Rustico - Ballston

4.2
1117 Reviews
$30 and under
American
Rustico is the quintessential neighborhood pub in the heart of Ballston in Arlington, Virginia. The menu features seasonal, hearty American fare from a wood-fired oven and grill, including pizzas and rotisserie meats, along with other rustic cuisine using the freshest local ingredients available. There"s also no mistaking Rustico's love for barley & hops! The bar's focal point is a custom galvanized bar with 40 brilliant taps book-ended by two massive coolers holding more than 400 different types of ales, lagers, ciders and stouts.
What 1117 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.2based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.0
service
4.1
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Quiet
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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NH
NealH
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall4food5service3ambience2

I love Rustico but the new ordering platform was a disappointment. I generally like the phone ordering applications but at a nicer place I would rather have full service.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Chris was an amazing waiter!

a
anginator
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 18, 2021
Overall4food5service3ambience5

Food is awesome, ambiance is nice. The no contact service is odd. You scan you're QR code for the table and order from the website which is fine but if you're in a group it makes this weird as you have to coordinate when you're ordering with everyone at the table. Things come out of the kitchen as they are ready. You even have to let your server know when to refill your water. I know its a covid thing, but it makes the restaurant feel more fast casual.

EA
EatAndRun
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on July 16, 2021
Overall4food4service2ambience3

Apps required to order sucks.
No waiter/waitress service sucks.

GP
GwennP
Washington DC
23 reviews
Dined on July 14, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Understanding that it is difficult for restaurants to hire staff during this difficult time, our service was slow. However, our server let us know this in advance, so we were not surprised. That being said, the food quality and amount were great for the price. I will definitely return!

BN
vipBrittanyN
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2021
Overall3food4service3ambience3

TL;DR The food was good but the drinks sucked.

We got a basic Margherita pizza with a side of cauliflower tots. It was out fast and tasted good. But the drinks were awful. The old fashioned tasted like sugar water and the beers were HORRIBLY poured. It was really just our server I think who clearly shouldn’t be working the bar (we sat at the bar on a casual Monday evening so it was pretty quiet in the restaurant). They were all too foamy and it took him three tries to pour one beer that’s how much foam was happening.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Diego
4 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2021
Overall2food4service1ambience1

They're hanging on by just a thread. They only had two people working the front of the house - host and bar tender. There are no servers; you must order through their app. They could only afford to air condition the building down to about 80 degrees, which is uncomfortably warm. The only saving grace was the kitchen; the quality of their food was still pretty good. So sad to see this place go.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2021
Overall2food3service1ambience1

Food was fine. Ordering process was poor at best. No more waiters. Ordered from QR code. Had to order and pay every time we wanted something else. Felt like counter service with restaurant prices and the expectation of a 20% tip. Won’t be next soon. Bring back the waiters.

PS
PatS
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2021
Overall3food4service2ambience5

Pizza and Tomato soup are wonderful. They use San Marzano tomatoes, which are outstanding. The hummus was not so good - watery and not very flavorful. The celery, carrots and pita that came with it were very good, however.

M
Mary
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience3

I absolutely loved eating at this restaurant. I liked how we had to order online, and then our food was brought directly to our table, rather then having a waiter take your order. The service was excellent, our waiter was very nice and accommodating to our requests. Ambiance is great. Didn’t have to wait long at all for our food, it came out very quickly which we loved. Food was absolutely delicious, truffle fries and steak were to die for - as well as the tots. Highly highly highly recommend this restaurant. Definitely coming back

CD
CatherineD
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on June 19, 2021
Overall3food3service1ambience1

Sadly, this restaurant has changed a great deal. No

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Tampa
13 reviews
Dined on June 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Sat outdoors and loved the tent layout and web-ordering process. Everything was really quick even though it wasn't traditional wait staff. Margharitaville pizza was so delicious that we ordered 2 more pizzas and between 2 of us, ate all 3. No true dry Rosé bottles, but there are so many great options. Cannot wait to go back soon!

GK
vipGKRK
Washington DC
59 reviews
Dined on June 17, 2021
Overall4food3service4ambience4

We had a very nice lunch. Food was good, and service was very good. We were a group of senior citizens, some of whom were not equipped to use the QCR, but they wait staff were very accommodating. And the outdoor seating area was very pleasant.

T
Timo
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2021
Overall3food4service2ambience3

Perhaps there's a shortage of waiters, but resented having to go on line to order and once the order was received, I never saw the waiter. We were never able to refresh our drinks.

PS
vipPatS
Washington DC
58 reviews
Dined on June 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As always, Rustico was great. We sat outside, which was nice. Our dishes were delicious! Highly recommend the mushroom bruschetta and dates wrapped in bacon for appetizers. The short rib ragu over pappardelle was heavenly as was the gnocchi. The service was very attentive and prompt. We had a great time.

r
robertk
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on May 24, 2021
Overall4food4service2ambience2

Food was great, and the staff was very friendly. BUT, I hope they go back to having waitstaff in lieu of the computer ordering system. Very impersonal, and it detracts heavily from the experience.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on May 15, 2021
Overall1food3service1ambience1

Not worth going during covid precautions. You have no server, you have to order online on your phone and pay online too. If you have any questions about the menu there’s no one to answer and impossible to make any alterations to dishes. I wanted to order a Moscow mule and upgrade the vodka to Tito’s so it would be gluten free (I have an allergy) and I finally flagged down a staff member and was told the cocktails are pre made so no alterations can be made. Very limited cocktail/drink menu and apparently it’s all pre made so not worth it in my opinion. Food was just ok and the menu is ok but they had much better options pre covid. Won’t go back until they go back to the way it used to be.

TW
TessW
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on May 15, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Made reservations, sat outside, service was good, food/drink were quick and tasty. Will definitely return.

GW
GraceW
1 review
Dined on May 14, 2021
Overall3food4service1ambience4

What a strange experience. Not a lot of device- everything done by app; couldn’t ask about serving sizes, taste, wine. The food was good, but maybe I’m just too old to go to a restaurant without waiters. It was weird

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on May 14, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing service and food

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on May 14, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience2

They only accept orders online, you don’t get a server. They also don’t have any mixed drinks.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2021
Overall3food4service3ambience4

When eating outside you have to add your tip when you order your food. Service was good up until food is delivered. Barely any service after that. Numerous times we asked for a to go box & never got it. Had to go inside to get one myself. I tipped generously b/c I know it’s tough right now, but I won’t do that again. Probably won’t be back any time soon.

LM
LaMarseillaise
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Tasty pizza, but very strange to order everything on your phone rather that interact with a real waiter. Outside space is very pleasant; inside the restaurant was too loud to have a conversation.

a
amack
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 8, 2021
Overall2food2service1ambience1

Rustico is using its online ordering system inside the restaurant which makes the atmosphere too casual and unpleasant. One of our party ordered a diet coke and the host brought out the whole case of soda to the table before fishing out a room temperature can. The accommodations and substitutions we listed in the app were not comprehended, so we received the wrong orders. I enjoyed Rustico before the pandemic, but the new model is a disappointment.

g
ggreene
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on May 6, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Always good food, attentive service, friendly ambiance. A lot of appealing eateries in the neighborhood, but this ends up being the favorite for family get-togethers.

JM
vipJenM
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

They did their homework when it comes to pandemic preparedness- spaced outdoor seating, contactless ordering, great food and customer service.

P
vipPampers
Denver
7 reviews
Dined on April 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was amazing! It was our first time to Rustico and we loved it. The ordering on the app was super easy and the staff were super helpful and attentive (when requested on app - Covid safety). Spacing was great. Wonderful outdoor space as well.

RB
RobinB
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2021
Overall3food4service1ambience4

Ordering through the website was very inconvenient. Hopefully this is temporary and they will eventually be able to hire servers. Orders were lost so simple entrees were delayed by 30 min. Expectation to tip normally is unreasonable.

DC
DebC
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

There is plenty of outdoor dining space with a nice atmosphere. The food was amazing! I would recommend the donuts with chocolate sauce. Yum!

A
vipAnthony
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined on March 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great pizza and outdoor seating. Would recommend

LF
LindaF
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 14, 2021
Overall3food5service1ambience4

Haven't been to Rustico since last March but we went on Sunday evening. The food was as good as always, but I was shocked that it is still using that stupid app to order food. I am used to using my cellphone to look at the menu, but to have to use it to order and pay for food is really annoying.

I won't be going back until they have in person servers.

KE
vipKEArion
Washington DC
71 reviews
Dined on March 13, 2021
Overall4food3service3ambience3

Rustico has a great outdoor space, which is especially good during COVID times! Not so good is that their cocktail menu right now is very limited; they pre-mix the cocktails ahead of time, so you can't even customize the drinks they do offer. But their serving sizes are good and the food is very yummy!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 11, 2021
Overall4food3service4ambience4

Salad was very salty. However chicken was tasty. Very nice and comfortable atmosphere.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Hawaii
13 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

The piece of Salmon for the $26 dinner item was very small

F
Familyouting
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on February 20, 2021
Overall3food4service3ambience3

Seated promptly but no one explained you had to submit your order online, so sat waiting 20-30 minutes for a server that wasn’t coming. All food came out at once even though appetizers were ordered. Most food was very good, grilled cheese sandwich was disappointing.

Water provided in a growler, but not nearly enough for one pour for the group, no one came back to check on the table, so difficult to get more.

Lightning in bar coolers very distracting

Overall we had a good time because of the group dining together, nothing to do with the restaurant.

Would recommend take out only.

AY
AY1974
1 review
Dined on February 17, 2021
Overall2food4service1ambience2

Previously visited this place before COVID - enjoyed very much.
Post-COVID, they changed their business model. They force you to QR the menu - which is okay, I guess - but there are no servers to take your order. They politely (but firmly) push you to order through your smartphone, and their system closes out your tab each and every time you order anything.
That system thoughtfully automatically adds a 20% gratuity - and makes it difficult to adjust it. If I wanted Shoney's salad bar, or an impersonal experience, I can get it for much less cost. It may as well be a "pick up your own order at the bar" type of delivery system - there were workers on the floor but they weren't doing much.

Bottom Line: The food is still good (but not as good as I remember it). I definitely won't be back until they rethink their processes, because the ordering (and paying) experience was absolutely terrible.

PB
PatrickB
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 12, 2021
Overall2food3service1ambience2

All ordering is through your phone. You can't get a custom cocktail. The servers only bring your food and do not check on you. It felt like McDonalds.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 29, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience3

Terrible experience, staff was rude and unattentive. Food was below average and drinks were pre-made.

LH
LawrenceH
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 23, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was great, but not enough portions

p
parmejeanne
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 14, 2021
Overall5food5service2ambience4

Awesome food! Because of Covid, you do all of your ordering online, and I personally prefer having a server, so that was a little odd.

FAQs

Rustico - Ballston does offer delivery in partnership with Uber Eats. Rustico - Ballston also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (571) 384-1820.

Rustico - Ballston is rated 4.2 stars by 1117 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.

Tweets by Rustico - Ballston