Tucked away on the edge of Old Town near the placid Oronoco Bay Park, A la Lucia serves steady, reliable helpings of house-made pasta and brick-oven pizza to its neighborhood regulars. Look for daily fish and pasta specials, and leave room for the house-made gelato milkshakes. 315 Madison St.; 703-836-5123.
Steampunk meets nautical in this waterfront bar and eatery—an appropriate setting for the local musicians and bands that play here five days a week. The seasonal, seafood-driven menu currently features soft-shell crabs—best enjoyed in the ample outdoor dining area, which, with its up-close Potomac view, is the restaurant’s real attraction. 5 Cameron St.; 703-739-6090.
The quiet enclave, with soft music and wine stacked along the wall, isn’t your typical grab-and-go Vietnamese sandwich joint. Its bánh mì sandwich offerings include catfish and fried-egg-and-mortadella along with more classic combinations. The menu also beckons with summer rolls; rice and vermicelli platters; and traditional pho soups. 407 Cameron St.; 703-549-0800.
Not many places can say that they’ve been serving dinner since 1770. Waiters dress in period costume at the restaurant adjoining the historic tavern turned museum, but expect modern takes on “George Washington’s favorite” duckling and the “gentleman’s pye” of beef and lamb. The first President likely never dined on a grilled-vegetable napoleon, either. 138 N. Royal St.; 703-548-1288.
A chalkboard lists the day’s oyster specials, chosen from 400 Virginia varieties. Much of the seafood-heavy menu is written daily, but expect seasonal favorites, such as locally sourced crab-and-corn tamales and soft-shell crabs. 1026 King St.; 703-739-4265.
Chef Sebastian Tavel and his staff of three (a cheese monger, wine manager, and table server) provide an intimate experience. The bistro menu comes from Amish farms, with seasonal highlights such as lamb merguez and wild-nettle ravioli. True to its name, La Fromagerie also offers customized cheese and meat boards. 1222 King St.; 703-879-2467.
Lena’s family dinner to go (with salad, entrées, and dessert) is perfect for commuters rushing home from the Braddock Road Metro, while its corner patio is a nice place to linger with a wood-fired pizza. Start the week with Meatball & Martini Mondays, when you can get a giant meatball for $7 and one of five signature martinis for the same price. 401 E. Braddock Rd.; 703-683-5330.
A two-month renovation this spring transformed the Majestic from its pared-down dining room to a richly hued, Art Deco–inspired salon setting with art-filled walls. Chef Gaby Hakman’s menu continues to embrace Modern American food, while a new rotisserie allows her to offer daily specials off the spit. 911 King St.; 703-837-9117.
The industrial interiors and photographic murals play to the history of Old Town’s Parker Gray neighborhood, where this restaurant is located. Standouts include marrow burgers and lamb meatballs. The cocktail menu features “house craft” creations such as Mason Punch, with vodka, honey-tarragon syrup, and grapefruit—served in a Mason jar, of course—plus classics like old fashioneds and Manhattans. 728 N. Henry St.; 703-548-8800.
This article appears in our June 2016 issue of Washingtonian.