Whether you’re looking for a cozy spot to catch up with friends while sipping mimosas or the best waterfront views to relax and ease into the weekend with family, Alexandria, Virginia, just minutes from Washington, D.C., has a brunch spot for you. Alexandria’s independent restaurants are brimming with historic charm and ambiance, spacious patios, riverside views and mouthwatering menus. From laid-back to luxurious, keep reading to discover some of our favorite brunch spots in Old Town Alexandria, Del Ray and beyond, and prepare to toast the weekend.
With its brick interior, flickering gas lamps and seasonally-inspired menu, Vermilion is the perfect place to enjoy a sophisticated weekend brunch in Old Town. Grab a bottle of sparkling wine for the table and indulge in a brunch menu with options ranging from salmon benedict to grilled hanger steak to a pork belly, egg and cheese sandwich.
Closer to the waterfront, laid-back Chadwicks’ loyal following loves the cinnamon brioche French toast, hearty brunch tacos and bangers and mash. String lights, exposed brick, cocktails and coffee welcome old and new fans alike.
Hank’s Pasta Bar
For brunch more on the savory side, visit Hank’s Pasta Bar in North Old Town. Start with an appetizer of ricotta, honey and warm grilled bread, then try the grilled shrimp and polenta or a bowl of fettucine bolognese. Take your time to savor the flavors along with a pear and basil Italian soda or seasonal cocktail.
Evening Star Café
Brunch offerings abound in Del Ray. Try a bite of Evening Star Café’s duck hash, blueberry pancakes or The Vermonter, a fried chicken sandwich served with candied bacon on a cinnamon bun, and you’ll understand why The Washington Post named the restaurant a regional favorite. For an Instagram-worthy drink, try the Evening Star Bloody Mary, which comes garnished with a bite-sized grilled cheese sandwich and bacon.
Cheese lovers can’t visit Alexandria without stopping at Cheesetique in Del Ray. Order a build-your-own mimosa bucket for the table and indulge in their dairy-rich menu. Favorites include the pimiento grilled cheese and green eggs and ham served with your choice of mixed greens, tots or grit cakes.
Del Ray Café
Alexandria has plenty of options to please Francophile brunchers. For a home-away-from-home feel, head to Del Ray Café, located in a 1920’s Del Ray house. Enjoy French bistro fare on the expansive screened-in patio. With a range of menu items from crôque monsieur to vegetarian quiche to gluten-free options, all made in the peanut-free restaurant, there’s something for everyone.
Old Town’s Fontaine transports diners to a continental café, with more than 20 crêpes options alone. While their crêpes are filled with flavors from Tuscany to Paris to Morocco, their most popular is the Alexandrian, with smoked ham, sautéed mushrooms and Swiss cheese.
For another French foray, head to Bastille in North Old Town. Choose from cocktails like the Kir Royal or the Parisian Morning with orange juice, aperol and sparkling wine. Brunch specialties include the croque madame, savory shrimp beignets and more, while tempting treats like pot de crème au chocolat and cinnamon swirl sour cream coffee cake end the meal on a sweet note.
At Brabo Brasserie, Chef Sebastien Rondier’s homage to his homeland offers traditional French cuisine with a modern sensibility in a sleek interior designed by famed New York designer Vicente Wolf. For a savory start to your day, indulge in the Jumbo Lump Crab Omelette or Steak Frites & Eggs. Wake up with a grown-up French Coffee, spiked with vodka and Gran Marnier, or a mimosa and a caramelized honey crêpe.
In the mood for seafood? Flit over to Hummingbird, located inside Hotel Indigo Old Town Alexandria on the waterfront, whose chic, blue-and-white interior enhances the nautical vibe splashed across the menu. Locally-sourced seafood dishes include the jumbo shrimp cocktail, Irish smoked salmon platter and the crab cake sandwich.
Hank’s Oyster Bar
At Hank’s Oyster Bar, acclaimed restaurateur Jamie Leeds serves up coastal flavors in the heart of Old Town. Dishes such as the Hangtown Fry—a fried oyster frittata with bacon, capers, parmesan and tartar sauce—and the lobster roll served with Old Bay fries have elevated Hank’s Oyster Bar to one of The Washington Post’s best regional brunch spots.
For a classic Old Town brunch, head to the Alexandria Marina. Chart House serves up an extensive list of seafood options, starters, fresh fish and a $27 combo that includes a plated entrée and the salad bar. The crab dishes, including the crab and asparagus omelet and the crab cake benedict, are staples at this riverside institution.
The Warehouse on King Street is a local favorite for their delicious seafood options including wasabi -crusted fried oysters with chili mayo and pickled ginger, blackened sea scallops with avocado-corn salsa and tortilla chips and Southern-fried calamari. Feeling adventurous? Try the alligator stew or a sandwich named after famous Alexandrians throughout history, including The John Carlyle and The Mayor Ramsey.
Brunch with a View
Vola’s Dockside Grill
For scrumptious seafood plus a priceless view, stroll over to Vola’s Dockside Grill’s patio. Under a canopy or red umbrellas, start with a shareable platter of conch fritters or hushpuppies served with honey butter. Then choose between sandwiches like the fried oyster or shrimp po’ boy and entrees like French toast dipped in coco lopez (cream of coconut), and seal the deal with their s’mores sundae.
Virtue Feed & Grain
Old meets new at Virtue Feed & Grain, once a 1800s feed house, with prime views of Old Town’s newly-expanded Waterfront Park. The contemporary American tavern fills you up with their fried chicken and waffles, with buttermilk-brined chicken, beer gravy and bacon marmalade, popular fish tacos or baked eggs, served alongside an extensive brunch cocktail list.
Picturesque Café 44 treats diners inside or on the terrace to a sweeping panorama of National Harbor, the Old Town waterfront and the Washington Monument, from the fourth floor of 44 Canal Center Plaza. Wrapped in a sunny green and tangerine color scheme, diners can enjoy bottle service of the Café Mimosa or Chambong and choose from a three-course prix-fixe brunch or go á la carte.
Sit a spell at one of Alexandria’s Southern-tinged eateries, starting with Columbia Firehouse in Old Town, which boasts a lavish atrium, dining rooms and outdoor seating. The eatery earns its Southern credentials with fried chicken waffles drenched in bacon-praline maple syrup and gravy-smothered Southern eggs benedict, while salads, seafood and more brunch entrees round out the menu.
Magnolia’s On King
Not far away, Magnolia’s On King offers Southern-immersion cuisine inside a 200-year-old, yellow-walled locale on King Street. Start the brunch experience with spicy Maryland crab dip, deviled eggs or stuffed dates. But be sure to save room for the star of the show, the shrimp and grits, featuring Cajun shrimp, smoked gouda grits and tasso gravy.
Live Oak Restaurant
Head over to the Del Ray neighborhood for more Southern specialties and laid-back vibes. Live Oak Restaurant brings a Charleston-inspired menu to the D.M.V. Start your day off on a playful note with the French toast sticks appetizer, followed by entrees such as the grilled hanger steak and eggs and pulled pork BBQ sliders. With desserts like the buttermilk chess pie, you’ll want to save room for sweets.
Junction Bakery & Bistro
Del Ray’s Junction Bakery & Bistro is the place to go if you’re craving homemade biscuits and pastries in a casual atmosphere. Executive Pastry Chef Jonni Scott outdoes herself with sweet-stuffs like cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, muffins and five croissant flavors, while toasts fly out of the kitchen, especially the popular California, with avocado, mushrooms and more blanketing a thick whole wheat slice. Or, enjoy one of Executive Chef James Duke’s heartier brunch specialties, like the kimchi egg sandwich or Tuscan grilled cheese.
At Stomping Ground, another Del Ray destination, regulars return every weekend to build their own buttermilk biscuit sandwiches, stuffed with toppings like smashed avocado, poached eggs and more. Concoct your own combo with options like veggie hash and the breakfast grits bowl or go all out with a plate of biscuits topped with spicy sausage gravy.
Mia’s Italian Kitchen
Alexandria’s dining scene welcomes the daring palate with plenty of brunch options. Case in point: Mia’s Italian Kitchen serves up a sizzling brunch pizza topped with scrambled eggs, Italian sausage, crispy bacon, mozzarella and provolone, while the house-made donuts pack a sweet punch. Snag a seat indoors or on the sidewalk for people-watching along Old Town’s main thoroughfare. For more brunch pizzas, head to Lena’s Wood-fired Pizza & Tap or Café Pizzaiolo in Alexandria’s West End.
The Majestic spans the sweet and savory spectrum, with pull-apart monkey bread, saucy shakshuka, Belgian waffles with Oreo crumble and a hearty lamb sandwich. The intimate, jewel-toned interior pleases the eye along with the stomach, with art-filled walls enhancing the festive environs.
For even more unique offerings, try Mason Social in the Parker Gray area of Old Town, whose recently-expanded menu now features plenty of classic and unconventional plates. Dip the sugar-dusted bacon funnel sticks in maple syrup as you decide between the colorful Lucky Charms French toast or the Fruity Pebbles version.
For a quick and quirky fix, visit Don Taco on King Street, whose “Eggsadilla” wraps scrambled egg, cheese and bacon in a warm tortilla served with sour cream. You also can’t go wrong with the breakfast burrito, huevos rancheros or Eggs Benedictos served alongside a Bloody Mary.
Warning: You might become a die-hard Meggrolls fanatic once you try their handheld, sweet-and-savory Brunch Meggroll. One bite will have you sighing with delight as you enjoy the tasty package of fried egg, bacon, French toast, Béchamel sauce, crispy bacon and maple syrup. Expanded from a food truck with a cult-like following, Meggroll’s brick-and-mortar outpost on King Street defies expectations with its inventive menu in a quick-service setting.
Looking for brunch and a show? Visit Blackwall Hitch on the waterfront for their weekly Sunday jazz brunch buffet. Soak in the view, the tunes and the limitless made-to-order omelet options. Be sure to stop by the seafood and carving stations before you dance back out to the riverside.
Sunday in Saigon
Sunday in Saigon in North Old Town draws in crowds with its pop-art interior and Vietnamese fare such as bánh khot (savory mini crepes), bánh cuốn (steamed rice rolls with sweet potato fritters) and phở. Catch their semi-monthly jazz brunch and arrive with a group to partake in the $38/person brunch offering featuring unlimited small plates.
You’ll also find Sunday jazz brunch in Alexandria’s Carlyle neighborhood at Laporta’s, where they’ve been featuring the best in jazz for more than 20 years. Enjoy dishes like crispy fried calamari, mussels concasse and steak and eggs while you discover the bevy of local talent.
Header Image Credit: K. Summerer for Visit Alexandria