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Opening this week, Indian restaurant Rasa brings heat to Mosaic District

The fast-casual Indian eatery Rasa will open its Mosaic District location on July 30 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

A new fast-casual Indian restaurant has arrived at the Mosaic District, filling a gap left in the Merrifield neighborhood’s dining options by Choolaah’s departure.

Rasa, a small but growing chain started in D.C. by two friends, will fully open its first Fairfax County location to customers this Saturday (July 30). Details about the grand opening will be forthcoming, the business said in an Instagram post on Friday (July 22).

“This will be our first suburban location, and we are so excited to be able to share our cuisine and culture with folks in Fairfax,” Rasa co-founder Sahil Rahman said. “Whether it’s your first time trying Indian food or you grew up in a South Asian household, we hope to be a place where guests can either experience a new culture or celebrate their own, while enjoying delicious food and drinks at an accessible price point in a welcoming and cozy environment.”

Located right next to Target at 2905 District Avenue, Suite 160, Rasa is 1,800 square feet in size with 27 seats, along with four outdoor tables that can accommodate eight people.

The restauranta will serve rice and salad bowls with both chef-prepared and do-it-yourself options. Drinks include juice and mango lassi as well as beer, wine, and cocktails.

The Mosaic location will also be the company’s first to feature a kids’ menu, a move that reflects the area’s “family-centric” environment and is intended “to encourage cultural and culinary exploration across all ages,” according to a Rasa spokesperson.

Rahman says Rasa “crafted a menu that is for everyone.” All of the meat is Halal, vegan options are plentiful, and since chef K.N. Vinod is from Kerala, flavors from southern India are represented as well as north Indian dishes like chicken tikka that are more common in the D.C. area.

Founded by Rahman and his childhood best friend, Rahul Vinod, Rasa opened its first location in 2017 near D.C.’s Navy Yard, just a block away from Nationals Park. The business expanded to Mount Vernon Triangle in 2020 and Arlington’s Crystal City last summer.

Rahman says he and Vinod “have always had a fondness” for the Fairfax area, ever since Bombay Bistro — the restaurant started by their fathers, K.N. Vinod and Surfy Rahman, in Rockville, Maryland — expanded to Fairfax City in 1995.

“It’s very exciting to be able to get back out this way,” Rahman said. “At Mosaic, EDENS has developed a unique, vibrant, and thriving community, and we’re looking forward to joining such a diverse and lively place.”

Rasa hasn’t shared any specific expansion plans, but Rahman says the team hopes “to continue growing in the region and beyond.” The company has been “actively seeking” new locations in the hopes of doubling its existing footprint, Bisnow reported in March.

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