Vienna, VA 22180
Telephone (703) 992-9994
In a quiet out-of-the-way small shopping plaza in Vienna, VA, Aldeerah shines as a one-of-a-kind restaurant in Northern Virginia. For someone whose familiarity with Middle Eastern cuisine is centered around those common in our area, such as Lebanese, Iranian, Moroccan or Israeli, this is a uniquely new experience. Aldeerah serves up a distinct taste of the Arabian Gulf, offering some dishes that are very different from the familiar flavors.
If you were not aware of Aldeerah's existence, you're not alone: the restaurant notably caters to the Saudi population in the Washington, D.C.'s suburban Northern Virginia area, with no particular penchant for accommodating "American" tastes. The very friendly staff is happy to provide a small plate to taste an unfamiliar dish to newbies, which is highly welcome, as the menu is quite different from the typical Middle Eastern restaurants that are abundant in Northern Virginia.
The setting is colorful and traditional. The restaurant is split in half, giving you the option to sit on floor rugs, surrounded by pillows, or, on the other side of the wall, at tables adorned by cultural reminders of Saudi Arabia, down to the salt and pepper shakers depicting a man and woman clad in native traditional Saudi garb.
We arrived with an open mind willing to try new dishes. Not ready to commit to something that could potentially result in diner's remorse, we were offered a taste of two items on the menu that we were considering, namely Jireesh and Qursan with vegetables, both pictured below. We are thankful to have been offered a taste, as neither of these appealed to us. Had we ordered them, we would not have enjoyed them.
Some of the familiar appetizers and salads, like the Samboosa, or the Tabbouleh, are available, as well as Hummus, and a few other items that one can find in other Middle Eastern restaurants. But we chose to forgo those.
Any chicken dish you order here will come with the same roasted half-chicken served intact, roasted to perfection so that the meat falls right off the bone. We opted for the traditional Chicken Mandi dish, which has two ingredients: RICE and CHICKEN. It was deliciously prepared, though very simple. It did not not disappoint in flavor.
The ambiance was pleasant with soft Arabic music playing the background and quite a few happy patrons in both dining halls. Patrons were both families and same-gender groups, seemingly regulars. The restaurant offers silverware, though the regulars eat with their hands. There is also no alcohol served here.
The all-Indian staff was friendly and knowledgeable. We appreciated their help navigating the menu and learning from them about Saudi cuisine. We had a great dinner and a lovely experience, though unlikely to return for dinner any time soon, as nothing on the menu looked worthwhile to explore for those of us who are not lamb eaters. If do we go back, it will be on a Friday for a $14.99 lunch buffet to try a variety of options that are not typically available on the regular menu.
Samples of Jeerah (left) and Qursan (right). Both were bland and thick.
Aldeerah does not skimp on the traditional decor, and offers a 20% student discount Monday - Thursday.
Groups and families are the norm in Aldeerah.
Chicken Mandi was delicious, wonderfully complemented by a side order of Yogurt Labneh.
Delicious Chicken Mandi falls off the bone and the rice cooked and seasoned to perfection.