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Dinner in Old Town Alexandria

My best friend is coming down from Manhattan for Labor Day Weekend. We're two 26 year old girls looking for a cool place to have a nice dinner before hitting PX and then maybe a couple other classic Old Town bars (i.e. Murphy's). I suggested Eve, but the menu doesn't suit her, so I'm looking for alternatives. It could be as nice as Eve or a couple of steps down. Sorry, but we are married to Old Town for Saturday night...we have DC plans already for another night. Any suggestions would be fantastic!
Thanks in advance! You guys are great!

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  1. Oh, there's plenty good food in Old Town, so you should have fun! I'd suggest Majestic, another Armstrong restaurant. It has classic American cuisine. Also, Overwood on Lee St. It''s wood fired oven puts out more American food such as roast chicken, steaks, ribs and meatloaf. The fried green tomatoes at both places are great.
    Vermillion has a wonderful chef and more progressive menu. It's been firing on all cylinders lately.
    Last, and I'm not afraid to recommend this, especially if you're from out of town. The Chart House on the waterfront has a fantastic view. If the weather is nice, I'd at least get a drink and apps on the deck there before dinner. The food is just fine too!!


    2 Replies
    1. re: monavano

      Avoid Austin Grill at all costs. If you'd like to splurge Landini Bros. is my favorite Italian. Mai Thai is also very good. O'Connel's food is not that great. BUT Ecco is excellent. Look at their menu you may like it.

      1. re: xena1441

        Ecco has been closed for a few years. Overwood has replaced it. It's been endorsed here. O'Connel's is quite expensive and I think the selection is just OK. It does have some outdoor roof seating however, so you might want to peruse the menu and decide for yourself.


    2. I really like the Pita House. It isn't as upscale, but it's good. Majestic is also really good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ktmoomau

        The Pita House on Cameron (one block north of King) is very good and cheap! The Kafta sandwich is delicious.


      2. Thanks! I do like Pita House. I'm looking for something a little fancier. I will check out the Majestic and Overwood.

        1 Reply
        1. re: LaceyB522

          Remember Eve has the bistro as well as the tasting room. I'd say for what you are looking for Majestic is your best bet. Can't go wrong there.

        2. Have you looked at Farrah Olivia? I haven't been there so search the board for recs. It may be a bit out of central Old Town area.

          2 Replies
          1. re: MrsWheatie

            I'd put Farrah Olivia in the same league as Eve. It seems a little high-end for what the OP is looking for.

            I'd second Overwood though.

            1. Mai Thai down by the water offers great Thai. It isn't upscale but it is always busy and has modern decor. 100 King is also a good option.

              1. I've walked past Landini Bros. a million times and never noticed it. It blends in with the other restaurant fronts.

                Does anyone else reccomend 100 King? I've been for brunch and enjoyed it, but haven't heard great things about their dinner.

                Landini Bros Restaurant
                115 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

                100 King Restaurant
                100 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314

                2 Replies
                1. re: LaceyB522

                  I have been to 100 King many times. They have never let me down.

                2. While the places suggested here are okay. I think one of the best places to eat in Old Town in Bistro Layfette at 1118 King Street.
                  Its a traditional French restaurant with a casual feel and great food. The owner walks around and talks with everyone. Everything about this place is top notch. Its my favorite restaurant in Old Town.
                  Also, I must add that the Vermilion has gotten a new chef and the food has suffered terribly as of late. The prior chef went to Vegas and the new guy is trying to do too much and it isn't working out very well, I would wait until he finds his groove before going there.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: RustyShaklefurd

                    I had a totally different experience with the new chef at Vermillion - I was there a couple weeks ago and thought it was very good. Certainly not Restaurant Eve caliber, but very good.

                    I'd also recommend A la Lucia for italian, it's on the north side of Old Town at the corner of Madison and Royal.

                  2. I actually think Austin Grill is fine if you like that sort of Tex-Mex-ness, with emphasis on 'Tex,' but I am a fan of Vermillion. I also am a big fan of Mai Thai -- all the way down on the riverfront on King, nice views from the dining room, very good Thai food at a very, very reasonable price.

                    I find a lot of Old Town food to be overpriced, underwhelming and aimed at soaking tourists, but there certainly are exceptions.

                    If you're bar-hopping, one bar you might hit is the upstairs bar at Bistro Europa on King about a block east of Washington (also sometimes known as the 'Haus of Klaus'). They have live music with no cover (usually) after 10, the whole place looks like someone's big rec room, and it can have quite a friendly/rowdy/party atmosphere up there. Quality and type of music varies all over the place. Disclaimer: I've played there multiple times as a musician and it is one of my favorite rooms, so I'm biased (grin).

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Frobozz

                      I ate at Bistro Europa one night and maybe it is ok for drinks, but DO NOT EAT there. BF and I were looking for some place we hadn't been and the menu looked ok. I think it was the worst meal of my life. I would have rather had anything McDonald's would have at least been edible. The calamari was something you could get from any bar that took it out of a frozen bag and it was cold sent back came out luke warm, both our meals mine I think was fish sea bass with orange sauce and I forget was his was, were unedible. I tried to eat some because I felt bad and I just couldn't. And the bill for such bad food was a shocker. For the price you can get so much better, for the price we could have gone to the Bistro at Eve or Majestic. So you might be able to get a drink there, but don't eat.

                      1. re: ktmoomau

                        I think they just re-did their menu, but I've never had a meal there. The bar is really fun at times, though.

                    2. Hi - I'd skip Majestic. My husband and I were there last night and it was mediocre, and pricey. I think two 26 year old girls would enjoy Vermillion or 100 King. There will be good drinks and food at both - as wella as good people watching. I thought the majestic was over-rated and it didn't have a young vibe (part of its theme I suppose, but also most of the people there were older).

                      1. the greek restaurant on king street is also lovely -- very simple but flavorful food, cute but not kitschy, and you can get out of there for a reasonable amount. also, their house wines are good -- and a good price.

                        1. I know this is an old thread, but wanted to throw out:

                          Landini's is pretty much always my first choice, though it does get a bit loud inside at times. Great wine list, fantastic food, unobtrusive service. It's such a shame that it is just a little too cold to sit outside right now.

                          I don't really like Vermilion but end up going there a lot anyway :(

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: link_930

                            What don't you like about Vermillion? I've been recently and loved it! Have you tried the bar/lounge menu? The hangar steak looks good..and cheap! Thanks.


                            1. re: monavano

                              The atmosphere is great when it isn't elbow-to-elbow, especially in the lounge. However, I've tried most items on both the dining room and bar menus (seriously, I've been there too many times), and was underwhelmed and found both offerings and food uninspired. That and I've never had a smooth drink there. Tried getting them from different bartenders, different nights, but no dice. A few examples to date: my first dry martini ended up being a dirty vodka martini, another one was shaken so vigorously that there were ice chips and froth floating around (though I asked them to stir, *not* shake), a Manhattan came out much too bitter, etc. I'm convinced no one there can mix a smooth drink to save... [insert exaggeration here].

                              Then again, there's a reason why the PX is the PX ;)

                              1. re: link_930

                                Thanks for the report. I need to go again to see if consistency is a problem.

                                1. re: link_930

                                  I've had similar issues w/ the bar at Vermillion (my last gin and tonic there was more like a gin martini with a splash of tonic), but I've found the food pretty solid. (The hangar steak is fine, Mona; if you're looking for a good deal on hangar steak in Old Town, you may also want to check out Overwood--they do a good hangar steak w/ mashed potatoes & mesclun greens for $10 on Mondays.)

                                  220 N Lee St, Alexandria, VA 22314

                                  Vermillion Restaurant
                                  1120 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314

                                  1. re: sweth

                                    Good that you bring up Overwood. I haven't been in such a long time, but yes, do miss their hangar steak and especially the meatloaf. Good stuff.