Alexandria’s streets have seen a lot of American history, but they are also home to a wide spread of international cuisine, shops and festivals. From Sri Lanka to El Salvador, authentic ethnic food spices up Alexandria’s thriving dining scene, and just a quick trip to Old Town Alexandria, Del Ray and beyond can give you a taste of Greece, Vietnam, or Ethiopia.
Check out Part I of our series on Alexandria’s international offerings, starting with some of our favorite hotspots for ethnic cuisine:
Image credit: Flickr user Binh Tran-Tu
Sidle up to a bowl of hot pho at Caphe Banh Mi in Old Town Alexandria, which offers authentic Vietnamese dishes such as banh mi sandwiches, pho noodle soup, and vermicelli bowls with grilled pork, lemongrass chicken, garlic beef or sugar cane shrimp. Grab a Yogiberry smoothie to go!
Image credit: Maria Jose Ovalle for ACVA
If you can avoid filling up on the crispy chips and savory salsa at Los Tios in Del Ray, you have to try some of the authentic Salvadoran fare such as plantanos fritos (fried plantains with sour cream), carne deshilada (shredded beef served with eggs and homemade corn tortillas), or camarones a la plancha (grilled shrimp with cilantro, black beans and rice).
Image credit: Flickr user Daniel Chih
You’ll find no shortage of Indian food in Alexandria—from Bombay Curry Company in Del Ray to Dishes of India south of Old Town to London Curry Company in the West End, you can have your pick of butter chicken, spicy goat with basmati rice or lamb biryani.
Image credit: Flickr user J Hutchins
For fresh and healthy Mediterranean cuisine, stop by Delia’s in Alexandria’s Eisenhower neighborhood, or for more traditional Greek fare, visit Taverna Cretekou on King Street, where you can enjoy live music, Greek dancing and celebratory plate smashing! (There’s also a lovely patio out back.)
Image credit: Flickr user Sher Yip
For 25 years the Abassi family has operated Dunya Banquet Hall in Alexandria’s West End, serving traditional Afghan fare including lamb ribs, chicken kabobs and fried eggplant.
Image credit: R. Kennedy for ACVA
Take a quick trip to the Emerald Isle without ever leaving King Street at one our many Irish pubs and restaurants, such as Murphy’s, with nightly Irish entertainment and the ever-popular shepherd’s pie. Grab a bag of fish and chips at Eamonn’s a Dublin Chipper, and top it off with the ice cream float: dark and foamy Guinness Stout plus a swirl of the house soft serve. To complete your tour, relax with a pint at O’Connell’s, whose dark wood interiors traveled all the way from Ireland to Old Town.
Image credit: Flickr user Brady S
Healthy, spicy, and so fun to share, the Ethiopian food at Caboose in Del Ray is a must-have, offering authentic Ethiopian injera and meat and vegan samplers.
Image credit: A La Lucia
For your own “bella notte,” head to A la Lucia in North Old Town for traditional southern Italian cuisine made fresh and simple, or check out Tempo in Alexandria’s West End for an elegant take on northern Italian dining. Coming soon, Italian restaurant and market Carluccio’s will make its home in the heart of Old Town, where you can try pasta and more from all 21 regions of Italy.
Image credit: Flickr user mobob
Sushi-lovers flock to Momo in Old Town Alexandria for its “exquisitely fresh” fish and perfected vinegar rice base (Washington Post) as well as other Japanese delights; to King Street’s Flying Fish for a wide array of sushi options; and to The Sushi Bar in Del Ray for tapas-style plates to share.
Find more great international food options in Alexandria here, and stay tuned!