"So...if we come out to visit, is there anywhere near your house where we can grab a bite to eat?"

Prior to visiting, we've had several friends and family members ask this very very question when attempting to plan their trip. To us, our seemingly endless restaurant options within a short walk of our home are almost a given, but to people who live in areas similar to where we grew up in Ohio, the option to head out for a nice dinner at a restaurant often leaves you looking at only a few viable dining options.

Eamonn's with PX upstairs

As we head into Old Town Alexandria's official Restaurant Week, the event running from August 23rd - September 1st meant to encourage people to try out new dining options through the allure of a bargain meal, we have to laugh at our response when we were first asked the question that opened this post...

"Um, yeah...there are about 100 different places we can walk to."


Our response sounds like an exaggeration and is often met with a laugh if we're having a phone conversation about an upcoming visit, but we've always known that "100" was a large enough number to convey "a whole lot" in our description. Truth be told, we really didn't know exactly how many restaurants we could walk to... so we decided to count them up one day as a means to pass time on a long car trip.

Columbia Firehouse

Our criteria for the list is relatively simple. 

  • The restaurant needs to be somewhere within a 15 minute walk of our home (about .6 miles at our brisk pace),
  • You must be able to order or select an actual meal (so cupcake, ice cream, yogurt, or strictly coffee places are out, as much as a meal of cupcakes, ice cream, and coffee may sound good),
  • And you must be able to actually sit down at available restaurant seating (inside or out) to eat what you ordered.

Our results...surprising to say the least.

Here's the list of our area restaurants, pulled entirely from our own memory. We've put a green check next to each place we've dined, and a yellow star next to the places that are our go-to favorites. And it's worth noting, the majority are actually within a 5-10 minute walk rather than the max of 15 minutes. 

  1. Chart HouseHave Eaten
  2. Union Street Public HouseHave Eaten
  3. ChadwicksHave EatenFavorite
  4. Mai ThaiHave EatenFavorite
  5. Starbucks 3 locationsHave Eaten
  6. Virtue Feed & GrainHave Eaten
  7. Firehook Bakery 2 locationsHave Eaten
  8. Fish MarketHave EatenFavorite
  9. Landini BrothersHave Eaten
  10. The WharfHave Eaten
  11. Il PortoHave Eaten
  12. Pizza ParadisoHave Eaten
  13. Ichiban SushiHave Eaten
  14. The WarehouseHave Eaten
  15. Two NineteenHave Eaten
  16. Subway 2 locationsHave Eaten
  17. OverwoodHave Eaten
  18. La BergerieHave Eaten
  19. MomoHave EatenFavorite
  20. Bilbo BagginsHave Eaten
  21. Picca-Deli
  22. BruscatosHave Eaten
  23. Bastille
  24. Fin & Hoof
  25. Sang JunHave Eaten
  26. Banh MiHave Eaten
  27. Royal Restaurant
  28. Daniel O'ConnellsHave Eaten
  29. Pat Troy'sHave Eaten
  30. Grape & BeanHave EatenFavorite
  31. Restaurant EveHave Eaten
  32. Fontaine & Le Petit FontaineHave EatenFavorite
  33. La MadeleineHave Eaten
  34. Jackson 20Have Eaten
  35. ChipotleHave EatenFavorite
  36. Bread & ChocolateHave EatenFavorite
  37. Parsian
  38. Bruegger's BagelsHave EatenFavorite
  39. Red MeiHave Eaten
  40. La TascaHave Eaten
  41. Waterfront Market (coming soon)
  42. CosiHave Eaten
  43. Le Pain QuotidianHave Eaten
  44. Old Town DeliHave Eaten
  45. Le Refuge
  46. BGR (The Burger Joint)Have EatenFavorite
  47. Trattoria Da FrancoHave Eaten
  48. Society FairHave Eaten
  49. Bottom Dollar Dog
  50. Pita HouseHave EatenFavorite
  51. Murphy's Grand Irish Pub Have Eaten
  52. Nandos Peri PeriHave Eaten
  53. Southside 815Have Eaten
  1. Perk UpHave Eaten
  2. King Street BluesHave Eaten
  3. Faccia LunaHave Eaten
  4. GeranioHave Eaten
  5. Taverna CretekouHave EatenFavorite
  6. Flat Iron Steak & Saloon
  7. Eamonn's Have EatenFavorite
  8. PXHave EatenFavorite
  9. BertuccisHave Eaten
  10. Austin GrillHave EatenFavorite
  11. Flying FishHave Eaten
  12. Asian BistroHave EatenFavorite
  13. BittersweetHave EatenFavorite
  14. Old Town TheaterHave Eaten
  15. Layla'sHave Eaten
  16. The MajesticHave EatenFavorite
  17. Sam Phao Thai CuisineHave Eaten
  18. Red Rocks BistroHave EatenFavorite
  19. Nickell's & Scheffller
  20. La FromagerieHave Eaten
  21. Killer ESPHave Eaten
  22. King Street Cafe
  23. Medieval Madness
  24. Hank's Oyster BarHave Eaten
  25. VermilionHave EatenFavorite
  26. Hard Times CafeHave EatenFavorite
  27. Pines of FlorenceHave Eaten
  28. Five Guys BurgersHave Eaten
  29. The Light HorseHave Eaten
  30. Gadsby's TavernHave Eaten
  31. Rock It Grill
  32. BraboHave Eaten
  33. Tasting RoomHave EatenFavorite
  34. Casablanca
  35. The Perfect PitaHave Eaten
  36. Ernies Crab House
  37. Uptowner CafeHave Eaten
  38. The Grille at Morrison HouseHave Eaten
  39. Theismann'sHave Eaten
  40. Whole FoodsHave Eaten
  41. Laporta'sHave Eaten
  42. Quatro FormggiHave Eaten
  43. Table Talk
  44. Teaism
  45. Tokyo Japanese Steak HouseHave Eaten
  46. TJ StonesHave Eaten
  47. Columbia FirehouseHave EatenFavorite
  48. Bugsy's PizzaHave Eaten
  49. Notting Hill
  50. Stage Door DelicatessanHave Eaten
  51. Zento
  52. Villa d'Este
  53. Extra PerksHave Eaten
  54. A La Lucia

Wow! What a list! I can't believe we were able to come up with pretty much the entire thing without having to resort to Google maps. Obviously we had to use Google for all of the website urls.

Grape & Bean, with Lavender Moon Cupcakes nextdoor

Of the 107 different restaurants within a 15 minute walk of our house we've eaten at 89 of them, marked with the check image. That leaves us with just 18 we still need to sample. Some of those at the top of our list to try are Bottom Dollar Dog, Notting Hill, and the soon to open Waterfront Market. And for some reason, Wendy has this obsession with wanting to go to Rock It Grill for karaoke (after a night out for a few drinks). I...don't share that obsession. I can't sing to save my life.

We've also noted our favorite places that we seem to find ourselves either going or wanting to go quite often. Perhaps if you're planning a trip to Alexandria this list of our favorites will help you to narrow your dining selections. Who knows, we might even see you out at happy hour or at dinner.

The Majestic

And if you're a local or are in town now through September 1st, you should definitely check out the various participating Restaurant Week locations. I'm 100% sure there's something delicious that's also right up your palette's alley.

Do you have neighborhood dining options and favorites of your own? How does your area compare to ours? Can you walk to over 100 different places in under 15 minutes? I know our situation is not the norm, so I'm interested to hear your setup. If you live in the area, or have visited Old Town, which restaurants make your list of favorites?

Comments 20


Jacqueline Bourgeois
8/23/2013 at 2:05 PM
Wait, you've never been to Bottom Dollar Dog?!!!!
Barbara Elky
8/23/2013 at 2:05 PM
you should definitely hit Bottom Dollar Dog this weekend :)
Jacqueline Bourgeois
8/23/2013 at 2:05 PM
Or Le Refuge.??!!! OMG.
Kristi Newsome
8/23/2013 at 2:20 PM
Had Zento for today. Would recommend it for lunch.
Carrie Cole Jolly
8/23/2013 at 2:25 PM
Impressive - what a list!
8/23/2013 at 2:38 PM
You're allowed to go to BGR?
Absolutely, their veggie burger is amazing! It's a BBQ molasses.
8/23/2013 at 3:18 PM
Okay now I'm starving. Tons of these restaurants sound amazing. If I ever end up stateside in Old Town, I'll be sure to check some out ;)
Oh, you absolutely have to.
8/23/2013 at 3:32 PM
Don't know if they would be within your range, but there is Ted's, California Tortilla, the little French Bistro, and Cold Stone near the theater at Eisenhower Metro. Also, there are several places across Eisenhower from the USPTO, including a Foster's Burgers, a chinese place, and a Lebanese place. Near the 7-11 on John Carlyle St, there is another Starbucks, Sushi Naru (which has an awesome lunch buffet for $12.95), a Jerry's Pizza & Subs, and Gifts & Chocolate (which serves ice cream and has a nice selection of chocolates). Then, also around is the Gourmet Market, Jimmy John's, Pasara Thai, Innovation Grounds (USPTO Coffee Shop), Roundhouse Cafe (USPTO Cafe), another Subway, another Starbucks, the Trademark Bar & Grill, and at least one or two places that I can't think of their names.
We were thinking about those places but they are probably about 2-3 minutes beyond our 15 minutes walk criteria. It's amazing that the whole PTO area was not there when we moved to our house.
8/27/2013 at 6:45 PM
And the area is only going to get more stuff as the build-out around Eisenhower Metro continues. In 2017, NSF will be there and maybe at that point, many of the empty stores will be filled.
8/23/2013 at 6:16 PM
I am so jealous of all the places you can walk to. It is over 1/2 mi. just to walk to the end of our neighborhood. At "4 corners" there are some places to eat, but that's about 2 mi. away so we drive.

We've already decided if we move, our next home will be in a walking town!
Where I grew up it was over 3 miles to the nearest restaurant, and it was rather horrible. Living in Old Town is pretty amazing.
8/28/2013 at 10:17 AM
My fiance and I both live and work in Old Town and the plethora of dining options keeps us in our Old Town bubble even though there are so many great places we want to try in DC. I just wish there were a few more local quick lunch spots so I don't have to resort to subway or chipotle everytime I forget my lunch.
Chris, You might want to check out Brueggers as a quick lunch option. They have a good sandwich/drink/soup or salad option that's really well priced! Cosi too.
8/28/2013 at 12:17 PM
I grew up right outside of Old Town and worked at Murphys' Irish Pub when I was 18
I Love Old Town and have been to most of the restaurants.
sadly I moved to south western Va. Last year and miss the place dearly!
there is no true diversity in cuisine here,but then there are no traffic jams either.Fair trade?I don't think so because I used to walk to Old Town from Cambridge rd.I only took me 20 min.to get to Market Square.
God I Miss it!!!!
please send me a link for anything Old Town related Alex and thank You!
on face book John bernasco
Thanks, John. Come back!! Old Town misses you! :-)
8/31/2013 at 12:42 AM
Rock-it grill is still open? I remember the food being just basic bar food, but it's where my husband proposed to me, so it's kinda special to me. :)
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