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A platter filled with corn, clams, mussels, shrimp, and a whole lobster.
Seafood from Hank’s Oyster Bar.
Hank’s Oyster Bar/Facebook

Where to Eat and Drink in Old Town Alexandria

This historic area is well worth exploring

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Seafood from Hank’s Oyster Bar.
| Hank’s Oyster Bar/Facebook

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.

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Wooboi Hot Chicken

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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.

Tenders and pickles atop bread at Wooboi.
Chicken from Wooboi in Alexandria.
Wooboi Chicken

Oak Steakhouse Alexandria

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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

Crimson-colored booths and chairs line Oak Steakhouse’s dining room.
Oak Steakhouse’s 130-seat dining room.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

T.J. Stone's

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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

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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

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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.

A bowl of thick rice noodles in a red, spicy-looking broth garnished with scallion and soft-boiled egg.
A rice noodle dish from Yunnan by Potomac.
Yunnan By Potomac

Old House Cosmopolitan

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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.

Fried schnitzel with a salad on the side.
Schnitzel from Old House.
Old House

Caphe Banh Mi

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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

A bowl of pho with toppings on the side as well as a white spoon.
A bowl of pho from Caphe Banh Mi.
Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Nasime Japanese Restaurant

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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).

Raw fish on a black plate at Nasime.
A delicate plate of sashimi at Nasime Japanese Restaurant.
Nasime Japanese Restaurant/Facebook

The Peoples Drug

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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.

Vermilion

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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.

Three oysters with green garnish on a slate board.
Oysters from Vermillion.
Vermillion/Facebook

Taverna Cretekou

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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.

An outdoor space with a heater and several chairs surrounding it.
Patio at Taverna Cretekou.
Taverna Cretekou/Facebook

Landini Brothers Restaurant

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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

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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

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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.

A fried piece of fish on top of thick chips with a little container of mushy peas.
Fish and chips at Daniel O’Connell’s.
Daniel O’Connell’s/Facebook

Hummingbird Bar & Kitchen

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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

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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.

Seared scallops on an orange puree with pretty garnishes.
Scallops from Ada’s on the River.
Ada’s on the River

BARCA Pier & Wine Bar

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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).

Sauteed mushrooms with an egg yolk on top and slices of baguette.
A mushroom tapa from Barca.
Barca

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.

Tenders and pickles atop bread at Wooboi.
Chicken from Wooboi in Alexandria.
Wooboi Chicken

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

Crimson-colored booths and chairs line Oak Steakhouse’s dining room.
Oak Steakhouse’s 130-seat dining room.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

T.J. Stone's

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.

A bowl of thick rice noodles in a red, spicy-looking broth garnished with scallion and soft-boiled egg.
A rice noodle dish from Yunnan by Potomac.
Yunnan By Potomac

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.

Fried schnitzel with a salad on the side.
Schnitzel from Old House.
Old House

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

A bowl of pho with toppings on the side as well as a white spoon.
A bowl of pho from Caphe Banh Mi.
Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post via Getty Images

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).

Raw fish on a black plate at Nasime.
A delicate plate of sashimi at Nasime Japanese Restaurant.
Nasime Japanese Restaurant/Facebook

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.

Vermilion

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.

Three oysters with green garnish on a slate board.
Oysters from Vermillion.
Vermillion/Facebook

Taverna Cretekou

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.

An outdoor space with a heater and several chairs surrounding it.
Patio at Taverna Cretekou.
Taverna Cretekou/Facebook

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.

A fried piece of fish on top of thick chips with a little container of mushy peas.
Fish and chips at Daniel O’Connell’s.
Daniel O’Connell’s/Facebook

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.

Related Maps

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.

Seared scallops on an orange puree with pretty garnishes.
Scallops from Ada’s on the River.
Ada’s on the River

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).

Sauteed mushrooms with an egg yolk on top and slices of baguette.
A mushroom tapa from Barca.
Barca

Related Maps