Best of Outdoor Dining in Alexandria

There’s no better way to usher in the warm weather than dining al fresco in Alexandria, Virginia, named the #1 Best Value U.S. Travel Destination 2018 by Money magazine. Located just minutes from Washington, D.C. on the Potomac River waterfront, Alexandria’s booming culinary scene is best enjoyed outdoors, from waterfront seating to lush green courtyard patios to street-side eats and everything in between. Looking to pair some fresh air with your rosé? Read on to see our top picks for outdoor dining in Alexandria.

Best Waterfront Views

Vola’s Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge

Image Credit: Vola’s Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge 

Vola’s Dockside Grill from Alexandria Restaurant Partners (Mia’s Italian Kitchen, Virtue Feed & Grain, The Majestic and Lena’s) features outdoor dining right on the Marina overlooking the Potomac River at 7 King Street. The restaurant, named after former city manager Vola Lawson, serves up fresh seafood like shucked oysters, shrimp and oyster po-boys, and Carolina low country steamer pails.

Hummingbird

Image Credit: Ken Wyner Photography

The lights on the spacious patio at Hummingbird, located at the chic Hotel Indigo, make it a midsummer night’s dream, complete with Potomac River views that are perfect for locally-sourced seafood and creative cocktails. The restaurant, from celebrated chef Cathal Armstrong, has earned high praise from The Washington Post and locals alike.

Blackwall Hitch 

alexandria-va-waterfront-dining-al-fresco-blackwall-hitchImage courtesy of Blackwall Hitch

Blackwall Hitch is located right at the Alexandria marina, complete with live music, fresh seafood, an oyster bar and outdoor dining with views of the Potomac and Washington skyline. Sounds like you can count on this rustic, elegant restaurant to serve up one dreamy evening, right?

Chart House

Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Chart House is about as close to the water as you can get without going for a swim, giving you perfect Potomac River views from the patio. The fresh and creative seafood menu is just as good as the view, especially when enjoyed sitting under under the warm summer sun.

Virtue Feed & Grain 

outdoor-dining-old-town-alexandria-va-waterfront-virtue-feed-and-grainImage credit: R. Kennedy for Visit Alexandria

Virtue Feed & Grain‘s large, dog-friendly patio is the perfect place to catch a summer breeze. Set back from the water but with river views, it’s tucked into historic Wales Alley, making it ideal for relaxing with a cocktail under the patio’s hanging candle lanterns.

Triple Craft

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, the deck at Triple Craft is just a stone’s throw from the river. It’s the ideal place to relax and enjoy a beer, burger or giant specialty shake after a day on the water at the nearby Washington Sailing Marina. It’s also one of the best spots in the region to watch planes land at Reagan National Airport.

Café 44 

Image Credit: Cafe 44 Facebook Page

Café 44 offers one of the most unique waterfront vistas in Alexandria from the fourth floor of 44 Canal Center Plaza, with sweeping views of the Potomac River. If you go for the view, you’ll definitely stay for the food and drinks, including breakfast, lunch, happy hours and a champagne brunch on Sundays.

Great King Street People Watching

Landini Brothers

Landini_Brothers_King_St_CREDIT_R_Kennedy_for_ACVA_720x510_72_RGBImage Credit: R. Kennedy for Visit Alexandria

Landini Brothers is a staple in Old Town, serving up authentic Tuscan recipes in a cozy atmosphere. Their outdoor patio puts you right on the brick-lined sidewalks of King Street, perfect for people watching and post-dinner walks to the waterfront.

Daniel O’Connell’s

Image Credit: K. Summerer for Visit Alexandria

Old Town hot spot Daniel O’Connell’s is the place for a pint and some street-side people-watching. Choose from sidewalk seating along King Street or snag a coveted spot on the balcony overlooking Old Town’s main thoroughfare below for a bit more privacy without sacrificing the view.

The Warehouse Bar & Grill

Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

The Warehouse Bar & Grill serves up fresh seafood and steaks with outdoor dining close to the waterfront on King Street. Local favorites include the crab cakes, oysters and gumbo among other classic seafood recipes.

Fish Market

Image Credit: C. Davidson for Visit Alexandria

Enjoy a bird’s eye view of King Street from the balcony at Fish Market or grab a seat on the sidewalk patio for people watching at the foot of King Street. Fish Market is a local institution, serving up fresh seafood and regional recipes perfect for everything from date night to a family outing.

Los Cuates Restaurant

Image Credit: K. Summerer for Visit Alexandria

Located on upper King Street, Los Cuates offers outdoor dining on King Street, and is the perfect spot for enjoying cocktails with friends during Happy Hours and other weekly specials. Los Cuates is known for their addicting guacamole dip and has some of the best margaritas in town.

Coziest Patios

Sonoma Cellar

Image Credit: Sonoma Cellar Facebook Page

The backyard wine garden at Sonoma Cellar is a unique and cozy escape where you can taste wine around a fire pit and enjoy special events like tastings, Tuesday cigar nights and live music. It feels like a relaxing, rural getaway right in the heart of Old Town. Bonus: you can bring your dog along.

Taverna Cretekou 

outdoor-dining-old-town-alexandria-taverna-cretekouImage credit: R. Kennedy for Visit Alexandria

The secret garden behind authentic Greek restaurant Taverna Cretekou is an oasis of lush foliage and a heaping helping of ambiance. Trust me, you’ll want to linger long after you’ve polished off the grape leaves. If you’re there on a Thursday evening, you’ll be treated to dancing and traditional Greek plate-breaking.

Columbia Firehouse

Image Credit: K. Summerer for Visit Alexandria

The outdoor patio at Old Town’s Columbia Firehouse is a great place to enjoy sumptuous comfort foods, shareable plates and craft beers tucked inside a cozy urban oasis. The historic space was built in 1883 as a firehouse and features stunning architectural details.

BRABO Tasting Room

Image Credit: BRABO Tasting Room

BRABO Tasting Room has been a local gathering place for over a decade, situated inside a 150-year-old building on Upper King Street with a spacious brick patio. From signature mussels to wood-fired savory tarts, Executive Chef Sebastien Rondier offers sociable café fare to accompany the laid-back atmosphere.

Gadsby’s Tavern Restaurant

Image Credit: Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Facebook Page

Gadsby’s Tavern played host to the first five American presidents, was George Washington’s stopping place of choice on his treks between Old Town and his estate at Mount Vernon, and the locale for Thomas Jefferson’s Inaugural Banquet. The restaurant also features hidden gem of a backyard outdoor dining space that makes it a one-of-a-kind historical dining experience.

Neighborhood Favorites

North Old Town

Bastille

outdoor-dining-alexandria-va-bastille-parker-grayImage credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Bastille, located near Braddock Metro station, features a large courtyard patio and the signature French cuisine that made it a top fine dining destination in Alexandria. Grab a glass (or a bottle, pourquoi pas?) of red wine and imagine you’re in the French countryside.

Lena’s Woodfire Pizza + Tap

Lenas_Firepit_CREDIT_M_Enriquez_for_Visit_Alexandria_720x493_72_RGBImage Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

The patio at Lena’s is the perfect place to share a bottle of wine with friends around the fire pit. Order some appetizers or try the mushroom pizza, which swaps out traditional red sauce for roasted garlic cream and tops it all off with perfectly melted mozzarella, wild mushrooms and truffle oil. 

Rustico

Image Credit: Rustico Facebook Page

Rustico is the go-to spot for outdoor dining in the Slaters Lane neighborhood of Alexandria, serving up American fare with an extensive craft beer menu including burgers, pizza and awesome appetizers to share. It’s a fun spot for families that will satisfy parents and kids alike.

Sunday in Saigon

Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

From the chef and owner of Old Town favorite Caphe Banh Mi, Sunday in Saigon opened in spring 2017 with a mouthwatering menu of Vietnamese recipes that are best enjoyed on the outdoor patio. Their wine selection makes it a must-try for wine lovers.

Del Ray

Evening Star and The Front Porch

Image credit: C. Davidson for Visit Alexandria

Two words: bourbon slushes. Every summer Evening Star Café rolls out The Front Porch, their inviting patio featuring picnic tables, hung lights and bites sourced from the restaurant’s rooftop garden. Head over after work to this neighborhood hangout for Southern-inspired eats and the signature slush.

Del Ray Café

Image Credit: K. Summerer for Visit Alexandria

Del Ray Café is like a home away from home, set in a house tucked into Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood. It’s a cozy setting for outdoor dining with friends and family, with French bistro fare. Del Ray Café is also a peanut-free restaurant, making it a safe and easy choice for families with food allergies.

Cheesetique 

Image credit: C. Davidson for Visit Alexandria

It is a truth universally acknowledged that cheese and wine are meant to be consumed outdoors. Luckily, wine and cheese bistro Cheesetique has street-side dining right along Mount Vernon Avenue that makes their grown-up grilled cheese taste even better, if that’s possible.

Live Oak 

Image Credit: Live Oak Facebook Page

Live Oak opened in the Del Ray neighborhood on Commonwealth Avenue in 2016, with a Charleston, S.C. inspired menu from executive chef Justus Frank. The outdoor patio is the perfect spot to enjoy fresh seafood and cocktails under the summer sun.

Bon Vivant Café + Farm Market

Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Bon Vivant Café + Farm Market is the go-to spot for healthy, locally sourced fare in a casual setting, with outdoor dining on Mount Vernon Avenue. Their menu has breakfast all day, sandwiches, salads, smoothies, soups, entrees and more and has extensive options for folks with allergies or special diets like paleo.

Northside 10

Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

New to Alexandria’s Arlandria neighborhood in 2016, Northside 10 is the gathering place for many locals in this area. Their mouthwatering menu is filled with comfort food reminiscent of their sister restaurant, Southside 815 in South Old Town. Both are perfect spots when you’re craving Southern comfort food on a sunny day.

 

West End

Portner Brewhouse

Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Opened in March 2017 in Alexandria’s West End, Portner Brewhouse is a can’t-miss destination for craft beer lovers. The brewery comes from sisters Catherine and Margaret Portner in honor of their great-great grandfather’s Robert Portner Brewing Co., the largest pre-Prohibition brewery in the South. Portner Brewhouse offers outdoor seating and contemporary German-American cuisine.

 

Shooter McGees

Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Shooter McGee’s has been a local favorite for over 30 years, and is the go-to spot for burgers in the Van Dorn neighborhood. Dine outside on the patio and sample from over 100 beers and wines with specials every day during lunch and dinner, plus free parking in their lot.

For more information on outdoor dining in Alexandria, click here.

Header image credit: C. Davidson for Visit Alexandria