Ambar - Arlington

4.7
1437 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 .
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What 1437 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
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
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s
New York Area
32 reviews
Dined a day ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lots of fun and a great value. Excellent small plates for a great price. Service is quick and food is delicious

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TC
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful experience! Milan, our server, and Ivan are excellent! Really make it a wonderful experience all the time. The food is amazing, the drinks are delicious and service is always top notch. Great ambiance as well!

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A
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We loved this restaurant and will be back. We tried the dinner menu for $35. Phenomenal food. Service was a bit slow at first, but then our server really took care of us and made sure we enjoyed the experience. I didn't catch his name, only that he was from Serbia, and he was an amazing server and we had a great time. Thank you!

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KM
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our waitress Yana was great! She walked us through everything we ordered on the menu and was very pleasant. She even made it a point to ask about dietary restrictions/allergies in the even that I ordered something that contained those items. Everyone in the restaurant was attentive and really nice. The food came out really quickly and this has easily become one of my favorite restaurants because of the experience.

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b
Hawaii
4 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Ambar rocks. Food, wine, service are all top-notch. Looking forward to the next meal at this great location.

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AY
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I looooove this place for brunch - the food is delicious and quick, the mimosas aren’t week and the servers are friendly and helpful. The only thing I dislike about this place is the noise. It’s so hard to hear each other and the waiter unless we are shouting. But other than that, I highly recommend this place!

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RL
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Our server was tremendous. We just asked her to bring us things she liked and everything she brought was delicious. Everyone quickly removed finished plates. Five star food and having a dozen different things to eat was a blast! We'll be back.

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OT
Orlando
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 2

Typically our favorite spot. They clearly overbooked for Valentine’s Day. Service was poor, “upgraded menu” was not worth the up charge. Overall a disappointing experience.

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TF
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Had the Valentine's Day prix fixe menu. Almost every dish was outstanding. Huge variety of dishes to choose from. Attentive, professional service.

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J
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really enjoyed every single thing about our valentine’s dinner!!! The all you can eat food was fantastic, drink specials were perfect and our service was fabulous!!! We look forward to visiting again for a non “event” type experience!

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AJ
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ambar is truly a special experience. You honestly can't beat the $35 all you can eat dinner menu. The food is delicious, the staff is friendly, and they really know how to run a great business. 10/10 would recommend.

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RQ
1 review
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

The food is good but the service is not great and the ambience is too crowded and noisy.

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Food is delicious, but every time I have eaten here for brunch the waitresses appear to be less interested in assisting and/or annoyed that people are asking for refills or additional food. It is a bottomless brunch; therefore, the waitresses should be more attentive and have a better attitude.

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s
Denver
10 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

The food is great. Small plate- tapas style. You can share or have a dish to yourself. Vegetarian friendly. Everything tasted great though the mushroom pilaf was too salty. The only reason I gave 4 stars instead of 5 was that everything I ordered didn't arrive and I had to ask again. This was not a problem with any of the others at the table.

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M
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Great food and attentive service. Good variety of vegetarian dishes. We'll be going back.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server was exceedingly pleasant and helpful. Thank you and we will return again soon!

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RW
Edinburgh
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great brunch deal - only 25 cents for every drink. Coffee isn't on the menu, but it is available - just ask! You should try the mezze plate - it's fantastic.

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RG
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food, service, and value. The Ambar experience of unlimited tapas is definitely worth it. Our server was so kind and we had overall, an amazing experience. Will definitely be going back soon!

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SP
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Great restaurant but too loud for us so doubtful that we will return.

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MC
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent place for a date or a brunch. Why? It has a dedicated parking area behind the building. So many other places in the area have issues with parking. You either have to pay or you have to risk leaving your car in some lot and hope someone nosy doesn't tell on you. The service is super quick. Came in for brunch and the food was literally at my table in less than 5 minutes. The food was great. The price was awesome for a place in this area. Great place for brunch - especially if you want to drink.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good time. Great food and wonderful service!

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ES
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

First time here and it was a wonderful experience! Food was absolutely delicious and most of it came pretty quickly. Our waitress was a bit surly at times but everyone else was very friendly. I highly recommend and we'll definitely be back.

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NP
1 review
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love the place and the food... we will come back for sure... we only wish for the cocktails share ($35) to be a bit more strong in alcohol...

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A
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 5

Food was mediocre and service was quite slow. Had better experiences in the past so was very disappointed.

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OT
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Birthday had a good time great waiter

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Love Ambar. Service is outstanding

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LO
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The food at Ambar was excellent. My only complaint is that I wasn't always sure which items they were bringing out. I wish they would have told us what each item was when it arrived.

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HT
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 4

I would not recommend Ambar for brunch. Not only was the site incredibly misleading in that it seemed as though Restaurant Week lunch was available on the weekend, but when we called to confirm we could do RW lunch on Sunday someone confirmed that we could. We arrived and were only offered the Brunch Menu. Brunch was subpar honestly with not great options and our waitress was rude, giving us looks when we didn't end up ordering copious amounts of food on the unlimited small plates menu. Overall it was incredibly disappointing and I would never go for brunch again. It honestly ruined my opinion of brunch in general. Too bad because dinner looks great.

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OT
New York Area
76 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent customer service! I highly recommend the brunch. Can’t wait to go back!

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

SOOOOO GOOD. So much food for only $35. Wish I had taken more pictures.

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LE
Washington DC
35 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We have been to Ambar several times (bringing different friends each time for a new experience) and loved it every time. The servers are cheerful, friendly, efficient, and eager for you to try their cuisine. We always do the $35 unlimited food deal. The food is delicious - we have our favorites (and order multiple dishes for the table) and then ask our server to send out whatever she recommends. (Be aware that most dishes contain bacon so, if you're not a pork eater, you might want to consult your server as some menu descriptions do not disclose that.) We love the various dips and bread, the veal soup, the meat pie, and the Brussels sprouts for starters. While we do like some dishes more than others, there is nothing we have tried that we don't like. The deal is such a bargain that it's a great way to try something new and you have nothing to lose. Be prepared to spend a couple of hours there - it's a great way to spend an evening. (It does get loud toward the later hours.)

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 3

too much salt in the chicken soup and the service wansn´t that good

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OD
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our first time at Ambar, but we’re veterans of Central Europe and the Balkans and it’s cuisine. Our group of six was celebrating a house sale. We took advantage of the unlimited small plates fixed pries special. Extensive varieties to suit all tastes. We tried and liked the Moldovan Cab Sav wine. Ambar surpassed all our expectations. Great service, food and drink. Great energy in the room. A good time was had by all.

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JG
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Nice time. They didn’t have the pork belly which was on the menu. Service was fine, nothing over the top. They had a deal, $35 unlimited small plates.

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BB
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The option to order just about anything on the menu for $35 a person is great. The only downside (although I understand why) is that everyone at the table must pay $35. I honestly see no reason not to choose this option anyway, but I know some people won't go for it and that makes it tricky. Anyway, great food. Service was great. Atmosphere was nice. The place was packed, but I didn't feel like anyone was on top of me. Will definitely go again.

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M
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Another very good experience: excellent Balkan inspired dishes, some very well executed, service slightly rushed, but very friendly, beautiful people, cool, hip and very tasty.

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L
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on January 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

I was pleasantly surprised at how welcoming the staff made me feel, always at the ready, no judgment about how many dishes we ordered. The cheese pie was almost too pretty to eat. The fried chicken sandwich was delicious too. I was a little disappointed in the undercooked Brussel sprouts, but that was the only dish I didn’t care for. Everything else was delicious and I enjoyed my lunch in a pretty setting.

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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on January 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The place was awesome. The unlimited small plates is the way to go for out of towners. All the food we tried were great. Me and my husband will love to come back the next time we are in the DC area.

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HB
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ambar is one of my favourite spots in Arlington, such a great menu for lunch.

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D
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The variety of the small plates is great. Enjoyed the different flavors. Would definitely go back again.

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