Restaurants in Alexandria VA

9 Best Restaurants in Alexandria, Virginia

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As an Alexandria resident, you’ll never have a shortage of restaurants to try! Great places are located throughout the city, but Old Town boasts the most eateries concentrated in one walkable area. Dozens and dozens of delicious options are available to suit every palate, from low cost to fine dining, and everything in between--Alexandrians are lucky this way.

 

Becoming a local includes two important tasks: finding a home and learning first hand about the popular restaurants you’ll hear about over and over again. Some might not meet every critic’s qualifications for "Best Of," but they continuously draw in the crowds.

 

If you’re headed to Alexandria to do a little pre-PCS house hunting for homes for sale or rent, grab a reservation to make sure a table is open during your time scouting for homes. Start with this list and see where Alexandria food takes you. Amazing restaurants often lead to discovering amazing neighborhoods, so keep an eye out.

 

1) District Taco

 

You can do no wrong with tacos morning, noon, or night, which is good, because District Taco has a legitimate breakfast menu for eat-in dining and for grabbing a bag full of good stuff to take back to your office mates. The rest of the day, you’ll find fresh and fast tacos made right to order. District Taco is a local chain, with several other locations throughout Northern Virginia.

 

2) Gadsby's Tavern

 

It's hard to find a restaurant in Alexandria that doesn't have historical ties. The city itself is older than the U.S., and its strategic waterfront location means that hundreds of years’ worth of people had to eat somewhere! Gadsby’s Tavern is one of the most well-known and history filled places to eat in the city. A true tavern back in the day, history unfolded throughout many years of its operation, to include regular seatings by a guest named George Washington, who also enjoyed fine dining.

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Gadsby’s Tavern via Wikimedia Commons

 

3) Il Porto Ristorante

If old school Italian food is a must-find at each of your duty stations, start with this Alexandria standby. Guests dine on fresh, made on site pasta, and dive into a carefully measured wine list. Ask to read about the history of the building. It includes time served as a store front, butcher shop, speakeasy, and cover for an anti-Nazi radio network.

 

4) Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant

There’s nothing like heading inside to sit down to a warm cup of soup or hot toddy after exploring George Washington's beloved plantation on a cold day. The restaurant's ambiance reflects the time period, especially if you can grab a table fireside.

 

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Image via Mountvernon.org

 

Some of the offerings, to include their famous peanut soup, are also colonially inspired, but plenty of modern food fills the menu, too. The restaurant is the perfect setting to celebrate a Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s gathering. Some service members use Mount Vernon grounds for promotion ceremonies and the stay to eat at the Inn.

5) Hard Times Cafe

This is another local chain of restaurants, and residents do love all the variations of chili on the menu. Feeling adventurous? Instead of the standard bowl of chili, give the Chili Mac and Chili Dogs a try. Repeat diners often don stretchy pants to feast on wings, too.

 

6) Chadwicks

Brunch, brunch, and more brunch. This is the place to be for the not quite breakfast, not quite lunch menu. Brunch classics like pancakes and french toast mingle with new brunch classics such as brunch tacos and a Scottish Scramble. Add in a Bloody Mary or Mimosa and all is well for a Sunday Funday.  

7) Misha's Coffeehouse and Roaster

"The Best Coffee You’ll Ever Have" is their tagline, and throngs of Alexandria coffee lovers agree. Obviously not a restaurant, but very popular nonetheless. Coffee purveyors feel at home among hand roasted beans and custom blends and varietals.

 

8) Columbia Firehouse

 

Timeless and classic are two words that perfectly describe the restaurant. Built in 1833, the building holds it own within Alexandria’s historical context. Diners looking for American comfort food or a healthy selection of seafood can enjoy the best of both worlds here. Outdoor patio seating is the perfect place to take in the bustle of Old Town.

 

9) Virtue Feed & Grain

 

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One of the relatively newer restaurants Alexandria has to offer, Virtue Feed & Grain stays true to its roots by conserving the building’s history as a feed house.

 

Here, cocktails are named after long past prominent citizens and cuisine options include farmhouse inspired dishes in addition to creative takes on traditional food like meatloaf. Expect a lively atmosphere inside, as the restaurant’s popularity remains steady.

 

Once you're settled in your new Alexandria home, you’ll likely be sitting down to eat at one of these recommended places and notice an interesting restaurant right across the street. In time, you’ll craft a list of your own favorites to share with friends and family visiting from out of town.

 

Try a date night, bring in out of town guests, or have brunch with friends. Just continuously try somewhere new, and often. Be warned, once you find a go-to, it's hard not to revisit a great place over and over again!

 

If for some crazy reason, you run out of local restaurants to try, remember that less than 10 miles away in Washington, D.C., there is a whole other realm of world class food to be discovered.

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