Ambar - Arlington

4.6
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1943 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 1943 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
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OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

They had a reserved table for us since we used this app, we were seated immediately. Waitress was very nice and knowledgeable. Noise level wasn’t too loud, considering it was restaurant week. The menu is very large, there is something for everyone! Pricing is great for the quality of the food. The ambience really sets the tone.

DU
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very unique creative food. The ability to smaple so many dishes is very special and made my night exciting.

OT
Indiana
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

I come to Ambar frequently. It never lets me down.

S
Greece
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall3food2service3ambience3

The food was not that good. The small plates are WAY TOO SMALL. I get that you can get unlimited ones but it's still ridiculous how small they are. Too expensive for what it is.

KB
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The ambiance of the restaurant is great. The decor is vibrant and chic. Despite being at a small table located in the middle of the restaurant, we did not feel too close or crowded to other guests. The food was amazing (we did the all you can eat small plates for brunch). It is definitely worth the money, especially if you are going to drink, because with the special, all brunch drinks are $0.25. Everything came out in a timely manner and was served fresh. Our server gave great recommendations and was very friendly. Will be returning!

M
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall1food4service1ambience4

If you are hoping to stay sober, you’ve come to the right place!

SO
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on January 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We loved the vibe at Ambar and finally understand why all of our friends who had come here were loving it. We did the all you can eat for $35 and were stuffed by the end. Some of the dishes were just okay but others were fantastic. Desert is not included in he all you can eat but we ordered it separately anyway and enjoyed it. We ordered the chocolate brownie (which is not a brownie at all but very good) but we were very curious about the gnocchi (no not the pasta) and asked the waiter about it. Even though we did not end up choosing that for our desert, the waiter brought it for us to try, which was really kind. We also enjoyed our drinks very much and want to try more cocktails from the signature menu. We will be back to try the brunch!

K
Washington DC
23 reviews
Dined on January 9, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience5

The food is reliably excellent. Very very good. My only real hesitation to dining at Ambar is the parking, or rather the lack of parking. This time, I got lucky, but I have on other occasions had to circle and circle and circle. It would be very helpful if Ambar could work out a parking situation, any parking please.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A terrific meal. Well done - we’ll look forward to returning.

OT
Miami
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food! The service was exceptional.

M
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Brunch was fabulous!

OT
Memphis
2 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great brunch!

TO
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience5

The food was great, location was convenient (I took a lyft so I'm not sure how parking is), and the servers and managers are friendly.

JP
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall3food3service5ambience3

Strong service, nice decor, but man....the food was so salty. We had approx 10 small plates (between the 2 of us) and had to drink a lot of water after the meal and through the night.

J
New Orleans
2 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience3

I love Ambar and frequent both the Arlington and DC locations. The food is amazing and ambience is nice. However, the Arlington location can be quite noisy when there’s a full-house. It can be difficult hearing your guests conversations even with close proximity. It’s an open concept with an elevated bar/table-top area. Also, seating in the open area can be tight, in general. It can be difficult ordering multiple items and having enough room to navigate. This is also true for the DC location. Besides the noise levels and space issues, the food is absolutely delicious and worth the visit every time.

CC
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic food and great service. Truly enjoyed the evening!

DL
Washington DC
22 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience3

Delicious food at an amazing value! The noise level is a bit off-putting. Great to have an option for free parking behind the building.

AT
Pittsburgh
17 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall3food2service3ambience5

Tried Ambar after hearing all the hype around it. The food wasn't fantastic, and fairly overpriced. My dining companion had enjoyed Balkan cuisine while he was in the Balkans, and didn't enjoy the food at Ambar. We were disappointed, and I wouldn't recommend Ambar. The only positive part was the atmosphere in the restaurant.

OT
Charleston
3 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Here for a wedding. Have made many trips and lived in DC but have not tried Ambar. Lovely eastern euro/Belgrade cuisine. Great collection of wines to accompany. The small plate experience is affordable, diverse, and delicious. For a full scale bustling operation, service on point and amazingly efficient.

m
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall2food3service2ambience2

We have been to Ambar many times before; this was the only bad experience we have had. But it was really bad. It had been almost a year since our last visit, and we decided to take Family who were in town for our 30th anniversary. The food portions seemed to be smaller than we had experienced in the past. In fact, they were laughably small. For instance, the Brussels sprouts small plate included four brussels sprouts cut in half, so there were eight pieces on the plate. The pitcher of Mojitos was weak and disappointing. The service was impersonal and the waiters raced by and dropped plates on our table, with little or no interaction to tell us what was being delivered. With so many good restaurant options in the region, I’m not sure if I will return to Ambar again.

FC
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As always, superior attention and service is key mark. Food from the Balkan region is especially tasty and the variety overwhelms. Absolutely go for the unlimited sampling and be willing to try foods you may not be familiar with. You will not be disappointed.

K
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Good - but not the right place for larger parties - the tables are too small for parties of 5 or more. Also the noise level is such that with a larger table you really can't hear each other. Otherwise great if you want a taste of ex-Yugoslavia with an American twist !

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Ámbar proves to be a favorite time and time again. Love this place!

P
Washington DC
18 reviews
Dined on January 2, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our entire party agreed that this meal was one of the best of our lives.

OT
St. Louis
4 reviews
Dined on January 2, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing service and food!

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our server Levi was so helpful and patient! The food and experience were great.

CB
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

1st time for brunch. Everything was delicious. Great way to start the new year.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome good, awesome service and awesome time~

SM
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2020
Overall3food4service1ambience5

At brunch on New Year’s Day there wasn’t a server assigned to our area until about an hour into our meal, so we had long waits on our a la carte orders from the unlimited brunch menu. A couple of dishes were mediocre but most were great. Hopefully our experience was not the norm—I would give it another try because of the ambience and overall reputation.

a
St. Louis
2 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2020
Overall1food4service1ambience4

Not the best experience this time. It was a special occasion, but the experience was the exact opposite. Our waitress was MIA majority of our meal. About 60% of the seating was empty, yet out water cups were empty during half the time we were there. Additionally, one of the servers decided to put a plate on top of another dish that we were still eating from instead of rearranging the dishes on the table and/or removing a dish. This is 101 and first time I’ve experienced this practice at any restaurant.

I’m very disappointed as I am a regular customer and have raved about the restaurant. This experience does not hold Ambar’s value of “hospitality”.

A
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Once again the staff, service, food and ambience at Ambar were superb!! Can't think of a better place to spend NYE!! Thank you!

DD
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful hospitality, great food, service top notch. Staff was very welcoming and made sure all our needs were met. Place is a bit noisy but when the place is full of happy chatty people that’s what happens. Their downstairs bar, Baba, is also a restaurant and offers a quieter vibe.

OT
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service2ambience5

Food was great but service was a bit stand off ish but that’s okay! Was still a nice place to get together to catch up with friends

A
Atlanta
3 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

If you are looking for a restaurant to have a family dinner, a friends get-together or a date, this is the place! We did the Ambar Experience and tried more than half the menu - everything was so tasty and cooked to perfection. Fabulous food and fantastic service!

KG
Adelaide / SA
2 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had the a la carte brunch and were very impressed. The service was both informed and attentive. The food was very authentic and the ambience was very nice. While we didn’t do the $34 brunch deal we will next time. It was definitely a great value. We are coming back for sure.

BI
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great place,
Food is great, as well as service
Selection of drink is great, too

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall5food3service4ambience5

Good - I would good back

OT
1 review
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Good quality food.

KK
Orlando
1 review
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great time at Ambar. My family did the unlimited entrees and had such a blast. What a great way to try Balkan cuisine.

ST
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall2food1service3ambience2

It was Christmas Day so part of the problem could be an unusual crowd but doesn't every restaurant want to have that crowd everyday. Food was totally unappealing. Service was robotic though the waitress did wait patiently for one of our party to make up her mind on a choice. Would never go back.