Pictured: Ahi Poke Bowl
If you’re stuck in a fast food or “leftover” lunch rut—get ready to kick your ho-hum food routine to the curb. Check out these 15 bright ideas for lunch destinations in Arlington. Let’s take a look at a short list of yumminess:
ONE: The Tin Cup
1025 W Abram Street—Downtown Arlington
This cozy lunch counter has long commanded a following of loyal fans who dig on the Tin Cup’s delicious homemade sandwiches—like the John Wayne (ham, turkey, pastrami and cheddar cheese) or the High Noon (pastrami, Swiss cheese, and Chipotle mayo)—as well as Tin Cup’s rotating soup of the day and coconut cream pie.
TWO: Ba Le
2240 Browning Drive—East Arlington
Stop by Ba Le if you’re looking for a “something different” lunch that won’t break your budget. Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and banh mi (a meat, pickled vegetable, and chili pepper sandwich) devotees are in for a real treat!
THREE: New York Eats
604 Doug Russell—Central Arlington
New York Eats, another budget-friendly Arlington favorite, is especially famed for gyro and falafel wraps. Other menu stars include the Manhattan Mix Plate (meats and falafel served over seasoned rice and lettuce, topped with a signature sauce and served with pita bread and veggies) or the Bronx Burger (American cheeseburger with the works, plus BBQ sauce and jalapenos).
FOUR: Dino’s Subs
2221 S. Collins—East Central Arlington
The concept here is pretty simple: Take an old-school vibe and blend it with some of the best dang submarine sandwiches you’ll ever put in your mouth, and POOF you have Dino’s. By the way, don’t let a large lunchtime crowd put you off—Dino’s is totally worth the wait, and the staff knows how to make even the craziest out-the-door line move pretty fast. Not sure which sub to choose? Try the Black Jack (a Dino’s signature hot sub layered with ham, beef, and cream cheese) and wash it down with some Dino’s lemonade.
FIVE: Fork in The Road
1821 S. Fielder—Central Arlington
Although the restaurant is small in size, it packs a mighty flavor punch. Delicious, creative burgers (including a build-your-own option) and the infamous three-cheese “Crackaroni” offer just a couple of the reasons the lunchtime customers are often willing to wait in the parking lot for a table to open up in this tiny, funky hole-in-the-wall. Whatever you order, be sure and pair it with a pure cane sugar soda and finish off with a slice of Fork In The Road’s Red Velvet Pie.
SIX: J.R. Bentley’s
406 W. Abram—Downtown Arlington
If you’ve got a craving for a burger-and-brew lunch served in an English pub atmosphere with a side of collegiate vibe, head to J.R. Bentley’s. Why go across the pond when this Arlington institution offers brilliant menu items like Duke’s Burger (melted Swiss cheese and sautéed mushrooms), fish and chips, and the Jalapeno Bottlecaps (deep fried jalapeno slices with side of queso for some extra yum).
SEVEN: Mama’s Pizza
1200 N. Fielder—North Arlington
This is yet another longtime Arlington institution beloved for its hot and delicious East Coast style pizzas. Swing by Mama’s at lunchtime for a mini-pizza and a cold drink or a pizza-and-salad buffet—you won’t regret it!
EIGHT: Gyros House
720 W Division—West Arlington
This unassuming eatery has a solid following of long-time fans addicted to what many online reviewers describe as simply the best gyros they’ve ever had. Be sure and check out the Gyros House Combination Plate, featuring gyros meat, house-made Greek salad, falafel, hummus, sliced pita bread, and tzatziki sauce. Bonus: In the mood for a takeout lunch? Try their drive-through!
NINE: Candlelite Inn
1202 E Division—East Arlington
Beloved by generations of local diners as one of Arlington’s most nostalgic dining institutions, the Candlelite Inn offers a little bit of everything, including Tex-Mex, steaks, pizza and spaghetti, with rotating daily lunch specials priced under $10 each. Check out the chopped steak with a loaded baked potato, the Mexican Dinner or the Everything Burrito—yum!
TEN: Papaya Mexican Grill
100 W Pioneer Parkway—East Central Arlington
A “hidden gem” favored for its oh-so-satisfying multi-colored frozen margaritas, Papaya Mexican Grill is also an excellent choice for hooking up with a number of tasty lunch dishes, including classic Tex-Mex combo platters and more traditional fare like carne guisada. Also worth trying: the Enchiladas Papaya (cheese or beef enchiladas topped with your choice of fajita meat), the Camarones al Mojo de Ajo (a signature seafood platter), and the stacked nachos with a side of guacamole.
ELEVEN: Thai Texas
5736 SW Green Oaks—Southwest Arlington
Thai Texas is equally known for its kitschy Tiki-esque atmosphere as it is for a robust menu of tasty Thai dishes that include traditional favorites (like pad thai and crispy duck) to more creative fare (like the Thai Chili Poppers). Tip: Go low on the spice level during your first visit until you get used to how the kitchen prepares everything.
TWELVE: Loving Hut
4519 Matlock Rd. Suite #123—South Arlington
Vegan cuisine means dining exclusively on boring salads right? WRONG! Loving Hut, which was created with the noble vision that all beings could live in peace, love and harmony, offers gourmet cuisine made with wholesome, guilt-free vegan ingredients. So get ready for tasty, but healthy options like quesadillas, the Mediterranean Medley pizza, the Righteous Raw Pasta or the Portabella Wrap.
THIRTEEN: Ahi Poke Bowl
3701 S Cooper—South Arlington
If you can’t swing a trip to Hawaii, you can still enjoy the island vibe with a trip to Ahi Poke. Here’s how it works: Pick your bowl and base (like rice or a salad), pick your poke (like spicy tuna or popcorn shrimp), then top it off with up to five items (like avocado or pineapple). Prepare for instant addiction!
FOURTEEN: La Isla
611 Park Row—Central Arlington
If you’ve been driving by La Isla for years and thinking “Maybe one of these I’ll check this place out”, then you’ve been missing out on some well-executed Tex-Mex standards and traditional Mexican dishes, served up in a quiet atmosphere that’s perfect for memorable lunchtime conversation. Try the shrimp cocktail or anything that includes enchiladas, as well as the relleno or Bistec a la Mexicana (Mexican- styled beefsteak.)
FIFTEEN: Istanbul Grill
6204 S Cooper—South Arlington
No doubt about it, Istanbul Grill is one of Arlington’s most popular destinations for global cuisine, and you can BYOB if you opt for the late lunch/after work variation. Two-course Istanbul lunch specials ring in under $12 and feature everything from cigarette borek (deep-fried feta stuffed rolls) to zucchini pancakes to beef shish kebab to vegetable casserole—and tons more. Arrive hungry…