Ambar - Arlington

4.6
1530 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 1530 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.4
service
4.5
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
93% of people would recommend it to a friend
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i
New York Area
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Just go and enjoy.
If you end up not liking it.... well... it was never intended for Borg.

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L
Portland
8 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

After a shaky start with no server coming to the table, Dimitrije took over and turned it into one of the best experiences ever. We have been telling all of our friends. Thanks!

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

Excellent food & service!

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c
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The "all you can eat" brunch is a must! We easily got much more food than what we paid for, all of which was phenomenal. The red wine punch is a tasty drink to start. I'd also recommend the spreads tasting, the cheese pie (could easily eat five of these on my own), the creamed corn, and any of the sweets (our group had each one). We'll definitely be back for round 2.

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EB
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

We took some friends who have never done a DC/Arlington Brunch and they were SO impressed. First, the restaurant is really beautiful (love the hanging plants and ceiling). The waiters were friendly and fairly quick. The food was really great. However, we ordered a few dishes that never came out, and getting drink refills was a little slow. Overall, though, it was a great experience with some interesting dishes and good brunch drinks!

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e
London
6 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

We asked our waiter to explain the menu, he did an extremely poor job and made no sense at all! If you can’t explain how your menu works, you really shouldn’t be serving tables! Said waiter then managed to completely mess up our order, giving us small plates rather than entrees and then suggesting it wasn’t really an issue because he’d organised for us to have everything we had just eaten again but in a larger portion! Thankfully the manager eventually stepped in and prevented our experience from being a total disaster!

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L
Washington DC
26 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Portions are very small and expensive. $35 deal don't work for us. We all just wanted to have a main course and a glass of wine.
Very average restaurant.

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GC
Atlanta
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

The food is incredible as is the service. It’s just extremely noisy.

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SB
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

This was not our first visit to Ambar nor will it be our last, though we were disappointed with some of the dishes we tried (and know), e.g., the sarma, punjena paprika, and as usual we were frustrated by the excessive noise level. It remains difficult to have a conversation in Ambar unless the restaurant is empty. Because of that, we do not return as often as we would like. Let me add that our service was superb; our server was a young Ukrainian woman from Kyiv who was gracious, helpful, and spoke wonderful English.

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OT
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous experience! Our waitress was super sweet and we were able to try a large variety of the small plates. Everything was delicious! Especially recommend the mussels (ask for bread to soak up the broth), the stuffed cabbage, the dips and the meat pie.

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RD
1 review
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The all you can eat small plate deal was excellent. We pretty much tried the entire menu several times.

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m
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good food with lots of flavor and the endless small plate deal is a great deal!

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RC
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 1

It was our first time for brunch. The food was below average, the only two freshly cooked and fairly tasty item was the omelette. The rest was very poor.

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MB
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Food was incredible, and the $35 per person unlimited option was a great way to try so many of the options on the menu. The service was prompt with food delivered within minutes of ordering, but our server's attitude was not very pleasant. Overall we love this place!

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MM
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was absolutely delicious! Highly recommend the bottomless brunch and $0.25 brunch cocktails

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LG
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food and great service. Our favorites were the tomato soup, cheese pie, croquettes, three peppers, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and shrimp.

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NI
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

I love the food - it is different. The drinks are also interesting. The attendant knew what to recommend and took good care of us. The reason for the lower rating is that I have been there many times and I have the feeling the portions were smaller this time, so when you have to order many small (understand "tiny) plates, it can become pricey. They could add an extra spoon when they prepare the plates. I know the true price of what they serve.

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OT
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ambar was a great choice to celebrate our friends engagement!!

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KW
Washington DC
23 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Have eaten here several times. Quality of the food had been consistently good, and service is notably efficient and friendly. Outside seating is somewhat worn and needs a little TLC.

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RK
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Service was great, most of the food was delish (just not the mussels), and the space is nice but very noisy.

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CK
1 review
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Second time there. Both times the food was delicious and plentiful. I had the same waiter as I did two years ago. He is great at encouraging guest to order more with the all you can eat option and at giving advice. Drinks were tasty. Staff was patient as we were the last ones there. Highly recommend for a big night out!

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M
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It’s been a couple of years since we ate here, and it’s even better than I remembered. My son and his girlfriend loved it too. We’ll be back!

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n
1 review
Dined on April 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

An excellent experience. The food is creative and tasty, the service is very good

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T
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on April 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

A few issues with the waitstaff, but the manager stepped right in and made sure the isseues were resolved and then the evening delightful. Food is of good quality and consistent. Overall great experience and recommend. Look forward to my next visit.

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OT
New York Area
18 reviews
Dined on April 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely incredible!! It transported me back to the Balkans. The food and service were perfection!

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OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious good and a lot of variety on the menu, the unlimited option is the way to go.

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G
Denver
7 reviews
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Favorite Brunch spot

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T
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 2

My friend got sick later that day. :( The only things that she ate that I didn’t were the egg yolks and the tomato and cucumber feta salad.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Our first experience Ambar was wonderful! Myself and my boyfriend went for a date night and we had Christian as our server, and was absolutely wonderful as well! There was a little mix up with some of the things we ordered because he was training a girl who took and order separately, but he was great and did his best to get all the food out! Great customer service. Our favorite things were the fried zucchini and the almond crusted chicken! Least favorite was probably the grilled calamari, the flavors just didn’t work for us with the spice and fennel pairing. Definitely will be back. We came super hungry and left stuffed! Thanks for a great experience.

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s
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good experience all around. Highly recommended for lots of delicious and well prepared dishes with lots of variety

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K
Washington DC
29 reviews
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Small plates are delicious, varied and they ARE small. The set price unlimited small plates was well worth it although items were sporadic in arrival so be prepared for that. Service was a bit frantic as it was crowded. Noise level is high. The muzak was terrible, a repeat techno loop that amidst the general restaurant noise you could only hear the bass beat over and over. Yet, I'm still giving Ambar a good review because the food is different, well-presented, tasty and fun.

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D
Miami
5 reviews
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

The food selection and flavor was excellent however some of the items came out cold. Love the vibe of the place however very loud bass music got a bit irritating. The service was overall very good

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 3

The small plate style is not a new concept, however this was more of a taste test serving size. The food overall was low grade ingredients that were accompanied by a nice sauce/dip. The service was intermittent and inconsistent. Not a bad place to try, creative menu but be patient and be prepared to have the entire table participate in the “Ambar experience” and order a LOT. Not a place I will likely return, but worth trying.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

This place is one of my favorites. Great value and the food is delicious and not something you can get at any restaurant. Great for a leisurely brunch, lunch, or dinner.

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ME
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Good food, attentive staff (grill was overwhelmed on our visit, so grilled items were delayed - but waitstaff let us know early on).

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E
1 review
Dined on March 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Glorious. Simply glorious. I absolutely love this restaurant. Though it can be pricey in sum, it is most definitely worth the cost. Furthermore, if you go with the brunch special, all is pretty much included for a set price. Absolutely the way to go, and undeniably fantastic. Great place!

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D
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on March 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We booked a brunch and ordered off the set menu. We were not disappointed. Our server made some suggestions as it was our first time at Ambar.
The service was quick and efficient those small plates will fill you up quickly. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert!

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 24, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

My friend and I waited 35 minutes before anyone came over to our table. The waiter then disappeared again for long periods of time and rarely came to check on us. We had to ask for the check multiple times before it came. If the food wasn’t as good as it was, this would have been a completely miserable experience. I will not be going back anytime soon.

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CV
1 review
Dined on March 24, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

The food was great. It was hard to get the server's attention. Brunch is a busy time. I think they were understaffed but they also placed us at a bar table instead of a typical restaurant floor table. I think that made it easy to forget us.

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ET
Munich
1 review
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Super friendly service. Great menu.

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