Consider it Arlington's love letter to the Middle East: following a quiet kick-off with Friends and Family, Darna Restaurant officially opened its doors to the public on April 1, 2013. The Lebanese-inspired eatery, named for the Arabic phrase for "our home," invites guests to settle in and treat the space as they would their own - without any of the ensuing housework.
There's something familiar about Arlington restaurant, no matter where guests call home. From the earth-toned accents to the distressed wood furnishings, the decor at Darna Restaurant conjures an easy feeling of familiarity, tinged with accents from half a world away. And the comforts of home have never been sexier: cut-stone walls encompass the cozy interior, where guests can tuck into sumptuous mustard leather booths to linger over a glass of Lebanese wine, or trade stories over plates of Mediterranean-style Mezza around the glass-stone fireplace. Every corner of Darna - from custom, cork-filled glass tables to chandeliers that cast a comforting glow throughout the space - nurtures a ubiquitous atmosphere of camaraderie and comfort, encouraging visitors to eschew the demands of daily life.
Head Chef Michel Dawaliby carries the trappings of home from decor to dining. Dawaliby's Lebanese-inspired dishes build on a cumulative sense of contentment, from first bite to final spoonful. Appetizers like haloumi cheese with olive sauce, cucumber and tomatoes kick off conversation and precede a wealth of hard-to-find traditional entrees such as Mansaf, a lamb dish marinated in a creamy yogurt sauce. Specialties from shrimp to vegetables to a beef - all paired with basmati rice - warm up the room from the house charcoal grill, and sweet complements like Kanafa, shredded wheat with sugar-glazed sweet cheese and pistachios, round out the menu.
From the Middle East to the middle of Arlington, Beverage Director Eric Tollar's signature cocktails run the gamut, remixing favorites like the Dark and Stormy - fashioned with dark rum and fresh lime juice, and spiced with homemade ginger beer - and showcasing seasonal specialties like the spring-inspired Hawa - which starts with creamy egg white and refreshes with a marriage of Hendricks gin and fresh cucumber juice. Tollar's Molecular Dessert Sampler, a round of spherified spirits like Chambord and Limoncello, dares diners to huddle up and stay a little (or a lot) later.