100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 64 The Majestic

The dining room at The Majestic in Alexandria, Virginia. Photograph by Chris Campbell.

There’s a reason you don’t see more high-end diners. It’s a tricky genre to make work. Upscale the cooking too much and you risk losing the unassuming feel of a diner. Don’t upscale it enough and people are likely to wonder what they’re paying for.

Cathal Armstrong strikes the proper balance. At his retro-style Old Town restaurant, he and chef Shannon Overmiller whip up a deft brand of comfort food for their audience of big-city sophisticates while being mindful that the fare should have heft and soul. If you’ve grown weary of dishes that promise to dazzle but rarely deliver, the superlative Caesar (prepared tableside) and perfect fried chicken will come as a welcome relief.

The Majestic doesn’t claim to be fine dining, but the cocktail list is first-rate and the staff as well drilled as they come.

Don’t miss:

  • Chicken-liver mousse
  • Country pâté
  • Meatloaf
  • Chesapeake seafood stew
  • Grilled whole fish
  • Coconut cake
  • Banana-pudding cake
  • Churros with Mexican chocolate

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.