Dinner parties can be a wonderful way to connect with friends and family, but sometimes it’s nice to scale back for a more intimate meal with a loved one. If you happen to be out and about in Virginia’s Old Town when the desire for a quiet meal strikes, here are a few restaurants offering both intimate and delicious dining experiences.
King & Rye
King and Rye is one of many restaurants in Alexandria, VA that was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They embraced the dining challenges presented by social distancing and created an outdoor Winter Wonderland Courtyard Igloo dining experience. What began as a public safety precaution has become a local favorite. The igloos feature sleek and comfortable decorations that encourage guests to linger over seasonal cocktails. Diners sit comfortably under the stars just blocks from the Old Town Alexandria waterfront. King and Rye elevated the experience further by partnering with world-renowned champagne house, Veuve Clicquot, and creating a special “igloo” menu of indulgent dishes.
Igloo dining is incredibly popular, so be sure to call well ahead of time to make a reservation. Each igloo can accommodate parties of up to eight, but the cozy atmosphere is perfect for smaller parties who want to settle in for a classic Southern dish in a unique Old Town Alexandria outdoor dining space.
History buffs will love a quiet meal in Gadsby’s Tavern’s colonial dining rooms. The tavern has been a fine dining destination since 1770. Notable patrons included several of America’s Founding Fathers: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, and James Monroe. The tavern is now home to both a restaurant and a museum outlining the storied role the tavern played in the political, social, and cultural life of the colonial seaport community.
Dedicated to preserving the look and feel of colonial taverns, Gadsby’s Tavern is perfect for a candlelight dinner. Chandeliers provide ambient lighting, and the elegance of 19th Century architecture and design has been thoughtfully preserved. For the full tavern experience, try George Washington’s Favorite: roasted half duck with corn pudding.
Le Refuge Restaurant
Established in 1983, Le Refuge has the distinction of being Old Town’s oldest French restaurant. Jean-Francois Chaufour opened Le Refuge with his wife a few years after moving to the United States from France, bringing with him an unparalleled knowledge of French Cuisine and wine pairing. Le Refuge brings the décor, menu, and classic energy of a busy French Bistro to Old Town. Lunch and dinner menus feature classic French cuisine, such as escargot, as well as dishes prepared with modern and local flair. Avocado on toast may be more well known, but avocado stuffed with crabmeat is a delicious combination that mustn’t be missed. Stop by this local, family-run institution for French delicacies served in intimate, rustic surroundings.
Lovers of Italian cuisine will feel like they’ve been transported directly to Italy at Il Porto. Since 1973, Il Porto has been an Alexandria favorite for traditional Italian dishes. Every dish at Il Porto is made from scratch every day, from the pasta to the cannoli. It’s a labor of love, and diners can certainly taste the extra effort. Sturdy stone walls and an inviting fireplace offer a rugged, yet comfortable atmosphere to enjoy a meal and an after-dinner drink of wine, beer, or an expertly crafted cocktail.
There is no shortage of unique dining experiences in Old Town. Take some time to recharge after a day of sightseeing and shopping and reconnect with your travel companions over a good meal in a restaurant that encourages you to take a moment to appreciate the finer things in life.