Residents new to the small town of Herndon, Virginia often assume they’ll need to travel an hour into Washington, DC for to find a romantic restaurant. Not so. The town is located only two miles east of Dulles Airport and has dozens of restaurants that call it home.
Here are three local establishments where you and your date are sure to enjoy a romantic evening:
O’Sullivans Irish Pub
765 Elden Street
Herndon, VA 20170
The original O’Sullivans is located in the Clarendon section of Arlington, Virginia, adjoining the District of Columbia. The Herndon site is in the center of the historic part of town, just around the corner from free public parking.
O’Sullivans brings a pleasant touch of the Irish décor and brass appointments to Herndon. It’s operated as an authentic Irish pub. The Irish Ceili dancing and traditional Irish music sessions and singings add an aura of romance as well as camaraderie to a good dinner. Diners are encouraged to bring both their dancing shoes and favorite instrument if inclined.
Weeknights generally promise to be quieter than weekends. If you’re visiting O’Sullivans for dinner, consider the Dublin Stuffed Chicken for $15. It’s a lightly breaded chicken breast stuffed with Irish bacon, sautéed spinach and cheddar cheese.
The topping is a Tullamore Irish whiskey cream sauce. Rice and vegetables come with the entrée. The restaurant utilizes the same whiskey sauce in its Chicken Tullamore, also. This is a marinated, grilled chicken breast served atop mashed potatoes and with vegetables.
The Cardinal Lounge
Hilton Dulles Hotel
13869 Park Center Road
Herndon, VA 20171
You and your partner will love the contemporary yet elegant décor of the Hilton’s Cardinal Lounge restaurant overlooking Dulles Airport. Though the airport has a Washington, DC mailing address, it’s actually in Virginia.
The ambiance is quiet and romantic, especially on a weeknight. In addition to some great food, the Cardinal Lounge offers a full bar. The upscale atmosphere is perfect for celebrating a special occasion as a couple – birthday, anniversary or engagement – or for getting better acquainted. You’re very unlikely here to be interrupted by the gang from work.
The restaurant is well known for two types of offerings. First is the fresh fish. Sea bass is $18. The menu also includes several salad entrees. One of the most popular is the USDA Choice Filet Salad for $21. It includes grilled tenderloin, mixed greens, Maytag bleu cheese, asparagus, grilled red onion, pine nuts, tomatoes, and roasted red peppers with Cabernet Vinaigrette.
You’ll find plenty of free guest parking at the Hilton.
Warka Ethiopian Restaurant
275 Sunset Park Drive
Herndon, VA 20170
The only tough thing about a romantic evening at Warka is finding the restaurant. It’s located in a quiet part of a small Herndon business park near the Fairfax County Parkway and close to the Dulles Toll Road. There is plenty of free parking.
If you and your partner have never visited an Ethiopian restaurant, you’ll score points for romantic ingenuity. This tiny restaurant, with perhaps a dozen tables, offers an evening the two of you won’t forget.
Individuals who love Ethiopian cuisine and its heavy use of meat say that Warka can be considered either an Ethiopian restaurant for Americans or a restaurant for Americanized Ethiopians. It’s known for its meat dishes and house chili sauces. You’ll find a lot of beef and lamb on the menu.
Warka offers a full bar, including Ethiopian beers and Ethiopian wines. The custom of breaking injera (Ethiopian bread) and eating from the same plate denotes the bonds of loyalty and friendship. What could be more romantic than gursha – placing food from your own hand into the mouth of your date?
You’ll find entrees priced from $7.99 to $12.99. They’re a mixture of spicy and cautious. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.
O’Sullivans Irish Pubsite
The Cardinal Loungesite
Warka Ethiopian Restaurant site