Food & Drink

Favorite Old Town Alexandria Restaurants

Old Town Alexandria—the nationally designated historic district in downtown Alexandria, Virginia, alongside the Potomac River waterfront—is without doubt one of the oldest cities within the United States. Pre-dating Washington, DC, colonial Alexandria offered a spot for the nation’s founding fathers to congregate and plan their new democratic authorities. Lined with multimillion-dollar historic city properties, boutique storefronts, and quaint brick sidewalks, Old Town has been extremely well-preserved, offering guests with an in depth glimpse into America’s previous.

There are additionally many nice eating places! Old Town is fashionable amongst vacationers for its historic allure and proximity to DC, however the eateries cater to locals as nicely. Some are very rooted in Alexandria’s historical past—lots of the buildings housing eating places date again to the mid-1700s, and lots of the eateries themselves have been open for many years, making them indispensably intertwined with life right here.

Historic plaque in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

From sushi to ice cream to Maryland crab desserts, these 9 favourite Old Town Alexandria eating places cowl all of the bases and may positively be in your to-do checklist the following time you go to. Some will say it barely scratches the floor of what’s out there on this lovely riverside city, however you must begin someplace! In between meals, contemplate a historic ghost tour, browse the small unbiased outlets, or soak in residing historical past reveals (just like the Carlyle House, beneficial beneath), which give guests a greater really feel of colonial life in Alexandria. And don’t neglect to go all the way down to the water for a lovely view of Washington, DC.

A word about geography: As Old Town Alexandria existed throughout colonial occasions, the town’s primary streets are devoted to the Crown. Many eating places are on King Street, the principle downtown artery, however there’s additionally Duke, Queen, and Prince Street, honoring all of the royals. The King Street trolley is free and can take you from the metro cease all the way down to the waterfront.

Crab dip at Virtue Feed + Grain, a favorite restaurant in Old Town Alexandria.

Virtue Feed + Grain

Named for the constructing’s historical past as a feed and grain warehouse again within the 1800s, this Old Town Alexandria restaurant is thought for its artistic cocktails and nice blissful hour, which incorporates discounted appetizers and drinks. It at the moment serves greater than 50 forms of whiskey from around the globe. There’s a reasonably eclectic restaurant menu too, spanning tacos and bucatini, fried inexperienced tomatoes and duck poutine.

The restaurant itself has three completely different vibes: the outside dog-friendly waterfront patio, the neighborhood-y bar downstairs, and the comfy hipster lounge upstairs. Our favourite area is the upstairs space, with its snug couches, uncovered brick, and wall-length bar. For a extra non-public eating expertise, you possibly can reserve a desk with sheer curtains on the sting of the lounge. We advocate the Old Town crab dip, served straight from the oven with tortilla chips. Virtue Feed + Grain, 106 S. Union St., map

Exterior of historic Gadsby's Tavern in Old Town Alexandria

Gadsby’s Tavern

Gadsby’s, a registered nationwide historic landmark courting to 1770, is for historical past lovers. Sit in right here and also you’ll really feel like George Washington may be part of you at any second (particularly for the reason that workers clothes in colonial garb). In actuality, 250 years in the past, George Washington was a frequent buyer right here, together with different founding fathers together with John Adams and James Madison.

Interior of Gadsby's Tavern in Old Town Alexandria, where servers dress in colonial garb

The tavern, initially a lodge and restaurant, sits proper throughout from metropolis corridor and one block from King Street. The unique lodge footprint now holds the restaurant, whereas the unique restaurant space is a museum devoted to the tavern’s historical past. The menu hints at an earlier time with conventional dishes, together with our favourite, the baked Brie en croute, and a dish titled George Washington’s Favorite: roasted duck with corn pudding, roasted potatoes, and cherry-orange glacé (there must be cherries concerned, proper?). You also can strive peanut soup, a basic Virginia dish combining peanuts with rooster inventory, garlic, and ginger. The burgers, out there for lunch, are superb too. Gadsby’s Tavern, 138 North Royal St., map

Momo Sushi and Café

This small, quiet sushi restaurant is nestled away from King Street and is at all times stuffed with regulars who will wish to inform you their favourite sushi roll. We’ve at all times been a fan of the shrimp tempura roll and tamago (rolled egg) nigiri, however you possibly can’t actually go unsuitable. (Note that regardless of the identify, there aren’t any momos, or steamed Himalayan dumplings, on the menu!) If you’re in search of a quiet, scrumptious, very native spot, that is it.  Momo Sushi + Café, 212 Queen St., map

Exterior of Pop's Ice Cream in Old Town Alexandria

Pop’s Old-Fashioned Ice Cream

This ice cream store, which dates again to the Nineteen Forties, is a favourite amongst locals and vacationers alike. Like different Old Town Alexandria eating places, there’s a presidential connection right here: Ray “Pop” Giovanni spent his early days catering occasions on the White House, together with serving Eleanor Roosevelt her favourite ice cream.

The nostalgic ambiance hasn’t modified a lot. They serve about 30 home made ice cream flavors with old-timey aptitude. Pop’s ice cream sundaes, specifically, will whisk you again to your childhood whether or not you’re a banana break up fan or all concerning the whipped cream and cherry on high. We love the Kahlua chocolate chip ice cream—don’t fear, the alcohol is burned off, so it’s kid-friendly too! Pop’s Ice Cream, 109 King St., map


Dolci Gelati

For a extra worldwide really feel on the ice cream entrance, head right here. It’s one of many newer additions to Old Town, nevertheless it offers the identical cozy really feel inside. Try the deliciously wealthy affogato to expertise each the domestically roasted espresso and creamy gelato on supply right here. If no seats can be found, go subsequent door to a real-life secret backyard on the Carlyle House, an historic 18th-century mansion with a lovely backyard. While there’s a payment to enter this historic residence (guided excursions can be found), the backyard is free to enter. Dolci Gelati, 107 North Fairfax St., map

Pedestrian-only part of King Street in Old Town Alexandria

Earlier within the pandemic, a number of streets downtown had been closed to offer eating places with the chance to place out extra tables. Today the final block of King Street stays stuffed not solely with tables, but additionally with lovely flowers and every day jazz performances. The following eating places are situated inside this space.


Daniel O’Connell’s Irish Restaurant & Bar

O’Connell’s is a well-liked reside music spot on King Street. For anybody craving that auld-school really feel and a correct pint, there’s an inviting conventional pub space close to the entrance. I often head right here within the winter to benefit from the massive hearth and full of life surroundings. Dinner clever, this restaurant is nice for giant teams because it has two flooring with intensive seating. Our go-to dish? The shepherd’s pie, which is accompanied by house-made Irish brown bread, paired with a Magners cider. But there’s tons of scrumptious, conventional Irish fare right here, from fish and chips to full Irish breakfasts. Daniel O’Connell’s Irish Restaurant & Bar, 112 King St., map

Exterior shot of Taverna Cretekou in Old Town Alexandria

Taverna Cretekou

A bit farther up King Street than a number of the different eating places, Taverna Cretekou is value leaving the waterfront space for—each for the constantly scrumptious Greek meals and its spacious backyard patio. This family-owned restaurant has been an Old Town staple for the reason that early Seventies, and it continues to serve a number of the greatest regional Greek meals within the space. Inside, the whitewashed partitions with pops of blue transport you to Santorini. We respect that the menu breaks down the Greek dishes by area, so you already know that your moussaka is from Crete, your tiropita is from Andros, and your agria manitaria (grilled mushrooms) hails from Kastoria. We love the spanakotiropita, the normal spinach and feta pie. This restaurant is surrounded by a bunch of small outlets value a browse post-meal. Taverna Cretekou, 818 King St., map



One of the biggest eating places in Old Town Alexandria, decades-old Chadwicks is a good spot for American-style seafood and Southern classics, like shrimp and grits. Despite its measurement, the ambiance conveys an intimate vibe, as there are cozy nooks for {couples}, spacious cubicles for households, and a good-looking bar space. The meals is scrumptious and diverse, with plenty of seafood (salmon BLT, fish tacos, seared scallops), meat (buttermilk fried rooster, burgers, BBQ ribs), and vegetarian-friendly dishes (black bean burger, grilled pimiento cheese, taco salad) on supply. There’s one thing for everybody right here! Its brunch is especially fashionable, between the drink specials and water views. Chadwicks, 203 Strand St., map

A bowl of she-crab soup at The Warehouse, a restaurant in Old Town Alexandria.

The Warehouse

An excellent nice eating choice for a enterprise lunch or dinner date, The Warehouse options steak, seafood, and many Cajun delicacies—together with our favourite dish, fried catfish smothered in crawfish étouffée. We additionally love the Maryland-style jumbo lump crab desserts right here, and the creamy she crab soup. Maryland crab desserts are broiled or baked, formed someplace between a ball and a patty, and this restaurant cooks them to perfection. The Warehouse, 214 King St., map


About the writer: Katrina Warren is from Fort Washington, Maryland. She is an avid traveler who has visited over 30 nations. She at the moment runs Alexandrian Consulting, a journey consulting agency devoted to growing international minority journey. 


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