Ambar - Arlington

4.6
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1864 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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Specials

New Year's Eve Special Menus & Offers

Ambar will be offering 2 seating times for NYE, 4:30-8:00pm for $69 for unlimited small plates and $0.25 per each select drink and 9:00-11:00pm for $99 per person for unlimited small plates and $0.25 per each select drink. For a second seating bar seat will be $79 per person.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

What 1864 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
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
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1
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BR
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Ambar's dining area is attractive, if a bit crowded. The music was energetic and that, combined with the acoustics, created too much background noise. It is difficult to hear the staff and one's tablemates. Those are the only negatives I can think of and they did not spoil our evening. My husband and I brought our daughter to Ambar to celebrate her birthday and we enjoyed a wonderful meal. Our waitress was helpful, friendly, and courteous. The other staff members were terrific as well--refilling our water, bringing food, clearing dishes quickly and efficiently. My fellow diners enjoyed watching how busy the staff was and how well they worked together. Of course the star of our experience was the food--DELICIOUS! We chose the unlimited small plate experience and ordered dish after dish to share. Some favorites were the grilled shrimp with corn puree, mushrooms with rice, beet spread, lamb flatbread and meat kebab. I believe we ordered 13 dishes and ate every bite.

R
Washington DC
35 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Went there with my wife and a work colleague. Waitress was excellent: as this was our first time there, and our first experience with Balkan food, she took time to explain the process. We definitely recommend the $35 per person unlimited plates. The plates are not big, and you will generally order at least four, which automatically puts you over $35. Waitress recommended a Bulgarian wine (nice, not outstanding, but interesting). Sprouts, mussels, chicken, lamb patty all very good. It is noisy, which is a bit of a challenge for me. But we will be back!

TP
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Fantastic food. Very unique. Love the bottomless small plate deal. We ordered about 9 small plates betwee the the two of us and it was plenty.

RM
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Good strong drinks accompanied a steady train of small plates. Fabulous lamb lasagna (aka moussaka), cheese pie and salads. Good calamari. Sausages a bit underdone and pungent. Desserts were good but opt for the raspberry and not the hazelnut cake which was a bit dense at the end of the meal. Great service. Lunchtime buffet a real bargain.

MR
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food is always delicious here.

FR
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I like to put the responsibility for choosing my all you can eat menu in hands of capable servers at Ambar, and they once again didn’t disappoint! Great selection of salads, dips, and meats for my out of town business guests.

MM
Philadelphia
93 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love this place. Whenever I'm in the area, I try to eat at Ambar!

OT
Washington DC
32 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My wife and I wanted something different - so we searched OpenTable and picked Ambar - we are glad we did!

The meal was great, the service was fantastic and we are sure to be back!

OT
Atlanta
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Really good desert but the food was alright for the price

HA
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Their brunch used to be a lot better! The choices were very limited this time, the place was crowded and very noisy!

HK
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Always love bringing new people here. Only downside is that it is always loud and crowded, and the tables never fit all the food lol. But still one of my favorite restraunts in the area, perfect for brunch and dinner.

OT
Serbia
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We've been to Ambar multiple times and had a consistently great experience each time. Food is delicious and a good value. Definitely going back and recommending.

m
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

so good. there was not one dish i did not like nor could i choose my favorite.

s
Oklahoma City
2 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Food is perfect. Just wish it wasn't so noisy! Plus, only one stall was working in the ladies' restroom. Between the two restaurants that share the restroom, it got busy in there!

SC
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My wife and I enjoyed a lovely dinner I didn’t know much about Balkan food, so the tasting menu and tapas-sized portions were a perfect way to get acquainted. Service was friendly. Decor was clever, setting a nice atmosphere.

MC
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food is amazing, and great value. This place is always crowded, even at 8:15pm on a week night. So much so that we had to wait about 20 min after our reservation time to be seated at a table that wasn’t even in the main dining room. We were fine with waiting and the service was outstanding, they comped our drink orders to compensate for the delay, and we weren’t even complaining about it. Will definitely be back, and highly recommended for the food and the service!

DR
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great experience, awese food, good service!

OT
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience4

Delicious small plates!

PO
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was delicious, the staff very friendly. It is busy and crowded, so make a reservation. Wonderful addition to Clarendon.

DP
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Ecellent Food and Service!!! Never disappoints!

BK
Minneapolis
2 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

I love Ambar so much! We always go for the $35 per person unlimited small plates because you get a huge amount of food for a lower price than it normally would be. The only thing is at the end of our meal, it felt like we were rushed out of there (weren't asked if we want dessert or another drink when we probably would've). Otherwise, all was perfect!

OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall2food4service1ambience4

Honestly the Ambar Capital Hill is definitely so much better. The Service at this one was not good, especially as someone who also works in the restaurant business. They forgot our meals twice, our server barely did table visits at a point we had no food and no refills on our drinks. We tried getting other server's attention but they were clueless. Honestly overall disappointed, however the hostess were the kindest.

KM
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food and service by Ivan. We did the Ambar Experience and it was so worth it for the amount and quality of food we received. Cocktails were delicious too!

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I’ve been here a handful of times and always receive an amazing experience. The food is delicious, the staff is extremely helpful and attentive and the service is fast. I went with my parents and it was my parent’s first time at Ambar. The waiter knew this and was so nice to bring us a welcome dessert at the end of our meal without us even asking for it. I’d definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone interested in a great and delicious meal.

Thank you so much for a great dinner experience.

DB
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Ambar serves small plates, and has a $35 per diner/Endless plate option. We did not need it! The food was excellent, as were the cocktails. The service was friendly, casual, and attentive.

S
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I have visited all 3 Ambar outlets, the two in the DC area as well as the one in Belgrade Serbia and am a FAN. The Food, Service and Value at Ambar can't be beat. I Highly recommend the sampling menu where you can try anything on the menu. I will Return! :-)

OT
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2019
Overall2food1service1ambience3

What a delusion. Awful service, servers lost our orders, they did not deliver what we order

OT
Baltimore
22 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The lunch deal for unlimited tapas is unbeatable. We had a little bit of everything, from the pickled cabbage, the kebabs, the sliders and the grilled calamari. Everything was absurdly delicious. At $20/person for lunch it’s absolutely fantastic for dining out. I’d go back here again in a heartbeat.

KD
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent service as always with outstanding food and portions. Will continue to frequent this restaurant as it is sensational!!!

t
New England
2 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Unique food and wonderful service. The small plates really become filling. Three of us ordered 9 but probably could have stopped at 6. Save room for dessert!

M
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall3food2service5ambience5

I attended Ambar brunch this past Saturday and was moderately disappointed. I heard so many good things from friends and wanted to go to Ambar to see what the hype was about.

The let downs: The veal and vegetable soup I had was cold and tasted as if it was poured from a Campbell’s soup can minutes prior. The fried catfish was appalling. The breading on the catfish was soggy and the coleslaw on the sandwich made the fish taste as if it was well past it’s expiration date. I definitely gagged with this one.

Redeeming dishes: The mezze platter, Balkan burger, and the blueberry waffle small plates. The meat in the Balkan burger was delicious and very well seasoned. The waffle was crisp and accompanied perfectly with a not too sweet blueberry compote.

All in all, I will not be returning Ambar. The fried catfish was a very unpleasant experience.

OT
Richmond
3 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience5

The unlimited plates is the only good option to get - it gives you a chance to try everything! Really great experience and great ambiance

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Honestly the best brunch spot, food, service, and atmosphere wise!

JM
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Some very good to excellent small plates, but some fair to "don't order" items. For example, the octopus was both chewy and poorly flavored. However, many other dishes were very good. For value, their lunch for $20 with unlimited small plates gets s a very high grade. However, it took two hours for two diners to get six small plates each, so don''t look for this to be a quick business lunch.

MS
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Restaurant Week - Dinner

The service was outstanding as was the staff! Our waitress was awesome and she was from the Balkans. The ambience was great and the food was spectacular!!

Our new favorite place, that’s how awesome this place was!!!!! We’ll be back

DG
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We ate at lunch. Our table got the fixed-price open selection option which is a good buy. The food was excellent, each of us had our own favorite dishes. Of the meat dishes we particularly enjoyed the trout, salmon, steak tartare, and the kabob.
The only issue is that it is loud. That is common in restaurants these days, but it would be nice to have the noise down a few decibels. We highly recommend Ambar.

E
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We had the restaurant week special -- unlimited small plates for $35. And each thing was better than the last! I had never tried Kajmak, a milk-based spread to put on bread. I had three different kinds and I am a convert! The bread was spectacular too. The stuffed pepper was my favorite among many delicious vegetarian, meat and fish plates. It was succulent and perfectly cooked. My only regret is that I did not bring a larger stomach, because I could have happily tried everything on the menu!

CB
1 review
Dined on October 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I'm accustomed to places that offer "unlimited" fare to serve mediocre-quality food. Certainly, Ambar is not one of those places. My buddy and I went for Happy Hour. We sat at the bar, ordered happy hour drinks and had their unlimited dinner menu. Every plate was superb and made us disappointed that humans were cursed with limited-sized stomachs. Very highly recommended.

MM
Philadelphia
94 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our party of 6 dined here for my birthday. Out waiter was very helpful, especially in regards to questions about dietary restrictions. I am especially happy that this location now serves the forest gnocchi dessert!!! I'll be back for sure. :)

m
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Not quite as good as it used to be, but still a nice meal. Restaurant is very loud.