Ambar - Arlington

4.6
1683 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$30 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Tapas / Small Plates
Top tags:
  • Tapas
  • Good for a Date
  • Creative Cuisine
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 1683 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
4.5
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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SZ
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

So great every time! The only detractor is how loud it is in there!

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s
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

I like coming here for Sunday brunch -this time was perhaps my third time there. It's very open and bright inside, with beautiful hanging plants. It can also be very loud. I'd highly recommend making reservations, especially late morning/early afternoon. I opted for the bottomless brunch (great value because you also get 25c drinks), which consists of tapas-style items from the full brunch menu. I recommend moving left to right, top to bottom, when going through the menu, and to share each item with whoever you're with so you can try a bit of everything :) The food in general is very good and doesn't feel heavy as you eat. Stand outs for me include the various dips with breads, the meat or cheese pies, sliders, and waffles. Service can sometimes be quite slow. This time, we were unable to flag down a waiter for our check for 30 mins, which wasn't an issue since we had plenty of time to sit and chitchat, but checking in on a table while the assigned waiter/waitress is on a break should be standard. Still, this doesn't detract from the experience too too much. Overall, we ended up spending more than 3 hours here, but they may rush you along during busier days (there's a 2 hour brunch limit stated on their menu).

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MD
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service. I hope to try every dish on the menu.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Not as good as Capitol Hill location. New menu is not as good.

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J
Washington DC
43 reviews
Dined on 12 July 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

First time there. Waiter was very good explaining the menu options. Reasonable corkage fee ($25). Were there for dinner 7pm on a Friday and the room was really loud, mostly spill-over from the bar (but that's most places in Clearendon these days). Otherwise, good food, good value.

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NS
Seattle
5 reviews
Dined on 12 July 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

Very nice dinner. We opted for the $35 all you can eat option and the food was creatively prepared and most was quite tasty. A few dishes were a little “just ok” in my opinion. The lamb and pork dishes were very good. Service was mostly good, though it was always a bit of a mystery when something we ordered would appear. Friendly servers.

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OT
Washington DC
155 reviews
Dined on 12 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Went for dinner and had the unlimited tapas for 35$. All course were very good to great. Loved the calamari and shrimp. The shrimp on corn that had a great spice. Also of note was the meat pie, Balkan salad, grilled asparagus and steak tartare. Many other great dishes such as almond chicken. Highly recommend. The wine list is also small but very good. Lots of cocktails that sounded good as well. Service is excellent with dishes coming at a good pace. Highly recommend.

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JC
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on 11 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

They have done a great job; Great Food. Great Service. Great experience.

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OT
1 review
Dined on 11 July 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 2

At least the food was interesting and good. Ambar was too loud to hear conversation at a table for two, our server rarely came by, drinks were scarce and ordering difficult. We only stayed 45 minutes. We heard great things, but were ultimately disappointed. Maybe the Capitol Hill location is a better experience.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on 11 July 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

The food was absolutely delicious, and the server was very helpful in giving opinions on what we might enjoy. The atmosphere inside seemed really cool, but unfortunately we couldn’t enjoy it because the noise level was through the roof. Conversation was out of the question. Fortunately there was a table available outside, although this wasn’t ideal. The space was very cramped, and it happened to be a hot and rainy night (there was overhead cover, fortunately).

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P
Washington DC
71 reviews
Dined on 11 July 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

My husband and I had lunch with an old friend whom we had not seen in a long time. This was the first time that we tried the offer of small plates -- a great bargain and a chance to try more dishes than we've tried before. Everyone enjoyed the food, my husband says that he could live on the veal soup alone, and the person who brought the many dishes was just great. I tell my friends that if you can't find something you like at Ambar you need to see the taste doctor.

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m
Baltimore
4 reviews
Dined on 10 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Loved it! Great ambiance and the food was delicious. The waiter was a little cold. After we left our check and the tip in the billfold, he picked it up off the table and walked away without saying a word. Very strange. Not a thank you or a good bye, nothing. I felt like grabbing it back and lowering the tip.

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PH
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 9 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went while we charged up our Tesla. Took our dog and sat outside. It was very pleasant.

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MJ
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on 7 July 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 5

The ambiance is a lot of fun but we were disappointed in the food which was only okay. It was a fairly quiet night so the less than great and inattentive service was surprising. This was our first time at this restaurant and it’s unlikely we’ll be back.

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c
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on 7 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and great value. We’ve been here 5 times over the course of 2 years and it never disappoints.

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AJ
Baltimore
8 reviews
Dined on 7 July 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Second time for brunch here. The food, drinks and service are very good. The noise level is high and the tables are a bit too close together. Someone at the next table knocked my water into my lap when they were trying to get seated.

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o
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined on 6 July 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Very, very good food. Very pleasant atmosphere, good service which was polite and efficient if a tad MIA for portions of the evening. Only one downside...it's a very, very, very noisy room. I'm pretty sure something could be done about this but the management does not appear to have made any efforts in that regard. Would definitely go back but might ask if there is a quieter area (we were close to the kitchen) that or bring ear plugs and brush up on sign language.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 6 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food. Will go back.

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S
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on 6 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was fantastic! Service was awesome!

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MM
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on 6 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Food was delicious and we really enjoyed the bottomless brunch!

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P
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on 5 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic meal and service. You have to do the Ambar experience if there’s a group of you. So good. Great waiter.

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OT
Mexico City
4 reviews
Dined on 4 July 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Fue una cena de aniversario pero creo que no es el lugar para hacerlo. La comida y servicio es muy buena, pero hay demasiado ruido.

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MM
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on 4 July 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great brunch tapas and drinks. The bar and decor is really cool too.

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EK
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on 1 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We've been twice now -- once for lunch, once for dinner. I highly recommend getting the set-price menu (one price per person, everyone at the table gets unlimited small plates). Service is quick, food comes out in "waves" so you're never overwhelmed with dishes at the table. Everything we tried was very good! Interesting wine list. Desserts are okay, but not spectacular; I'd save the calories and just get something else from the menu instead of saving room for dessert.

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VM
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on 1 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Consistently great! Very nice servers and good wines.

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VD
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on 30 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My friends and I always have a great time at Ambar. Excellent food and service!

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OT
1 review
Dined on 30 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Walked in and almost immediately got sit down by our server. Server took a bit to get to us initially (it was packed in there) but then was very attentive throughout our time there.

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TT
Atlantic City
2 reviews
Dined on 30 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our waiter was so wonderful! I can’t remember his name but he was so kind and always checked on us. Thank you!

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EC
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on 30 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Everything was great to the exception of a waitress. I addressed the issue with the manager and he was really nice and accommodating. I still give it 5 stars

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MA
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 30 June 2019
Overall 2food 4service 2ambience 1

It’s a very cute place, but I don’t think I will be returning any time soon. We went for a girls day brunch and excited about trying someplace new. We made reservations and were sat almost immediately which is great, but had they told us then that the AC in the building was out. We wouldn’t have stayed. We sat at our table by the window and after about 20-25 minutes, it got really warm. The waitress did not speak louder than a whisper so it was very hard to hear her in a loud atmosphere. As we got warmer, we tried to tough it out by asking for ice to put in our water, but it melted rather quickly. We tried to enjoy our meal as best as possible without causing a fuss, but ultimately cut our brunch short due to the temperature.

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GV
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 30 June 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Pros and cons. This location is different than Capitol Hill location. For the bottomless brunch menu the mimosas are $0.25 cents each. But in DC they’re included in the price of bottomless menu price. The food menu is slightly different as well, comes down to preference. But the ambiance is brighter and more open versus DC location.

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EM
1 review
Dined on 30 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brunch is amazing. A fun place to get together with friends and family.

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AB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on 30 June 2019
Overall 1food 1service 2ambience 2

Overated! I selected this spot based off of the Yelp reviews. Was sorely dissapointed with the lackluster cuisine and rude staff. I actually had to request a different server during the meal. Would never go back...

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J
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 30 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Food was great, vibe was fun. Great for a group of friends.

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OT
1 review
Dined on 30 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

So fun and amazing food! Staff were super accommodating and professional when it came to friends special requests and dietary needs!

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ME
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 29 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Ámbar never disappoints. The food was amazing and the mojito is delicious!

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OT
Birmingham
1 review
Dined on 29 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was amazing and staff was so friendly! I definitely will be going again :-)

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A
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on 29 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing experience as always. The staff are incredible and the food is outstanding. Additionally, my boyfriend is military and someone saw his ID after we had already processed the check and they immediately gave us a discount and refunded part of the meal. This is above and beyond

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i
New York Area
69 reviews
Dined on 29 June 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

First time experience at Ambar. All went very well. There were 6 of us and we did the unlimited menu and we were all very happy with this option. We probably ordered about 5 plates each throughout our dinner. All of the various plates were enjoyed-dips, spreads, flatbreads, meats, veggies... Plenty of choices and we had to take into account one diner who followed the gluten free choices that were available.
Service was reasonably attentive. Overall, a solid restaurant which we enjoyed.

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D
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on 28 June 2019
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 3

My friends and I decided to go to Ámbar for a Ladies’ night out. The place is nice and the food is very good but the service wasn’t the best. The hostess ignored us for 10 minutes when we first arrived (literally, we were standing right in front of them and she kept watching her screen without even saying hi). After being seated we noticed that the place was extremely hot, we asked the waiter to close the window behind us as it was 95 degrees outside and he said the AC was not working. We ordered for drinks that were forgotten several times.
The ambience is really nice but the place is also really loud, not great for having a conversation.
Overall our experience was ok but I wouldn’t choose it as a venue next time.

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