Restaurant review: fresh bites fill bellies for summer


Photo contributed by Harshini Doguparthi

Harshini Doguparthi ordered a custom pizza with tofu, broccoli, bell pepper, roasted corn and jalapenos, topped with basil and parmesan drizzle from Gusto Farm to Street on April 27.

Christine Cheung, Copy Editor

Food can bring people together and provide new experiences. As more people get vaccinated, a “normal” summer seems more in reach than last year, and the desire to eat out with friends once again can finally be fulfilled. Here are three restaurants to nourish the stomach and soul.

Gusto Farm to Street – 14385 Newbrook Dr #500, Chantilly

Using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, chefs at Gusto Farm to Street create balanced pizzas and salads that are good for the body and dazzle the taste buds for all diets, vegan and vegetarian included. They offer special entrees such as the Devil’s Wing pizza and the El Ranchero salad. Customers can also custom order, choosing their favorite crust, protein and toppings.

“I like their custom toppings the best because they have broccoli, pineapple, squash, corn and even strawberries too,” junior Harshini Doguparthi said. “Their tofu topping literally tastes like cottage cheese. Plus, you can’t really go wrong with a custom order since their sauces are so good.”

Gusto Farm to Street has an open kitchen that adds to the restaurant’s transparent and healthy food vision.

“They make your pizza and put it in the oven right in front of you, so you can tell the food is fresh,” Doguparthi said.

Most meals cost around $10, making it a relatively affordable lunch spot. The restaurant’s interior also provides for comfortable and safe indoor dining, and the pick-up and delivery system makes enjoying a healthy and delicious meal simple and easy. 

Order online through their website here.

Island Fin Poke Co. – 7501 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043

Raw fish, edamame, seaweed salad, tempura crisps and mango fill poke bowls at Island Fin Poke Co., where convenience meets the taste of Hawaiian cuisine in a compact, bowl-based meal. The freshness and unique combinations of seafood and Asian toppings provide a very special experience for customers.

“The food is amazing and unlike anything I’ve ever tasted [before] because a poke bowl is very distinct from your common fast-food bowl services like Chipotle or Cava,” junior Willa Xun said.

The restaurant offers ready-made bowl recipes based on the type of proteinsalmon, tuna, octopus, spam, etc.and also gives the option of making a custom poke bowl. Their marinating soy sauces and finishing sauces add kicks of flavor to any order.

The most popular item on their menu, the famous pineapple Dole Whip dessert, makes Island Fin Poke Co. the perfect place for the perfect meal, according to Xun.

“Although it’s a bit of a drive since it’s located in Falls Church, it’s definitely worth your time if you’re interested in trying out a new sort of regional fast food cuisine that leans on the healthier side with many meat, sauce and topping options,” Xun said.

Most bowls are around $14 and allow up to 3 scoops of protein, 6 mix-ins and 9 toppings. Island Fin Poke Co. offers sit-in dining and order/pick-up.

Coastal Flats – 11901 Grand Commons Ave Fairfax, VA 22030

For those who look for a place with a relaxed and pleasant ambience and spot-on seafood, Coastal Flats satisfies every need, according to junior Christina Jeong. The restaurant serves a large variety of seafood-based appetizers and entrees.

“Their fish tacos are so good since their fish is actually crispy, contrary to many other places whose fish comes out soggy,” Jeong said. “The bread they serve first is really chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside and really sweet.”

The aesthetics and vibe of the restaurant paired with its convenient location near the Fairfax movie theater make it a comfortable place to grab a bite with friends.

“It’s not too loud where you can’t hear or too quiet where you have to whisper,” Jeong said. “They have different colored lights on the wall and a patio, so it feels really homey, cozy and open.”

Although the average cost of their entrees are on the pricier side, ranging from $20 to $35, the environment when eating at the restaurant makes the extra money worth it for most customers.

Coastal Flats is currently open for indoor dining and provides pick-up and delivery services.