50 Best Restaurants 2017: No. 9 Elephant Jumps

A Thai restaurant in Falls Church

Photo by Rey Lopez

The panang curry is fantastic, thick and kicky. But it’s not why you come here. It’s for the dishes you aren’t familiar with, the ones you won’t find at the takeout joint down the street.

Here is for what you don’t know, a banana blossom salad that is pungent and spicy and wild and doesn’t really act like a salad but instead a compilation of herbs and vegetables and shrimp and inky strips of chewy banana blossom.

More recognizable are fried shrimp in spiky batter loaded in a bowl over a salty, tangy, gravy-thick sauce pumped up with fried onions, garlic, chili and cilantro, but this rendition is what the nuanced BoJack Horseman is to the silly Mister Ed.

Though the food is dynamic, the space is sparse with a few bedazzled embroidered elephants and a line of upside-down red umbrellas hanging from the ceiling leading to the restrooms. The service is efficient; the vibe is no-nonsense. This all makes it easier to relax and find pleasure and excitement in Thai cooking.

MISC: Also order gang hung lay (pork curry) and fried whole fish.

Elephant Jumps
Thai | $$
8110 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church

(50 Best Restaurants 2017November 2017)