Ambar - Arlington

4.7
1384 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$30 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
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 .
avatar copy

Private Dining

Book your next event with us

View details

Specials

Valentine's Day Special Menus & More

Ambar in Clarendon will be offering $85 per person for unlimited food (regular menu + Chef's specials), $0.25 per each select drink and one dessert to share. Celebrate your love in Arlington's best restaurant.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

What 1384 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
4.7
food
4.5
service
4.5
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
Sort by
Newest
Filters
MR
1 review
Dined a day ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Restaurant Week was my first time at Ambar Clarendon and I absolutely loved it! The Balkan food as tapas servings is bloody brilliant and so good! I captured pics on my foodgram @stoopkidseat on Instagram to show everyone who excellent the presentations were! Love love love Ambar and the service!

Report
Helpful
MJ
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

The food was not as good as I was expecting. The restaurant was very busy and the staff could not keep up. All the dishes that were brought to our table with the exception of one or cold. It was not worth the money and I would not go back. That said the meat pie and the goulash were delicious but we didn’t want to spend the time to wait to get a second order of those because things took so long to get.

Report
Helpful
LK
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous! Interesting small plates. Perfectly prepared.

Report
Helpful
KM
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food Is AMAZING!!! WE Will be going back and recommending to everyone

Report
Helpful
m
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Went during Restaurant week. Enjoyed everything we tried, we split about a dozen plates. Will come back again becasue there are more plates to try.

Report
Helpful
OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 3

Had the unlimited tapas. Delicious food and Mojitos! Staff was friendly but long intervals between servings. Went during weekday lunch hours and restaurant was packed. Definitely need more staff to accommodate peak times.

Report
Helpful
LE
Washington DC
27 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My wife and I visited Ambar today. Felix was our severer. He was managing several tables in bar area. hBut e was very attentive to all the tables that he served. the experience in any restaurant is distinguished by the service and the food. Ambar has an extensive menu and all items appeared tempting. Felix gave us recommendations based on our dietary preferences. We tried seafood and vegetarian dishes; they were all great. We especially enjoyed our desert, Forest Gnocci. It is awesome, we highly recommend it. We enjoyed our dinner with mulled wine. Overall the experience was amazing and we highly recommend this restaurant in DC metro area.

Report
Helpful
A
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 3

Fun place to share plates with a date or a group of friends!

Report
Helpful
SG
Richmond
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and excellent service! We had a wonderful time and will be back!

Report
Helpful
BG
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 2food 4service 2ambience 3

I would not recommend this restaurant due to the rude service. We booked a table for the restaurant week deal, and the earliest slot we could choose was 2pm. However, when we got there, they told us that since the kitchen would close at 2:30, we could no longer participate in the unlimited small plates deal. They only told this to us after we had ordered drinks, so we were stuck having to pick only a few plates. As each plate ranges from $7-10, it was far more than we were expecting to spend (this especially sucked because I am furloughed and money is especially tight right now).

The portions were small for their price though 3 of the 4 dishes we tried were good, the kalamari was disgusting. Towards the end of the meal they said they would only charge us $22 each for food and they allowed us to pick one other dessert. However, when you consider that the original deal is $22 for unlimited tastes, we each paid $22 for 5 small plates, so that was not much of a deal.

We felt rushed through the whole experience, and they didn’t ask us if we’d like a second round of drinks. This was the worst restaurant week experience I had ever had, primarily because we did not get to experience the Restaurant Week deal.

There should not be an option to reserve a table at 2pm if 1) you will not honor the deal or 2) your staff will be unpleasant and rush customers who book at this time.

Additionally, while they claim to have parking, they don’t mention that it is only available after 5 pm, so we were stuck frantically looking for a place to park. We eventually found a paid parking garage, which added to the cost of this negative experience. While I could have taken the metro, my brother had driven down from Pennsylvania for this lunch.

Report
Helpful
AK
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Interesting, inventive small plates. Tried for the first time during restaurant week and got to sample a number of types of dishes. I was expecting heavy food, but this was done in a way that you don't overeat but get a good twist on food from the Balkans. The lamb flatbread was fantastic and spicy.

Report
Helpful
OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great unlimited tapas menu with options for everyone. Each dish was fantastic and the cocktails were amazing.

Report
Helpful
J
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

I would characterize our brunch at Ambar as an experience. It's definitely a trendy place to be, and it was filled with mostly 20-30 year-olds. It was quite loud, but not boisterous. The wait staff is excellent, providing suggestions on small plates to try, which was especially helpful since we knew little about authentic Balkan food. The brunch all-you-can-eat small plates is definitely the way to go for a weekend dining experience

Report
Helpful
OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

Food good. Service excellent.

Report
Helpful
AJ
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 4

The only real con was slow drink service-we waited about 10-15 minutes in between drinks and felt like we had to beg the waiter to come to our table and give us a refill. He may have been busy but we felt like we were annoying him.

Report
Helpful
OT
New England
2 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is one of my favorite spots in Arlington! Whenever I have friends in town I bring them.

Report
Helpful
M
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

$35 Balkan Experience is well worth it. I dined at Ambar with family from out-of-town on a Friday night. The ambiance is cozy and while it can be a little loud in the restaurant, we still were able to talk without yelling and enjoyed a relaxed meal. My guests loved it and wanted to know if we could go back Sunday for brunch! All of the small plates were delicious and flavorful. Even the bread they serve off the bat is pretty excellent. Great dining experience, thank you!

Report
Helpful
OT
New Orleans
2 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

They do not have bottomless drinks at this location. VA law forbids it. They do not advertise this.

Report
Helpful
OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was great as always. The ambience was wonderful. We love this place. Every item is superb.

Report
Helpful
SS
Richmond
25 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I’ve been to Ambar for dinner brunch and lunch and it never disappoints. The menu has favorites and new items. With a group of people, it’s a wonderful way to taste the number of different plates! The wait staff was attentive and always ready with suggestions. Fair warning: you should eat lightly before you go!

Report
Helpful
r
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 3

Ambar is not what it used to be. We used to come to this restaurant once a month because we leave nearby. Last month we had brunch and the food came out super cold. We understand this could happen because of the number of orders they receive. Also the manager was nice about it and gave us a $25 giftcard to come back. We decided to give it another chance and returned for dinner, but this time we decided not to do the Balcan experience since we were not super hungry. To our surprise, the size of the dishes were significantly reduced and what it used to be a bigger turned out to be a very expensive tapa. Again, this was not the first time ordering a la carte so we inmediately knew that they adjusted the size of the dishes. The funny thing is that I even asked the server about the size of the lamb medallions and he told me that they were a good size for dinner. When they came out, they were really a joke and we were very upset. The server excused himself saying that things changed and he was out for a month. After this lame excuse, we decided not to keep ordering and left. There was no point of complaining at that point, I am sorry but there won't another chance to this place. I think people is starting to realize this because for dinner it was not that crowded.

Report
Helpful
OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great experience.

Report
Helpful
OT
1 review
Dined on January 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and great ambiance! Friendly and attentive service. My go to place whenever I’m in DC!

Report
Helpful
ZH
1 review
Dined on January 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We tried the Balkan Experience and it was worth every dollar. Our server, Kevin, was really helpful and the entire staff made sure that we always had a new food to try. 10/10 would recommend to a friend.

Report
Helpful
JD
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 8, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Went to Ambar to celebrate an anniversary. Overall the food tasted good and the service was great, but the portion sizes have significantly decreased since last dining here. Balkan salads are now half the size; the brussel sprout dish is halved; the amount of bread that comes with the spreads have decreased, etc. While that part is unfortunate, the food was still really good.

Report
Helpful
LP
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 8, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Enjoyed a really nice birthday dinner for two at Ambar on a Monday evening. Our waitress was very nice but there were a few occasions when she came to take new orders when we were still waiting on small dishes. I also noticed that the radish spread found its way to three separate dishes; wasn't sure why. Overall, though, it was a terrific dinner and experience. A special birthday dessert was a nice surprise at the end of the meal.

Report
Helpful
CW
Naples
2 reviews
Dined on January 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ambar is a great neighborhood restaurant, with a creative, funky menu. The unlimited small plates is a bargain! There are so many great dishes to try.

Report
Helpful
OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was served quickly and quality was great. Love the ambiance and decor of the restaurant. Trendy and somewhat upscale, but a casual and fun atmosphere.

Report
Helpful
JW
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Although this restaurant had been highly recommended to us by friends and family, this was our first visit. I'm sorry that we waited so long!! The food was fresh and tasty. We enjoyed numerous tasting dishes from their menu. All were pleasantly presented and tasted delicious. The service was top-notch and attentive. We will not wait so long to visit this place again. I highly recommend it.

Report
Helpful
OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 2ambience 5

Great food and good value. They try to limit your drinks so not truly a bottomless experience

Report
Helpful
OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

The food was fine, but the service was so rude that made the experience more negative than positive.

Report
Helpful
J
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is the go-to restaurant for brunch with friends. You can’t beat the concept. All you can eat and cheap drinks. It’s fun, quality food, and great service. We have been to Amber at least 10 times and it has never failed to meet or exceed our expectations.

Report
Helpful
OT
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, excellent service!

Report
Helpful
M
Naples
9 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This is an outstanding restaurant with a unique, cosmopolitan cuisine. The service is great from staff who are from the Balkan countries. It is a must go place for people who like international cuisine.

Report
Helpful
r
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 3

Ambar has become our new Family Favorite. Our millennial kids always want to go to Ambar now! The food is outstanding. You really cannot go wrong with anything you order. We strongly recommend you choose the $35 Balkan Experience. You get all you want, and it is a well-balanced meal.
Meals can be fast, or you can take your time dining. Some of the wait staff are terrific, and you can leave everything up to them as far as which small plates to choose to bring to your table. But if you sense they are not as sharp, just grab a menu, and make your own selections! We prefer to go earlier, or later in the evening - because at Prime Time, it is extremely loud if you are interested in conversing with your own table-mates:)

Report
Helpful
MW
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on January 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious and a great value! $20 all you can order from their extensive lunch menu is perfect for a group. Food, service, ambiance were all exceptional!

Report
Helpful
RJ
Washington DC
135 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

We celebrated some birthdays with the "Ambar Experience," the $35 pp all-you-can-eat small plates for the table. It's a great deal, especially since the servings are small. If you want another, just order it. We particularly liked the lamb lasagna, the lamb medallions, the grilled squid, and the roasted Brussels sprouts. Plates come out somewhat at random and not always immediately, but overall we appreciated the service. Just watch out for the bread--it's delicious but will fill you up fast.

Report
Helpful
BA
Central Texas
2 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Went to Ambar to try out the unlimited option and it was so worth it! $35 a person for unlimited small plates. As three vegetarians at the table, we came away absolutely stuffed and enjoyed every single thing we tried. Bonus points for the stuffed pepper croquettes and the beet tsaziki!

Report
Helpful
OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Nice decor and very lively scene. Had to wait almost half an hour for my table even though I had a reservation. Food was mediocre. I ordered a veggie omelet and it was sad looking. Dry eggs and a few pieces/squares of lettuce onions and red pepper in there. Hash browns were cold. My friends poached eggs benny were also cold. Server was really nice and speedy. However, food was subpar. Likely won’t return.

Report
Helpful
AJ
Richmond
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

Our server was having a hard morning. Forgot things we ordered, poured coffee in to my mug of tea, and took forever to come back and check on us. Sad, because normally such a nice place.

Report
Helpful
1
2
3
35