Experience new waterfront dining and travel across Asia with mouthwatering, multi-national cuisines among more than two dozen new restaurants in Alexandria, Virginia. Refresh your takeout routine with dishes from TV-tested chefs, a buzzing café scene and new go-to pizza places. Keep reading for more than 25 new and coming-soon concepts to explore in 2021.
On the Water
Ada’s on the River: Ada’s on the River opened on the Old Town waterfront in January 2021, drawing design inspiration from Ada Lovelace, a 19th-century female mathematics pioneer, and featuring a menu centered around meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes cooked to perfection in the wood-burning oven. The kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Randall J. Matthews, a Maryland native who has worked with some of Washington, D.C.’s most celebrated kitchens under MICHELIN-starred chefs, including Chef Adam Sobel at Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons in D.C., and who worked with James Beard Award-winning restaurateur Sam Fox to open True Food Kitchen. In addition to ample outdoor seating, tempting takeout options include moule frites, smoked ricotta gnocchi, woodfired custom-age prime beef and more.
BARCA Pier and Wine Bar: Set to open near Ada’s in spring 2021, BARCA Pier will be a seasonal outdoor eatery inspired by Barcelona’s beach bars and made from carved-out shipping containers, with a menu consisting of mainly Mediterranean small plates, infused with Greek, Italian and Moroccan flavors. BARCA Wine Bar, which will be open throughout the year, will boast an intimate, sophisticated setting and vast selection of unique and domestic wines from around the world.
Growing Pan-Asian Food Trend
Krunch & Noodles: The new West End fast casual outpost offers Korean BBQ, chicken wings served with special sauces, hearty ramen and more.
Hinata Sushi Bar & Grill: Head to the expanding EDENS development at 530 First Street and take home an umami-filled lunch with the new Old Town North sushi spot’s udon lunch special, or savor a sushi box or teriyaki plate for dinner.
Pho Nam: Open since October 2020, the King Street restaurant spotlights Vietnamese comfort food such as warm bowls of phở and tangy, jam-packed bánh mì.
Sisters Thai and Magnolia Dessert Bar: Visit this dynamic restaurant duo in Old Town North at the growing EDENS development at 530 First Street. Pick up one of Chef Moo’s Thai specialties, such as pla yum mango—crispy tilapia topped with spicy mango salad—followed by decadent, decked-out desserts like lychee raspberry cheesecake.
Sushi Jin Next Door: The up-and-coming regional sushi chain opened its West End location in early 2021. Treat yourself to a sushi boat to-go for a flavorful at-home feast.
Thai Signature: Enjoy takeout or delivery from the new King Street Thai outpost, whose menu reflects the chef’s Thai countryside upbringing. Try the e-saan chicken, a grilled marinated chicken dish plated with papaya salad, sticky rice, spicy tamarind and sweet chili sauces.
Chewish Deli: Fans of Chewish Deli’s food truck can head to 807 Pendleton Street to pick up hand-rolled, New York-style water bagels from the new brick-and-mortar operation.
Mount Purrnon Cat Café + Wine Bar: Open since August 2020 in Old Town, the cat café lets visitors mingle with adoptable cats—and even take one home—then savor coffee or wine with pre-packaged sandwiches, salads and snacks in a separate dining area. Masks are required for entry.
St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub – Old Town North: The sister shop of the Del Ray community hub debuted in early 2021 with a bright, industrial-chic layout, plus lattes and pastries to-go, perfect for strolling up-and-coming Old Town North and the growing EDENS development at 530 First Street.
Vía Volcán Coffee: New to Old Town in fall 2020, this micro-roastery and café utilizes single-origin coffee grown on the family’s farm located on the slopes of the Barú Volcano in Panama.
Mae’s Market & Café: Opening in February 2021 from Stomping Ground owner Nicole Jones, the café will introduce the concept of an all-day food market in Old Town’s Atrium building on S. Washington Street.
Flavorful Fast Casual Spots
Elizabeth’s Counter: Open since early spring 2020 on N. Henry Street, Elizabeth’s Counter sources plant-based and sustainable ingredients for scrumptious fare that vegans and non-vegans alike can enjoy.
PLNT Burger: Considering the environmental and health benefits of forgoing meat? Savor the 100% plant-based menu at PLNT Burger, new to the Carlyle Whole Foods since October 2020 as part of a regional chain co-founded by “Top Chef” alum Spike Mendelsohn.
Wooboi Hot Chicken: Pick your piquant level at the new Old Town North location of this raved-about regional franchise at the growing EDENS development at 530 First Street, featuring chicken sandwiches to make your mouth (and eyes) water.
Hank & Mitzi’s Italian Kitchen: This new twist on Hank’s Pasta Bar in Old Town North opened in July 2020 from acclaimed regional restaurateur Jaime Leeds. In addition to hand-crafted pasta plates, enjoy oven-fresh pizzas and classic Italian desserts like panna cotta from “Chopped” winner Chef Chris Edwards.
Piece Out: From the restaurant team that brought you St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub and Café Pizzaiolo, Piece Out avoids the great American pizza debate by slinging both foldable New York-style slices and deep-dish Detroit pies for pickup at its Mount Vernon Avenue storefront.
Stracci Pizza: Former Vermillion chef Tom Cardarelli debuted his Roman-style pies from a twenty-foot pizza trailer in Del Ray beginning in winter 2021 and is transitioning to a permanent home at 106 Hume Avenue. Stracci‘s in-demand pizzas are topped with homemade mozzarella and other customizable or chef-designed topping combos.
Del Ray Boccato: Del Ray’s delicious new dessert hub will open early 2021 on Mount Vernon Avenue, selling sweet treats like gelato scoops and pastries alongside savory options like empanadas.
Emmy Squared: Look for a new Detroit-style pizza and burger joint opening on lower King Street at the former Pizzeria Paradiso space from the team behind Brooklyn-based Pizza Loves Emily.
Barkhaus: Open since October 2020 near Potomac Yard, Barkhaus is designed as part dog park, part restaurant and bar. Humans can dine in designated leashed areas, while dogs can frolic in indoor and outdoor (fenced) off-leash zones while their owners sip and unwind.
Evening Star Café: The beloved Del Ray destination is offering fresh flavors from new Executive Chef Autumn Cline, formerly of MICHELIN-starred Rose’s Luxury, Emilie’s and more. Enjoy a meal to-go or kick back with a cocktail on the laid-back patio.
King & Rye: A new concept at The Alexandrian hotel on King Street, King & Rye offers seasonal Southern American cuisine made from scratch with the highest-quality regional ingredients, alongside the finest selection of whiskeys and bourbons. Pick up craft cocktails to-go or reserve a “greenhouse” for you and members of your household.
Old Hat Bar: Craft cocktail lovers can look forward to the creations from Jack Caminos, formerly of D.C.’s Thip Khao and Compass Rose, at Old Hat Bar on N. St. Asaph Street in Old Town.
TV-Tested Flavors From Alexandria Chefs
“Chopped” Stars: In September 2020, Alexandria chef-owner Mimi Huynh of modern Vietnamese restaurant Sunday in Saigon and chef Chris Edwards of newly opened Hank & Mitzi’s Italian Kitchen, competed on an episode of Food Network’s “Chopped.” Chef Edwards won the episode with his take on a “gnocchi sandwich.” Try these top-tier chefs’ creations at their Old Town North outposts.
PLNT Burger: The new vegan fast-casual concept in the Carlyle Whole Foods is co-owned by celebrity chef and “Top Chef” alum Spike Mendelsohn.
Myron Mixon’s Pitmaster BBQ: Experience four-time World BBQ Champion, celebrity pitmaster and TV personality Myron Mixon’s award-winning barbeque, made with his competition rubs and sauces on barbecue classics.
Classic American Fare
Silver Diner: In August 2020, the city’s first Silver Diner opened in the new West Alex Development. The popular regional franchise is known for its crowd-pleasing menu, old-school aesthetic and forward-thinking menu featuring everything from hearty, locally sourced salads to juicy burgers and more.
Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats: Old Town’s newest sweet spot is Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats, a 1950s-inspired soda fountain serving Wisconsin-style frozen custard and nostalgic treats like the Apple Cider Donutwich. Starting in spring 2021, Goodies will call the historic Ice House on Commerce Street its permanent home.
Joe’s Kitchen: Look for a new venture from Alexandria Restaurant Partners at the former Charlie’s on the Avenue location on Mount Vernon Avenue.
Nothing Bundt Cakes: For a festive at-home celebration, pick up your bundt cake flavor of choice from the national chain, coming soon to the Shoppes at Foxchase in Alexandria’s West End.
Virginia’s Darling Restaurant: Virginia’s Darling is set to open in Old Town in late 2021 alongside Mae’s Market & Café from Stomping Ground’s Nicole Jones.
Learn more about what’s new in Alexandria in 2021 here.
Header Image Credits: Ada’s on the River (left and right); Sisters Thai (center)