Simply Fish: A Fun Way to Order
This is a new place that has already established a good reputation.
There are 5 steps to ordering here.
1. Select the fish that you want.
2. Select the method of cooking.
3. Select the sauce you want.
4. Select the sides.
5. Enjoy. (I am quoting the menu.)
Favorite Dish: I enjoy the salmon sauted with the dill butter sauce.
- Food and Dining
Columbia Firehouse - Old Town
Columbia Firehouse is a great, new restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, originally a fire station, the bottom two floors of the building are now a comfortable, slightly fancy restaurant with great local foods and regional beers. We arrived around 8pm one night, and I was immediately impressed with the warm comfortable wooden bar and dark trim. Unfortunately we were seated in the outdoor patio area which was a little too bright, open and cold to fit in with the rest of the restaurant. Nonetheless, the waiter was outstanding, the beer selection above average, and the food very good, despite the small portions.
Since it was Thursday when we arrived, I chose the low country bouillabaisse. This stew of mussels, shrimp, andouille sausage, and potatoes was served with small points of cheesy toast in a shellfish broth for a slightly expensive $24. I also had a few beers including a Brooklyn Lager and a Duck Rabbit Schwarzbier (black lager) which was really nothing like the tasty Kostritzer Schwarzbier that I love so much.
Columbia Firehouse is named for the City of Alexandria's Columbia Steam Engine Fire Company. This company was founded in 1871, and moved to the building which now houses this restaurant in 1883.
Daniel O'Connell's Restaurant: A Great Place for a Drink and a Snack
Daniel O'Connell's is a nice pub/restaurant right on King Street in Old Town Alexandria. This place is massive with rooftop seating, side walk seating and a cavernous interior with multiple levels of dining rooms and bars. It is always an adventure to see where we'll be seated and if we'll find our way out at the end.
The menu here has a mix of pub grub and entrees. Tradtional Irish fare such a shepard's pie, Bangers and Mash and Fish & Chips can be found on the menu. Guiness and Magner's are also on the lists of beers that include some local and American beers.
Our last visit to O'Connell's we decided to sit iside; it was extremely hot outside in the high 90's. We were led upstairs to the third floor. We were seated at a nice table for two overlooking the main bar area on the first floor; perfect people watching. My wife and I were just looking for a snack and some cool drinks to beat the heat.
After perusing the bar menu I decided on the trio of sliders. There were three sliders: one beef, one lamb and one crab served with chips and onion straws. My wife ordered the flatbread pizza with basil, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. For drinks; I had a Sprite and Liz ordered a diet coke with lime. As always we had excellent service and our waitress was very attentive with the refills.
Our food arrived promptly and I was very happy with my meal. The burgers were very good. I enjoyed the lamb burger the best and it was covered in a creamy blue cheese dressing. The chips were very good and the onion straws were quite nice. Liz enjoyed her flatbread pizza and I even found it tasty after she fed me a bite.
O'connell's is one of those places where we like to relax with some drinks or enjoy a good meal. Evertime we visit Alexandria we find ourselves here; it just fels like our local back at home.
Favorite Dish: The Lamb Stew is very nice here and is a perfect winter meal. They also make a really good tuna steak with a citrus soy dressing; quite good. The sliders are a good appetizer as is the crab and spinach dip. My wife likes their flatbread pizza, Guiness burger and surf & turf.
- Food and Dining
- Road Trip
Chipotle: Best Burritos
Chipotle is a national chain that serves up monsterous burritos with either chicken, beef, or chorizo. You can pick a bowl (no carbs), giant burrito tortilla, or tacos. You get to choose your toppings like lettuce, choice of beans, rice, sour cream and salsa. For extra you can add guacamole. The only sides they offer are chips and then guacamole. The food is really good but the massive size may lead to some hurt tummies.
The actual restaurant is pretty nice. They have tables or a counter spot to view the city (King Street, more specifically).
Update: You can now download an app for your iPhone to order before going to pick it up. :) Gotta keep up with the times, you know??
Favorite Dish: I like the chicken burrito but I like to get it easy on the rice.
Starbucks!: Everyone Has a ......
Just had to post a picture of the Alexandria Starbucks...
I stopped by here because it's at the east end of the street and I had walked most King Street. There was not a free table available...and I travelled on an off day in the middle of the day. I was getting private tours because no one else was touring the historic sites....BUT Starbucks was full. Now if that isn't sad, I don't know what is. :) (lol)
La Madeleine: Fun Cafe on King Street
La Madeleine is right in the center of King Street. It was pretty busy for lunch but they had a few windows that overlook the main street so I wanted to keep cool inside with a view. It was really a nice exprience to have a sandwich and watch the world go by. It's definitely one of my favorite things to do.
There was also outdoor seating but only about 5 tables and those were very popular and hard to come by in the nice weather.
La Madeline serves breakfast, lunch and dinner items, then has a separate bakery and coffee counter. So if you want a great meal or just some yummy dessert this is your place. The food they offer is very light. You'll find a majority of soups, salads, quiches, and sandwiches. I've never found anything I hated. They have complimentary bread with butter and preserves while you're waiting or to eat with your soup or salad.
Sun. 7:00 AM-10:00 PM, Mon.-Thu. 6:30 AM-10:30 PM, Fri.-Sat. 6:30 AM-11:30 PM
Favorite Dish: I love their caesar salad, strawberries and sauce, bread. My favorite meal would be the Turkey Ciabatta melt. It's sliced turkey with swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and honey mustard dressing all on ciabatta bread. YUM!!!! Or the chicken pesto pasta...great for dinner.
Any of the desserts would blow your socks off. :)
Gadsby's Tavern: Dine At Washington's Fav Place
Gadsby's Tavern was recommended by 1000 Things to See Before You Die, so I, of course, HAD to try it. George Washington probably ate here, as they say, but there is no proof. Historians knew he stopped at taverns and this was the nicest, and most popular, so logically, historians think he has eaten here. I think that's pretty cool...
**If you get there earlier, tour the museum beside the restaurant and see what the tavern used to be like, set up with old foods and items, and the upstairs where men would sleep overnight like a cheap hotel. It also has a huge dance hall where Washington's inauguration and birthday ball were held.
As for my experience...
I don't believe I made reservations here but I did go pretty early in the evening, like around 5:30-6:00pm. When you walk in there's dark room/bar where a lot of downtown workers may do their after work drink or finish a deal. The dining guests were in the room to the right of the door. The dining area was pretty quiet. There were tourists, couples celebrating anniversaries and larger groups of all ages.
When you are seated you have a tin plate place setting. It's removed once your meal comes, but it definitely adds to the atmosphere. Your silverware is rather old, though, so that's fun.
It was still day light outside so the windows had light streaming through. With only one small candle per table, I think later at night it may be more dark.
Favorite Dish: The food was amazing. I had a glass of white wine. Bread was brought out before the meal, but I saved it for when my food came. I ordered the salmon plate with potatoes and veggies. Yummmmm. So good.
- Women's Travel
- Historical Travel
- Food and Dining
Restaurants on King St: Choices, Choices
I have to include King Street as a suggestion for restaurants. Each time I ate (breakfast, lunch and dinner) I seemed to be on this street. You can find independent, local restaurants or you can find more nationally know places such as Chipolte or La Madeline. Whatever you're in the mood for, I'm pretty sure you can find it here.
- Food and Dining
- Historical Travel
Jackson 20 Restaurant - King Street, Old Town
The Jackson 20's name must come from the fact that the restaurant is four times better than the Jackson 5, right? No, actually it comes from the US20 dollar bill which features the image of President Jackson. Luckily the President on this bill switched from Grover Cleveland to Andrew Jackson in 1928, because Cleveland 20 just doesn't have the same ring to it. The name could also come from a man named James W. Jackson, who was killed on this site in 1861 by Union soldiers; he is called "the first martyr to the cause of southern independence."
I typically try to avoid hotel restaurants, but this one has drawn my eye since I first saw it a year ago. It has a nice, relaxing, dark interior, but is not too fancy; it is always busy; and it has a good reputation. Finally I had a chance to stay in the Hotel Monaco, and I decided to enjoy the full experience by dining at the on-site restaurant.
Upon entering, I was immediately approached by the hostess as I made my way to the bar. I almost thought she was Secret Service intercepting me before I could approach the President... but the President wasn't here, just a couple of rude, rich, middle-aged women who were storing their coats on the last stool at the bar. They saw me approach and just kept on gabbing. I looked at the bar stool and made eye contact with one of the ladies... nothing. Finally I said "excuse me? Is this your coat?" and the lady next to me said, "yes it is," and went back to talking with her friend. I had to interrupt again to say, "can you move it so I can sit here?" Dumb ***es.
But after that the service was great and my meal was very good. I started with a Steam Engine Lager ($6) from Durango, Colorado, which I was not too impressed with, then I moved on to the Sam Adams Noble Pils ($6.50), a great season beer made from a blend of five noble hops. For dinner I decided on the J20 Burger from the bar menu for $14 as most of their entrees were $20-$30 per main course, plus $7 for each side. The burger was topped with a great mixture smoked bacon, mountaineer cheese, grilled green onions, barbecue aioli, apple cider cole slaw, and it was served with a mountain of fries that I hardly put a dent in.
All in all, the service and food were outstanding, but I could do without the rich, snobby customers.
Pat Troy's Irish Pub - Pitt Street, Old Town
Pat Troy's is one of three Irish Pubs within a 10-block stretch of Old Town Alexandria. It is certainly the oldest of the three, celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2010, but it also seems to draw the smallest crowds. It is a good place, however... the Irish owner is most always present, there is usually live music (though not always Irish music), they have a good beer selection, and the food is good. The crowd does seem to be a bit older, sparser, and less inclined to party the night away.
I have stopped in a few times for beer and music, but just recently tried the food. Pat Troy's serves a variety of Irish foods from open until close at 2am. Their menus include Irish specialties like fish and chips and lamb stew, along with a variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, and appetizers. I decided on the fish and chips, which were a bit better than average, I guess, but no comparison to the fish at nearby Eamon's Dublin Chipper! My meal plus two Smithwick's drafts was $26, a reasonable price for dinner in Old Town.
Gadsby's Tavern: One of the Oldest in America
My friend Dorothy took us to this old restaurant and told us about its hostiry.
We learnt that George Washington had frequented that restaurant with his friends.
We enjoyed the ambience and the dishes there!
It was great!
- Family Travel
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
Daniel O'Connell's: Downtown Irish bar
Stopped in this place for lunch while biking through town. The restauant is quite large once you get inside. My wife had a large grilled chicken salad and I had one of the daily specials. We also shared an order of Calamari which came with a small portion of dipping sauce. Friendly service and nice atmosphere. I liked the place until I was charged extra because I asked for an additional small portion of the dipping sauce!
- Business Travel
- Road Trip
Eamon's: A Dublin Chipper
This is one of the most "Yelped" about restaurants in the small but growing establishments of Chef Cathal Armstrong, a famous and oft written about Chef in the Metro DC arena. He was a nominee for the 2007 James Beard Best Chef Mid-Atlantic award. He's also from Dublin, Ireland.
Now having said all that, I was not that impressed with "Eamon's", which he named for his son. In fact, I left wishing he didn't name it after his son as I thought it was a sore embarrassment for the poor lad.
Being a fish and chips shop, it's all about the fish. What I found strange is that they don't offer lemon nor lime for the fish. It needed it. Yes, the fish came out nice and golden, but it was bland in flavor. It also was a tad over greasy for me. They do offer 2 free small sauces for you to try out of 7 possibilities. If you want extra, they are .50 at the time of this writing. You get a choice of one side-albeit very small. I chose the coleslaw. I was disappointed. It was missing something. Spices? Pineapple? Something was amiss. I didn't finish it, nor did I take it home. My mate ordered chips. It's part of the whole experience, but the chips were limp. They came out fresh and hot...but limp. They get nicked continuously on this point, and I can see why, but I don't understand why they come out the way they do. They do offer Guinness on tap, Smithwicks Bottle, and one red and one white wine. No ice here though. I had water which I got from a plastic water jug. Also, it's small and cramped and there's no A/C. In the summer, it's hot as hell inside. There are lines waiting to snag a table. You can eat there for under $10.00 but I'm not sure you will.
Favorite Dish: I really don't have one at this point.
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
Misha's Coffee - King Street, Old Town
Misha's is one of those trendy, laid-back kind of coffee houses where you get soy mocha latte rather than plain old coffee. We got the plain old coffee, and it was pretty bad, very strong and bitter.
In their defense, Misha's opened way back in 1991, and it has been named best coffeehouse in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.
Pines of Florence - King Street, Old Town
After six months living just a few blocks from Pines of Florence, I finally decided to give it a try when my dad said he was hungry for Italian food. From the outside, the place looks pretty plain, obviously not too touristy, which is a plus. Inside is also rather drab, but clean and comfortable.
We had simple Italian meals of spaghetti with meat sauce (the same thing my school cafeteria used to serve) and chicken romana, for just $10 or $11 each. We also had a few draft Yuengling beers. The service was good, but nothing spectacular.
This is a good place for cheap Italian in Old Town's section for cheaper local hangouts.
There are several other Pines of Florence locations in the DC and Northern Virginia area.
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