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Are there really no superlative breakfast options in Alexandria?

I've been searching this board for over a year and have yet to notice any standout spots in the A.M. dining category here in wilds of NOVA. A couple of spots have come up for us, noticeably Buzz for French Toast and Vermiliion looks good, since we've enjoyed dinner there, but what else? I'm talking about a place to get a full breakfast (or even brunch, if need be), but on a Saturday, not Sunday.

If you try to aggregate the posts, no set of places jump out like they would in other cities.

So, now's your chance to divulge a high-quality, reasonably-priced, full menu, breakfast that my family and I can enjoy when we're too tired or lazy to cook. Hopefully, that's not TOO specific.

To get things started, from the searches, I've stumbled on these:
Le Madeline (chain, ugh -- is it really, really good?)
Royal Restaurant (reviews on Yelp are mixed, but it's Yelp, after all)
Table Talk (thinking this is closed now)
Bread and Chocolate (chain...hmmm)
Elsie's Magic Skillet (greasy spoon? I have a 2 year-old, so no)
Southside 815 (been there and it was decent, but haven't had breakfast there)
Fireflies (not Alexandria, but I'd give it a shot)
The Warehouse (only brunch, so this is out)
Jack's Place (counter seating probably won't work for us)
Vermillion (the few items on the menu look appetizing)

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  1. Table Talk closed? This would shock me! I'll have to check it out next time i drive by. I like TT for what it is-cheap, greasy spoon, don't rush you. In other words-my kind of place.
    Fireflies is in Del Ray which is Alexandria-have not tried breakfast there yet.
    Jackson 20 does breakfast in a manner and price point that may suit your needs.

    1. I walked by Table Talk today around noon and it looked open.

      1. Sadly, I think the answer to your question is that yes, there are no superlative breakfast options in Alexandria.

        Vermillion is probably the best of the bunch in Old Town but they (like so many places in Alexandria) this brunch can start at 11am, which is ludicrous in my book. If you're open to the Del Ray part of Alexandria (since you're considering Fireflies), try Mancini's; it's been a while since I've been there, but it was good.

        Le Madeline is good, but definitely not "really, really good". A better entry in the same genre would be Le Pain Quotidien in Old Town (also a chain, but a smaller one), although honestly the service there blows.

        Elsie's is all of the worst parts of a greasy spoon, a southern diner, and a Marlboro factory. Stay away. If you do want a greasy spoon breakfest, Burger Delite in Landmark is worlds better.

        Royal is fine for what it is, and probably my favorite generic breakfast option in Alexandria; I find the non-brunch food better than the brunch, so your Sat. requirement works in its favor.

        (If the Sat. requirement isn't a hard-and-fast thing, then check out Fontaine Caffe and Chadwicks; both are pretty solid, but don't do mornings except for Sunday brunch.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: sweth

          Mancini's on Mt. Vernon at Monroe is the best breakfast place in Alexandria (Del Ray). I can't believe it isn't listed here.


        2. Ended up at Fire Flies. Bleh. Had the "cowboy" something, which was a boring glop of fried eggs on top of a dry cornmeal cake. My wife seemed to enjoy her salmon benedict, which I didn't try. Bacon was not up to what we make at home and the "hash browns," which were diced potatoes, were flavorless and chewy. Not thinking we'll be going back.

          The Table Talk closing thing came from an earlier post from someone who thought the hotel next door was expanding. Guess it didn't, so we'll have to give it a try.

          Also will try Vermillion and Mancini's. Thanks.

          2 Replies
          1. re: biscuit

            Thanks for the report! When you go to TT, adjust your expectations to "friendly neighborhood basic chow", and I think you'll see why it's always packed with locals.

            1. re: biscuit

              On Fireflies, we actually had a good experience. Yes, the overcooked bacon and chopped potato "hash browns" could use significant improvement, but the pancakes are HUGE and fluffy, a real treat (not sure why it's so hard to find good straight forward pancakes these days). Also the Sunday live bluegrass is awesome, and the service, while a little on the slow side, is much more affable than a lot of the other area brunch spots (see my previously posted comment...also, they WERE willing to do egg-white omlettes and at least had 2% milk for coffee). We'll be back.

            2. Table Talk is my favorite breakfast place in alex. and no it is not closed. Was there this past week. Good solid breakfast and a bit of old town, past. I hope it sticks around for a long time.

              However, that being said, it is not what I would call amazing breakfast. For that you'd have to go to NJ (diner route) or way south (southern breakfast). Great biscuit w/ sausage gravey is something I would drive a long ways for. .

              1 Reply
              1. re: Soup

                Baltimore is much closer than NJ, and is very much a breakfast town.

              2. I find myself going to Atlantis for breakfasts, mostly because they open at 7am during the week, and their Belgian waffles are titanic. Standard Greek diner fare, better than most and not crowded except for Sunday brunch.

                Elsie's is still pretty good, considering Elsie sold it a few years back, but the menu is the same. I take my kids once in a while and always see families there. And they must have upgraded their venting system, because they used to have a problem with smoke leaking into the nonsmoking section, which isn't the case anymoe.

                I believe Brabo in Old Town does breakfast, but I've never been. I've enjoyed lunch and dinner there, but it may be more high-end than you're thinking.

                3 Replies
                1. re: monkeyrotica

                  Some spots....Fontaine on Royal Street for crepes, Vermillion brunch delicious, Evening Star in Del Ray has a decent brunch and Caboose has deli/diner style breakfast just about everyday.

                  1. re: go2food

                    Thought the food at Evening Star was fine (good french toast), but we were turned off by the surly brunch staff (we know no one wants to work the brunch shift, but c'mon!), their unwillingness to do an egg-white omelette, and not serving skim milk for coffee. Still conflicted if we will return.

                    1. re: NoVA

                      OK, we went back to Evening Star and they now have a new chef willing to do egg whites. Thank you!

                2. I think "Tabletalk" in Alexandria is better than any other. It's of course a "one off" and you can have a bloody mary in the am. It's busy. but, you are right. I don't know of any other place as DC and Virginia are, I think, famous for seeming to not harbor good places like a great hotdog stand like Grey's Papaya in NYC and I don't know why. Restuarants here seem to take their patrons for granted. No other place besides Great Brittain cares less about the locals and cuisine. It is all mediocre.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: buddyeats45

                    I work right around the corner from table talk, and would love to get a good hotdog for lunch. I can't bring myself to spend 6.99 for a footlong when you can get one for 3.00 around Baltimore.

                    Quartro Formagi (I am sure this is spelled wrong) has a decent slice of Pizza though, and the price is right. Obviously, the owner has been to New Jersey.

                  2. Jumbo size eggs would really be nice. As cheap to buy as they are why can't we get jumbo sized eggs instead of obviously being served the smallest of eggs. How much more would 2 jumbo sized eggs cost. 3 maybe $.04 ?

                    Oh, and The Family Restaurant, McLean, VA is a one off place has good breakfasts. Special plates of combinations out of this world. Many locals are congressmen, lobbyists and such. A whos who of Washington show up.

                    1. i wouldn't recommend southside for breakfast. royal isn't too bad, relatively basic, it is what it is. also believe that chadwicks offers their brunch on saturday which is another option.

                      1. If you are willing to go to Shirlington- I think Carlyle has good brunch I like the crabcakes. And Luna Grill in Shirlington has good omlettes I like to get an omlette with spinach there as they use fresh spinach.

                        In Del Ray I have gone to Taqueria Poblano for breakfast, it was pretty good, nothing mind blowing but good.

                        1. There are 3 Kimpton Hotels in Old Town Alexandria that all serve full breakfast daily in their associated restaurants:

                          - Jackson 20 at Hotel Monaco Alexandria
                          - The Grille at The Morrison House
                          - BRABO at the new Lorien Hotel & Spa

                          They might be worth a try, albeit at hotel restaurant prices.

                          Also worth noting: Jackson 20 gives a 20% neighborhood lunch discount if you work in Old Town. Just give them your business card to get the discount.