Falls Church

Vietnamese banh mi in Falls Church is peerless on the East Coast.
Also see Eden Center map below

Falls Church is a community in Northern Virginia, encompassing the independentCity of Falls Church plus the neighborhoods of Seven Corners and West Falls Church in Fairfax County and East Falls Church in Arlington County. Falls Church is home to the largest Vietnamese community on the East Coast, and visitors can enjoy a great variety of international cuisine.

Get in

Falls Church is a suburban area, located inside the Beltway (I-495) about three miles west of Washington, D.C.

By plane

The nearest and most convenient airport is Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Arlington. Long-haul flights are available to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).

By public transport

By Metrorail

WMATA, which operates the DC Metrorail, has stops at West Falls Church (Orange Line) and East Falls Church (Orange and Silver Lines). These stops, however, are designed for commuters, and there is little nearby except for swaths of parking. A long walk or a transfer to Metrobus is required; bus riders should check options from Ballston in Arlington County, which is served by more routes.

By bus

Bus users should make a note of Seven Corners Transit Center, where you can transfer between all the most useful bus routes, and which is just across the street from the Eden Center.

Metrobus routes 1A, 1B, and 1E all run from the Ballston Metro stop down Wilson Blvd to the Eden Center (just before Seven Corners, past Roosevelt), taking roughly 20 minutes.

Metrobuses 4A and 4H are the only options for US-50/Arlington Blvd, and depart from the Rosslyn Metro stop. You can pick them up from the Seven Corners Transit Center, though, across the street from Eden Center, where you can also connect up with the aforementioned Wilson Blvd buses.

Metrobus 28A runs the length of VA-7/Leesburg Pike between West Falls Church and King St/Alexandria Metrorail stations, with a stop at the Seven Corners Transit Center.

Get around

It's definitely best to have a car, mostly because this part of Northern Virginia is not pedestrian-friendly at all. It is possible to get just about everywhere by public transport, but your trip will take a lot more time.

By car

The intersection known as Seven Corners no longer has seven corners, after decades of traffic engineering, but the roads that form it remain the same. Pay close attention to the signs if you want to wind up on the right road! The main roads have at least two names a piece, which further complicates things: US-50/Arlington Blvd, VA-7/Leesburg Pike/Broad St, and US-29/Lee Hwy/Washington St. Wilson Blvd is the other main road, where you will find Eden Center immediately northeast of Seven Corners on the way up to Arlington.

I-66 runs east-west just to the north of the City of Falls Church; I-495, the Capital Beltway, runs along West Falls Church's western border, with the US-50 exit being the most useful.

Avoid driving during morning rush hour (7:30AM-10:30AM) towards D.C., and vice versa in the afternoon (4PM-7PM). Note that on weekdays eastbound I-66 is HOV-2 only 6:30AM-9AM and westbound is HOV-2 only 4PM-6:30PM.

See

Eat

Falls Church has the best Vietnamese food in the D.C. area— some would say the best in the country outside of California— and some of the cheapest. The most famous dishes are of course bánh mì (pronounced bañ mee, with a palatized "n") and phở (fuh). The former are sandwiches on semi-hard to hard French baguettes, filled with very Vietnamese ingredients like cold cuts, smoked bacon, head cheese, red pork, various deli meats, or even regular old Italian meatballs. Are there better sandwiches in the world? Maybe—some hamburgers or pulled pork sandwiches might be contenders, but this speaks to just how delicious banh mi really are.

Pho is Vietnamese beef soup (or the U.S. invented chicken phở ga), filled with hot beef/oxtail broth/borderline-consommé, just about any part of the cow you like—brisket, tripe, flank, chuck, round, tendon, etc., and a generous helping of vermicelli noodles. On the side are fresh veggies to add to the soup, in particular mint, jalapeños, and sprouts, as well as lime, spicy sriracha sauce, and sweet-sour hoisin sauce.

Bubble tea and smoothies of all stripes are the most popular beverages (although Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk and young coconut juice with fresh coconut meat are hard to beat), and can be found in any bakery/deli, as well as the dessert menus of the restaurants. Bubble tea gets its name from the optional tapioca balls (boba) at the bottom of the cup. For an adventure, try one of the red bean or durian smoothies! The bakeries also have a good selection of strange Vietnamese foods and excellent fresh fruit at cheaper prices than you'll find in any area grocery store.

Vietnamese cuisine, with its fusion of French (thank the colonial past) and southeast Asian, is far richer and diverse than the banh mi and pho alone, though, and you'll find it well represented in the less-specialized restaurants.

There is a smaller, but significant Cantonese community in Falls Church as well, and Cantonese food is a favorite with the Vietnamese, especially for a late night dinner. One fun thing to check out are the dish translations on the menus into both English and Vietnamese!

Note that the Cantonese and Vietnamese restaurants/grocers/bakeries are either cash only, or have minimum purchases for credit cards—usually $10.

Outside Eden Center

American

Vietnamese

Banh Xeo—delicious stuffed Vietnamese "pancakes"

Chinese

Eden Center

Eden Center's arch

Eden Center is ground zero for South Vietnamese cuisine (and culture—the constant South Vietnamese freedom fighter festivals are an interesting look back to the past of this immigrant community). It's an aesthetically unappealing strip mall, but the culinary delights are outstanding, and while you may not recognize them, you'll often be waiting in lines with D.C.'s top gourmet shops.

Banh mi

Pho

Full service

The following all have traditional table service and full bar.

Drink

Self catering dessert at an Eden Center bakery

Sleep

Go next


Routes through Falls Church

Middletown Vienna  W  E  Arlington Washington, D.C.
Bethesda Tysons Corner  N  S  Annandale Springfield
Washington, D.C. Arlington  N  S  Fairfax Charlottesville
Winchester Fairfax  W  E  Arlington Washington, D.C.
Winchester Tysons Corner  W  E  Alexandria END
Leesburg McLean  W  E  END
END Vienna  W  E  Arlington East End
Reston McLean  W  E  Arlington East End


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, January 19, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.