Looking for a restaurant with patio, terrace or sidewalk seating? Try one of these destinations in Arlington, Falls Church or McLean. BY LAURA HAYES (page 6 of 10) 124 North Washington St., Falls Church; 703-534-1033; www.argias.com If the patio at Argia’s doesn’t inspire you to embrace la dolce vita, you’re doing it all wrong. Pause to appreciate the charming surroundings—potted plants, hanging art and a faux Tuscan fountain—instead of fiddling with your smartphone. Chef Ryan Baldini tweaks his Northern Italian menu for warmer weather by topping fresh pastas (all of which are made in-house, save the penne) with lighter sauces. The pappardelle comes adorned with crawfish, diced jalapeños, grape tomatoes and lemon zest in a white-wine-butter sauce. A memorable meal can also be assembled from the restaurant’s bounty of antipasti plates, which include Caprese salad, steamed P.E.I. mussels, fried calamari and beef carpaccio. These and most other menu selections are available in both “solo” and “famiglia” sizes, so you can opt to share, or save all the fried risotto balls for yourself. While it is tempting to visit Argia’s on the weekend to take in a leisurely outdoor meal, there are compelling reasons to dine here during the week, too. Nightly specials include half-price bottles of wine on Mondays, and pizzas that only cost a sawbuck on Thursdays.
We were happy that Northern Virginia Magazine selected Argia\\\'s for its feature restaurant in the Taste of NoVa last week! Argia\\\'s is a local restaurant in Falls Church City that we enjoy visiting, so we invited our friends and braved the cold to have lunch here. After about a half a dozen meals here since its re-opening under new ownership in 2013, we know to expect a good meal and great service. We wrote about it last summer. Staff is usually friendly, attentive and efficient. Food is better than decent. One of our barometers for a good restaurant is the consistency of our dining experiences to this establishment and Argia\\\'s definitely passes that test, so you know what to expect when you come here. On this particular Saturday afternoon Argia\\\'s was hosting two large parties in its large dining room, with over 50 people total. Good thing we made a reservation! We got the only table out in the bar area, which is a bright, sunny area, and was quite nice. However, the wait staff was frazzled trying to service the large parties, so our service fell somewhat short of the typical excellent this time, which we are writing off as a hickup. There is one important factor that truly value in Argia\\\'s, which is the flexibility of the chef and the billing structures. Not only can they accommodate individual orders within larger parties, but whenever we have requested something that was either not on the menu, or a substitution of any kind, the kitchen has accommodated our requests happily, flawlessly and deliciously. Seems like the management instills in its employees the importance of treating each individual customer like family and the chef is the perfect manifestation of this spirit. Ask any regular customers and they will rave about the baskets of warm bread that are generously dispensed from the kitchen. The bread, notably baked on premises, has somewhat of a gritty texture, and is delicious and fluffy, with just the right hint of herbs. It is served up with some delicious olive oil. The Mista Salata and Caesar\\\'s Salad were fresh and only lightly dressed. The cup of Minestrone soup was quite good. The Pappardelle and Trout entrees were also good and fresh. We were most pleased when the owner Salina came over and chatted with us, proudly telling us that Argia\\\'s was chosen as one of the winners of the Taste of Falls Church last year. Well deserved!!!
By Warren Rojas A local favorite for gratifying Italian, Argia’s fields vegetarian-friendly options ranging from a daily frittata special (corn and spinach, asparagus are standouts) to a generous slab of roast eggplant and goat cheese to a bare-bones but bountiful garlic and red pepper pasta.
INTERVIEWS BY NINA PATEL
He’s tall, dark and handsome, attracted to blue-eyed blondes and says his sense of humor is his best attribute. Ashley is a blue-eyed blonde and says big flirts and partiers are a turn-off. We sent Andre and Ashley to Argia’s in Falls Church .
Ashley: I was actually early, but I didn’t want to be early, so I waited in the car until 7:27.
Andre: Zach (the waiter) brought her outside. I gave her a hug and said, “Thank you for coming.”
Ashley: I was like, Oh, he’s cute.
Andre: She was very pretty.
Ashley: Awkwardly I sat across the table. He was like, “You can move closer.” It was a patio table, so I was pretty far away, so I moved to the other side.
Andre: I’m not the type of person to do a dinner date as a first date. I feel there is a pressure there to create the conversation — create the environment. I started off with my background, where I work, and where I’m from and my lifestyle.
Ashley: We had a lot in common. We’re both transplants. We both are really family-oriented.
Andre: I have a grandfather in Charlottesville. That piqued her interest — she said, “Oh, that’s where my family is!”
Ashley: My mom passed away. I have a tattoo of her name on my wrist — and he noticed that pretty quickly. He has one that’s on the inside of his arm. He was dressed really nice so I couldn’t see it. He said, “I want to get another tattoo, but I didn’t know where to go. I have this business card of a place that is near my grandpa’s house.” He pulled out the card, and it was a place that my brother, my mom and my dad got tattoos.
Andre: I get vibes from people pretty easily — I can tell just from being around a person who they are. I got really easy, positive vibes from her. There was no hesitation or awkwardness at all.
Ashley: We were talking about how we weren’t sure what to expect and how our friends were wondering. I was like, “We should totally take pictures.” He said, “Yes, let’s take a photo and send it to them.” We did a selfie.
Andre: She sent her friends a picture. They just wanted to make sure I wasn’t some crazy person.
Ashley: I asked him, “Do you want me to send it to you, too?” That is how we exchanged numbers.
Andre: We walked to [a nearby] bar. I would definitely say there was chemistry to some degree — for being on a first date. Women are hard to read. I know for a fact she enjoyed our conversation.
Ashley: There was definitely chemistry. He was so sweet and gave me some really nice compliments.
Andre: I asked her, “What time do you have to be up?” It’s probably getting a little late. She agreed. I walked her back to her car.
Ashley: He put his arm out and said, “I have to be a gentleman.” And I put my arm around his.
Andre: I said: “Thank you so much for meeting me. I had a great time. Let’s do this again.”
Ashley: We hugged at first and then little peck — a cute little goodbye kiss.
Ashley: If it’s not a 5, it’s at least a 4.5. Most [dates] you don’t talk about plans on what you want to do the next time you see each other.
Andre: I would give it a 5. I would be interested in seeing her again and see where it goes from there.
Sounded great, didn’t it? We thought so, too, but the couple’s self-professed date night chemistry wasn’t enough to fuel a second outing. There were a few texts, and Ashley was open to a second date, but, alas, it wasn’t to be. Sigh.
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Falls Church News Press - SEPTEMBER 16, 2014 Argia’s walked away the big winner at the Taste of Falls Church on Saturday, beating out 13 other F.C. restaurants for “Best Taste” at the City’s annual competition at the Fall Festival. The Italian restaurant’s winning dishes included penne alla vodka, chicken picatta and tiramisu. Other winners on the rainy Saturday afternoon at the F.C. Community Center included Clare & Don’s Beach Shack winning “Best Value” with orange crush drinks, popsicles and shrimp and chicken salad sliders, and Anthony’s Restaurant which earned an honorable mention serving mini-gyros and chicken lemon rice soup.