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May 16, 2014 12:47 PM

Where should I stumble into in Alexandria on Saturday night?

My wife and I visit Alexandria for a weekend every year or so, and while we have a few places we enjoy (you can't get mint juleps like The Majestic's in Boston), we inevitably end up not having made reservations on Saturday night and not knowing where to go. Not much in the way of specific criteria: I'd favor something that's less of a muchness than Restaurant Eve (and it's too late for reservations anyway), less stuffy than Brabo, but otherwise just looking for fantastic food of any shape or cuisine. This isn't giving much direction, I realize, but anything new in the last 18 months would be a plus, and we'd need to be able to get reservations on fairly short notice. Thanks so much for any help!

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  1. Nothing new that I know of. Bastille and Vermillion are good though.

    1. Society Fair. Informal, quality craft cocktails, hearty food from the same staff that works Eve.

      1. Vasos Mediterranean Bistro is new on King Street and pretty good. It is the upscale sibling of Vaso's Kitchen which is north of Old Town and has been a lunch staple of mine for years. I don't know about reservations situation as I was there for a late lunch.

        1. Funny you should post this. My wife and I found ourselves stopping in Old Town on a whim last night (Saturday), and walked into Restaurant Eve without a reservation. The bar was available to those without reservations and offers the full menu (including the tasting menu). We had a great time people watching, talking with the bartender and our neighbors at the bar. Frankly, I think this was a better time than we would have had in the dining room by ourselves. I would seriously consider eating at the bar again instead of the dining room.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dpan

            This is a wonderful way of enjoying many a restaurant without the bother of reservations and planning. Some bar areas even have tables so it it little different from having to reserve, and there is less pressure to 'dress up.'

          2. Thanks for all of the suggestions. Unfortunately we ended up getting delayed on our way in, so had to move our Friday res at the Majestic to Saturday and never ended up wandering into Vermilion like I'd hoped (though I probably would have tried the bar at Restaurant Eve if I'd had both the time and the advance knowledge that it existed). We'll be back in a few months and will give both a whirl.

            2 Replies
            1. re: cjd260

              Add Bastille to your list of places to try if you haven't -- great spot that's usually accessible on short notice and has a dine-able bar area that's walk-in only (and gives you something like 25% off your meal, if I remember correctly), a little off the beaten path a few blocks north of King.

              Word on the grapevine is that the owners will be relocating Bastille to a bigger spot in the next year, and turning the current restaurant into a more casual bistro.

              1. re: rachelcp

                Second the recommendation of Bastille, and the story about relocating/repurposing was featured in the paper a month or two back, so it's hardly a grapevine rumor at this point.

                Oh, and their sommelier Mark Slater is one of the best in the business, so you will drink well.