The Best Restaurants in Crystal City
Amazon is coming to town! Crystal City, one of the two locations chosen for its HQ2, is now the talk of the entire metro area. Heading there to check it out before the boom? We thought we’d round up a few of the best restaurants in Crystal City.
1330 S. Fern Street
Known for its smoked meat and seafood, Epic Smokehouse is part upscale steakhouse, part barbeque joint. Serving brunch, lunch, and dinner, Epic has it all! Enjoy entrees like smoked prime rib, roasted vegetable pasta, apple wine smoked ribs, burnt ends, smokehouse calamari, as well as both sweet and savory waffle dishes. Epic offers the usual barbecue sides — with a twist (think Pancetta Macaroni and Cheese and a Grilled Leek Potato Mash). Save room for dessert! You’ll want to try the Guinness Cheese Cake or Bourbon Bread Pudding. The Epic Smokehouse bar offers extensive bourbon and whiskey options including a “Bacon Bourbon Old Fashion,” made with bacon-infused bourbon, muddled orange, homemade luxardo cherry simple syrup, and a touch of club soda.
2010 Crystal Drive
Highline RxR is “not your average beer bar.” This spacious meeting spot offers more than 30 rotating draft beers, plenty of games and a creative menu of casual fare such as a chicken bahn-mi sandwich, a steak ratatouille sandwich, plus burgers, flatbreads, and salads. Daily specials are offered beginning at 3 p.m. and include $2 off select whiskeys and $0.75 wings on Wednesdays and $2 off all flatbreads on Thursdays. Check out one of Highline’s signature cocktails like the “Thyme to Smoke?” a concoction of Old Forester bourbon, lemon juice, honey simple syrup, and orange bitters, served in a thyme-smoked glass!
2250-A Crystal Drive
This Jose Andres restaurant is best known for its wide offering of tapas, including Spanish-style cured meats, cheese plates, vegetables, meat and seafood options, fried bites, and much more. Visit Jaleo during “Sangria Hour” for very reasonably priced tapas such as “Calamares as la romana,” (fried fresh squid with garlic aioli), for just $5. Be sure to sample the Spanish-inspired desserts such as olive oil ice cream with grapefruit or the traditional flan with a foam of Catalan cream and oranges.
Crystal City Sports Pub
529 23rd Street Street
A Crystal City institution since 1994, the Crystal City Sports Pub is the perfect place to watch the big game with friends. Many colleges (Alabama, Virginia Tech, University of George, and Xavier to name a few) converge here to watch their schools’ big games. Be sure to try the enormous Stadium Pretzel, served with a spicy Creole mustard. The regular menu features traditional pub fare like burgers, sandwiches, salads, as well as heartier entrees like New York Strip and Fish N Chips. As an added bonus – breakfast is served all day! Gluten-free? No worries. Crystal City Sports Pub has a comprehensive gluten-free menu. Sunday brunch is just $16.99 and includes both a carving station and a ‘smores station. Yes, please!
2250 Crystal Drive
This restaurant, bar, and lounge offers “Italian food with a modern elegance” in a trattoria setting. Kora, the creation of Morou and Heather Ouattara of Farrah Olivia fame, features Italian favorites like pizza, pasta dishes, and much more. Try a classic dish like Lasagna or Fettucine Alfredo or a modern dish like Parmesan flan, with sautéed mushrooms and a sun-dried tomato pesto or the Duck Confit pizza, with caramelized onion, gorgonzola, arugula, walnuts, and sweet chili sauce. Kora even offers a gluten-free corn penne dish. Enjoy happy hour drink specials every weekday from 3:30-8:30 pm and Saturdays 5-8:30 pm and half-price bottles of wine on Mondays (with the purchase of an entree). Kora offers live jazz every Friday as well. Crystal City and military discounts are offered (on regular priced items).
2250-B Crystal Drive
Inside the Crystal City Marriott, this American tavern is a perfect spot for lunch. Start with the homemade sea salt potato chips, served with classic style onion dip. Bell 20 offers a fabulous variety of salads, burgers, flatbreads, steak and seafood dishes. Sample its many craft brews (including Alexandria’s own Port City Brewing) and signature cocktails like the Cucumber Martini, with organic cucumber vodka, white cranberry and fresh lemon juices. Bell 20 also serves breakfast (hello Nutella pancakes and corn-flake crusted French Toast!).
2800 S. Potomac Avenue
Located in the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Crystal City, Socci offers a “fresh, modern take on the rustic spirit of Old World Italy.” Its menu features an array of soups, salads, pasta, pizza, and entrees like roasted Bronzino with caramelized fennel and a spring pea risotto. Check out the cocktail menu, especially the Socci Signature Cocktail (double infused Limoncello and Mionetto Prosecco).
Good Stuff Eatery
2110 Crystal Drive
This casual eatery boasts a fabulous lineup of burgers. Try the “Prez Obama Burger” with applewood bacon, onion marmalade, roquefort, and horseradish mayo or the Steakhouse burger with roasted cremini mushrooms, onion straws, Emmental Swiss cheese, and a special “Steakhouse Mayo.” Not a meat lover? Check out the Fried Green Tomato or ‘Shroom “burgers” of one of the chopped salads. Good Stuff’s weekday lunch special can’t be beat — a farmhouse cheeseburger, fries, and soda for just $12.50. Definitely save room to try one of its hand-spun milkshakes with flavors like Toasted Marshmallow, Milky Way Malt, Cookies & Cream, Soursop Hop Strawberry, and Salty Carmel Kiss.
561 23rd Street South
This casual spot offers authentic and reasonably priced Thai cuisine, including favorites like tom kha gai soup, pork and crab dumplings, drunken noodles, and pad Thai. Head to Urban Thai in the warmer months to enjoy outdoor dining on its patio.
2650 Jefferson Davis Highway
Looking for a traditional Irish pub? O’Malleys Pub fits the bill. Enjoy pub fare including Irish specialties like Fish N Chips and Shepherd’s Pie. Start with the “Luck of the Irish” cocktail, with Redbreast Irish whiskey and Green Chartreuse sweet vermouth. O’Malley offers happy hour daily from 4 – 7 pm, with $5 beer, well drinks, and small plates (flatbreads, wings, nachos and more) and $4 house wines.
Clearly, there is no shortage of restaurants in Crystal City! And surely, more will open with the arrival of Amazon’s HQ2. Check back for updates to this post.
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