Tacos el Costalilla: One of Alexandria’s Most Delightful Mexican Restaurants

This unassuming restaurant actually serves up some of the best street-style tacos in Alexandria, so pay it a visit. These aren’t boring tacos loaded with sour cream and beans – they’re served authentically, just a tortilla wrapped around meat with lime juice, onions, and cilantro. Accessorize them with your choice of salsas and other toppings from the self-service bar and you’ve got an incredible meal for just a few dollars. Some of the best options are the Pastor (spicy pork, cooked to tender perfection) and the amazing beef tongue – not normally a delicacy, this place has mastered how to wring every drop of flavor out of it. It’s actually worth making a special trip to Tacos el Costalilla on weekends to try the pozole. This hearty pork stew made with kernels of hominy is topped with fresh vegetables. It’s very time-consuming to make, but you can taste the care in every bite.

Tacos el Costalilla
7862 Richmond Highway
Alexandria, VA 22306
(703) 704-9088

Enjoy Fish and Chips at Eammon’s: A Dublin Chipper

The tagline of Eamonn's: A Dublin Chipper restaurant is, "Thanks be to cod." That's fitting, given that cod is one of the most popular dishes on the menu, described by regulars as moist, flavorful, and flaky.

In addition to cod, you can also order ray, prawns, grouper, or the fish of the day. You order your chips separately. There are seven sauces to choose from, and they're all mayonnaise-based. Regulars recommend the curry sauce, described as having a depth of spicy flavors, and the Marie Rose, which contains ketchup.

If you're not in the mood for fish, you can't go wrong with the batter burger, which comes without a bun; the sausage; or the chicken bites. Don't forget the order the classic mushy peas on the side.

Make sure to save room for one of Eammon's irreverent, decadent desserts, such as the fried Snickers or Milky Way bars. The restaurant also has a variety of packaged candies and snacks imported from the U.K. if you want to enjoy a sweet treat later.

Eammon's: A Dublin Chipper
728 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 299-8384

CC-BY-2.0/Flickr/Smabs Sputzer

Mediterranean Bakery and Café: A Grocery and More in Alexandria

This exceptional local business does two things and does them very well. First off, it provides a great place to buy a wide selection of groceries and food products from a variety of Mediterranean cuisines. Walking down the aisles of this place will open your eyes to a new world of spices. There’s even a whole aisle dedicated to different blends of olive oil from different regions, each of which has its own flavor profile. Fresh olives and delicacies like preserved limes and more are also on sale. And then there’s the café portion of the store, which is a local favorite for succulent grilled chicken, flatbreads, and more. The house-made samosas are a can’t-miss – these Indian pastries are filled with beef, chickpeas, potatoes, and other amazingly-spiced wonders.

Mediterranean Bakery and Café
352 S. Pickett Street
Alexandria, VA 22304
(703) 751-0030

BRABO Tasting Room: Modern, Belgian-Inspired Cuisine in Alexandria

The dining room at BRABO Tasting Room feels simultaneously modern and historic, with its bright, airy space, exposed brick, and custom zinc bar. At this Alexandria restaurant, you can always expect to take a culinary journey, and that's just what Chef Wiedmaier is after.

You might start your meal with locally sourced roasted mushrooms, served with pancetta, taleggio, and arugula, or perhaps you'll order a pot of mussels direct from Prince Edward Island and simmered in a classic broth of white wine, garlic, and shallots. As an entree, try the roast beef au jus with pepper jack cheese and caramelized onions, or dig into a hearty Nicoise salad topped with sushi grade tuna, a quail egg, French beans, olives, and fingerling potatoes.

Whatever sounds good to you, just settle yourself into one of the restaurant’s comfy booths and let your taste buds do the rest.

BRABO Tasting Room
1600 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 894-3440

RedRocks Pizza Napoletana: An Alexandria Pizzeria

For tasty pizza in Alexandria, one popular place is RedRocks Pizza Napoletana. Naples is the birthplace of pizza, and RedRocks does this style of pizza well.

Come to the Old Town location and enjoy the low-key and comfortable atmosphere, with a big bar and comfortable booths. Folks know to come to the bar for happy hour or just to hang out with friends because of the big selection of beers on tap, wines by the glass, and specialty cocktails. And, of course, there’s the pizza. Every pie, calzone, and Italian specialty is baked in a wood fired brick oven for real authentic flavor. (The margarita pizza is a big favorite here.)

Open Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., RedRocks also features some great local talent at the Lodge lounge.

RedRocks Pizza Napoletana
904 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 717-9873

Union Street Public House: A Nice Spot by the Water

With a view of the Potomac, the Union Street Public House is the place to go for food and spirits with friends and family. Located across from Waterfront Park in a beautifully renovated colonial building, the Union Street Public House is even nicer when you walk inside. You’ll like the cool bar, comfortable seating and old school ambiance. There’s also a terrific view!

Come after work with friends and enjoy the selection of draught and bottled beers and wines by the glass. There are also some nice bar bites to share. The lunch and dinner menus features tasty sandwiches and entrees. But check out the oyster bar, where you can get fresh delights on the half shell.

Check out Union Street's website to find out more about this Alexandria pub.

Union Street Public House
121 South Union Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 548-1785

Morrison House Blends Classic and Modern Flavors in Alexandria

Morrison House is a Federal-style mansion in Old Town Alexandria, a stunning property that was once featured in Conde Nast Traveler magazine. It contains The Grille, a French/New American restaurant where Chef Brian McPherson appropriately “blends the best of the past with today’s freshest tastes.” One dining area is classically appointed in the manner of Morrison House, while another is styled as a contemporary bistro.

From corned beef hash and shepherd’s pie to steak tartare and vegetable terrine, this is vivid, elegant, and memorable food. A typical entree is champagne poached wild Alaskan halibut with crepes and confit fingerling potatoes in a delicate butter sauce. Lost in the big wine list? The friendly, efficient staff is happy to help.

Check out The Grille's website for menus, reservations, and to learn about special offers.

The Grille
116 South Alfred Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 838-8000

Aditi Indian Dining: Indian Cuisine in Alexandria, Virginia

"Aditi" means "guest" in Malayalam, one of the many languages spoken in India. This is a fitting name, since regulars of Aditi Indian Dining say the focus of this restaurant is outstanding service and cuisine.

Aditi serves authentic, traditional Indian food in a contemporary setting, with the dining room decorated in earth tones & rich wood details. Diners enjoy the garlic naan, which is the ideal balance of pillowy and crispy. The baby spinach chaat is a recommended appetizer, containing sweet yogurt, raisins, tamarind, and cilantro dressing. Regulars enjoy the chicken tikka entree, boneless pieces of seasoned chicken cooked on skewers in a clay oven, and the lamb curry. For dessert, try the kulfi, which is rich Indian ice cream topped with cardamom.

Aditi has an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. The buffet has been voted as best D.C.-area Indian buffet in both quality and value, a distinction that frequent guests say is well-deserved.

Aditi Indian Dining
5926 Kingstowne Towne Center
Alexandria, VA 22315
(703) 922-6111
Read the reviews on Yelp.


Hank’s Oyster Bar: A Fun, Quirky Eatery

Since first opening in 2005, Hank's Oyster Bar has garnered several awards as well as spots on numerous "best of" lists. With its scrumptious lobster rolls, mussels, po' boys, and macaroni and cheese, regulars say that these accolades are well-deserved.

As you read the menu, your server will bring a bowl of goldfish crackers to your table, which diners say is a quirky, fun touch. One of the most popular dishes in the lobster roll, described as having a lightly toasted bun and brimming with lots of fresh lobster meat. The lamb and blue cheese burger is another standout, as is the fresh oyster po' boy, which comes with house-made coleslaw. Regulars rave about the macaroni and cheese, which tastes lightly smoky and has the flavors of gouda and sour cream with bread crumbs. Diners also appreciate the small dish of dark chocolate chunks that are given to each table with the check.

Hank's doesn't take reservations, so you might have a bit of a wait, particularly on weekend nights.

Hank's Oyster Bar
1026 King St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 739-4265
Read the reviews on Yelp.

Enjoy Southern Fare and Live Entertainment at Evening Star Cafe

Southern cuisine is elevated in Alexandria at the Evening Star Cafe. This casual eatery is the perfect place to relax and enjoy lunch or dinner with friends and family. The food is a reflection of the chef, a Southern boy who applies his upbringing and expertise to every dish. Here, the chicken and waffles receive two thumbs up from regulars, rivaled in popularity by the mac and cheese with jalapeno.

Looking for something even more laid-back? Come with your friends for happy hour at the adjacent Majestic Bar and Lounge and enjoy a craft beer on tap, wine by the glass or bottle, or a craft cocktail while also feasting on some plates to share. (Try the fried chicken sliders!)

Open Mondays through Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sundays, 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Evening Star also features live music upstairs.

Evening Star Cafe
2000 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301
(703) 549-5051