Over the past few months Alexandria has seen a smorgasbord of new restaurants arrive in Old Town and beyond, serving everything from steak to sushi, farm-to-table fare and Iranian-inspired pizza. The historic Parker-Gray neighborhood near Braddock Metro is booming, with locally-owned Mason Social the most recent newcomer. Local food reigns supreme in Del Ray, and Old Town continues to grow its reputation as a hub for locally-based, independently-owned restaurants. Here’s a handy list of new dining in Alexandria so you can hit all the hotspots:
Image credit: R. Kennedy for Visit Alexandria
Hunting Creek is hot off the grill in Old Town, taking over 1106 King Street. The new steakhouse from the owners of Alexandria favorite A la Lucia will serve hormone and antibiotic-free beef from Roseda Farms in Maryland. Oh, and when warm weather arrives, the courtyard patio will be calling your name.
Fans of French fixture Bastille have a new go-to spot in Bistrot Royal, serving casual French fare in Bastille’s former location in North Old Town. Owners Christophe and Michelle Poteaux have created a neighborhood spot that’s perfect for a cozy brunch—and to complete your French fix, head to the transplanted Bastille in the Braddock neighborhood for dinner.
Mackie’s Bar and Grill
Image via Mackie’s
Mackie’s joins the long list of independently-owned restaurants in Old Town—and with delicious steaks and friendly service in a relaxed atmosphere, it looks like they’re here to stay. My suggestion: make Mackie’s your next date night (and don’t miss the pork belly appetizer!).
In December, Santa brought tacos to Alexandria with the opening of District Taco’s fifth DC-area location. And let me tell you, business is booming at the fast-casual Mexican joint. Breakfast tacos served all day? Yes please.
Image via Olea Restaurant
In Tehran, Chef Merhnoosh helmed a contemporary Italian restaurant adapted to the Persian palate. When she opened Olea on King Street last June, Merhnoosh picked up where she left off, and now you can sample her fresh, healthy pizzas in Old Town (tip: the Chicken Saffron pizza is tops!).
Casa Rosada Artisan Gelato
Got a case of the Mondays…or Tuesdays…or Thursdays? Whatever day of the week it is, there’s a scoop of creamy handcrafted gelato at Casa Rosada that will make it better. Serving freshly-made gelato and sorbet in flavors like dulce de leche, pistachio and sambayon (marsala and port—in gelato!), this family-owned gelateria rocks the block.
Image via Mason Social
Mason Social is the definition of hyperlocal: the just-opened contemporary American eatery is owned and operated by four Alexandria residents. The name? It comes from former Virginia farmer and mayor of Alexandria Thomson Mason. Décor highlights the industrial roots of the Parker-Gray neighborhood with glass bottles and murals. Seafood is sourced from a Virginia-based company owned by an Alexandria resident, and meats and produce come from farms in Virginia and Maryland. Juicy lamb meatballs? Bone marrow burgers? Local brews and craft cocktails? See you there.
Lost Dog Café
In January, our dog-friendly city welcomed Lost Dog Café. Warm your heart and fill your stomach at this Virginia-based restaurant: it offers an extensive menu of sandwiches, pizza, and beer (lots of beer), and profits benefit the Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation.
Image via Sugar Shack Facebook
It appears that Alexandria loves donuts almost as much as it loves dogs, with Sugar Shack seeing lines out the door most weekends. And who’s surprised? The hot new sweets spot in Braddock makes rotating designer donuts ranging from Fruit Loops to chocolate caramel popcorn to Irish crème. And coming this spring, a match made in heaven: Sugar Shack will be joined by the donut speakeasy Captain Gregory’s. (Tip: follow Sugar Shack on Facebook or Twitter to learn how to get the free house doughnut of the day.)
Image via City Kitchen
Glance at a City Kitchen menu and you’ll see foods inspired by cities across the country, from Portland Blue Mussels to Long Island Duck and Memphis Bourbon Chicken. While you decide which region of America to visit, you can sip on a drink from the restaurant’s extensive wine and beer menus.
Who can say no to a bigger, better burger? At Smashburger, say yes not only to the signature, juicy burgers, but also the Smash Fries, hand-spun shakes and spicy sauces. Not feeling a burger? How about a truffle mushroom Swiss grilled chicken sandwich? You can get that on gluten-free bun too. (Can you tell I’m hungry?)
Bon Vivant Café and Farm Market
Image credit: M. Hosford for Visit Alexandria
Bon Vivant is the newest addition to Del Ray’s growing locavore trend. The café side relies on hormone-free, grass-fed meat and dairy and seasonal produce from local farms to make breakfast, soups and sandwiches from scratch, while the market offers everything from milk to jams, granola, honey and more from local farms and Alexandria businesses. Plus the free wi-fi and natural light make it a great place to get some work done.
Emma’s Espresso and Wine Bar
Fresh on the scene in Del Ray, Emma’s takes you from morning to night with its coffee, homemade pastries (funnel cake fries, anyone?) and evening wine bar. During the day, you can also pop in for the lunch menu that includes soups, salads, sandwiches and cold plates. Follow Emma’s on Facebook to get updates and find out when you can catch live music at this hip café.
Image via Reserve 2216 Facebook
You’ll find Reserve 2216 in a cozy space behind an unmarked door atop Del Ray Pizzeria, but don’t try to get in without a reservation. The 30-seat, reservations-only restaurant offers classic Southern dishes with a twist, including hot chicken and waffles, pork confit and chicken-fried oysters, and the menu changes regularly. The idea behind Reserve is high-end cuisine in an intimate but casual setting—and if the gouda tots are any indication, they are nailing it.
Kaizen Tavern opened last spring in Del Ray, and it has become a go-to spot for classic sushi in a cozy setting. Not a sushi fan? The fish tacos are a must. Kaizen’s Happy Hour specials are also great, with price-is-rights sushi rolls, tacos and brews. And if you’re in a sushi crunch, no worries—Kaizen does takeout.
Coming soon: The following restaurants will be opening in the next few months or even weeks in Alexandria. Be on the lookout for Carluccio’s, Blackwall Hitch, Sonoma Cellar, Sweetgreen, Stomping Ground Café, and Captain Gregory’s.