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.
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Bread and Chocolate: Great Bakery
Bread and Chocolate is one of those places I need to return to. We weren't able to eat in because we got in the door just before they were locking up. But we were able to get it to go. Amazing desserts here. I had the Napoleon while Liz had a chocolate diamond dessert that was great.
We ate these back in the room that night and said we had to go back for breakfast here. Well we forgot to go back as we got the car and left town in the morning. But its first on the list when we return to town.
La Tasca: Excellent Tapas
This is a place we chose for many reasons. One of which is at the time it was on the American Airlines Idine list. Another was the type of food. We knew we'd be having a late lunch that day and wanted something that could be light eating.
The restaurant itself was quite nice. They have a bar area on the left as you walk in where you will find a couple of TVs usually with sports on. To the back and the right opens up to the restaurant. Some of the tables have bench seating instead of individual chairs. So you can sit next to someone you're with easily instead of across from.
As long as this stays an Idine, I will return.
Favorite Dish: The food here was actually quite good. I did not know when we were there that it was a chain. Although the website on menu did make me wonder. We had the meat sampler dinner. I will look up when I can all that was on it but it was quite a good many things and was SO good. Too much food for just the two of us.
- Food and Dining
Fish Market: Great Italian and Seafood!
This place had some wonderful service and the food was great. They give you some pretty generous partions of food, so you are getting your monies worth here. They had this wonderful little balcony to sit on, but it is not very wide. I think you'll enjoy the ambience here too, very comfortable too! It has two floors, so don't be surprized if they direct you upstairs;-)
Favorite Dish: I had the The Fishermans Platter, which was very good. I ended up taking most home for a meal the next day......yay!
- Arts and Culture
Scoop Grill & Homemade Ice: Hmmm.....ice cream!!
Very old fashion ice cream palor and I think you'll enjoy it. The partions were very generous and delicious to boot. It serves Frozen custard, ice cream, frozen yogurt, homemade soups, breakfast too!
While exploring Alexandria, we just had to go back to our favorite ice cream palor. It was a great way to end our evening of exploring.
- Arts and Culture
The Wharf: The Best Seafood in Old Town and Metro DC
After a day of popping in and out of shops while walking the hilly streets of OldTown, Alexandria, Deb (aka"dlee" to all you VT'rs) and I worked up a hearty appetite. Not sure as to where we wanted to eat (there are alot of restuarants to choose from) we settled on an establishment, that from the outside seemed unassuming, or so we thought. Upon entering, we were greated whole heartedly by our server, Becky, who began to treat us like royalty. She informed us that she makes the best choclate martini this side of the Potomac (we must have looked like we needed a drink) and we promised her that we would come back at a later date to try one. Becky then listed off the daily specials that sounded devine and if I could have, I would have ordered one of everything so's not to miss out on any culinary delight. Not being able to make up our minds, she left us to ponder our new dilema, then returned shortly bringing us a basket of fresh, homemade crusty bread with sweet cream butter and a cup of their specialty, "she-crab" soup. The history of this soup was that one made it using only the female crab, with roe, combined into a sherry cream sauce,then made into a soup. This imparted a special flavor that you could only get by using this method. Today, both male and female are used as the Cheasapeake Bay authorities have a moritorium on female crabs. Gotta keep the ecological system in balance, folks. The soup was delicious, not overly thick as most seafood soups tend to be, but a little lacking in spices. The menu states that it's spicy, but I may have gotten the end of the batch, as we were there late in the afternoon.
Favorite Dish: I like to consider my self a chef, not a cook, but one that truly enjoys the culinary methods of preparing foods. I have eaten at many fine food establishments up and down the Potomac, as I like to see what Metro DC's finest are preparing to tantalize our palet's. This area is known for it's seafood, being in such close proximity to the Cheasapeake, and the waterfront on the Potomac in DC, that is filled with sea food vendor's. The Wharf, in my humble opinion, has the freshest and best seafood I have encountered. Deb and I started out with a fresh salad, served with real Maytag Blue cheese. The best blue cheese I have had in a long time. Maytag comes from a farm in Newton, Iowa that is infamous for it's domestic blue cheese. The originator of the farm is the grand-son of the famous Maytag appliance family. I decided on Rockfish, encrusted with almonds, lightly covered in a crab sauce served with incredible steak fries. Deb opted for the Mahi-Mahi, another wise choice.
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Taverna Cretekou: Oopa! Eat Greek!
I have to agree with the other contributors on VT that the Taverna Cretekou is really fantastic!
We arrived a little early and had our choice of places to sit. The decor is typical Greek - blue and white - with Christmas decor during our visit. My husband and I both agreed that we had one of the best meals of our life there! Our server helped us with the menu and make excellent suggestions. The Taverna seemed to have mostly couples eating on a Sunday evening. However, they have live music on Thursday evenings.
I would hope we can go back there sometime and enjoy another choice off the menu!
Favorite Dish: I had the Kotopoulo Damaskina which was Breast of Chicken marinated in dry Sherry, lemon juice and fresh spices with finely chopped mango, prunes and papaya, thyme, nutmeg and peppercorns. It was just delicious. In fact it makes my mouth water just writing and remembering it. The presentation was beautiful - asparagus spears and steamed carrots that had just a touch herbs. Our server brought us a basket of fresh sliced bread with olive oil and herbs. Oopa!
Joe Theisman's - Carlyle/Old Town, Alexandria
Joe Theisman's Restaurant sits right across the street from King Street Metro Station on the edge of Old Town Alexandria. It was the closest bar to my hotel (the Westin) in the Carlyle area of Alexandria, so I wandered over for dinner, a beer, and the last game of the 2008 World Series. Part sports bar, part slightly upscale dining, Joe's probably does a better job with the sports. You will see a variety of sports memorabilia, about six big flat screen TVs above the bar, and even three small flat screens in the men's room above the urinals.
I arrived late, around 9:30 pm, and the restaurant seating was empty, but the bar was full with probably 30 people watching baseball. I grabbed one of the few seats at the bar and quickly ordered a Yuengling beer ($4.10) and a crab cake sandwich ($12). Other items on the menu included a huge variety of appetizers, numerous sandwiches, and a nice selection of dinner entrees like seafood, pork, chicken, and steaks. My sandwich was very good, and the fries lightly seasoned and tasty.
I took my family here for another visit for dinner, and we had a great meal. We sat back in the dining room, a ways from the busy bar and we enjoyed a great meal. I had a Yuengling and the Sea Bass with Tomato Basil Butter in corn husk atop polenta with roasted corn salsa for $21. The other meals at our table were also good, including the very rich Spirale Pasta and Chicken for $17.50.
The area is named after John Carlyle, a merchant, landowner, and one of the founders of Alexandria. Much of the Carlyle area is brand new and more construction is underway. This area is home to the Department of Commerce's US Patent and Trademark Office, whose 7,000 employees are located in five beautiful buildings in the center of the district that were just completed in 2006. Also located here in Carlyle is the Federal District Courthouse, just across the street from the Westin Hotel. This is a quiet area, but there are several cafes and lunch spots, as well as a couple of other bars.
Hard Times Cafe - Old Town Alexandria
If you go to Hard Times, don't even look at the menu. Sure they have burgers, chicken sandwiches, and wings, but here chili is king. They feature traditional Texas Chili, a sweet Cincinnati Chili, Terlingua Red spicy chili, and Vegetarian Chili. You can have your chili by the bowl, chili mac, Fritos chili pie, or a burger covered in chili.
I'm not a huge chili fan, but I wanted to try some, so I decided on the burger with Texas chili. It was ready in about 15 minutes, it came topped with a huge load of chili, plus cheese, chopped onions, lettuce, and tomato, and it was served with fries. I will say the chili was most definately the best tasting thing on the plate, and when I go back I will never have anything else but chili. The fries were covered with so much salt they were terrible and barely edible. The burger itself was good, but the chili was so much better. The burger was about $9 and a Coke was $2.
The decor is strictly Texas: barbed wire, neon, bull horns, old newspapers, etc. The music is also Texas... old time country western. The name really describes the interior.
Hard Times Cafe began right here on King Street, and it has since expanded to 17 locations across northern Virginia, into Maryland, and now a location in Washington DC, and even a location in North Carolina.
King Street Blues - Old Town Alexandria
I stopped in at King Street Blues one cold, rainy December night, just looking for a place to warm my bones. A beer is always nice, too! I sat at the small eight-stool bar and quickly ordered one of their three beers on tap, a Sam Adams Winter Lager. I also took a quick look at their menu and was impressed with the selections of barbecue, southern and a little Cajun food. I was not overly hungry, so I ordered the chipotle wings (happy hour price is just $4 instead of $7.50) along with fries, also $4. The wings arrived quickly and were grilled instead of fried, so far less greasy than many other places' wings. Their taste was excellent, just spicy enough, though they were a little on the dry side. I hope to return soon to try their barbecue.
Throughout my quick meal the customers at the bar were enjoying themselves. The discussions ranged from 70s rock to last nights hockey game and about everything in between.
On Friday night in February a group of four of us sat upstairs and had a nice dinner. When we arrived, the downstairs was quiet, but the dining room was busy. We quickly ordered beers, wines, and their very tasty Blue Bayou crab artichoke dip that comes with chips and bread ($10). Then we ordered our meals: the southern supper with tilapia, another southern supper with brisket & Grilled andouille sausage, the surf and turf,and finally the barbecued ribs. The meal took quite awhile to arrive, at least 30-40 minutes after we ordered. But good things come to those who wait. The southern suppers offer a choice of four entrees including the tilapia, brisket & sausage, pork chops, or chicken along with three sides of your choice and corn bread for $14. The pork ribs are said to be house-smoked for six hours, coated with King Street Blues' mahogany BBQ sauce, and served with coleslaw, Carter's "Cool Beans" and cornbread ($13 for half rack or $20 for the full rack). The unique surf & turf has a half rack of the BBQ ribs, along with a big filet of Southern fried catfish, and is served with 5 or 6 small hush puppies, Carter's Cool Beans, and coleslaw and $17.
King Street Blues began in Old Town Alexandria in 1997 and has expanded to four more Virginia locations in Crystal City, Stafford, Courthouse, and Kingstown.
Bertucci's Brick Oven Pizzeria: Great place for families and food
Bertucci's is a chain restaurant. We have eaten in Charlotte and we enjoyed eating at Bertucci's in Alexandria Old Town during our visit there. It was recommended to us by the Hampton Inn and it was a good tip. It was really crowded when we got there and it was Monday evening. Lots of noise and fun. We got two booths for the 12 of us.
We ordered several different kinds of pizza - it was excellent. I definitely recommend a stop at a Bertucci's if you are ever traveling to a place where one is located. They are located mainly on the east coast.
Favorite Dish: Pizza was the only dish we ordered. It was excellent.
Taverna Cretekou: Taverna Cretekou
Taverna Cretekou is a well-established Greek restaurant on King Street. Those of y'all who know me well know that Greek is my favourite cuisine next to my native Southern American. This is the best Greek food I've had this side of Athens.
Favorite Dish: When I ate here several years ago, during yet another railroad delay, I saw on the menu these dolmades that had meat in them. Normally, when one thinks of dolmades, they think of an appetiser that consists of the grape leaves stuffed with rice prepared with lemon juice and olive oil and not an entree with meat. I had these Dolmades Avgolemano which are rolled grape leaves with meat, rice and mint in some kind of sauce.
Daniel O'Connell's Pub - Old Town Alexandria
Daniel O'Connell's is a huge pub and restaurant located on King Street in the heart of Old Town Alexandria. We arrived a little after 11 and were pleased to see they were one of the few places in the area open before 11:30am. Many of the upstairs patio seats were full, as well as the sidewalk seating, and the inside was pretty busy. We were seated near the bigger of the 2 or 3 bars at one of the high top tables... the couch like seats facing the bar are way too soft and you sink until the table is about at your chin--I'd rather have a hard wooden bench.
For lunch our group of three had a caesar salad ($7), the Kirnan's lamb burger ($13), and the regular cheeseburger ($9). The lamb burger was topped with bleu cheese and very unique and flavorful. I was not at all impressed by the cheeseburger... despite ordering it cooked medium, it was dry and chewy. The fries on the other hand were better than average.
This bar seems to be a very popular place for drinking and sports; maybe after a few beers the food would be better. This is a great location, and like other restaurants in the area, parking is iffy.
Southside 815 Bar - Old Town Alexandria
Southside 815, named after its street address, is a rare restaurant that specializes in Cajun and Creole food. We stopped in one night in our sweats after going jogging (you think we smelled before we went in; the smoke completely covered any lingering scent from our run). The bar area was packed, and we got the last table way in the back by the jukebox. Unfortunately the bar area had no waiter that night so we constantly had to run up to the bar to order drinks and our dinners. I decided on the Jambalaya special which had lots of andouille sausage with rice and some terrible dry corn bread for about $12. I also had a few Yuengling lagers that were strangely priced at $4.12 each, and Sam Adams was $4.59 each.
LHenne1 and I stopped in for lunch one day after a quick visit to Ace Hardware next door. We sat at the bar and had a few beers and sandwiches. LHenne1 had the crawfish po'boy, and I had the shrimp and oyster po'boy. Each sandwich had a huge amount of crispy fried seafood on a crispy and slightly tough French roll, served with fries and coleslaw for $10. By the end of our meal, around 3pm, the bar was starting to fill up with the Friday after-work crowd.
This is a fun and reasonably priced place to grab a quick meal and a beer and watch sports or socialize with friends.
Bugsy's Pizza Restaurant: Old Town Pizza
As evening fell, we kind of wondered up and down the King Street to find a place that was not smokey or crowded. So we popped in and here to check it out. We were seated promply and our order was taken. The food was excellent, but the service was bad. I think we got the lazy waiter. We observed him just standing around chatting up with his friends that was coming in and chatting up storm with the cooks. So he didn't exactly earn a tip. The place was comfortable and the decor was fun.
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