Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Every Day is Valentine’s Day at Our Restaurant Partners!

By Bob Tagert

Every Day is Valentine’s Day at Our Restaurant Partners!

We wanted to take this opportunity to highlight our loyal restaurant advertisers and give you some ideas for your Valentine’s Day dining plans.


There is a reason that Landini Brothers is listed first. This is one of the oldest and best restaurants in Old Town Alexandria. They have been with us for over thirty years. Ownership and staff have become part of our family and we have made many good friends there over the last 37 years. Since 1979, Landini’s has been the go-to restaurant in Old Town for a traditional Tuscan style dinner, a corporate party or just to see who might be at the bar on any evening. Owners Franco and Noe Landini have been serving their customers with style and grace for years.


I have a special place in my heart for the Fish Market Restaurant & Raw Bar as I bartended there in the late 80’s. Back then, Old Town was only about 6 blocks long and most of the restaurants were clustered around 100 King Street and Union Street. Back then, because Old Town was relatively new and gaining traction, Friday and Saturday nights were very busy and it was not uncommon to see lines waiting for entrance on the weekends. The Fish Market is famous for their clam chowder, sandwiches and seafood dinners. Their spiced shrimp is the absolute best. It is a great spot for some of the coldest draft beer in town and they still serve up those signature 32 ounce schooners!


Located in the 200 block of King Street, The Warehouse Bar& Grill is one of the area’s most popular restaurants specializing in prime aged steaks and fresh seafood with a Cajun flair. The dining room is elegant white table cloth dining that features caricatures of the local gentry on the walls of the historic building. The intimate bar is a popular gathering for some of Alexandria’s locals, although that has been curtailed recently because of the pandemic. The backbone of the Warehouse menu is American Creole and Cajun dishes. Enjoy their Steak “Pontchartrain” or their famous lump crab cakes as well as their very popular Sunday brunch.


Union Street Public House is one of those restaurants that are really two in one. Old Town’s historic charm and gracious hospitality is always on tap at Union Street. They serve exceptional American cuisine crafted with a Southern twist in their beautifully renovated 1790 warehouse. Not only is their food very good…there is a lot of it. Union Street is also one of the most popular places to gather for a party or special event. Before the pandemic, Union Street was party central for New Years, Halloween and other events throughout the year. Union Street offers their Whiskey Bar as a place to escape the maddening crowd and enjoy the largest selection of Spirits in Old Town as well as special appearances by craft distillers.


Village Brauhaus is one of the newer restaurants to locate in Alexandria. The restaurant, offering German, Austrian and Bavarian cuisine, opened in 2018. Business boomed as folks came for their warm pretzels, bratwurst and their interpretations of classic dishes and daring new ventures into the uncharted territories of food and drink. The restaurant is very large so social distancing is no problem and their selection of Bavarian and German beers is extensive. I am partial to their Best of the Wurst. With this entree I can get a Bratwurst and a choice of seven different wursts so I can experience the differences. Located in the 700 block of King Street, Village Brauhaus offers dine in, carry out and outdoor seating on nice winter days which is perfect for a brat and a beer.


“A little bit of France in the heart of Alexandria, Virginia” is a perfect description of Bastille Brasserie & Bar. Like the other restaurants that are not in Old Town, the locals seem to flock to Bastille for the fare and to avoid the crowds. The French inspired cuisine is light and tasty. They offer a pre-fix menu that makes a three course dinner very affordable. Their wine list is exceptional and watching the action in the open kitchen is always a treat. Bastille prides themselves on their craft cocktails. If you are lucky enough to be dining when Jacob Sunny is behind the bar, he will be happy to let you in on a couple of his secrets!


Mackie’s Bar and Grill is probably the closest you can get to a classic local bar since Tiffany Tavern closed many years ago. The bar out front is an eclectic group of locals practicing social distancing and a few in the Ruby Lounge. The dining room is in the back room that is roomy and comfortable. Mackie’s is noted for their steaks, bacon wrapped shrimp and burgers. Their burger has been voted the Best Burger in Town. If you enjoy watching a sporting event in a “your living room” setting, Mackie’s is the place for you. There are four large screen TV’s in the bar area showing different sports and the dining room has a number of TV’s as well so you never miss a play of the Super Bowl.


In the West End area of Alexandria at 4231 Duke Street you will find Tempo Restaurant. Tempo is truly one of Alexandria’s best kept secrets. Elegant, yet unpretentious, it is a neighborhood restaurant where the locals dine. Tempo’s menu features a blend of Northern Italian and French cuisine featuring fresh seafood. Tempo is a well-established restaurant and has been serving Alexandria as long, or longer, than the Old Town Crier has been in print.  Like The Inn at Little Washington, the building is a converted gas station turned into a beautiful and comfortable establishment.


River Bend Bistro is the culmination of owner/chef Caroline Bruder-Ross’ many years working the kitchen of some of Washington’s most notable restaurants. Located in Hollin Hall, this restaurant is classy, casual dining with a seasonal menu. This has become a very popular restaurant for the folks of the Mount Vernon area as well as those of us from Old Town. The menu is basic by design with dishes that you don’t find in many other restaurants. In the past few years Caroline has won the Cherry Challenge for best of Alexandria three times. First time for Entree, second time for appetizer and third time for appetizer and dessert. Plenty of free parking is a bonus at this location.


Taking a step out of Alexandria we want to include Stoney’s Kingfishers Bar & Grill on Solomons Island, Maryland. Kingfisher is a popular local gathering spot on Solomons and draws a good amount of tourists year round. Stoney’s signature crab cake is served here and has been voted best crab cake by the Washington Post many times. The food and drinks are the first reason to go, the second is the people…Eric Faughnan and his staff are an amazing group.


Everything I said about Kingfishers can also be applied to Stoney’s Clarke’s Landing, the only difference is that Clarke’s is on the St. Mary’s County side of the Patuxent River near Hollywood, MD. The food and beverage at Clarke’s is top notch and you won’t leave hungry. Jeannie Stone and her staff make you feel like a part of the family on every visit. Experiencing Clarke’s Landing is well worth the drive!

All of these establishments follow strict pandemic restrictions and protocols. All offer delivery, curbside pickup and take out and most of them have heated outdoor dining. They are doing everything they can to make your experience a good one. We encourage you to do your best to support them.

Please let us know about your experience(s) with these fine establishments by posting on our Facebook page @oldtdowncrier or send us an email at office@oldtowncrier.com.


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