The booming dining scene in the historic city of Alexandria, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C., continues to flourish with buzzworthy waterfront restaurants, specialty cocktails and cuisine, and chef-driven concepts from around the world. Increasing trends in creative street food, quick and casual spots and All-American meals wind through the city’s largely independent culinary scene, enticing those seeking a crave-worthy experience.
We’ve rounded up the new and noteworthy restaurants in Old Town and beyond to keep you in the know of the most buzzworthy food spots in Alexandria.
Mia’s Italian Kitchen
Image Credit: Mia’s Italian Kitchen
One of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings of 2018 is the restaurant coming to 100 King Street. Opening in April, Mia’s Italian Kitchen is the newest concept of Alexandria Restaurant Partners and includes an alley take-away window offering pizza by the slice. The dramatic rework of 100 King Street space will also feature a dine-in pizza bar, second floor lounge and a delectable menu of house-made pastas, wood-fired pizza and other family recipe-inspired Italian specialties. The restaurant design is from Paul Beckman and David Chennault, the designers behind Virtue Feed & Grain. Located on lower King Street, this new eatery will be just across the street from Alexandria’s new waterfront plaza opening in the fall.
Smoking Kow BBQ
Smoking Kow BBQ, “D.C.’s first and only American BBQ taco food truck,” is opening a brick-and-mortar location in Alexandria’s West End, targeting February or March 2018, joining Meggrolls as a popular food truck that chose Alexandria for their first restaurant concept. Owner Dylan Kough (last name pronounced “Kow”) was a CPA who left it all behind to pursue his dream of opening a mobile restaurant. Smoking Kow’s tacos delight BBQ fans with barbecue meats served in a homemade tortilla topped with coleslaw. Also offering platters and sandwiches, Smoking Kow’s best seller is the Mac ‘N Meat, with Dylan’s signature meats served over mac ‘n cheese. Tempting sides include cheesy jalapeno grits and classics like homemade barbecue beans.
The team behind Mason Social has applied to open a new restaurant in 2018 at 116 King Street called Urbano 116, which would bring a taste of Mexican food to lower King Street. The proposed eatery will include a walk-up Churro window, a top-notch bar program, live music and windows that open to the street.
Image Credit: Makeda Ethiopian Facebook Page
Makeda Ethiopian on S. Van Dorn Street in the West End joins a growing trend of authentic international and ethnic cuisine in Alexandria. Forbes calls chef and owner Philipos Mengistu a true “Ambassador of Ethiopian food” and his New York City restaurant, Queen of Sheba, is one of Forbes’ “Top Ten African Restaurants” in the city. He opened Makeda Ethiopian in October 2017 with childhood friend and Alexandria resident Daniel Solomon in order to bring a similar concept to Alexandria. Makeda is all about fresh food and family, serving traditional and authentic Ethiopian fare including classic injera (they even have a gluten-free option) and honey sangria at the bar.
Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria
Royal Nepal on Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria’s Arlandria neighborhood (just north of Del Ray) opened in March 2017. With a menu of creative Nepalese Indian cuisine, the eatery earned the #1 spot on The Washington Post $20 Diner’s favorite cheap eats in 2017. The Post used phrases like “perfection” and “ecstasy” to describe Royal Nepal, and Washingtonian was equally effusive. Dishes include the goat momo dumpling, and entrees like the lamb chops marinated in house-made yogurt and roasted in a wood-burning oven. One reviewer wrote that “the service and atmosphere couldn’t be better, and the owners make you feel like an honored guest in their home.”
Image Credit: Grand Cru Wine Bar Facebook Page
The owner of Grand Cru Wine Bar and Bistro in Ballston has applied to open Sancerre at 1725 King Street in King Street Station near the Metro. Sancerre will be an upscale restaurant focusing on French cuisine and a long list of wines from around the world. The space could also feature outdoor dining and live music.
Old House Cosmopolitan Grill
Image Credit: C. Mouledoux for Visit Alexandria
Old House Cosmopolitan Grill comes from husband and wife chef duo Ivan and Amela Svalina, the couple behind the highly rated Cosmopolitan Grill in the Fairfax section of Alexandria. Old House will feature traditional German fare including a variety of German pastries and desserts as well as beer, with an opening expected in 2018.
Cocktails & Cuisine
1986—The Whiskey Bar
Image Credit: Union Street Public House
If you’re a fan of hidden bars, then 1986—The Whiskey Bar should be next on your list. This gem tucked in the redesigned back barroom of Union Street Public House opened In November 2017. The bar is dedicated to all things whiskey, with over 125 whiskey and bourbons to choose from including handcrafted cocktails and single barrel, small batch and rare selections. Named after the year Union Street Public House opened, 1986—The Whiskey Bar also features non-whiskey cocktails and shareable plates.
MoHo Kitchen + Cocktails
Image Credit: Moho Kitchen and Cocktails
MoHo Kitchen + Cocktails, formerly known as Ashlar, officially opened inside the Morrison House, Autograph Collection hotel in January 2018, combining contemporary tavern fare with creative cocktails. Along with an extensive library of spirits, Moho offers a stellar selection of rum and Iberian fortified wines like sherry and port.
On the Waterfront
Image Credit: Hummingbird
The newest addition to Alexandria’s list of waterfront restaurants is Hummingbird, opened in July 2017 at the new Hotel Indigo Old Town Alexandria. From celebrated chef Cathal Armstrong, Hummingbird focuses on locally-sourced seafood and seasonal ingredients and includes Potomac River views from the dining room and outdoor patio. The new spot has already earned high praise from The Washington Post and locals alike for dishes like the seared octopus with baby tomatoes, Castelvetrano olives, capers, black garlic puree, lemon vinaigrette and herb oil and the seared red snapper filet, “veracruz” style with stewed tomatoes, capers, olives and roasted pearl onions.
Image Credit: Triple Craft Facebook Page
Located north of Old Town on Daingerfield Island just off the George Washington Parkway and the Mount Vernon Trail, Triple Craft is not your average burger and beer joint. Opened in May 2017 and open seasonally each year in the spring through fall, Triple Craft serves creative burgers loaded with toppings, like the Santa Fe burger with lettuce, pickled jalapenos, pepper-jack cheese, pico de gallo, and house sauce. They are equally creative with their specialty milkshakes, which are garnished with cake frosting, whipped cream, candies, sweet drizzles and a cookie. Plus, you can make any milkshake an “adult shake” by adding chocolate Kahlua, vanilla bourbon or strawberry rum-amaretto.
Quick and Casual
Image Credit: Cafe 44
Café 44 opened in October 2017 in Alexandria’s North Old Town neighborhood, located on the fourth floor of 44 Canal Center Plaza with sweeping views of the Potomac River. Café 44 offers counter and table service for breakfast and lunch on weekdays with a rotating menu of daily specials, breakfast sandwiches, pastries, salads, sandwiches, soups, and more. The restaurant is located inside a bright and clean natural space with open room for seating, and you can even grab a spot outside on the terrace for even more stunning views of the Potomac, or keep things quick and order ahead on their mobile app. Tuesday through Friday, they host different themes for happy hours including Wine Down Wednesday, Chambong Thursday and Fiesta Friday. Café 44 also hosts a Champagne brunch on Saturdays, featuring a three-course prixe-fixe menu for $22.
Image Credit: Lori’s Table Facebook Page
Lori’s Table opened in October 2017 at 1028 King Street and already has a solid crowd of regulars and 4.5 stars on Yelp. It’s a cozy, family-owned spot where, as one Yelp reviewer put it, “The food is excellent, the prices are right, and Lori and Ann treat every customer as a good friend.” Lori’s is a classic neighborhood sandwich spot serving breakfast, lunch and brunch items including paninis, deli sandwiches, salads, fresh bagels, soups, and more, as well as grab and go items when you’re in a rush.
Image Credit: Snackbar Facebook Page
Snackbar opened on Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray in September 2017 and is a go-to spot for a casual breakfast, lunch or dinner in the neighborhood. They serve locally roasted Misha’s Coffee inside a cozy and rustic space, with food offerings including breakfast tacos, sandwiches, homemade breads, pastries, soups, salads, and more. Snackbar is the only place in the area where you can get Bagel Uprising’s artisan bagels, made fresh in-house on the weekends with a pop-up bagel shop inside.
Charlie’s on the Avenue
Image Credit: Live Oak Facebook Page
Jeremy Barber and Justice Frank of Live Oak will be opening their second Del Ray restaurant, Charlie’s on the Avenue, in April 2018 on Mount Vernon Avenue in the former FireFlies space. The new concept will be a neighborhood spot where folks can grab locally sourced lunches throughout the week, or catch the big game on the weekends. The bar will feature 12 to 16 taps, plus cocktails, wine and a happy hour during weekdays. Charlie’s, named after Jeremy Barber’s grandfather, who he named his daughter after, is all about family, with a $6 kid’s meal in the works.
Image Credit: C. Mouledoux for Visit Alexandria
Expected to open in 2018 at 1400 Duke Street in Old Town, the Executive Diner will bring a classic All-American diner to the neighborhood, opening early at 5:30 a.m. and closing late at 11 p.m. with table service and delivery. The eatery is a new venture for the owners of Brentwood Academy and a popular group of daycare centers including Bluebird of Alexandria and Tiny Tots.
Image Credit: Oak Steakhouse Charleston Facebook Page
Oak Steakhouse, with locations in Charleston, Charlotte, Atlanta and Nashville, will be opening a new location in North Old Town in 2018 as part of the new Edens development. Each Oak Steakhouse has its own locally-sourced menu and seasonal specialties, as well as American-inspired “Oak Specialties” like the Oak burger, roasted local chicken, crab cakes, short ribs and more.
Glory Days Grill
Image Credit: Glory Days Grill Facebook Page
Glory Days Grill has won just about every “Best Sports Bar” award in the region, and for good reason. Opening at 3141 Duke Street in Alexandria’s West End in 2018, Glory Days features almost every national and regional sports game you could imagine, along with a legendary food menu including buffalo chicken dip, ribs, crab pretzels, burgers, wings, and over ten sauces to choose from.
Image Credit: &Pizza Facebook Page
Washington, D.C.-based &pizza manages to make pizza feel new and creative at their funky, localized shops with quick assembly line-style pizza creations inside their signature rectangular pizza box. Coming to Potomac Yard in 2018 along with Cava Grill and a Five Guys, &pizza serves up melt-in-your-mouth pizza with local, fresh ingredients and was called “the next generation of pizza” by Buzzfeed.
Opened in August 2017 on Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray, Sicilian Pizza is a classic pizza joint serving it Sicilian style in a square as well as classic round pies. They’ve got a menu that’s so extensive, there’s something for everyone, with pastas, sandwiches, calzones, wings, salads, appetizers and much more.
Based in the Midwest, Toppers Pizza opened on Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray in December, 2017, and the pizza spot has so many toppings, the combinations are endless. You can choose from four cheeses and over 30 toppings including some you may not have tried, like noodles, tater tots, diced dill pickles or tortilla chips. They’ve also got seven homemade pizza sauces including buffalo sauce, smoky BBQ, taco sauce, creamy ranch and nacho cheese.
Alexandria Menu Book
The new digital Official Alexandria Menu Book features menus from more than 70 local restaurants and is perfect for foodies looking to discover the most delicious culinary offerings in Alexandria
The online menu book is easy to browse with a table of contents of quick links to breakfast/brunch and lunch/dinner menus as well as notation of the cuisine type and neighborhood of each restaurant. Browse the menu book below!
For more on dining in Alexandria, click here
Header Image Credit: Snackbar Facebook Page