and was really apologetic about how much it took for us to get our check. He saved our experience but there definitely was an opportunity for communication and awareness from our previous server and the MOD. For a restaurant of this caliber, that type of service really puts a damper on the experience.

J
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

While I'm a frequent guest at the Capitol Hill Ambar, this was my first visit for dinner to the Arlington location. Business was bustling, even on a Sunday night! Ambar always has outstanding service. The food comes out quickly, and on a rolling basis. Staff is extremely professional. But its the amazing delecacies that keep me coming back!

ST
New England
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Busy restaurant with a staff who seemed energized, worked hard and provided very good service. Unfortunately the food let the restaurant down, overcooked lamb, food not spiced or flavored properly, and a very poor rendention of steak tartare.

For the money paid the value and more importantly the quality was not there.

J
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall2food2service1ambience4

Food had been sitting out a while and often arrived lukewarm. We never even received a handful of dishes. It was packed, and service was slow. Their women’s restroom had only one working stall, downstairs. We also ordered a carafe of drinks, which arrived in a small french press (?) half-full of ice, making for very watered-down drinks that I wouldn’t recommend.

IS
London
15 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Phenomenal food, a great atmosphere, and attentive service made this a fabulous experience. I highly recommend this restaurant!

G
Raleigh
12 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food. The flat rate deal was a great value and allowed a complete submergence into the Balkan fare. Bravo!

OT
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Food was good but not top as I was hoping for from prior high ratings. Also, service was a little slow for lunch. Staff were friendly and professional.

OT
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on November 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We come here quite often and the food is always so good. Tonight we came to celebrate my boyfriend's birthday and the food was delicious as usual. In addition, the server, Valentin, made it really special. He made sure we had drinks at all times, food and even brought small compliments. At the end, he brought three different kinds of desert as a birthday compliment and decorated everything very beautifully.

LR
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 19, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

First time here for lunch and really enjoyed it...great food and great lunch deal. Different ambiance from their Capitol Hill location — more laid back — but the food and service is just as good. Would highly recommend; there was not a single item we did not like.

m
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The Express Lunch for $19 was a great deal. We've ordered over 20 dishes between 3 people, every dish was tasty. The service was great. We had such a good experience that we will definitely be back.

A
New England
23 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

This restaurant was pleasant. My reservation was for brunch and we decided to go for their famous bottomless brunch, which was ok. Great price if you are looking to try a little bit of everything from the menu. Service was a bit slow but our waitress and the welcome staff at the entrance were very nice.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 17, 2019
Overall5food4service4ambience4

Everytime i come food had been excellent! Its definitely worth it to get the unlimited tapas.

MT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall5food5service1ambience5

I love ambar, but I will say our waitress was very very unfriendly and not very attentive. It was a busy night so not being as attentive is understandable, but she seemed so displeased and annoyed when we did ask for anything else the few times she did come to check in our table which was rare.

I
Washington DC
22 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

First time visit -awesome food and great choice, great service TWO THUMBS UP

BR
1 review
Dined on November 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Ambar's dining area is attractive, if a bit crowded. The music was energetic and that, combined with the acoustics, created too much background noise. It is difficult to hear the staff and one's tablemates. Those are the only negatives I can think of and they did not spoil our evening. My husband and I brought our daughter to Ambar to celebrate her birthday and we enjoyed a wonderful meal. Our waitress was helpful, friendly, and courteous. The other staff members were terrific as well--refilling our water, bringing food, clearing dishes quickly and efficiently. My fellow diners enjoyed watching how busy the staff was and how well they worked together. Of course the star of our experience was the food--DELICIOUS! We chose the unlimited small plate experience and ordered dish after dish to share. Some favorites were the grilled shrimp with corn puree, mushrooms with rice, beet spread, lamb flatbread and meat kebab. I believe we ordered 13 dishes and ate every bite.

R
Washington DC
37 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Went there with my wife and a work colleague. Waitress was excellent: as this was our first time there, and our first experience with Balkan food, she took time to explain the process. We definitely recommend the $35 per person unlimited plates. The plates are not big, and you will generally order at least four, which automatically puts you over $35. Waitress recommended a Bulgarian wine (nice, not outstanding, but interesting). Sprouts, mussels, chicken, lamb patty all very good. It is noisy, which is a bit of a challenge for me. But we will be back!

TP
1 review
Dined on November 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Fantastic food. Very unique. Love the bottomless small plate deal. We ordered about 9 small plates betwee the the two of us and it was plenty.

RM
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Good strong drinks accompanied a steady train of small plates. Fabulous lamb lasagna (aka moussaka), cheese pie and salads. Good calamari. Sausages a bit underdone and pungent. Desserts were good but opt for the raspberry and not the hazelnut cake which was a bit dense at the end of the meal. Great service. Lunchtime buffet a real bargain.

MR
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food is always delicious here.

FR
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I like to put the responsibility for choosing my all you can eat menu in hands of capable servers at Ambar, and they once again didn’t disappoint! Great selection of salads, dips, and meats for my out of town business guests.

MM
Philadelphia
95 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love this place. Whenever I'm in the area, I try to eat at Ambar!

OT
Washington DC
32 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My wife and I wanted something different - so we searched OpenTable and picked Ambar - we are glad we did!

The meal was great, the service was fantastic and we are sure to be back!

OT
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Really good desert but the food was alright for the price

HA
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Their brunch used to be a lot better! The choices were very limited this time, the place was crowded and very noisy!

HK
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Always love bringing new people here. Only downside is that it is always loud and crowded, and the tables never fit all the food lol. But still one of my favorite restraunts in the area, perfect for brunch and dinner.

OT
Serbia
2 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We've been to Ambar multiple times and had a consistently great experience each time. Food is delicious and a good value. Definitely going back and recommending.

m
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

so good. there was not one dish i did not like nor could i choose my favorite.

s
Oklahoma City
2 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Food is perfect. Just wish it wasn't so noisy! Plus, only one stall was working in the ladies' restroom. Between the two restaurants that share the restroom, it got busy in there!

SC
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My wife and I enjoyed a lovely dinner I didn’t know much about Balkan food, so the tasting menu and tapas-sized portions were a perfect way to get acquainted. Service was friendly. Decor was clever, setting a nice atmosphere.

MC
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food is amazing, and great value. This place is always crowded, even at 8:15pm on a week night. So much so that we had to wait about 20 min after our reservation time to be seated at a table that wasn’t even in the main dining room. We were fine with waiting and the service was outstanding, they comped our drink orders to compensate for the delay, and we weren’t even complaining about it. Will definitely be back, and highly recommended for the food and the service!

DR
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great experience, awese food, good service!

OT
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience4

Delicious small plates!

PO
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was delicious, the staff very friendly. It is busy and crowded, so make a reservation. Wonderful addition to Clarendon.

DP
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Ecellent Food and Service!!! Never disappoints!

BK
Minneapolis
2 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

I love Ambar so much! We always go for the $35 per person unlimited small plates because you get a huge amount of food for a lower price than it normally would be. The only thing is at the end of our meal, it felt like we were rushed out of there (weren't asked if we want dessert or another drink when we probably would've). Otherwise, all was perfect!

OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall2food4service1ambience4

Honestly the Ambar Capital Hill is definitely so much better. The Service at this one was not good, especially as someone who also works in the restaurant business. They forgot our meals twice, our server barely did table visits at a point we had no food and no refills on our drinks. We tried getting other server's attention but they were clueless. Honestly overall disappointed, however the hostess were the kindest.

KM
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food and service by Ivan. We did the Ambar Experience and it was so worth it for the amount and quality of food we received. Cocktails were delicious too!