Ambar - Arlington

4.6
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1789 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 .
What 1789 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
4.3
service
4.4
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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BB
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Outside is always the best! Inside is a bit frenetic/noisy.

CD
Cincinnati
3 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 3

Celebrating my moms 85th bday with my son who lives in DC. Loved sharing everything Brussels Sprouts were awesome and breads and spreads and crusted chicken and salmon excellent also. Can’t remember everything we had but we had a wonderful evening and enjoyed sitting outside. A little cramped outside, however so I gave a lower score for ambiance for this reason. Our reservation was ready and they didn’t keep us waiting.

M
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Great food and service. The music was a bit loud so we sat outside. We were not allowed to sit on the side street and the main street was pretty noisy. Great meal otherwise.

GT
Washington DC
45 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a great anniversary celebration. Great service and great food. Sat outside.... highly recommend this restaurant!

C
San Diego
30 reviews
Dined on 15 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great experience. Got the unlimited tapas. Food kept coming. Marius was excellent waiter. Great variety. Lamb great, salads, chicken, boar, spreads.

OT
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on 15 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Staff were really friendly and helpful. Brunch plates were substantial size and tasty and priced reasonably.

OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on 14 September 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 2

Very poor service, slow, unfriendly and unprofessional. Food came out in the wrong order and the order was incorrect. Did not expect to have such a bad experience here.

OT
Baltimore
8 reviews
Dined on 14 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We had a great dining experience. The food was delicious and the service great.

a
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 14 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brunch at Ambar was good. As I’ve mention in my other reviews of Ambar, the food and service never disappoint. Every time I go to Ambar I try to being someone who has never been. I brought my coworker for brunch and she was wowed. Our favorites were the meat/cheese pies, the potatoes, sourdough bread balls, zucchini burger, & the zucchini salad. A huge thank you to the restaurant staff for such a good time!

FC
Washington DC
33 reviews
Dined on 13 September 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

We really enjoy Ambar. When you purchase the Ambar experience for $35, you get unlimited small plates. We try all types of dishes, even those we wouldn't normally order, and it's a blast!

YB
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on 10 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 2

It was very loud. The burek should be called burek, not meat pie! It should also be in a spiral, like in Bosnia. They brought some dishes out that we didn't order, and some dishes we ordered didn't arrive, but that was ok, there was plenty of food.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 9 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food and amazing service.

M
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on 8 September 2019
Overall 2food 4service 3ambience 2

Our server was good, but the hostess that greeted us was not friendly or accommodating.

K
Richmond
1 review
Dined on 8 September 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 4

Great food and great deal for bottomless brunch, but service is hit or miss. This time was a miss with slow service.

EM
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 8 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had an amazing birthday brunch! Our server Ivan was incredible!

OT
1 review
Dined on 7 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding meal, and our server Valentin was the best.

CS
New England
2 reviews
Dined on 7 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing and unique food. They treated us like family.

OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on 6 September 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 3

I usually love this place but service was bad that night, seemed understaffed. Seating outside was great until the manager open one window in the whole place that funneled the interior restaurant noise into my right ear. While I understand he was trying to be hospitable to the couple on the other side, it made my night worse. Portions were visibly smaller that night as well. Debating if I want to come back.

c
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on 6 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous!! Food selection was fantastic and delicious. Service was impeccable. Cocktails and KCellar wine was perfect.

TB
New England
3 reviews
Dined on 5 September 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 1

Way too loud. Went there on a first date and we had to yell across the table at each other.

And when they say “small plates” they mean SMALL. Much smaller portions than what other restaurants typically refer to as small plates.

OT
1 review
Dined on 5 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Came with 3 friends and we all decided to go with their Balkan experience which was ordering a bunch of small plates. Drinks or desserts are not included but 35$pp for “eat as much as u can” is very good option so no complaints! Overall good experience!

TT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on 1 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful unique food. Service was fantastic. And love the Amber experience!

VO
1 review
Dined on 1 September 2019
Overall 1food 4service 2ambience 4

Overpriced, extremely small portions for the price, they start cleaning table before you even leave.

OT
Charleston
1 review
Dined on 31 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great experience as always, we had great food and service
Thank you guys. Hvala puno od srca!

OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on 31 August 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 4

Small portions of decent food provided by a really arrogant and unpleasant server.

OT
1 review
Dined on 31 August 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

The brunch drinks were watered down. The service was slow. Food was good.

CW
1 review
Dined on 31 August 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

Food was microwaved and in some cases still cold. The service was terrible and our waiter forgot half our order.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 30 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic. I actually found them on Yelp and booked through open table. $35 all you can try is a must and we will be back again!!!

PS
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 30 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Too loud but fun

M
New York Area
22 reviews
Dined on 29 August 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great food and service. Too noisy for conversation.

a
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on 29 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love Ambar. Always have, always will. Great, friendly staff. Amazing food. Nothing negative to say about this place. I always go for special occasions and my guests love this place as much as I do. It’s nice that management also stops by to check on your experience as well. I prefer the Clarendon location over DC, but both are great. I 10/10 recommend. You won’t regret it

OT
Orange County
6 reviews
Dined on 29 August 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

The server barely came to check on us

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 28 August 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 2

We sat outside which was very pleasant; if that had not been an option we would not have stayed due to noise level inside. Food was very good.

e
Washington DC
22 reviews
Dined on 28 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Few restaurants in this region compare with Ambar. Their approach is small plate, unlimited quantities, at a fixed and fair price. Few of their dishes are found elsewhere or, if available, will come to the table with the same preparation or trimmings. The three of us were delighted with every phase of the meal, and will certainly return early and often. Ambar is a gem.

L
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on 25 August 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 4

After all the hype, very surprised the food was barely mediocre. Grilled calamari was more like boiled and fishy. Other dishes tasteless. The "Highly recommended" by our server lamb lasagne ended up being out - at 6 pm. My bourbon peach drink was watery. The esteemed charcoal grilled house specialty kababs were dry, flavorless, chewy, and not tasting of the grill at all. And there's no pita or other bread brought out at all. The server was pushy for the first 20 minutes, and after taking our order promptly disappeared for the rest of the evening. We had to go find people to get water, our missing pork sausage, and even the bill.
On the bright side, our outdoor table was lovely.

OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on 25 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love this place!!! Everything is lively and the food is delicious. We had the unlimited brunch experience and was very pleased! I’ve only been here twice because I don’t live nearby, but I’ll always recommend it as middle meeting point or when I just want to venture out.

H
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on 25 August 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 5

Food was great, service was less than desirable. Didn’t see the waitress after 20 minutes when we said something, then she was obviously very irritated with us... needless to say, this was extremely discouraging to return.

JM
Miami
1 review
Dined on 25 August 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 4

Food was very off and seever came over 2x in 2 hrs. For unlimited tapas, the portions were small and barely able to order more. Not worth the money.

OT
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on 24 August 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We sat outside since there were tables available and it was very loud inside. The Balkan experience definitely seems like a good deal since you can try basically everything.

OT
Richmond
1 review
Dined on 24 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food and great for groups.

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