Charming Old Town Alexandria is a favorite neighborhood for tourists because of its historic architecture, its waterfront setting on the Potomac River, and its proximity to D.C. But it also serves as a longtime dining staple for locals looking for everything from raw bar seafood to high-end Japanese tasting menus. The scene is lively, with waterfront patios bustling and portions of King Street reserved for pedestrians.Read More
Where to Eat and Drink in Old Town Alexandria
This historic area is well worth exploring
Wooboi Hot Chicken
This spinoff from the original chicken shop in Herndon doesn’t shy away from the heat (consider yourself warned about the #5-level spice). White meat is the game here, used in chicken sandwiches and flavorful tenders. Order online here.
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Oak Steakhouse Alexandria
Oak Steakhouse broke into Old Town’s dining scene in 2019, granting the historic neighborhood a sleek new spot to devour hefty flatirons and filets in a crimson-colored leather banquette. The Charleston, South Carolina-based boutique chain has amassed a fast following for its Parker House rolls made of cornmeal from its home state. The ceviche of the day and roasted bone marrow are also good ways to start, with a namesake Manhattan in tow. Upscale bar fare here includes an A5 wagyu beef burger with decadent duck fat fries. — Tierney Plumb
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This neighborhood hangout traffics in solid bar food, from smoked chicken wings to a respectable burger to jambalaya penne pasta. A barbecue combo brings a quarter rack of ribs, beef brisket, and pulled pork to the table. Open for indoor dining and takeout.
Hank's Oyster Bar
One of several locations in chef Jamie Leeds’s classic seafood chain, Hank’s is the place for lobster rolls, oysters on the half shell, excellent cocktails, and steamed mussels in a convivial setting. The Alexandria location recently opened in new digs (where Hank’s Pasta Bar used to be).
Yunnan By Potomac Noodle House
This member of the Alexandria scene focuses on regional dishes from Southwest China. Mixian rice noodles are the main focus. Yunnan by Potomac is open for indoor and patio dining (weather permitting), and customers can order takeout or delivery here.
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Old House Cosmopolitan
Wiener schnitzel and spatzle can be surprisingly hard to find around greater D.C., but this old-school haunt has a bunch of German classics like bratwurst with a pretzel. There are some Bosnian dishes as well. Contact the restaurant directly for takeout.
Caphe Banh Mi
Located one block off of King Street, this Vietnamese restaurant is known for its traditional pho and banh mi sandwiches. Contact the restaurant directly for takeout information. —Tim Ebner
Nasime Japanese Restaurant
Customers who step behind the curtain shielding the tiny dining room and chef’s counter will feel like they’re eating in Japan. A destination-worthy tasting menu restaurant, Nasime serves a six-course lineup ($95) that changes with the seasons. It usually features some sort of traditional soup, a grilled dish, and some of the freshest and most interesting sashimi in town. Reservations recommended; the restaurant also serves a $48 takeout bento (contact directly to order).
The Peoples Drug
The People’s Drug serves relaxed comfort food like veggie burgers and shrimp rolls alongside seasonal cocktails like a wasabi martini (classic drinks are well-prepared here). The menu has a few eclectic touches, including pork belly skewers and fried chickpeas. The bar is small, but there’s a patio and indoor dining daily. Carryout available here, with delivery via UberEats.
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This ambitious Old Town restaurant finally reopened after being closed throughout the pandemic. Its current menu under the direction of chef Ben Pflaumer features dishes like a black truffle-scented risotto and suckling pig paired with fingerlings and rosemary.
Taverna Cretekou is as consistent as they come. That’s because this family-run, Greek restaurant has been in business for nearly half a century. Its spacious garden patio should be particularly appealing in warm weather.
Landini Brothers Restaurant
Around since 1979, this white-tablecloth institution for locals and discerning tourists alike sends out reliable Tuscan dishes and martinis in a sophisticated, stone-framed setting. Along with prime tenderloin cuts soaring past $50, top-selling mains include milk-fed veal scaloppini and homemade agnolotti alla fiorentina stuffed with spinach and ricotta. East Coast seafood picks include broiled or raw Chincoteague clams, Cambridge, Md. oysters, and grilled Atlantic squid. European and domestic wine pairings are plucked nightly from a handsome wooden rack stocked with 400 bottles. — T.P.
Vola’s Dockside Grill/Hi-Tide Lounge
This waterfront restaurant is a bustling option for a lobster roll, pan-seared swordfish, and tacos, with retro sister bar Hi-Tide Lounge connected by a hallway. Find boozy drinks like orange crushes and margaritas to go here as well, plus a weekday happy hour with $1 oysters and $6 cocktails. Order takeout or delivery here.
Daniel O'Connell's Irish Restaurant & Bar
Daniel O’Connell’s is an Alexandria standby for a proper pint. This historic bar and restaurant is an elegant Irish pub typically known for live music, Irish egg rolls, and fish and chips. Saddle up to a table near the fireplace, a seat at one of its four bars, or one one of its snug nooks. Takeout available here.
Hummingbird Bar & Kitchen
Restaurateur Cathal Armstrong’s riverside restaurant has views that are hard to beat. It’s located inside the Indigo Hotel, and the menu features seafood dishes from the Chesapeake Bay. Takeout available here.
Ada’s on the River
This newish addition to the waterfront, heavy on meats and seafood, has been getting a lot of buzz for the cooking of chef Randall J. Matthews. Find everything from wedge salads to smoked swordfish. Order online here.
BARCA Pier & Wine Bar
Alexandria’s newest wine bar is Spanish-influenced and right on the water. Outdoor seating is dog-friendly (and also allows those with boats to dock and dine).