There’s no better way to usher in the warm weather than dining al fresco. Here in Alexandria, located just minutes from Washington, D.C. and with a vibrant culinary scene, we’re pretty much pros at dining outdoors. From waterfront seating to courtyard patios to street-side eats, options abound.
Itching to pair some fresh air with your rosé? Read on to see our top picks for outdoor dining in Alexandria:
Best Waterfront Views
Vola’s Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge
Vola’s Dockside Grill from Alexandria Restaurant Partners (Lena’s, Virtue Feed & Grain, The Majestic) features outdoor dining right on the Marina overlooking the Potomac River at 7 King Street. The restaurant, named after former city manager Vola Lawson, serves up fresh seafood like shucked Oysters, Shrimp and Oyster Po-Boys, and Carolina Low Country Steamer Pails.
Blackwall Hitch is located right at the Alexandria waterfront, complete with live music, fresh seafood, an oyster bar and outdoor dining with views of the Potomac and Washington skyline. Sounds like you can count on this rustic, elegant restaurant to serve up one dreamy evening, no?
Chart House is about as close to the water as you can get without going for a swim, giving you perfect Potomac River views from the patio. The fresh and creative seafood menu is just as good as the view, especially when enjoyed sitting under under the warm summer sun.
Virtue Feed & Grain
Virtue Feed & Grain‘s large, dog-friendly patio right along the Potomac River is the perfect place to catch a summer breeze. Plus it’s tucked away from the street, making it ideal for relaxing with a cocktail under the patio’s hanging candle lanterns.
Coming Soon: Hummingbird
One of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings in the D.C. region in 2017 is Hummingbird from chef Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve and other local favorites. Armstrong will open Hummingbird inside the new waterfront Hotel Indigo in spring 2017, offering a raw bar, burgers and crab cakes and Irish breakfast options among other menu items.
Great King Street People Watching
Landini Brothers is a staple in Old Town, serving up authentic Tuscan recipes in a cozy atmosphere. Their outdoor patio puts you right on the brick-lined sidewalks of King Street, perfect for people watching and post-dinner walks to the waterfront.
Old Town fixture Daniel O’Connell’s is the place for a pint and some street-side people-watching. Choose from sidewalk seating along King Street or snag a coveted spot on the balcony overlooking Old Town’s main thoroughfare below for a bit more privacy without sacrificing the view.
The Warehouse Bar & Grill
The Warehouse Bar & Grill serves up fresh seafood and steaks with outdoor dining close to the waterfront on King Street. Local favorites include the crab cakes, oysters and gumbo among other classic seafood recipes.
Los Cuates Restaurant
Located on upper King Street, Los Cuates offers outdoor dining on King Street, and is the perfect spot for enjoying cocktails with friends during Happy Hours and other weekly specials. Los Cuates is known for their addicting guacamole dip and has some of the best margaritas in town.
The backyard wine garden at Sonoma Cellar is a unique and cozy escape where you can taste wine around a fire pit and enjoy special events like tastings, Tuesday cigar nights, and live music. It feels like a relaxing, rural getaway right in the heart of Old Town. Bonus: you can bring your dog along.
The secret garden behind authentic Greek restaurant Taverna Cretekou is an oasis of lush foliage and a heaping helping of ambiance. Trust me, you’ll want to linger long after you’ve polished off the grape leaves. If you’re there on a Thursday evening, you’ll be treated to dancing and traditional Greek plate-breaking.
Hunting Creek Steak
This steakhouse on King Street will have you swooning over its garden patio tucked under leafy trees. The courtyard is accessible from King Street but feels private and intimate, the perfect setting for a steak dinner and decadent dessert.
Everyone from Washington Post to Washingtonian has been raving about Stomping Ground in Del Ray, and if you’ve ever been, you know why. Their biscuits are like pillows of heaven and the fried chicken changed my life—it’s that good. Stomping Ground also has outdoor dining on Mount Vernon Avenue, which is especially fun during the Saturday farmers’ market in the adjacent parking lot for people watching and post-biscuit shopping.
Hank’s Pasta Bar
Hank’s Pasta Bar has also been generating a lot of buzz in the DC region, named one of the top 10 best new restaurants by the Washington Post. Located in North Old Town, the outdoor patio at Hank’s is the perfect spot for summer sips and homemade pasta. I highly recommend the Jamie’s Favorite Linguine with White Clam Sauce, which is melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Evening Star and The Front Porch
Two words: bourbon slushes. Every summer Evening Star Café rolls out The Front Porch, their inviting patio featuring picnic tables, hung lights and bites sourced from the restaurant’s rooftop garden. Head over after work to this neighborhood hangout for Southern-inspired eats and the signature slush.
Lena’s Woodfire Pizza + Tap
The patio at Lena’s is the perfect place to share a bottle of wine with friends around the fire pit. Order some appetizers or try the mushroom pizza, which swaps out traditional red sauce for roasted garlic cream and tops it all off with perfectly melted mozzarella, wild mushrooms and truffle oil.
Bastille, located near Braddock Metro station, features a large courtyard patio and the signature French cuisine that made it a top fine dining destination in Alexandria. Grab a glass (or a bottle, pourquoi pas?) of red wine and imagine you’re in the French countryside.
Del Ray Café
Del Ray Café is like a home away from home, set in a house tucked into Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood. It’s a cozy setting for outdoor dining with friends and family, with French bistro fare. Del Ray Café is also a peanut-free restaurant, making it a safe and easy choice for families with food allergies.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that cheese and wine are meant to be consumed outdoors. Luckily, wine and cheese bistro Cheesetique has street-side dining right along Mount Vernon Avenue that makes their grown-up grilled cheese taste even better, if that’s possible.
Live Oak opened in the Del Ray neighborhood on Commonwealth Avenue in 2016, with a Charleston, S.C. inspired menu from executive chef Justus Frank. The outdoor patio is the perfect spot to enjoy fresh seafood and cocktails under the summer sun.
Rustico is the go-to spot for outdoor dining in the Slaters Lane neighborhood of Alexandria, serving up American fare with an extensive craft beer menu including burgers, pizza and awesome appetizers to share. It’s a fun spot for families that will satisfy parents and kids alike.
New to Alexandria’s Arlandria neighborhood in 2016, Northside 10 is the gathering place for many locals in this area. Their mouthwatering menu is filled with comfort food reminiscent of their sister restaurant, Southside 815 in South Old Town. Both are perfect spots when you’re craving Southern comfort food on a sunny day.
Sweet Fire Donna’s
If you’re looking for outdoor dining in Alexandria’s Carlyle neighborhood, you don’t want to miss out on Sweet Fire Donna’s delicious BBQ, including a variety of classics like wings BBQ sandwiches and platters, chili, and plenty of house-made sides to round it out. Nothing beats good BBQ enjoyed outside.
Opened in March 2017 in Alexandria’s West End, Portner Brewhouse is a can’t-miss destination for craft beer lovers. The brewery comes from sisters Catherine and Margaret Portner in honor of their great-great grandfather’s Robert Portner Brewing Co., the largest pre-Prohibition brewery in the South. Portner Brewhouse offers outdoor seating and contemporary German-American cuisine.