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White custard with Reese’s pieces in it
Frozen custard from the Dairy Godmother.
Dairy Godmother/Facebook

Where to Eat in Alexandria’s Del Ray Neighborhood

The tight-knit community has many walkable restaurants within it

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Frozen custard from the Dairy Godmother.
| Dairy Godmother/Facebook

This charming walkable community within Alexandria is a particular favorite of families and dog-walkers. It’s also a place to find delicious homemade frozen custard, excellent Roman-style pizzas, and generously portioned margaritas.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Royal Nepal Restaurant

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Nepalese dishes can be a bit hard to find around the greater D.C. area, but Royal Nepal serves Del Ray momocha dumplings, crispy goat intestine with puffed rice, Nepalese lo mein, and roasted wild boar.

A top-down view of several plates including noodles, dumplings, a paneer dish, and more.
A variety of dishes from Royal Nepal.
Royal Nepal/Facebook

RT's Restaurant

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This longtime institution focuses both as a neighborhood bar and one of the greater area’s few options for homey, New Orleans-style cooking. The unapologetically seafood-focused menu has choices like shrimp and crab et touffe, andouille-crusted fish, and multiple varieties of gumbo; find Mardi Gras-appropriate drinks like hurricanes and sazeracs, too.

Seared scallops atop a bed of corn.
A scallops dish from RT’s Restaurant.
RT’s/Facebook

Hops N Shine

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This relaxed bar has a nice outdoor beer garden, and is a chill place to order a customized grilled cheese, a giant pretzel, or some excellent fried pickles. You gotta laugh at “my date is not hungry,” which is how you can add extra fries and two chicken tenders to your order.

Stracci Pizza

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Excellent Roman-style pizzas are the main draw here, but Stracci Pizza has become a nice place for relaxing due to expanded indoor and outdoor seating, and a tight menu of Italian-influenced cocktails (give the Cynar negroni a spin). You’ve been warned — the chicken liver mousse mysteriously comes without any bread or crackers for spreading.

A square pizza topped with ricotta, basil, and pepperoni.
Roman-style pizza at Stracci’s
Missy Frederick/Eater DC

Los Tios Grill

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Large portions of Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Salvadoran dishes are the norm at this gathering place, also known for its generous margaritas. Fajitas, chimichangas, pupusas, and more span the large menu.

One plate of fish fajitas and another with rice and black beans.
Mahi-mahi fajitas from Los Tios.
Los Tios/Facebook

Spice Kraft Indian Bistro

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Spice Kraft distinguishes itself as a neighborhood Indian favorite with festive appetizers, including a colorful spinach pakora chat and mango and ginger crispy chicken, and a mix-and-match menu section, where patrons can customize dishes using various sauces and proteins. There are several delicious tandoor dishes, too. Pickup and delivery available online.

Fried spinach leaves mixed with ingredients like tomato, piled high, and topped with sauce.
Spinach pakora chaat.
Spice Kraft

Cheesetique Del Ray

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Also an excellent cheese shop, this Del Ray cafe (now in an expanded space) makes a mean cheesesteak, with a menu of other cheese-focused dishes like several grilled cheeses and lobster mac and cheese. It’s a good option for a glass of wine and a cheese plate, or Sunday brunch.

Taqueria el Poblano

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Cali-style tacos, taquitos, fresh salsa, and more are on the menu at this tiny Mexican joint, which serves some of the best margaritas in the area (try the habanero one).

Pork Barrel BBQ

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A partnership between former Hill staffers (and now “Shark Tank” vets) Heath Hall and Brett Thompson, both from Missouri, and Alexandria restaurant owners “Mango” Mike Anderson and Bill Blackburn, pulled pork and chicken are among the focuses of this Southern restaurant. Anderson and Blackburn are behind several other restaurants in the neighborhood, like Holy Cow Burgers.

Pulled pork on a soft roll.
A pulled pork sandwich from Pork Barrel.
Pork Barrel/Facebook

Stomping Ground

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This cafe has become known for its biscuits, though also shakes things up with a variety of baked goods, fried chicken on Fridays, and more. If you’re looking for somewhere you can pair breakfast nachos with Topo Chico hard seltzer, Stomping Ground also delivers.

The Dairy Godmother

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This neighborhood favorite for homemade frozen custard became even more of a must-visit with the opening of Just Fine Donuts, a donut operation with vegan options, inside the shop.

Majestic Lounge/Evening Star

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Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s Evening Star, currently overseen by chef Derek Colglazier, is one of the neighborhood’s fancier options, with an emphasis on local ingredients. Dishes on the tight menu range from smoked pork chops to cornmeal-crusted trout. The adjacent Majestic and upstairs No. 9 Lounge serve as a somewhat rare neighborhood bars for the community; visitors can also drink at the outdoor Front Porch and Back Yard. The company also operates Planet Wine, a retail wine shop next door.

Del Ray Café

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Located in a cute converted house with an expansive front porch, this hangout (particularly popular for brunch) has a bit of French influence to it, seen in dishes like Burgandy snails and bouillabaisse. Patrons can start the morning with croissant sandwiches, croques, omelets and quiches.

Purple flowers in front of the Del Ray Cafe building.
An exterior shot of Del Ray Cafe.
Susan Braun for Del Ray Cafe/Facebook

Kaizen Tavern

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Sushi is a main focus of the menu here (fish is good quality, though expect large versus delicate cuts of sashimi), though this restaurant also has a long list of small plates, some on the fusion end of the spectrum (tacos with kimchi, tuna nachos, etc.). An affordable happy hour offers $4 nigrini and drink discounts. There’s a selection of cocktails, some with Asian influences like a matcha highball.

Junction Bakery & Bistro

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Cruffins, brioche French toast, and biscuits and gravy all appear on this cafe’s breakfast menu. But the restaurant also has an eclectic mix of lunch and dinner options; falafel, Cuban sandwiches, and whole roast chickens all make appearances.

Lena's Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap

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This restaurant has transformed into a mini complex of sorts on the south end of Del Ray, made up of Lena’s itself, the art deco bar Velvet & Rye upstairs, and the spacious covered heated patio Lena’s Oasis. No matter the setting, you can find solid pizzas, bar food like parmesan wings, and some dishes with a twist like garlic bread paired with pepperoni sauce.

A huge meatball surrounded by marinara in a skillet
A giant, 10-ounce meatball at Lena’s comes slathered in homemade marinara sauce.
Lena’s

Royal Nepal Restaurant

A top-down view of several plates including noodles, dumplings, a paneer dish, and more.
A variety of dishes from Royal Nepal.
Royal Nepal/Facebook

Nepalese dishes can be a bit hard to find around the greater D.C. area, but Royal Nepal serves Del Ray momocha dumplings, crispy goat intestine with puffed rice, Nepalese lo mein, and roasted wild boar.

A top-down view of several plates including noodles, dumplings, a paneer dish, and more.
A variety of dishes from Royal Nepal.
Royal Nepal/Facebook

RT's Restaurant

Seared scallops atop a bed of corn.
A scallops dish from RT’s Restaurant.
RT’s/Facebook

This longtime institution focuses both as a neighborhood bar and one of the greater area’s few options for homey, New Orleans-style cooking. The unapologetically seafood-focused menu has choices like shrimp and crab et touffe, andouille-crusted fish, and multiple varieties of gumbo; find Mardi Gras-appropriate drinks like hurricanes and sazeracs, too.

Seared scallops atop a bed of corn.
A scallops dish from RT’s Restaurant.
RT’s/Facebook

Hops N Shine

This relaxed bar has a nice outdoor beer garden, and is a chill place to order a customized grilled cheese, a giant pretzel, or some excellent fried pickles. You gotta laugh at “my date is not hungry,” which is how you can add extra fries and two chicken tenders to your order.

Stracci Pizza

A square pizza topped with ricotta, basil, and pepperoni.
Roman-style pizza at Stracci’s
Missy Frederick/Eater DC

Excellent Roman-style pizzas are the main draw here, but Stracci Pizza has become a nice place for relaxing due to expanded indoor and outdoor seating, and a tight menu of Italian-influenced cocktails (give the Cynar negroni a spin). You’ve been warned — the chicken liver mousse mysteriously comes without any bread or crackers for spreading.

A square pizza topped with ricotta, basil, and pepperoni.
Roman-style pizza at Stracci’s
Missy Frederick/Eater DC

Los Tios Grill

One plate of fish fajitas and another with rice and black beans.
Mahi-mahi fajitas from Los Tios.
Los Tios/Facebook

Large portions of Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Salvadoran dishes are the norm at this gathering place, also known for its generous margaritas. Fajitas, chimichangas, pupusas, and more span the large menu.

One plate of fish fajitas and another with rice and black beans.
Mahi-mahi fajitas from Los Tios.
Los Tios/Facebook

Spice Kraft Indian Bistro

Fried spinach leaves mixed with ingredients like tomato, piled high, and topped with sauce.
Spinach pakora chaat.
Spice Kraft

Spice Kraft distinguishes itself as a neighborhood Indian favorite with festive appetizers, including a colorful spinach pakora chat and mango and ginger crispy chicken, and a mix-and-match menu section, where patrons can customize dishes using various sauces and proteins. There are several delicious tandoor dishes, too. Pickup and delivery available online.

Fried spinach leaves mixed with ingredients like tomato, piled high, and topped with sauce.
Spinach pakora chaat.
Spice Kraft

Cheesetique Del Ray

Also an excellent cheese shop, this Del Ray cafe (now in an expanded space) makes a mean cheesesteak, with a menu of other cheese-focused dishes like several grilled cheeses and lobster mac and cheese. It’s a good option for a glass of wine and a cheese plate, or Sunday brunch.

Taqueria el Poblano

Cali-style tacos, taquitos, fresh salsa, and more are on the menu at this tiny Mexican joint, which serves some of the best margaritas in the area (try the habanero one).

Pork Barrel BBQ

Pulled pork on a soft roll.
A pulled pork sandwich from Pork Barrel.
Pork Barrel/Facebook

A partnership between former Hill staffers (and now “Shark Tank” vets) Heath Hall and Brett Thompson, both from Missouri, and Alexandria restaurant owners “Mango” Mike Anderson and Bill Blackburn, pulled pork and chicken are among the focuses of this Southern restaurant. Anderson and Blackburn are behind several other restaurants in the neighborhood, like Holy Cow Burgers.

Pulled pork on a soft roll.
A pulled pork sandwich from Pork Barrel.
Pork Barrel/Facebook

Stomping Ground

This cafe has become known for its biscuits, though also shakes things up with a variety of baked goods, fried chicken on Fridays, and more. If you’re looking for somewhere you can pair breakfast nachos with Topo Chico hard seltzer, Stomping Ground also delivers.

The Dairy Godmother

This neighborhood favorite for homemade frozen custard became even more of a must-visit with the opening of Just Fine Donuts, a donut operation with vegan options, inside the shop.

Majestic Lounge/Evening Star

Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s Evening Star, currently overseen by chef Derek Colglazier, is one of the neighborhood’s fancier options, with an emphasis on local ingredients. Dishes on the tight menu range from smoked pork chops to cornmeal-crusted trout. The adjacent Majestic and upstairs No. 9 Lounge serve as a somewhat rare neighborhood bars for the community; visitors can also drink at the outdoor Front Porch and Back Yard. The company also operates Planet Wine, a retail wine shop next door.

Del Ray Café

Purple flowers in front of the Del Ray Cafe building.
An exterior shot of Del Ray Cafe.
Susan Braun for Del Ray Cafe/Facebook

Located in a cute converted house with an expansive front porch, this hangout (particularly popular for brunch) has a bit of French influence to it, seen in dishes like Burgandy snails and bouillabaisse. Patrons can start the morning with croissant sandwiches, croques, omelets and quiches.

Purple flowers in front of the Del Ray Cafe building.
An exterior shot of Del Ray Cafe.
Susan Braun for Del Ray Cafe/Facebook

Kaizen Tavern

Sushi is a main focus of the menu here (fish is good quality, though expect large versus delicate cuts of sashimi), though this restaurant also has a long list of small plates, some on the fusion end of the spectrum (tacos with kimchi, tuna nachos, etc.). An affordable happy hour offers $4 nigrini and drink discounts. There’s a selection of cocktails, some with Asian influences like a matcha highball.

Junction Bakery & Bistro

Cruffins, brioche French toast, and biscuits and gravy all appear on this cafe’s breakfast menu. But the restaurant also has an eclectic mix of lunch and dinner options; falafel, Cuban sandwiches, and whole roast chickens all make appearances.

Related Maps

Lena's Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap

A huge meatball surrounded by marinara in a skillet
A giant, 10-ounce meatball at Lena’s comes slathered in homemade marinara sauce.
Lena’s

This restaurant has transformed into a mini complex of sorts on the south end of Del Ray, made up of Lena’s itself, the art deco bar Velvet & Rye upstairs, and the spacious covered heated patio Lena’s Oasis. No matter the setting, you can find solid pizzas, bar food like parmesan wings, and some dishes with a twist like garlic bread paired with pepperoni sauce.

A huge meatball surrounded by marinara in a skillet
A giant, 10-ounce meatball at Lena’s comes slathered in homemade marinara sauce.
Lena’s

Related Maps