Ambar - Arlington

4.6
2626 Reviews
$31 to $50
Tapas / Small Plates
Ambar is the first modern, international Balkan cuisine restaurant in DC. Inside three locations in Belgrade, Arlington and Washington DC, Ambar blends tradition and heritage with creativity and modern design. The result is an unforgettable visitor experience that reaches all the senses with delicious food, unbelievable drinks and an atmosphere that blends comfort and high style. From rich food, fine furniture, interior design and the widest choice of the finest Balkan rakias, to our first class service – every detail is meticulously woven into an unique experience that will leave you breathless. Welcome to the best of the Balkans.
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Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
  • Contactless payment available
  • Sealed or wrapped utensils used
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Extra space between tables
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
What 2626 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
4.5
service
4.5
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Yum yum yum! Can’t recommend Ambar enough. This was my first time going and the service was fabulous the food was excellent and the ambience was perfect. Perfect for a nice night out with friends or a date. A little pricey for small plates but worth it for the unlimited option!

TG
TomasG
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Good food, good recommendations by friendly staff.

F
Foodie
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Although there was some confusion about who our server was, the issue was quickly sorted out and we were treated extremely well and were more than compensated for the confusion.

OT
OpenTable Diner
E. Tennessee
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love the ambiance and the Balkan food! Such great tapas and you can’t go wrong with $0.25 mimosas. Make sure to schedule a few days in advance. They usually book up early.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orlando
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Went for brunch. Seated downstairs in the “lounge” area. Very dark and smelled badly, like standing water. None of the patrons seated down there were thrilled with this location. It looked and smelled dirty. Overall, food was decent. Nothing was bad, but nothing was spectacular. Tried everything we wanted to on the menu so don’t see any reason to return. Most positive part was our server Paris. She was fabulous!

OT
OpenTable Diner
St. Louis
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Sister intown! We LOVE Ambar brunch experience!

p
paige
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall4food5service3ambience4

The unlimited brunch is great but twice now im gone and some of the food I ordered doesn’t ever come to the table

BF
BalkanFamily
Jacksonville
1 review
Dined on July 16, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and service. Will come again soon!!!

MT
MaryTylerH
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on July 16, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience4

We lived in the Balkans and love how authentic the food is!

MM
MichaelM
1 review
Dined on July 15, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Ambar’s cocktails are poorer quality for the price in comparison to other restaurants of equal value. Their cocktails taste watered-down as if they pre-made. I don’t suggest going going here for cocktails only.

SM
vipSanjaM
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 15, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Brilliant experience at Ambar yesterday during the lunch hour.
All the compliments go to our server Andreja who was amazing, hospitable, knowledgeable and the Chef! The food served was beyond words!
Highly recommend the place!!

JC
vipJCDC
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on July 14, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I went for an in-person lunch with my family, and it was fantastic!

We had the Balkan experience and everything we had was delicious (especially the slow-cooked items, steak, mussels, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts, but we really liked everything. I will definitely return in the future and recommend it to friends and family.

Service was also great - we brought our 9 year old daughter to join us, and they happily adjusted the dishes for her (e.g., leaving the sauce off the fries). She can't wait to go back and try more stuff!

M
Mr1234xyz
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2021
Overall4food5service3ambience4

As always, the food was outstanding, and the fixed price, all you can eat menu has to be one of the best deals in town.

LL
LaurieL
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2021
Overall3food4service3ambience3

The server wanted us to get the dinner unlimited menu, but we asked for the regular menu with prices, she wasn't too happy. She didn't come back to take our order for almost 1/2 hour and that was after they told us there is a 2 hour limit per table.

Will not go there again.

KH
KathleenH
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2021
Overall2food2service2ambience3

I've been to Ambar several times before and been very pleased. However, the food and service at the most recent visit was only fair - and I'm being generous. We waited a while to have our orders taken and then the small plates arrived at long intervals, including two that didn't arrive until we were about ready to leave. I understand that small plates arrive whenever they're ready, but the timing seemed really uneven and overly long. Then, our dirty plates sat on the table for a long time which was unappetizing and sloppy.

The food was so-so with meatballs as hard as a rock and chicken skewers that were tasty but overcooked and dried out. The bacon in the brussels sprouts was also dried out and overdone and the portion itself was miniscule. The cauliflower was tasty but drenched in oil.

Considering that we paid $40 a head for the small plates, I don't feel that we got good value for what we spent.

Bonus to the experience was that all of the bathrooms were out of order with a sign on the door that customers could use the bathroom of the restaurant across the street.

DP
DakotaP
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Ambar brunch was amazing as always. Service was a little slower outside compared to previous experiences inside. The kitchen also gets backed up later in the day as it gets busier which may have been the cause of the slowdown.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had an early reservation for brunch, got seated right away, and our waiter was attentive, knowledgeable, and efficient. The food was wonderful. Great experience.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2021
Overall4food4service2ambience4

Great ambiance and food, but they’re pretty slow getting the food and drink to the table.

B
Brutus
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2021
Overall4food3service4ambience5

The air conditioning was dripping on some of the booths We did not move but had to sit close to the edige of the booth. This should be fixed.

The food was not as good as I have had at the 8th street SE place.
I was looking forward to it but in general it did not wow me.

I would try it again for dinner perhpas but there are other places nearby which I should try first.

M
Mary
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on July 8, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Although I could only reserve an outdoor table on line, Ambar accommodate my request to change to indoor seating because of expected bad weather conditions. The food, wine and service were excellent as usual. My group enjoyed the many small plate offerings of the Ambar experience. The noise level, however, makes conversation somewhat difficult.

AH
AndiH
Baltimore
6 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was amazing. The server was awesome, we told her to just start sending things out and she killed it! The food is always amazing and the drinks were so tasty!

RN
RetiredinNVA
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was our first visit since the pandemic. A couple of our favorites had been removed from the menu but overall still a great experience.

R
Rene
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2021
Overall4food3service4ambience4

Because of the pandemic they took a lot of the classics out of the menu so make sure you check it beforehand. Plates are also smaller than they used to. Would recommend the Ambar experience instead of a la carte.

SS
SharonS
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We are huge fans of Ámbar on Capitol Hill, but this was our first visit to this location, and we will definitely be back! We chose to come here this time because we wanted to bring my parents, who love food but are in their eighties, and we thought the bright light from the soaring windows, and the one level dining, would be more inviting for them. It was a huge hit. Not a dish went unappreciated or left uneaten, and they even had room for desserts, which turned out to be worthy of every extra calorie. My husband and I can’t want for another occasion to eat here!

GL
GwenL
1 review
Dined on July 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The waiters were a suburb, the area I was in was perfect. I will be trying the dinner next time I come.

JP
JasonP
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2021
Overall2food3service1ambience5

The unlimited menu sounds great, but you don’t end up with half of what you order. You have to order the same items multiple times just to get one slider. Drinks are brought quickly, but for the price, you’d do better off paying for a few large plates per person instead of expecting to get much to eat in your 2 hour limit.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Good restaurant with very nice food. Good service.

AF
AshleyF
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2021
Overall3food4service1ambience4

This was my second trip to Ambar. The first was much better. This time, several plates were missing and my waiter took entirely too long to come check on us and follow up on where those plates were at. At one point it took us 30 minutes to get a plate we were waiting on in the middle of service. The tables beside us seemed to be getting a steady stream of dishes but for some reason, we were forgotten. The waiter made no attempt to apologize for the issues we continued to have and that was a let down.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Brunch was very nice - worth it

RM
vipReneeM
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

First time coming to Ambar for brunch. I personally would recommend dinner menu over brunch menu. I felt like the brunch had a host of options, but not the same wow as Ambar’s dinner menu. Overall a good time with steady awesome service.

D
Dreanna
Richmond
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience4

This was my 3rd time coming in span of about 3 months.. I love the place food and the price. It all just depends on what time you come on how fast the food would come out. The second time I came last weekend was probably the best time our waiter took our order consistently and our food came out in good time and he was very consistent in refilling our glasses with different drink options.

I will continue to recommend this place to all of my family and friends.

DM
DMark
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2021
Overall3food3service2ambience4

Never got half of the dishes that I ordered for brunch and most of the very small plates that come out (which we were told were to be shared) came out cold. Hopefully the DC location does a better brunch. Definitely not going back anytime soon to this location.

AG
AliciaG
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved loved loved it! This was me and my coworker first time there and we had a blast. Loved the food and ambience. We’ll be back!

EB
ElaineB
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Good food
Busy restaurant
Different experience
Good tapas dining

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Yummy food. Servers are friendly but on the slow side...tends to get pretty busy! Definitely will return!

BC
BrainC
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience3

We had requested outdoor seating but were seated indoors due to the threat of rain. This was a bit annoying at first, but we are both fully vaccinated and so were okay with it. Then the rain turned out to be a tornado, so it was good foresight on the part of the restaurant staff not to allow outdoor seating!

The food, meanwhile was out of this world, as usual. Every single dish was beyond delicious; standouts this evening included the pork-stuffed cabbage roll, the sausage, and grilled vegetables. I can't speak for drinks, as we stuck to water, but the forest gnocchi dessert was incredible - just as I remember it from before the pandemic.

I wish service had been a bit better in terms of timing dishes ordered together as "courses," but especially given the difficulties that all restaurants are navigating with reopening, this was such a minor concern that it's almost not worth mentioning. They've risen their price recently, but not to an obscene amount when considering all factors. Noise level was moderate-to-loud, but not to the point that conversation was unable to happen.

In sum: eat here. Do it.

G
vip72G2
Washington DC
25 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Super friendly wait staff and incredibly delicious food. Had the lunch express and let the staff pick the items to eat -- everything was just wonderful. Lots of fun for friendly lunch or dinner.

CJ
CarolynJ
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2021
Overall4food5service3ambience4

The $25 lunch special was wonderful! Great way to try out a number of Balkin specialties.

DS
DavidS
Sacramento
1 review