Old Town Alexandria --- Please Help
Hi – I have to say I love this site – been reading and lurking but hope to contribute. I live in Baltimore --- am meeting someone in Old Town Alexandria Saturday for a first date. We have gotten to know each other very well, so it’s dinner, not just drinks.
Looking for an appropriate venue that allows for conversation with at least some romance and ambience. Cuisine wise, we both like French (country/bistro as opposed to real heavy traditional sauce like) , Northern Italian (not a red sauce joint), or fresh seafood.
She lives in the area but hasn’t been there lately. She mentioned 219, which looks as if it has the ambience, but can’t find much on the food, and she has not been there in years. . It has a bonus in live music --- which we will look for afterward, if tings go well, but I understand that there are many places in the area that may offer that – meaning the dining venue does not have to also have music / entertainment --- we can certainly walk after dinner!
Comments, suggestions welcome. For what it’s worth, we are middle aged first daters. Price not a particular factor, although over the top very expensive not what we’d be looking for this time.
I would second the recommendation for A la Lucia. It's at the corner of Royal and Madison a few blocks north of King Street. I'd also suggest Bastille for French, a couple blocks further north on Royal. While the patio is not as nice as that of Le Gaulois, the food is markedly better, and if the weather is good, the patio is quite nice. Because it's a little off the tourist track, there's very little traffic.
Hanks-no. Not romantic and tables are very close. Love it...but no.
I'd recommend A La Lucia in North Old Town-Great Italian and good prices.
Evening Star Cafe in Del Ray has wonderful food--ask for a booth, have a wonderful meal and cap it off with a stroll up Mt. Vernon Ave and get soft serve at The Dairy Godmother or Artfully Chocolate for gelato or Giffords ice cream.
The food at Majestic can be good, but it's definitely not a date type of place. It's very open, not particularly warm, and can be a bit loud. I would steer clear in this particular instance.
219 has been know to get some pretty crappy reviews, so I would try to suggest something else, but I know it can sometimes be difficult to outwardly reject a suggestion from a first-dater. For French, instead of Le Gaulois, I would recommend Bastille. The food's definitely French bistro-ish, it’s very good, and the atmosphere, to me, seems perfect for a first date.
Vermillion would be a good choice, as previously mentioned. I’d also recommend Farrah Olivia as a first date spot. In my experiences, the food has been the best in Old Town (short of Restaurant Eve) and the cozy dining room would be a nice atmosphere for a first date.
I’m not sure if Geranio on King St. fits the bill as Northern Italian, but you definitely won’t find spaghetti & meatballs or chicken parm on the menu. That said, the meals I’ve had there have been very good. I’ve been there with my girlfriend and we found the atmosphere a bit stuffy, so it may not be exactly what you’re looking for in a first date. Maybe save it for the 3rd or 4th!
Finally, since you mentioned seafood, Hank's Oyster Bar wouldn't be a terrible choice. There are some tables that are more secluded and conducive to conversation than others, but the seafood is fresh - if not a bit casual - and you won't break the bank. Good luck!
I'd like to say Le Gaulois for French comfort food and romantic patio, but I feel like I've read some negative comments recently. Will let others comment, because it used to be wonderful.
Majestic Cafe is high on my list of places in Old Town to try, but not sure the ambiance meets your criteria. Again, will defer to those more local.
Restaurant Eve (while not French or Italian) has nice ambiance but probably too over the top for your first date. I'd save it for your first anniversary ; )
I hope you find just the spot you're looking for, because it can make all the difference, at least in the memories category. Best of luck for a truly successful evening!