Isabella Eatery, web site, Tysons II, 2001 International Drive, McLean, VA, 571-489-8505, top floor food court (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Zagat | WaPo | Washingtonian | TripAdvisor | WTOP | City Paper | NoVA Mag | NYT | Ylp]
They have branches of Arroz, Requin, Graffiato, Yona, and Pepina Cantina, among other places, but in general don’t compare those to the original home bases, the menus have few similarities. Overall, I’ve been surprised how fun this set-up is. Tysons II just isn’t so crowded, so at most hours you have the area’s best food court almost entirely to yourself. Go to two or three places, ordering small dishes along the way, and finish with chocolate ice cream. It offers nice spaces to sit and chat, and somehow vaguely reminds me of Singapore, albeit with much Asian food.
I enjoyed everything I sampled (five visits, multiple plates each time), maybe the pastas in Graffiato have been my favorite but this is more about the experience than the single killer dish. The catch? It’s just not that cheap. Still, this will remain an impressive achievement until either the crowds pour in, it goes out of business, or maybe a bit of both.