When choosing where to eat, of course one considers the menu, open hours and service level… but one of my main reasons for going out to eat is ambiance! What better atmosphere could you have in Alexandria besides a waterfront view – or go a step further and dine or drink al fresco. Yes… at long last that time of year is upon us. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best waterfront restaurants in Alexandria.
In the words of one of Alexandria’s newest additions to the waterfront dining scene, “it’s patio season!”. My follow-up question… is rose season still a thing? We hope so!
Best Waterfront Restaurants in Alexandria
One of our favorite waterfront restaurants in Alexandria is Hummingbird, which just opened last summer (2017) in Hotel Indigo. It aims to be high energy and keep a relentless focus on food that’s inspired by American coastal traditions – think clambakes and fish fries. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and they even have a separate dessert menu. They also have a happy hour weekdays from 2:30pm – 6:30pm served at the bar, with $4 draft beers, $5 rail drinks, $6 house wines (including rose!), and $7 slushy cocktails.
Their menu is overflowing with what I’m sure are fantastic, fresh seafood options, but as someone prefers very light fare, they also measure up well. They also have a full wine list and a class Manhattan on the beverage menu, so I’m all set to hit it up on the first day of spring! Read Alison’s full review from last year here.
True to its name, this is a cafe, but it comes with one heck of a panoramic water view! It opened last October (2017) and features a deli-style market with a decent breakfast and lunch menu for freshly made items, in addition to happy hour specials, and a well-hyped champagne brunch. They offer table service, and pickup options as well. Thursday’s happy hour is particularly interesting as it features a new-fangled toy, a champagne bong, “Chambong”! Personally, I feel champagne is best bone dry, ice-cold, served with strawberries, and sipped slowly, but it’s worth a shot at least once. Plus it’s only $7 a hit…
We think this is great for an open-air breakfast or happy hour with substantial nibbles.
Waterfront dining doesn’t get any better than Blackwall Hitch! With its coastal inspired interior and fabulous waterfront location, you will feel like you’re on vacation here. Its expansive patio with Potomac views offers welcoming, comfy chairs and sofas and fire pit coffee tables. It’s one of Susan’s favorites!
With locally sourced food and drink, you will enjoy amazingly fresh seafood, sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads. Be sure to try its signature dessert, the Smith Island Cake, a rich 8-10 layer yellow cake slathered in frosting! Just want a drink? Stop by for one of Blackwall Hitch’s specialty cocktails, like the Blackberry Bourbonade or Grapefruit Wine Crush. Blackwall Hitch also offers a fabulous lineup of great local music.
With 60 seats on its outdoor patio, Vola’s Dockside is the perfect spot for outdoor dining and people watching along the Old Town waterfront. Try Vola’s retro Hi Tide Lounge for its line up of classic cocktails and frozen drinks. Seafood lovers will be in heaven at Vola’s, with its menu offerings from fish tacos to mahi mahi, from shrimp burgers to conch fritters. Be sure to try the key lime pie for that true island experience! They also serve brunch at Vola’s which is fabulous as well. You might spot Allison & her family here on Saturday mornings after the Farmers Market – it is one of their favorite waterfront restaurants in Alexandria. The view is fantastic!
The Chart House
There’s no better seat for waterfront dining in the DC area than at The Chart House! Known nationally for its amazing seafood, The Chart House will delight seafood lovers and wine connoisseurs alike – check out its extensive wine list here. Stop by on a Wednesday for The Chart House’s $10 “Pour and Explore” special – an exotic drink and appetizer pairing such as the Lobster Spring Roll and Mango Mojito — you’ll be instantly transported to the Caribbean!
Virtue Feed & Grain
Enjoy Virtue Feed & Grain’s lovely outdoor patio steps from the Old Town waterfront. If you prefer to be indoors, ask for a seat in the 2nd floor screened-in area. Virtue, housed in a historic 1800s feed house, offers a modern menu (think Duck Meatloaf) that will delight any foodie. Be sure to start off with the divine mezze platter, with avocado hummus, muhammara, marinated olives, and pickled vegetables. Wash it down with the “Virtue Martini” made with Stolichnaya vodka, St. Germain, strawberry coulis, sparkling wine, and basil.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our round-up of the best waterfront restaurants in Alexandria. If you have any other favorites, we’d love to hear about them below in the comments. You can also check out our complete list of new Alexandria restaurants – off the water!
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