About Mala Tang

The inspiration behind Mala Tang is Sichuan Master Chef Liu Chaosheng’s hometown of Chengdu. Here you'll find the streets filled with diners sitting at tables gathering around bubbling hot pots, in which dozens of dried chilies bob up and down in an oily red broth.

The hot pot itself is a pan that sits on a portable burner, surrounded by an array of small plates piled high with fresh ingredients. Guests select pieces of food and drop them into the broth to cook, and then dip them into delicious sauces.

For the main hot pot course, Mala Tang serves a variety of proteins including chicken, lamb, all-natural beef, and fresh seafood; starches such as sweet potato noodles, and a plethora of vegetables ranging from bok choy to lotus roots. Those who are "afraid of the chili heat," as the Chengdu locals jokingly warn incoming travelers, can tone down the mala flavor with a mild version of the cooking broth.

3434 Washington Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201
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Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Asian, Chinese, Shabu-shabu

Hours of Operation:
LUNCH Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 4:00pm, Saturday & Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm; DINNER: Sunday - Thursday: 4:00pm - 9:00pm, Friday & Saturday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm (Last seating is 30 minutes prior to closing)

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(703) 243-2381

Website:
http://www.mala-tang.com/

Catering:
On site and off site Catering is available.

Parking Details:
Mala Tang offers two hours of complimentary parking for all reservations and walk-in guests dining in the main dining room (hot pot menu). 15 minutes free parking for carryout. Parking is available in designated retail spaces in the garage.

Garage parking is available on the P1 level in spots designated as Retail. If Retail parking lot is full, please leave your keys with a Parking Attendant.

Public Transit:
From Virginia Square Metro - turn left at N Monroe Street than turn right on Washington Blvd.

Executive Chef:
Liu Chaosheng

Additional:
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Chef's Table, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Takeout, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Special Events & Promotions:
Special Events menus are available in house.

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Private Dining

You and your guests will feel as if you're dining in Chengdu, the home of Chef Liu and the inspiration for Mala Tang. Choose from several group menus crafted for large parties or let us create a menu designed just for you.

Mala Tang Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.3

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.4

service

4.3

ambience

3.9

value

4.2

Noise

Moderate

100% would recommend it to a friend

Good for Groups (10)
Spicy (8)
Casual (6)
See All
Gluten Free Options (4)
Healthy (4)
Great for Lunch (4)
Good Vegetarian Options (4)
Authentic (3)
Comfort Food (3)
Fit for Foodies (3)
Good for a Date (3)
Kid-friendly (2)
Fun (2)
Special Occasion (2)
Tasting Menu (2)
Worth the Drive (2)
Neighborhood Gem (1)
Good for Birthdays (1)
Cozy (1)
Creative Cuisine (1)
Happy Hour (1)
Great for Brunch (1)
Great for Outdoor Dining (1)
Quick Bite (1)
Seasonal (1)
Tapas (1)
Vegan (1)
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427 reviews
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vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on February 25, 2012

If you've never had Sichuan Hot Pot, it's something fairly unusual and Mala Tang's specialty. We had a prix fixe/Bloomspot deal, and it came with an appetizer, choice of hot pot and sesame balls for dessert. I ordered the traditional hot pot, but it wasn't that hot. I'm sure you can order it hotter, so keep that in mind if you like things on the hotter side. The meat and veggie spreads have variety and are generous. The "sauce" station has nice variety of choices. Note the whole place reeks of strong Chinese herbs and spices, so you're going to smell like that when you leave.

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food3
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 (Washington DC)·Dined on February 25, 2012

This was our 2nd trip to Mala Tang. We returned because we thought both the service and the food were delicious on our first visit. This time, we were less than impressed.

The restaurant did not have a table for us at our time of reservation - we ended up having to wait for almost 40 minutes beyond our reservation time. We watched multiple other tables be seated, including parties that were without reservations. Our party may have only been for 2, but there comes a time when the host should be willing to give up a larger table to make up for their own mistake.

We had other issues once seated, but they most likely would have been forgiven more easily had we been seated according to our reservation. It was extremely disappointing

Tags: Good for Groups
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food4
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service2

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on February 25, 2012

Mala Tang is a great place to try something a little different, especially with a group. The Szechuan Hot Pot concept is similar to a fondue in that you are cooking your own meat, fish, protein or vegetables in a personal pot of broth but you also have the ability to select from the 30 or so dipping sauces and spices (or make a few of your own by mixing them). All in all it's good food and good fun and not too expensive!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem
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 (New York Area)·Dined on February 24, 2012

Genuine Chinese hot pot. The menu is a bit confusing, though.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem
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vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on February 20, 2012

Even though we had reservations, our party of 8 was seated right in front of the kitchen door. The restaurant is very noisy and it was even worse with all the traffic and conversation among the servers.

Our server was lackadaisical, a best. It took quite a while for him to come to get our orders and he did not come back often enough to see if we needed anything -- we did! and had to flag him down several times. A decorative screen feel on my head and he simply looked in our direction and slowly cam to lift it off of me. No apology, no sign a regret. He did give us good advice on the quantity of food to order, however.

All this said, the food was good -- especially the appetizers, which were great. In future, I would stick with

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Special Occasion
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vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on February 20, 2012

This was a last minute choice. We were looking for Chinese, and we found this! It speaks well of this restaurant that there were several Chinese people eating there! We'll go back, now that we know how to order.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Special Occasion
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 (New York Area)·Dined on February 19, 2012

Despite its lack of "communal" hot-pots, Mala Tang really delivers on the authentic hot pot experience. Master Chef Liu brings the flavors of Sichuan to Arlington, VA and allows those of us who miss the China hot pot experience to feel like we are back home. The sauce bar gives an added dimension to the experience. Highly recommended for people who are either nostalgic of their time spent in China, or are looking for a fun evening of Chinese culture and cuisine.

Tags: Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem
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 (Washington DC)·Dined on February 18, 2012

Food was very good and authentic Sichuan cuisine. Any time your mouth goes numb due to heat, you are eating Sichuan food. My husband and I decided to get a combo of hot and cold small dishes, called xiao chi in Chinese (little eats). I recommend the onion bread, the zhong dumplings and the pickled cucumbers. We liked the cold spicy chicken, but since it was too hot for me, I expect most people would not like it. It had a great taste, though. Also, their vegetable Dan-Dan Mein (Dan-Dan noodles) was great.
Their specialty is actually Sichuan hotpot and their Chinese vegetables and meats were impressive. We will try that another time. However, from observing others orders, it looked very authentic.

Tags: Good for Groups, Special Occasion
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 (Washington DC)·Dined on February 14, 2012

My boyfriend took me to Mala Tang for valentines day, knowing that I love hot pot restaurants. We had been to Mala Tang once before and throughly enjoyed it. However this time the service was absolutely Unacceptable. The server was beyond rude from the second he hit the table. He didn't greet us and immediately jumped into the concept of hot pot. The highlight of our awful service was when the server brought a tray with our food on it and walked away to take an order from another table. He then moved on to another table and then left to the back of the restaurant. I proceeded to serve myself and placed our 6 plates on our table. After we brought to the servers attention what had occurred he continued to be rude.

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 (Washington DC)·Dined on February 14, 2012

Great soup. Wide selection of dishes. Appetizers are also great. Great service w friendly staff. You get to add ingredients to your own soup for your liking. Price is fair. If there's more parking spaces, nothing else to ask for.

Tags: Good for Groups, Hot Spot
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 (Washington DC)·Dined on February 12, 2012

I was there with one other person and it seemed like they had given the table originally reserved for us to someone else that was in a better spot despite us arriving on time. We started off with the green onion pancakes w/ a sweet sauce which were perfect. For entrees we both got the spicy broth with chicken, flounder, and sirloin. The flounder was our favorite. The portions were large, we should have gone with just two proteins instead of 3 but I had some to take home for lunch and it was very reasonably priced. We both were big fans of the sauce bar, they had everything we wanted but the sauce from the pancakes was mysteriously absent. Overall the food was excellent and I am looking forward to coming back to try out more of the menu.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Hot Spot
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 (Washington DC)·Dined on February 11, 2012

Sauce bar was messy and not replenish appropriately. Staff did not explain concept. A bit disappointing dinner.

Tags: Good for Groups
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 (Richmond)·Dined on February 11, 2012

We had to wait a half hour for our table - even with reservations but was well worth the wait.
The staff was very apologetic and kind. Service was outstanding - the food was excellent. Great for a large group...

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Kid-friendly, Special Occasion
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 (Washington DC)·Dined on February 11, 2012

The food (as it should be) was the star of our meal. The service and location leave a little something to be desired. We frequent many small mom and pop restaurants from various Asian cultures and we are used to erratic service where there are no assumptions made, this is not that. There were plenty of people on the floor, they just seemed to be overwhelmed. Maybe they are just new but the next time we come back we will make sure to try an off peak time.
The one thing that stuck a raw nerve with me was that they left the check on our table when we were slightly less than half way through our hot pot. I do not know if they do not offer a desert or just wanted our table. I will try again in a year or so.

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 (Washington DC)·Dined on February 11, 2012

Loved the idea and the food. Especially well run. Make a reservation as is a very busy place after 7pm on Sat. night.

Tags: Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem
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vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on February 11, 2012

Food was good. Hot pot is always fun. Was just annoyed by the service. They were going to seat us at the worst table (next to the sauce bar) when the restaurant was completely empty (we had an early reservation). Then they tried to hurry us out (twice) when we wanted desert. Meal was not expensive but I wouldn't go back. I prefer the service and food at Peking Gourmet in Falls Church.

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 (Washington DC)·Dined on February 10, 2012

Wait for 30 minutes after reservation time to be seated. Waitress was not helpful at all in navigating the menu even though we said we has never had hot pot before. My water glass was constantly empty. The food was great but would not eat here again due to poor serving staff. The bus boys and host were great, but the waitresses all seemed annoyed.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Hot Spot
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vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on February 10, 2012

Hot Pot gem off the metro, it's a wonderful new spot, the servers are well informed regarding the menu and the choices are wide ranging. I'd highly recommend going and getting the spicy broth!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem
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vip
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 9, 2012

The menu is incredibly confusing, but the hot pot concept is fun.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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 (New Orleans)·Dined on February 5, 2012

We thought it was just okay. To be honest, if we are going to cook our own food, we'd rather just do it at home and save the $70.

Tags: Romantic
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 (Washington DC)·Dined on February 5, 2012

As always, Mala Tang is good to the last morsel. A very good restaurant in a tucked-away location on Washington Blvd. If these guys were in Clarendon, you'd be hard-pressed to get a dinner res. Excellent food, superb service.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch
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 (New York Area)·Dined on January 30, 2012

We had a large group an we loved it - our dinner was delicious and great service. All of our group said they would go again!

Tags: Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem
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 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 29, 2012

Who would have expected romantic ambience in a hot pot restaurant? The best hot pot I have had. And the sauce condiments are gorgeous. Yeah, that's right! gorgeous.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Late-night Find, Romantic, Great for Lunch
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 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 27, 2012

Great birthday spot! We had a lot of fun with a large group of 10. Really enjoyed the Mala broth with the scallops and the pork dumplings are delicious!!!

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 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 27, 2012

We've enjoyed dinners at Mala Tang several times. A nice break from the usual restaurant, also engaging for children. Service was swift and efficient. This is another restaurant heavy on furnishings which reflect sound, so the noise level is high but not so high as to inhibit conversation.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Kid-friendly
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 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 23, 2012

The food was really good. I just got back from Beijing and wanted to celebrate the New Year with some Chinese food. It was a really nice fusion between Chinese hot pot with enough American-style options to please a diverse crowd. The atmosphere was really pleasant, and the staff were friendly.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Special Occasion
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 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 23, 2012

no real complaints. food and service was solid - not outstanding but far from negligent. I thought the food was maybe a little overpriced. this won't be a favorite spot but i will certainly recommend for others to decide for themselves. i will likely go back, but i'm in no hurry.

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vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 21, 2012

The waitress did a poor job of advising us on how many veggies to order and we ended up with far too many which only went to waste and increased our bill unnecessarily. The appetizers were tasty, but be prepared to work for your dinner.

Tags: Good for Groups
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 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 20, 2012

Great place for a group dinner.

Tags: Good for Groups
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 (Philadelphia)·Dined on January 18, 2012

This place is delicious, but seriously overpriced. Luckily, 30% off through Open Table! Times/days are really restricted (only M-Thurs, all options after 6pm were taken off on Jan 18)

Anyhow, their food here is great. The soup base is delicious, whether mala or mild. All the ingredients we get are always fresh and well-prepared: sirloin (not the red wine one--had it once, didn't think it belonged in hotpot, really), napa, spinach, enoki mushrooms, silken tofu, maybe some fish balls, and sweet potato noodles. Delicious! Also, make your own sauce :) My concoction: shacha jiang (chinese BBQ sauce), tiny bit of soy sauce, scallions, garlic, and mala powder.

All in all, great place. I'll be back!

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 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 18, 2012

The waitress did not speak or understand English well and could not answer questions about the menu or offerings well. Cumin fish was fried; this was not mentioned on the menu.

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 (Richmond)·Dined on January 18, 2012

Mala Tang brings hot pot to a new level. A wonderful room with great energy and individual attention. And the non hotpot food is great

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Great for Lunch
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food5
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 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 16, 2012

This resturant was a new twist for us, but we had a great server (Helen) who explained all the details of dining and spices. We were planning on regular chinese food but this place top the experience we were expecting. Thanks to the friendly and prefect service we had a great time. We are putting this on our list and telling our frineds.
Thank you Helen you were great

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Scenic View
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 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 15, 2012

Food was good, both in taste and in portion size. I did find the service a bit lacking.

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food3
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 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 14, 2012

We really enjoyed Mala Tang -it was a fun experience. We wish we had gotten more of a tutorial in terms of what to do but we will know for next time.

Tags: Good for Groups, Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem
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vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 13, 2012

It was a very cold night; but the food and friendly staff got us warmed up nicely. We introduced two friends to the restaurant for their first visit; they were very impressed. Thanks for a great experience.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 10, 2012

great food, great atmosphere, knowledgable servers. Can't wait to go back.

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 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 9, 2012

This was my first time doing individual hotpot; I've done group hotpot many times in the past. Service seemed slow, but we had a large group. The food was spectacular with all the options available. Most of the group chose the a la carte option. We were surprised at how much food we ended up ordering because we didn't ask our server how many items we should order individually, and she didn't let us know the portions were definitely large enough to share. I would recommend going for the experience and the food.

Tags: Good for Groups
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 (Palm Springs)·Dined on January 7, 2012

I'm afraid the spice level isn't Chengdu. To get the real cuisine you're going to have to lay on with the condiments--especially the Szechuan pepper. The waiter was very present until the food was served--then went MIA and we eventually had to ask the bus boy for our check.

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Brunch, Special Occasion
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vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 2, 2012

A neat concept with questionable execution. Since you cook the food yourself, it's hard to complain about the execution, but the raw meat could be better trimmed. They have 20 different sauces from which to make a concoction, but many of the jars are empty and not refilled frequently. Getting water takes several requests and you could grow old waiting for your check.

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