One of the best things about traveling, is discovering a new restaurant. Personally, I love finding out where the locals eat. When traveling, I prefer to ask a local for their recommendation. I’ve had some of my best meals that way! I mean, let’s face it: all too often, Yelp reviews lead us directly into an overrated tourist trap eating a “nothing-special” sandwich. That’s why today I’m putting the 20+ years I have lived in Northern Virginia and all the meals I’ve had here to good use. I am sharing where to eat in Alexandria, VA, if you’re looking for a restaurant that will give a feel for what the local’s enjoy.
About Alexandria, VA
The city of Alexandria is full of charm, making it a popular place for tourists visiting Washington, DC to stay, and of course, it’s a popular place to live! Old Town, Alexandria is a historic district full of quaint boutiques, with a similar feel to Georgetown in Washington, DC (but typically less crowded). The Del Ray neighborhood in Alexandria is not far from Old Town and Mt. Vernon Avenue is the main street for shops and restaurants.
Where to Eat in Alexandria
Listed below are my personal favorite restaurants that are often frequented by locals and where I’d recommend people visiting the DC area go. There is a lot of good food to get in this city, but I purposely did not include some of the more mainstream, popular places that a lot of tourists end up going to. These are my go-to places that I actually eat at on a regular basis and love. Most of them are off the beaten path of where the tourists go, too.
203 The Strand, Alexandria, VA 22314
Located a couple blocks from King Street and along the waterfront, Chadwicks is a well established restaurant with great food. It’s been around for decades and is a well-known local spot with a warm and welcoming vibe. Chadwicks serves lunch and dinner, and also does brunch on the weekends. It’s the place I’d recommend going to if you’re visiting Old Town Alexandria and are looking for good service with a crowd-pleasing menu that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
4021 Campbell Ave, Arlington, VA 22206
To enjoy a delicious happy hour spread with a drink in hand, Copperwood Tavern is my go-to restaurant. It has a rustic vibe with a farm-to-table menu that features a lot of local ingredients. When you first sit down, you’ll be greeted by your server and a small bucket of seasoned (addictive) popcorn for the table. For happy hour, I highly recommend their fried goat cheese and Virginia ham starter (pictured below!) and short ribs starter. Copperwood Tavern has a delicious entrees and salads for dinner too. They also have a large outdoor seating area that’s dog-friendly. Note: Technically this restaurant is in the Shirlington part of Arlington — a true local spot. It’s right along the border of the city of Alexandria and convenient to I-395 if you’re driving into Washington, DC.
2411 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301
If cheese and wine is your thing, Cheesetique is the place for you! This quaint, charming restaurant began in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria and now has three other locations in Northern Virginia. Cheesetique began as a cheese shop and then added a restaurant. Today, they have both in all their locations! Their wine and cheese pairings are excellent and their fun takes on a grilled cheese sandwich are delicious. I recommend going to the original Del Ray location as it is the most charming, but make a reservation since tables are limited.
1026 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314
If you are looking for good quality seafood in Alexandria, look no further! Hank’s Oyster Bar is the best, and of course they’re well-known for the oysters! Their raw oysters come from all over, and I love tasting the various flavors. Their fried oysters are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Since first opening in Old Town, three more locations have opened in Washington, DC.
4906 Brenman Park Dr, Alexandria, VA 22304
You won’t find yourself more tucked away in a neighborhood, than when going to London Curry House. Tucked away in Cameron Station neighborhood, it’s a true hidden gem — easily the best place in Alexandria for Indian food. They serve lunch and dinner. If you go for lunch, I recommend trying their buffet. It is very well done, and a great way to sample all the dishes. My personal favorite dish is the Tikka Masala.
212 Queen St, Alexandria, VA 22314
If you’re looking for good sushi in Alexandria, I highly recommend MoMo. It’s a popular local spot for sushi because of the quality of their fish. It’s so fresh and they have a wide variety of rolls to choose from. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. It is super cozy, so if you have a larger group, be prepared to have a couple tables or try getting there ahead of their usual dinner rush.
2615 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301
Here’s yet another restaurant that I’ve seen grow in popularity since my childhood. Los Tios, began in the Del Ray neighborhood as a tiny restaurant with just a few tables. They steadily acquired the stores next to them. Now it’s well established and they have two other locations. Their menu is self-described as “Fine Tex-Mex & Salvadorean Food” and includes dishes like platanos, fajitas, burritos, chimichangas and a lot more. The Del Ray restaurant has outdoor seating too.
This dressy casual outfit is what I typically like to wear when eating out in Alexandria. I wore this a couple weeks ago for a recent family dinner, at Hank’s Oyster Bar. My pretty eyelet top (wearing my normal size, and it’s on sale today!) works well with these one of my favorite pairs of skinny jeans (run true to size). And if you follow me on Instagram, you already know I am obsessed with this suede crossbody bag that I got from the Nordstrom anniversary sale. I love how it coordinates with my wedge espadrilles (currently marked down!) and it will work just as well with boots come fall.
If you are planning a trip to the DC area or Northern Virginia, I hope you take time to stop by my this charming city, especially now that you know where to eat in Alexandria. And, if you try one of my restaurant picks, I hope you love them as much as I do!
If you’ve already visited Alexandria or if you’re an Alexandrian like me, I would love to hear where your best meal has been. Where’s your local hang out?!