2023 Forma Conference Local Food
Local Food Recommendations from Josh Brown
Find reviews & photos from the Alexandria food scene from Lifelong Learning's Operations Manager, Josh Brown, on Instagram @mostlyjustf00d!
Breakfast & Coffee
- Table Talk - Feel like a local in this relaxed diner that sometimes gets busy during peak breakfast/brunch times. Recommend the garbage omelette. *Closest to The Westin
- Toastique - Healthy smoothies and toasts for breakfast/lunch. A little on the expensive side but done very well. *Kind of Close, Worth the Trip
- Fresh Baguette - Best baguette you’ll find around. They come warm right out of the oven usually and are as close to Paris you can get, methinks. Extremely thoughtfully done pastries and desserts but also authentic breakfast and lunch sandwiches. Not a lot of seating but would be great to pick up something to go and walk around. *Kind of Close, Worth the Trip
- Misha’s - Great coffee with relaxed vibe. *Kind of Close, Worth the Trip *Kind of Close, Worth the Trip
- The Majestic - Great brunch, good drinks. Recommend the “monkey bread." *Kind of Close, Worth the Trip
- Junction Bakery & Bistro - Fantastic breakfast, but great sandwiches for lunch as well. Best chocolate chip cookies in town - try them! *Del Ray
- Stomping Ground - Limited seating and very popular in the morning but the best southern style breakfast chicken biscuit you will have perhaps in your life; great coffee and other breakfast options. Be prepared to wait in line, particularly on the weekend. *Del Ray
- Swing’s Coffee - Best coffee in the area. Mustachioed hipster baristas serve locally roasted and expertly executed lattes/pour-overs. Would recommend bringing a bag of Mesco chocolatey medium roast back home with you.
Closest to The Westin
- Whiskey and Oyster - Comfy outdoor dining with heaters, great seafood, good happy hour, good cocktails. Recommend the warm lobster roll and fries.
- Bistro Sancerre - Beautiful interior decor, but plenty of outdoor seating with heaters as well. Nice steaks, good wine selection. Recommend adding 7 spice rosemary garlic butter to steaks.
- Sweet Fire Donna’s - pretty good barbecue in relaxed environment.
- Galae Thai - Tasty and authentic flavors. Fun interior decor. Usually not crowded. Must try the Kanom Jeep steamed dumpling appetizer.
- Lost Boy Cider - Dry, not sweet, yet complex hard cider made from local VA apples. Highly recommend the flagship cider “Comeback Kid.” Cool inside/outside industrial family/dog friendly vibe.
Kind of Close, Worth the Trip
A short Uber ride or long walk.
- Casa Rosada - Unbelievable artisanal Argentinian gelato. Recommend the “chocotorta” if they have it. Think dulce de leche based cookies & cream mixed with tiramisu!
- La Fromagerie Cheese and Wine Bistro - The title says it all! Super fresh veggies in innovative salads, best cheese boards in town, simple yet very well done rotating menu items, incredible wine selection with very knowledgeable and experience staff. Next door is their new wine shop if you want to dive deep.
- Smoking Kow BBQ and Rocklands Barbecue and Grilling Company - Both great local bbq joints, can’t go wrong with either. Rocklands has vastly more seating both indoor and outdoor.
- Port City Brewery - Best local beer in Alexandria, perhaps in larger area. Sometimes has food trucks and events in the evenings. Plenty of seating. Highly recommend, if available, the “tasting” option with tickets and tour. Since it’s January, I’d also say the Porter is rich and satisfying, but you can never go wrong with the award-winning “Optimal Wit.”
Unique neighborhood outside of Old Town, worth the trip, but a bit further out.
- Cheesetique - Amazing gourmet mac & cheese and grilled cheeses. Very good wine selection and cheese boards. If you like pimiento cheese, it’s a must try. Also, GET the chocolate mousse for dessert… trust me.
Old Town Alexandria
Could Uber to King Street metro and take free trolley down King if operating! Otherwise SO worth the trip… true heart of Alexandria. Too many places to mention without spending all day detailing it, but I’ll stick to some favorite highlights of mine that will provide varying and different experiences that cater to various preferences…be prepared to pay up but again, worth it!
- Ada’s on the River - Incredible seafood and great steaks. Really fantastic sides and veggies. Most items expertly prepared using an open flame, which gives a unique smoky quality to most menu items. Great desserts too - highly recommend the rainbow carrot and fries sides. A little on the pricey side but you pay for the view/location. Make a reservation early!
- BARCA Pier & Wine Bar - Best view, literally on the water overlooking the Potomac river (should have heaters). Nice tapas and sangria. Recommend trying a small amount of jamon iberico for an appetizer and the gambas al ajillo shrimp tapa… so good. Make a reservation early!
- Fish Market - Plenty of rooms so not usually a long wait - great seafood, obviously. If you like beer get the giant “schooner.”Get the full pound of spiced shrimp for an appetizer, especially if you don’t mind sharing and getting a little messy. Best ever.
- Oak Steakhouse - Best steaks in town, but pricey. Technically in Old Town NORTH, so a little “off the beaten path” - can’t go wrong with any steak on the menu here.
- Landini Brothers - Good Italian staples, great service. If they have the lobster linguini, absolutely order it.
- Gadsby’s Tavern - If you’re a history nerd this is your place. Eat like old Georgey Washington himself - lol!
- Virtue Feed & Grain - In an old historic building. Very cool decor. Varied clever American style food on the slightly upscale but relaxed side of things.