Ambar - Arlington

4.6
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2057 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 2057 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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U
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2020
Overall4food3service2ambience5

Ambar is a great place to go for brunch, if you know the secret. Because there is normally a good size crowd you have to order several of the Tapas plates at once to keep food on your table. Orders can be slow to come out so keep ordering. This also goes for the drinks ...the bartenders offer generous pour.

MB
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on March 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

This was our second trip to Ambar. There are three things that are noteworthy about this restaurant.

1) The bartenders are outstanding. Amazing cocktails.
2) The food is really tasty and good. You will not leave hungry.
3) The service is top notch. So much so as to be noteworthy to me.

The only potential downside to this place is the noise level. It is high. I would prefer if they would mitigate that somewhat, but I obviously came back for a second time and will certainly again.

T
1 review
Dined on March 14, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience5

The small plates style allows for a make your own brunch with a variety of flavors, as well as a variety

SS
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on March 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband brought me here a few months ago and I have been wanting to come back to enjoy a daytime experience. Out waitress. Was amazing, our food was delicious and the staff was very welcoming and attentive. We definitely will be coming back soon. The environment is clean and comfortable

KN
1 review
Dined on March 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very tasty. It's good to try something with flavor:)

CB
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on March 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love this place!! This was our third year in a row celebrating a birthday here and it doesn't disappoint. The service is great, the food is amazing, everyone needs to experience this place. I wish there were more restaurants like this!

OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on March 13, 2020
Overall3food5service1ambience3

The food is great and fresh. The drinks are fantastic. The wait staff is what we didn’t enjoy. They were short, curt, and barely polite. We have been there twice, and both times the wait staff were sub-par. They need to realize, they aren’t doing me a favor (which is what it seemed like), they are doing their job.

We will be back, we just won’t tolerate the poor attitude.

R
Greensboro
7 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The experience is well worth it!! Great service! The food keeps coming and it was all delicious!

n
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Attentive waitstaff (Valentin rocks!) Restaurant is lovely in ambiance too, well lit even during a late dinner. We went for the 35$ unlimited option, where you could order virtually anything you want off the menu for a flat rate. The variety of dishes here is incredible!! everything came out hot and was well paced given the long list of dishes we ordered at one go. Standouts for me were the chicken skewers, lamb patties, asparagus, and pepper croquettes. Happy that Ambar happened to be our first experience with Balkan cuisine! can’t wait to return for brunch at some point

A
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Ambar is a solid restaurant with attentive staff.

Pros: The food was cooked perfectly, the cocktails are very good, and the staff will do their best to recommend food and drinks. Also, the price point is wonderful (unlimited tapas for $35, you cannot beat that).

Cons: Some food items could have benefited from a little more depth of seasoning. I have never eaten at a Balkan restaurant previously, although I have had some Balkan food before. As such, I may be ignorant of the flavor profile of Balkan food, and the spice/ seasoning level may be spot on. However, I am used to more depth from flavors in foods that come from that region.

OT
Berlin
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall3food4service2ambience3

Food was good, but service was unfortunately very lacking. We ordered plates that never came, our server rushed us to pay leaving the check on the table while we were still eating desert. We asked for more bread and were ignored. If you are not celebrating anything it may be fine but if you want to enjoy yourself I don’t recommend it.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall4food3service5ambience4

This was our second

I
Houston
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall5food4service4ambience5

Tapas style perfect for hanging out and portioned to where you have the option to try numerous dishes if you opt in the unlimited serving price. The service is fast paced which is good because dishes will come as they go versus all at once. Service was great depending who’s doing it but the server experience could be improved. It’s not a big deal really I was satisfied at the end. It’s a weekend so I came with no expectation other than to be fed with everything I ordered. I would return again. I am curious about their brunch menu.

g
Richmond
56 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

We were first time visitors and thought the food and service were both very good however I should’ve talk my table mates into ordering à la cart rather than paying the $35 all you can eat feed. As it turns out we probably only averaged two or three plates each and would’ve been better off ordering à la cart. Some of the items were not much to our liking at many were new to us however we hated wasting the food so probably ended up eating more of things we didn’t like it would order more knowingly next time

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Terrific food and service!

CG
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

A wonderful dining experience. Great food and service is very good. Highly recommend.

FQ
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I have been a fan of Ambar for years now; but the DC location. I am glad to say that this location is now at the top of my list. I had a girls brunch there with a friend and we had a blast. I already wanted to make sure brunch was perfect because my friend is pregnant and her days of being able to do things like this before baby #2 arrives are limited. She’s been wanting a fun day out for a while now minus the husbands and kids/fur babies and I was dedicated to giving her just that!! Walking into this Ambar was so different in terms of ambiance in comparison to the one that I go to all the time. I love how open, airy, green and filled with light the restaurant was. So cute! To start off we ordered drinks; for me being the non-pregnant one I had the mimosas and bellinis on rotation. I loved every brunch cocktail but the red wine punch had to be my favorite. I guzzled that bad boy down like a boss! (lol). I enjoyed each and everything I ate at brunch. EVERYTHING! The show stoppers in my book are: the pulled pork benedict, salmon benedict, applewood bacon omelet, cevapi and eggs, sausage and eggs, zucchini burger, egg blt, Balkan burger, grilled pork neck slider and meat pies ….yea...that’s possibly half of the entire menu. I believe the bottomless brunch was $35 and then all the brunch drinks were $0.25! Such a sweet deal. My top favorite item on the menu was between the pulled pork benedict and the grilled pork neck slider. Brunch was fantastic and our hostess was amazing! I am so happy that I have a new favorite brunch spot in the DMV area….I will be back soon with the hubby!

EG
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Very loud and hard to have a conversation. Otherwise food food and service.

OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Great food and service!

a
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Probably the best deal in all of the DMV. Excellent food, atmosphere and staff.

SR
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Such a cute spot in Arlington! The food was delicious and the service was perfect. Will definitely be returning.

JB
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on March 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We are new to the neighborhood and Ambar has quickly become my favorite place to dine. The food is amazing. The service perfection. My only complaint is it's impossible to get a last minute reservation. :)

KD
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding service, food and gracious hospitality. This is a most wonderful venue and they have an exceptional menu and the service is beyond expectations.

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on March 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely loved Ambar! We went for brunch and choose the a la carte option and quickly regretted it because after the app, we wanted to sample everything on the menu! No one in my party had ever had Balkan food and it was delish! Service was great; nice decor! Will def be back!

OT
Austin
1 review
Dined on February 29, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing bottomless brunch! 25¢ drinks.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Pretty good experience. Many choices and great food.

TR
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fun and enjoyable ambience. Very popular...it was packed at 5:30pm and never let up. A bit noisy, but was still able to have a coherent conversation. The food, the whole reason for going, was full of regional classics well executed from lamb prosciutto to pork belly stuffed cabbage. The variety of pickled and roasted vegetable spread accompaniments for some dishes where greats touches. For $35 dollars the unlimited small plates were an awesome value. Desserts and drinks were reasonably priced.

MM
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall2food2service4ambience3

Experience was suboptimal. Dishes were cold and unsavory.

OT
1 review
Dined on February 27, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing experience in the restaurant, thank you so much.

JC
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on February 26, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We had a res for two but friends wanted to join us. Hostess quickly identified how to accommodate us. Sean was entertaining and informative. We went for the $35 full menu and bottle of wine Sean recommended. A terrific Balkan experience!

A
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on February 26, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great place! Great food for an affordable price. Only complain would be the noise.

JB
1 review
Dined on February 26, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My first dining experience at Ambar - Arlington for dinner, our waiter was fabulous! So knowledgeable about the menu, we went with the flat rate per person for dinner and let the waiter place all orders. The food continued to roll out until we had to stop him because we were so full. Wine was really good even though I had never tried wine from the Balkan region. I will return.

KR
Jacksonville
2 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely great food! Great drinks, and amazing service! Would highly recommend!

CS
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2020
Overall2food3service2ambience1

Small plates is not the correct description. Minuscule would be a more accurate word. They are not adequate for sharing, and when they bring the initial 7 plates you ordered one at a time, spaced several minutes apart, it amounts to one person eating a few bites while others watch, then the next person doing the same, etc. Noise level was among the worst I've ever encountered, to the extent that I heard very little of what our server said, and she obviously didn't hear us either, since we got three plates we didn't order because she heard us wrong (and we speak pretty clear Midwestern American English). So there is very little possibility for conversation while you're waiting several minutes for the next tiny plate to arrive. All in all, a very disappointing experience.

LT
Wilmington
4 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing brunch!! I would recommend this brunch to everyone.

KA
Washington DC
107 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience3

This was our first time here and in spite of the noise and hectic pace we really enjoyed the evening. Our server was excellent explained everything and helped us with our choices. Very diverse interesting menu. Nasty and fun. The small plates are a great way to experience and great variety of new abd different dishes. The unlimited menu was an incredible deal so we went for it. Great time food and drinks. All the staff work together and are like a well oiled machine. I highly recommend. Enjoy 👍🏻

JM
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 22, 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience5

The service was good, but they were very busy... So, I could not give five stars.

OT
1 review
Dined on February 22, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious meal!

C
Washington DC
21 reviews
Dined on February 21, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

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

JM
1 review
Dined on February 21, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food service and atmosphere. Such a delight.