Tuscany Grapes Café is a small, family-owned restaurant located on a side street off Lee Highway in an area better known for a string of service stations than for ethnic dining.
Tuscany Grapes Café is a small, family-owned restaurant located on a side street off Lee Highway in an area better known for a string of service stations than for ethnic dining. Its location, however, allows for easy access on and off of the busy road, and because it is right behind a well-marked 7-11, it’s a breeze to find.
The entrance of the restaurant resembles a carry-out counter with a few seats for customers to wait for their orders, but the staff is quick to acknowledge clients and offer them a table. A variety of swords and lanterns hanging from the dining room’s ceiling, with woven tapestries covering the walls, create a cozy atmosphere in an otherwise-sparse room.
The fare, described as “fine Mediterranean cuisine,” includes the standard array of kabobs, shawarma and falafel that most diners have come to expect. But taking things a step further, Tuscany Grapes offers more unfamiliar dishes, such as Tabbouleh, a type of Lebanese salad, along with an intriguing selection of pies laced with ingredients ranging from sugar and mixed nuts to even pastrami.
Perplexed patrons shouldn’t be afraid to call upon the staff — mindful of the frequent language barriers — to clarify any confusion about the unfamiliar dishes. Keep in mind substitutions can be made per customer request.
However, one savory standout in no need of a stand-in is the Big Fat Gyro ($6.95), which packs a generous helping of gyro meat, crisp lettuce, tomato and cucumber sauce into a fresh pita. All in a name, this hefty wrap comes served with a side of chips, a likely abundance-turned- leftovers for the perfect midnight snack.
Another good bang for your buck is Tuscany Grapes’ spread of sub sandwiches. Its selection is more of the American/Italian variety, including Chicken Parmigiana, Italian Club and Steak & Cheese, all priced at $6.95 with chips.
The crowd-pleasing menu also includes a variety of pizza, pasta and calzones, proving the kitchen knows how to do Italian, and more importantly, how to do it well.
The Spinach Twist Calzone ($9.95) is stuffed with a mixture of fresh spinach, mushrooms and garlic that has been sautéed in olive oil, allowing the flavors to fuse together before being baked with cheese, all inside a wonderfully-sweet, chewy pizza dough. Once again, these charitable portions for one could easily serve two hungry diners.
For appetites of another sort, Tuscany Grapes also offers a selection of hookah for the 18-and-older crowd. Flavored tobacco options ($8.99-11.99) include such picks as Strawberry, Blue Mist and the risqué-sounding X on the Beach.
So, whether you are looking for a traditional pizza or are in the mood for a more adventurous night out, Tuscany Grapes is a budget-friendly option sure to please a wide variety of cravings.
Tuscany Grapes Café
2842 Rogers Dr., Falls Church, VA
Hours: Open Daily, 11 a.m. – midnight