Ambar - Arlington

4.7
2530 Reviews
$31 to $50
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 .

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
  • Contactless payment available
  • Sealed or wrapped utensils used
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Extra space between tables
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
What 2530 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.5
service
4.6
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
Sort by
Filters
DS
vipDShaw
Washington DC
23 reviews
Dined a day ago
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Sadly, the food was not nearly as good as the DC location. Lacked flavor. Tasted a bit stale.

SA
SierraA
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food and service was incredible, as always. 10/10

J
Jac475
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall4food4service3ambience4

I’ve been here twice before, but this was my least favorite time. The service wasn’t great, and quite slow. The food was just okay, and it was so loud. I’m not rushing to go back.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Food was GREAT! Loved the ámbar experience!! I would highly recommend this place but the service was ok, I had to ask them every time I was ready to order because they didn’t ask me once

S
Stanz
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Great place.

H
Hikergirl
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Exceptional food and service. We really enjoy amber, not run of the mill food. Friendly service

L
vipLarry
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our first time there was excellent. My first time at Anbar in Clarendon/Arlington was awesome. All three of us each had the Anbar Experience which essentially is all you can eat off everything on the menu (I believe). The star of the day for me was their lamb lasagne, perfection. All small plates, meat, vegetables and seafood were excellent. Unfortunately, my writing skills are not great enough to convey how superlative this restaurant is. Highly Recommend....Go and start off with a Sarajevo Old Fashion cocktail!

DK
vipDonaldK
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall4food5service3ambience4

We indulged in the lunch express ($25 per person) which offers huge range of choices and as many small plates as you want. Great value. We loved the different unique flavors of our various choices.

P
Pallav
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was our first time for this type of food. The staff took their time and explained everything and it was fantastic.

LA
LeoA
Detroit
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This has become one of our favorite area restaurants. The goulash is amazing!

SE
SabinaE
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Everything was great. The exception were a couple dishes, which weren’t warm, but cold. And maybe outdoor area could be more atmospheric.

s
vipsharonp
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love Ambar! Love the food and the $35 all you can eat tapas! It's a great restaurant to go with friends or family.

k
kman58
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Second time at ambar, this time for Mother’s Day brunch, and we had a great time! Service was fast overall and very accurate. Very reasonable prices for the high quality of food they serve. Can’t recommend ambar enough!

DW
DonnaW
Richmond
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Such a wonderful menu and food was delicious. Busy, but service did well. Definitely will go back.

MK
MayraK
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was amazing! The tapas style dinning was a great experience!

M
vipMochi
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great as always!

A
vipAkin
Baltimore
17 reviews
Dined on May 7, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service. Great food

DF
vipDFfromDC
Washington DC
30 reviews
Dined on May 6, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience4

There are many small plates on the menu, so we chose the "all you can order" option ($35 per person). All the selections were good and some (lamb, Brussels sprouts, chicken) were exceptional. Our server was friendly and attentive, and the outdoor dining space was shady and cool on a warm day. Overall, a great dining experience!

A
Anonymousfoodie211
Columbus
11 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience5

I tried the Ambar Experience which allows you to sample anything on the menu tapas style within a two hour period. I was very excited about this culinary experience but it fell a bit short.

Half the food was delicious but some of the other dishes I actually couldn’t swallow. There were meat dishes and it seemed like the meat wasn’t cooked. There were a few issues logistically.

For example once business picked up for the evening dinner rush receiving my tapas became a lot harder. I probably ordered about 15 different plates over two hours but there began to be a huge lag. Instead of bringing them out during a reasonable time it became clear that my tapa experience was not the priority. I noticed other tables getting their food before me.

If you’re going to offer an experience like this you need to make sure the food comes out without half-hour gaps in between. Tapas should be served with timing in mind.

If you’re going to do the experience I also recommend that you keep track on your phone of what you ordered or perhaps the restaurant could give you a small list with a pen or pencil so you can just check off what plates you’ve ordered and when they’ve arrived because after you begin ordering lots of plates it’s easy to forget. Also, several dishes didn’t come out and I had to follow up with my waiter. I suspect this was because the kitchen lost track of them again as the dinner rush began to pick up.

I appreciate that staffing is difficult right now post-pandemic and it’s my intention to support local restaurants. There were some absolutely wonderful things about this place, most of all the ambience indoors at the Clarendon location. Go and enjoy.

g
georget
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 2, 2021
Overall3food3service5ambience3

Interesting food and we had a terrific waiter, altho harried. Outside is noisy but we will go back again.

R
Ryan
Richmond
6 reviews
Dined on May 2, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

First time having brunch at Ambar and I’m looking forward to the next time! The food was absolutely amazing and unique while the service and speed of getting food was fantastic. I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a unique unlimited small plate brunch to check out Ambar.

DM
DannyM
Denver
7 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Overall a nice experience. The food was good, some tapas were great, others were average. The service was good but not the friendliest staff.

C
Cami
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We honestly loved everything we got, everything was amazing. I just booked a reservation for brunch next weekend because of how impressed we were. I personally live in DC but this location is worth the drive. Even the drinks impressed us, the angel and the devil were our favorite.

Dress: casual but cute

Favorites:
drunken mussels
braised lamb
short rib goulash
The flatbreads
Beef Proscuitto

Service: off the charts!

L
Lisa
Charleston
1 review
Dined on May 1, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Upon entrance into the establishment the hostess was rude. Our waiter was very knowledgeable and very attentive towards us. The noise level was slightly loud. Would have like to have seen table cloths on the tables and chairs were slightly dirty. They were just setting up the tables as we walked in for our 930 reservation and we arrived at 9:30.We asked for a window seat but we were told that was saved for four people except nobody showed until we were almost getting ready to leave and the restaurant was overall mostly empty in the morning.

J
Jane
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 30, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Always a fun date night at ambar - we came in for the Balkan experience and had a great time sampling delicious dishes. Great sparkling wine option during happy hour as well! Service was warm, atmosphere was lively, and food was fabulous. One of our favorites!

B
Bam1011
Baltimore
3 reviews
Dined on April 30, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Somewhat disappointed. Menu was limited and portions are smaller than pre-COVID. Not sure I would return until things are back to normal.

AA
vipAmbarArl043021
Washington DC
122 reviews
Dined on April 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Valentin was an excellent server, with great suggestions. Having traveled to the former Yugoslavia, I was somewhat familiar the food. However, Valentin gave me excellent guidance to the cuisine.

Everything was excellent and very high quality.

I will be back soon.

s
vipstatusk
Washington DC
45 reviews
Dined on April 28, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Some changes to the menu from before COVID. Wish they still had the fried smelt. Service still top notch and food full of wonderful flavors. They have a great setup for outdoor dining as well.

AA
AustinA
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Amazing tapas! Would 100% recommend this place! Will be going again soon!

t
trudes
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

we came for brunch and the food was absolutely incredible. the drinks were also amazing and we will definitely be back with more family and friends

m
mybellylovesfood
New England
4 reviews
Dined on April 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

great social distancing, love the green touch within the restaurant.

A
vipAlison
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined on April 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent!

Report
SC
SalmanC
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on April 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic food, wonderful ambiance, courteous, professional staff. Great experience

OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on April 23, 2021
Overall3food4service3ambience3

The servers could do a better job of “looking“ to say when something is needed by the customer. I found this to be one of the floors at Ambar. The food was very good and when the servers was there the food was arrived quite quickly so no complaints on that and the food itself was very good. Again more attention needs to be paid by
Servers or whoever to keep an ion the customers as for instants, no separate spoon was provided when each small dish arrived so we had to ask each time for an additional spoon so we weren’t using our own spoons to share a food item as the items are small to begin with and it is the object to have multipleItems

ER
EmilyR
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 23, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Food was delicious!!! We did the ambar experience and it did not disappoint. Staff were all wearing masks and or gloves. Tables were spaced out and felt very safe. Would definitely go back now that the weather is getting warmer

K
Kendall
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was delicious and service was friendly and professional.

JS
JulietteS
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Definitely get the Ambar Experience!! It is worth it because you get to try a bit of everything. I would also recommend taking your server's recommendations, they know best ;) This is a good place for foodies and is very price friendly, also good for people who are trying to branch out. Lots of flavors, the plates were very well put together and the presentation was great too

S
Surabaya
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience4

We actually sat inside as the round tables are bigger for a party of four. It was a great lunch. Did the unlimited tapas, which is a great option. Salmon and Trout we're very tasty. Drinks were served and refilled promptly.

JH
JuanH
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 19, 2021
Overall4food4service3ambience3

It was interesting that for a Monday I went in and I was told that I had to wait an hour without reservations. I made a reservation on the spot and waited only 15 mins. Not sure if that says how the place is run or if I was just not welcome. Kind of struck me in a weird way, but I am putting this out there. So it is important to make a reservation, but I am more concerned about the restaurant operations. If I am new to town and want to check the place an hour wait will make me want to go somewhere else. The place was almost empty on a Monday evening. The food is great, and the service was as expected in a seat-down restaurant. I will make sure I make a reservation next time, but the wait and first impression left me with a bad taste. Would I recommend this place? No. Simply because you can get great food and drinks even for cheaper around the area with better customer service from the host/hostess.

S
Shannon
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Ambar is our favorite restaurant in Arlington and we have only had the very best experiences there. I'm vegetarian and have never left hungry, and my fiance loves the extensive menu and variety of meat served. Their deserts are unique and innovative, their coffee is comforting, and the wine is delicious. Beyond that, the ambiance (lighting, plants, service, music) are all perfection. Go for dinner or brunch, you will not be disappointed.

FAQs

Ambar - Arlington does offer delivery in partnership with Uber Eats. Ambar - Arlington also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (703) 875-9663.

Ambar - Arlington is rated 4.7 stars by 2530 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.