Ambar - Arlington

4.6
icon/ic_reviewCreated with Sketch.
2015 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

Need to book at 4:00 AM?

Other great restaurants with availability.
View all
What 2015 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
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
Sort by
Filters
C
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Delicious variety of small plates to share
Lots of tasting fun!

JM
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food service and atmosphere. Such a delight.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food4service4ambience5

Everything we tried was very good. We particularly enjoyed the grilled shrimps and beet tzatziki. They were very accommodating to our toddler.

m
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food is fresh, so inventive, service is beyond outstanding!

LB
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious food, nice ambiance, friendly service. The Baba bar below is also super fun.

OT
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved the food! Great veggie options!

C
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall4food3service4ambience4

Food was good but not spectacular; some had clearly been sitting under a heat lamp for a while, which was disappointing. Would try again.

JP
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome place!! This is our favorite place in D.C. The Service is outstanding. The food is always great!

CP
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food and service as always! Not dissapointed with a single dish and our server was attentive (and quite friendly) which is important to use when dining small plates. Ambar never disappoints.

MS
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Brunch was a bargain at the price ($34 a head for two hours of all-you-can-eat small plates); the food was excellent and the service was attentive. Balkan cuisine is something not generally available here, so discovering the flavors of ajvar, kajmak, and cevapi was a lovely treat. There wasn't a single Scoville of capsaicin in any of our dishes, which doesn't bother me at all, but it's a major bonus for anyone in your party sensitive to the stuff.

K
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Enjoyed the all-you-can-eat brunch on Sunday. Food was amazing, drinks were delish, service was very friendly, ambiance was lovely. Everyone LOVED the entire experience and raved about it. Can’t wait to go again!

SL
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall3food2service4ambience3

Ambar has been my wife and I's Valentines day go to for the last 3 years. We usually visit the Ambar in eastern market and it is always top notch and the ambiance is very cozy and romantic. Ambar arlington is a different story. Ambar in eastern market was closed for renovations so my wife and I decided to try out the Ambar in arlington. We walk in and it is in a traditional restaurant retail space. It has a good amount of space and the lighting and music was nice, but it lacks a coziness and that special feeling that makes a place a good date night spot. The idea of the Ambar arlington is the same as the Ambar in eastern market, $35/person gets you unlimited small plates for approximately 2 hours. I was under the assumption that the recipes would be the same in each restaurant but I dont know if the menu was updated since the last time we were there or if they have slightly different menus but the Ambar arlington had some hits and some misses. One of our favorite recipes was the slow cooked stuffed cabbage. At Ambar Arlington they had finished off the plate by dousing it in what I assume was canned enchilada sauce. In fact most of their recipes that included cabbage had some of the enchilada sauce included.
The beef short rib ghoulash was incredible though, as was the lamb flatbread.
The ambar fries would be awesome potato wedges if they had some sort of dipping sauce. Currently they are just huge potato wedges with a little bit of spice.

Overall it was a very average experience in an average location. I would recommend visiting the Eastern Market Location after it reopens.

OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall3food2service2ambience5

The waitress was unenthusiastic about being there. We tried 14 different dishes and they were all lacking in flavor and bland. Most dishes were luke warm. Ambiance was great. Concept is great. Food delivery to table was fast. We wanted to love it, but the food did not impress.

JJ
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

This was an excellent restaurant. My girlfriend loved the food and service. I made a reservation for valentines day and had a single rose with a card on the table when we arrived. Definitely would visit here again and i have already recommended this place to several friends.

MB
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Waiter was able to accommodate request for creative mocktails that tasted delicious.

DD
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I came here without a reservation on a busy night (Valentines day) and the staff were able to accommodate me. In additional, the waiter was courteous, professional, and helpful. The food was outstanding; the flavors were amazing. I highly recommend this place.

OT
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall3food5service1ambience3

The reason we came was for the tapas menu. My husband and I love the idea of small plates in variety to fill us. The food was great, we had reservations on the high tops which was fine except the two tables to our left and right kept kicking the bar where our feet rest and it was super annoying. Not only that, but our server was horrible. He greeted us 12 minutes after we sat down and said he will be be back to take our orders. Took another 10 minutes to take our orders and never came to check on us throughout the entire experience. Had to ask for an extra pair of silverware and ask the manager for a dessert menu, not to add the fact that we didn't even get everything we ordered... He also took 10 minutes to swipe our cards in the end. If you have a 2 hour limit per table then your service should be on point. No apologies at all. Sad it was our first time and this was a bad turnout. Maybe we'll try again when it's slow.

GC
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience5

i really like the food here, especially the slow cooked menu and spreads. Not fond of their meats though. We did the valentines special this time and I think it was a bit too expensive. Only big complaint was the gnocchi dessert, which felt like an overwhelming amount of extract flavoring that left us sick to our stomachs.

KJ
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

The experience was great until I went to the parking lot and my Truck was towed. It was Valentine’s Day and we had a full day planed so imagine how I felt when that happened. MY wife I read the signs several times. We both understood it to be “no parking before 5 with the exception of guests at the listed establishments”. We went back inside the restaurant, and were told we can’t do anything but give you the phone number and address to the tow company. Then we were showed a print out on the front counter that said not to park in the back before 5. Nothing was said about that, nor was it pointed out when we walked in. We had reservations so we barely approached the greeting area. The signs are misleading - small print and in some cases illegible. I am not sure if this is intentional or not, but I had to pay for an Uber and 135 dollars to get my truck out of impound. This ruined the day for my wife and I and our fond memories of Ambar - our amazing place. The place we went on all of our special days and occasions.
I’m sad and disappointed by this and very hurt by the lack of empathy and concern by your staff.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food, service & ambiance as always!

CL
E. Tennessee
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Attentive wait staff, orders delivered quickly, great unique food. This place has it all. Highly recommended for someone who has not tried Balkan food before and for those who have. The $35 all you can eat small plates is the perfect way to get a large sampling of their great food. Will definitely return.

JL
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal! Will definitely be coming again

OT
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Unlimited small plates dinner for $35 was really worth it. The restaurant is pretty and perfect for date nights. Food was high quality too. Some must try and favs include the sesame salmon, mushroom pilaf, drunken mussels and meat pie!

KA
1 review
Dined on February 12, 2020
Overall4food3service5ambience5

Wait staff was excellent. Food was good, $35 small plate special was very good value.

OT
Atlanta
5 reviews
Dined on February 11, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Birthday dinner celebration with out of town guests. Such great food and good service

l
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We've now been to Ambar Clarendon five times, always with one or two other couples with whom we share the small plates, even though this means only getting one or two bites. We let the server bring his or her favorites while mentioning a few that we especially want. This last time we tried 17 different plates. It's always been fabulous and we enjoy the variety of salads, meats and vegetables. I highly recommend it.

SR
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My cousin wanted to try this restaurant- and I’m glad we did! Food was great & service was too! Really enjoyed her birthday brunch!

FM
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience2

First time to the brunch, and perhaps it was our food choices but we were underwhelmed. The mezze was good, but anemic. Most of our food was just...fair. The price point (good deal on drinks) made up for the ok food. The slider choices were just a bit boring. Very loud. Service was better than most.

SA
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience3

Food and Service were great.
Not crazy about the Euro-beat music that played the whole time and was a little loud. Also, cold at the high top tables with the door opening and felt crowded with waiting customers standing behind me while I ate.

P
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on February 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The all-you-can eat Express Lunch was delicious. It gave us an opportunity to sample just about everything on the menu. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 2, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The Ambar Experience really made our dinner worthwhile! Amazing selections.

OT
1 review
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The music was too loud but great food and service

DL
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love Ambar, it’s a favorite.

RI
1 review
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience2

Lots of the food was cold and none particularly good.