50 Best Restaurants 2017: Rice Paper

A Vietnamese restaurant in Falls Church

rice paper
Photo by Stefanie Gans

There’s a homeyness to the pho here, the strong star anise, the cat-got-into-the-bag yarn of noodles, the slivers of meat, the pick-up-sticks of sprouts. It’s all there. But it’s not what you come to Rice Paper for, though it’s certainly an option. There’s its namesake, the grilled shrimp, bendy vermicelli rice patties, cucumbers and assortment of greenery layered into a rice paper. But wait—first, you take the rice paper, which is like a sheet of hard plastic, and you must dunk it in the warm water, spinning it around and around to make sure the entire sheet softens, and only then can each bit of filling find itself wrapped like a spring roll. These must seem like obvious, standard orders at a Vietnamese restaurant in Eden Center. There’s also the green mango salad with fish no longer than a quarter, and what it lacks in size makes up for in funk. It’s tangy and sour, bright and electric. On the other end are grape leaves stuffed with duck and garlic, and it’s soft and savory and comforting and safe. Rice Paper can take you anywhere.

Rice Paper
Vietnamese | $$
6775 Wilson Blvd., Falls Church

(50 Best Restaurants 2017November 2017)