May 10, 2024 - Food and Drink

Peter Chang brings "Chinese tapas" to Arlington

Chinese dishes including dumplings and whole fish

Chinese tapas and whole fish. Photo: courtesy NiHao

"Chinese tapas" and baiju cocktails are on tap at NiHao, a Peter Chang restaurant that just opened in National Landing for all-day dining.

Why it matters: Chang is justifiably famous for his classics but we're always eager to try new twists.

The big picture: The Chang family opened NiHao in Baltimore in 2020. It won a big Esquire "Best New Restaurant" award, but daughter and business manager Lydia Chang says they're going full-tilt in Arlington — their 18th restaurant — without pandemic restrictions.

Dig in: The modern Szechuan spot feels breezy with greenery, a patio, a bright bar, and a shareable menu. Lydia Chang says the idea is "big flavors, small plates" so guests can try more things.

  • A big menu is filled with tapas and snacks, generally $4 to $15, plus two large-format branzino dishes.
  • Cocktails like a sparkling lychee-vodka-grapefruit concoction are named after Chinese movies.
Dining room with green tile and chairs at NiHao
The green room. Photo: courtesy NiHao

Insider recs: Chang says you should try her mom's chicken noodle soup, dad's homemade Szechuan sausage, and adventurous bites like pig ears or trip-and-tendon in chili oil.

If you go: NiHao is open for lunch, dinner, and takeout. Delivery and a bottomless tapas brunch coming soon.

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