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.Read More
Where to Eat in Alexandria’s Del Ray Neighborhood
The tight-knit community has many walkable restaurants within it
Royal Nepal Restaurant
Nepalese dishes can be a bit hard to find around the greater D.C. area, but Royal Nepal serves momocha dumplings, crispy goat intestine with puffed rice, Nepalese lo mein, and roasted wild boar.
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 étouffée, crab and crawfish-stuffed flounder, and multiple varieties of gumbo; find Mardi Gras-appropriate drinks like hurricanes and sazeracs, too.
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.
Excellent Roman-style pizzas are the main draw, landing Stracci Pizza on Eater DC’s list of essential pizza spots in the DMV. But this business that began with a pizza trailer 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).
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Los Tios Grill
Large portions of Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Salvadoran dishes are the norm at this gathering place, also known for its generous margaritas. Fajitas, chimichangas, and more span the large menu. There’s a brunch menu, too.
Spice Kraft Indian Bistro
Spice Kraft distinguishes itself as a neighborhood Indian favorite with delicious tandoor dishes and festive appetizers, including a mango and ginger crispy chicken and a colorful spinach pakora chat. Save during happy hour, with options like a $5 naan flight.
Cheesetique Del Ray
Also an excellent cheese shop, this Del Ray cafe makes a mean cheesesteak, with a menu of other dairy-focused dishes like several different grilled cheeses and mac and cheese options. It’s a good place 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
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.
Del Ray Pop Up Bar
This rotating pop-up bar from Alexandria’s HomeGrown Restaurant Group on Del Ray’s main drag currently transports drinkers to Miami, or the scene of the TV show Miami Vice to be more specific. At Miami Vibes, drinks are named after the show — like the Don Johnson, served with white rum, guava nectar, mint, club soda, and lime. Bar snacks are equally tropical, like Havana pineapple wings, and the soundtrack is all ‘80s music.
Favorite biscuit spot Stomping Ground closed in 2023 and owner Nicole Jones pivoted to tacos with Rubia’s, which opened in May. Go here in the morning and afternoon for croissants with pineapple jam filling, pina colada overnight oats, breakfast burritos, and tacos with fillings like chorizo, garlic potato, and poblano cream. Dinner service is still in the works.
These chewy, made-in-house bagels (also from restaurateur Nicole Jones) can be topped with cream cheese in flavors like scallion and chives or cilantro, jalapeño, and lime. Or go all out with bagel sandwiches involving fried egg and cheese or house-roasted wagyu beef and horseradish mayo.
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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.
Gustave Boulangerie & Brasserie
This newly-opened cafe and bakery serves up quintessential French fare like baguettes, croissants, and macarons, with savory lunch options like fig prosciutto panini.
Majestic Lounge/Evening Star/HiFi
Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s Evening Star is one of the neighborhood’s fancier options, with an emphasis on local ingredients. Dishes on the tight menu range from grilled bacon meatloaf to seared wild salmon with spaetzle and basil cream. 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 The company also operates Planet Wine, a retail wine shop next door.
This summer, NRG added yet another concept in Evening Star’s backyard with the opening of Hi/Fi Tex-Mex BBQ: it’s a spin-off chef Nate Anda of Red Apron Butchery’s taco shop in D.C. This outdoor beer garden also serves up nachos, chips and queso, six different types of tacos, burgers, steak fajitas, and barbecue platters (done up either Tex-Mex style with tortillas or BBQ-style with pickles and sides like bacon baked beans).
Del Ray Café
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.
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, birria short rib ramen, etc.). An affordable happy hour offers $5 sushi options and drink discounts. There’s a selection of cocktails, some with Asian influences like the “Ginger Panda Cure” with wasabi-infused Lunazul tequila and ginger liqueur.
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 Thai street noodle soup all make appearances.
A former gardening outpost transformed into The Garden, as in beer garden. This outdoor watering hole with picnic tables and umbrellas is a great low-key spot to head if you have dogs or kids in tow. The menu includes plenty of craft beer, prosecco, and cocktails like grapefruit crushes on tap, and food like Mexican street corn, bratwurst with sauerkraut, and mozzarella sticks.
Lena's Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap
This restaurant has transformed into a mini complex of sorts on the south end of Del Ray, made up of Lena’s itself, the Loft at Lena’s upstairs (with a rotating theme, currently Havana 151 with Cuban food and salsa dancing), and the outdoor Lena’s Beer Garden. No matter the setting, you can find solid pizzas, bar food like garlic-parmesan wings, and some dishes with a twist like garlic bread paired with pepperoni sauce.