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
hanksrestaurants.com
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
http://www.eveningstarcafe.net/
http://www.yelp.com/biz/evening-star-cafe-alexandria

Southside 815: Hearty Southern Cuisine in Alexandria

Southside 815, which serves large portions of Southern-style cuisine, has been a fixture in Old Town Alexandria for more than 20 years, and for good reason. Washingtonian Magazine has placed this restaurant on its list of 100 Bargain Restaurants for 10 consecutive years.

Regulars recommend starting your meal with a bread basket, which is $2.95 and includes homemade buttermilk biscuits, sweet potato biscuits, and cornbread, served with homemade peach-pepper jelly and apple butter. An entree favorite is the pulled pork, which comes in many dishes, including the pulled pork eggs Benedict, pulled pork nachos, and pulled pork sliders. Frequent diners also enjoy the fried green tomatoes. You have the option of adding fried green tomatoes to the Virginia burger, which also comes with ham, cheddar cheese, and hickory smoked barbecue sauce.

Southside 815 offers brunch on Saturday and Sunday, with hearty options such as chicken fried steak and eggs; sausage, biscuits, and gravy, red beans and rice.

Southside 815
815 S Washington St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 836-6222
southside815.com
Read the reviews on Yelp.

The Dough is the Focus at Pizzeria Paradiso in Alexandria

Owner and chef Ruth Gresser opened the first Pizzeria Paradiso in Dupont Circle in 1991 because she wanted to make the kind of pizza that she longed for, but couldn't find. To Gresser, the crust is the most important part.

Gresser developed a dough that rises slowly in the restaurant's wood-burning, domed, stone oven at a temperature of 650 degrees. The oven is in the heart of the restaurant, giving diners the comfortable feeling of eating at a friend's house.

Regulars recommend the Atomica, which comes with tomato, salami, Kalamata olives, hot red pepper flakes, and mozzarella. The Bosco pizza is another favorite, wihch includes tomato, spinach, mushrooms, red onion, and mozzarella. You also can't go wrong with the classic margherita, with tomato, basil, and mozzarella.

Pizzeria Paradiso has 14 craft beers on tap, dozens more in bottles, and a strong wine list. This restaurant doesn't take reservations, which means you might be in for a bit of a wait, especially on weekend nights.

Pizzeria Paradiso
124 King St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 837-1245
eatyourpizza.com
Read the reviews on Yelp.

Order the Deviled Egg App at Virtue Feed and Grain

Eating well isn’t a vice when you go to Virtue Feed and Grain in Alexandria. This Old Town bar and restaurant is actually housed in an old feed barn that's been reconditioned by using repurposed materials.The result is a place that blends into the surroundings, but also stands out on its own.

The interior is rustic, with brick and wood walls showing the original construction. The upstairs bar and lounge is cool and comfortable, with nice couches and burlap bag pillows. This makes for a perfect post-work meeting spot with friends, or you could come for lunch and dinner to try some of the classic cuisine. The burgers and entrees are all good, but don’t pass up the deviled egg appetizer.

Virtue Feed and Grain is open every day, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Be sure to come back for the brunch on Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Virtue Feed and Grain
106 S. Union Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(571) 970-3669
http://virtuefeedgrain.com/
http://www.yelp.com/biz/virtue-feed-and-grain-alexandria

Public Domain/Public Domain

Fish Market Restaurant: Good Fish, Good Times

The Fish Market Restaurant is an Old Town landmark just a couple of blocks from the banks of the Potomac. The four separate dining areas are each decorated to be tasteful and comfortable for small or large parties. The great service is well known here, and make sure that you ask about the specials. The crab newport is a big favorite among regulars, as are the oysters.

Open Sundays through Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Fridays and Saturdays, 11:30 a.m. to midnight, the Fish Market’s Anchor Bar is also a popular place to meet for a drink or to watch the games. And don’t miss the weekly food specials, game nights, and live music.

Fish Market Restaurant
105 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 836-5676
http://fishmarketva.com/
http://www.yelp.com/biz/fish-market-restaurant-alexandria-2

Caphe Banh Mi: Classic Vietnamese Cuisine in Old Town Alexandria

Caphe Banh Mi serves up simple, classic, and delicious Vietnamese cuisine in Old Town Alexandria. Tucked away on a side street, regulars say it’s worth the effort to find; this is unvarnished Vietnamese home cooking, with enormous bowls of steaming, spicy pho, crispy vegetarian rolls, and — naturally — banh mi. Vietnamese ex-pats say it’s the real deal, with a heavy pate spread, lots of veggies, three kinds of protein, and homemade garlic mayo. Everything is affordable and memorable.

Some fine print: there’s a $1 container surcharge to take pho home. Parties of five or more have an automatic 18% service charge, and checks can’t be split for parties of four or more. Onion/scallion pho condiments are a small extra charge.

Takeout is available. Caphe Banh Mi’s website is incomplete, so check the Yelp page for opening hours, menu details, and more information.

Caphe Banh Mi
407 Cameron Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 549-8400
http://www.caphebanhmi.com/index.html
http://www.yelp.com/biz/caphe-banh-mi-alexandria

La Bergerie: Traditional French Cuisine in Old Town Alexandria

La Bergerie serves traditional French and Basque cuisine in Old Town Alexandria. A favorite of diners and critics since 1974, it continues to be one of the DC area’s finest restaurants. The dining room is bright, elegant, and laid-back, with exposed brick, thick beams, white linens, and huge draped windows contributing to the timeless feel. The dressy, largely older crowd enjoys the classics: foie gras, the pork pate with gherkins, the salmon filet in saffron sauce, profiteroles, and sorbet. The wine selection is suitably excellent.

It’s as pricey as you imagine, but the tasting menu makes things a bit more affordable: four courses are $65, excluding beverages, tax, and gratuity. La Bergerie is open for lunch and dinner Mondays through Saturdays and dinner only on Sunday. Reservations are essential. Check the website for menus and more information.

La Bergerie
218 North Lee Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 683-1007
http://labergerie.com/index.php
http://www.yelp.com/biz/la-bergerie-alexandria-2

Columbia Firehouse: Old Town Elegance in a Historic Setting

Columbia Firehouse is a stunning late Victorian relic, a former working firehouse made of dark wood, iron, brick, and glass. It’s been reborn as an upscale brasserie and bar, serving a New American menu that draws on the building’s history. Local oysters, charcuterie, Angus burgers, steaks, scallops, classic cocktails, beer . . . it’s timeless food reinvented for the 21st century, and most visitors love it, calling portions reasonable and service solid. The four-level dining area gets packed, so reservations are essential, especially on weekends. Dinner entrees average around $20, making it a great special occasion destination.

Check the website for menus, opening times, and special event information.

Columbia Firehouse
109 South St. Asaph Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 683-1776
http://www.columbiafirehouse.com/index.html
http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-columbia-firehouse-alexandria

Flatiron Steakhouse & Saloon: ‘Wild West’ Steaks in Old Town Alexandria

Flatiron Steakhouse & Saloon is a casual steakhouse in Old Town Alexandria. The exposed bulbs, brick walls, and flocked wallpaper recall the Wild West while keeping a hip and modern vibe. Music is eclectic and outlaw-ish; plan on hearing Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash, The Eagles, and Kansas during dinner.

Regulars say that steaks are well-prepared, and lamb chops also win high marks. Meat comes with your choice of chipotle, chimichurri, or Mediterranean barbecue sauces, but the sauces are too weak for some tastes. Sides are decent but pre-made, thus substitutions aren’t allowed; this is a big drawback for some diners. After dinner, the bar keeps rocking until 1 a.m. on weekdays and until 2 a.m. on weekends. There’s a big cocktail list and plenty of wine and craft beer.

Check Flatiron Steakhouse’s website for menus and more information.

Flatiron Steakhouse & Saloon
808 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 299-0777
http://www.flatironkingstreet.com/
http://www.yelp.com/biz/flat-iron-steak-and-saloon-alexandria