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Alexandria, VA suggestions?

Originally posted on the Mid-Atlantic board...

Thinking about a weekend getaway to Alexandria, VA...probably staying in Old Town. I haven't been in ages - any good recommendations? I'm a strict vegetarian but husband will eat pretty much anything (I'm not high-maintenance - a good salad and sides are fine for me so husband can enjoy a good meaty meal), we're open to all ethnic options (except Indian) and we prefer places that are casual and low-key (read: don't want to pack a dress and heels).

TIA!

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  1. I live a block from Old Town and it kills me to say that it is not the best for dining. DH and I have one favorite, Bastille. It is french but not traditional. The food is local, fresh, and we have yet to have a bad meal (only one salad we did not care for). It's unpretentious---we've seen groups come in wearing jeans. No one cares. My favorite appetizer there are the shrimp beignets with a dipping sauce. If your not a vegan I recommend them. Fish is always outstanding.

    We really enjoyed Jackson 20 (it's on King St. in one of the hotels). Many tourists, very casual.

    I have not been to the famous Restaurant Eve but that is not casual.

    The best ethnic is out in the burbs. I would try to eat downtown if you don't have access to a car.

    Maybe some others have had better luck than I have in Old Town.

    2 Replies
    1. re: nissenpa

      Pizzeria Paradiso is a good option. It is at the foot of King Street. Even further down at the base of King Street is Mai Thai. For budget but also good, go to Red Mai, which is pan-Asian place. That is my go to place for a cheap lunch.

      1. re: nissenpa

        While I agree that Old Town isn't the best place for restaurants, in the sense that there are lots of mediocre places, there are also a decent number of good places (although as it happens, some of my favorites like Eamonn's would be pretty hopeless for a vegetarian).

        I like Red Rocks better than Pizzeria Paradiso (practically next door) for pizza, although Paradiso may have better beers.

        Restaurant Eve's lunch deal at the bar, $14 or so for any two items from a selection of drinks, entrees, and desserts (weekdays only, I think) is excellent.

        Majestic isn't formal, and lots of people like it, although it's a little too comfort food for my taste.

        Vermillion is good, nice but not as fancy as Restaurant Eve, but still may be a small step above jeans.

        Eamonn's fish and chips is good, but may be nearly useless for a vegetarian (except for the chips and the English candy).

        Pita House (on King) has decent middle eastern. Caphe Banh Mi on Cameron near Royal is my new favorite Asian place in Old Town, better than any of the Thai places I've tried, it's cheap at least for lunch, and I'm pretty sure they have some vegetarian things.

        I've been unimpressed with Jackson 20 (decent, but not exciting and not worth the prices), La Tasca (way better tapas at Jaleo in Crystal City), and Fontaine Creperie, despite the fact that other people seem to like them.

      2. Hope you get more suggestions on this board than you were on the Mid-Atlantic, this seems to be a much more active board.

        Like I suggested, La Tasca (http://www.latascausa.com/site/locati...) may be something a little different. The Fontaine Creperie (http://www.fontainecaffe.com/) may also offer something a little different for you!

        Here are a couple of other threads that have some good suggestions as well:

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/782253
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/176753

        3 Replies
        1. re: ForFoodsSake

          Thanks for the suggestions so far. I looked at the menu for La Tasca it looked promising. Is there a Pizza Paradiso in DC? If so, I went a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I'll check out the other places that have been mentioned. We'll only be there from Saturday through Monday, but I like to have a few back-ups, just in case.

          I also realized that the weekend we're thinking about going is during Restaurant Week in DC and Alexandria. Would that change anyone's recos?

          1. re: punkin712

            There are two Pizzeria Paradisos in DC, one in Dupont Circle that's been there for years and years and one in Georgetown that's a few years old.

            1. re: punkin712

              I would avoid La Tasca the food is flavorless and not worth visiting. If you want tapas try Jaleo in Crystal City which is close to Alexandria.

          2. Three more places to check out

            Overwood-great burger for the meat eater, tremendous wood fired vegetable lasagna for the vegetarian. their specialties are anything cooked over their wood fired grill, hence the name.
            220 North Lee St. Alexandria, VA 22314
            (703) 535-3340
            Southside 815
            This is more of a meat eaters kinda place but i think there is enough on there to be vegi-friendly, it has a creole theme w/some tasty po-boys on the menu.
            815 South Washington Street Alexandria, Virginia 22314-4220
            (703) 836-6222
            and finally at the Lorien Hotel there is a fancy shmancy place called Brabo which is very good but they have a casual spur attached to it called the Brabo Tasting Room which is a warm friendly jeans oriented space. if you go there, stop in the main restaurant and sit at the bar for an excellent cocktail, we drop in from time to time when we are walking around king street.
            1600 King Street Alexandria, VA 22314
            (703) 894-3440

            there is plenty of very good dining to be had in Old Town, enjoy your visit

            1 Reply
            1. re: taoseno

              Second Overwood. Their ribeye and hangar steaks are one of the best deals in town. Lots of flavor and a good woodsey char from the wood fired grill. I don't care for salads, but theirs are substantial and satisfying.

              Of all the Hard Times Cafes, I think the one in Old Town is the most consistent. The vegetarian chili isn't bad at all and goes down nice with a hunk of cornbread. The place is about as casual as you can get.

            2. Hank's Oyster Bar (I'm assuming you eat fish?)
              A La Lucia
              Taqueria Poblano (well worth it to travel over to Del Ray)
              Cheesetique in Del Ray

              1. La Fromagerie on upper King Street (1222 King Street) closer to the King Street Metro opened a little bistro in the store. I had a nice cheese plate and a wine pairing. They have some nice vegetarian salads and sandwiches as well as charcuterie.

                I like many of the other suggestions as well, Caffe La Fontaine for crepes (and great pan roasted trout with spinach salad.....). Overwood has great meal size salads and Pizza Paradiso has the nice option of 8-inch pizzas.