Alexandria Restaurants to Warm Up When Weather Turns Cold

Alexandria Restaurants to Warm Up When Weather Turns Cold

The dawn of November doesn’t necessarily jibe with 80-degree days, but by all accounts, the unseasonably warm weather may finally be coming to an end in favor of a cool autumnal chill. Here are three restaurants that are sure to get the chill out.

Hard Times Café, 1404 King St.

When it comes to cold-weather meals, there are few more quintessential — or substantive — than chili. Which just so happens to be Hard Times Café’s stock-in-trade. From spicy Terlingua Red to sweet Cincinnati to a vegetarian version that doesn’t miss a beat, diners of all stripes are welcome at the table.

A bowl of the chili of your choice is great by itself; paired with spaghetti in a Chili Mac, or corn chips in a Frito Chili Pie, the piping-hot stew shines. Don’t care for chili in the first place? The café’s got you covered anyway. Try a burger, the barbecue chicken sandwich, or even a salad — and wash the whole thing down with a Hard Times Lager to complete the meal.

Caphe Banh Mi, 407 Cameron St.

Akin to chili, a bowl of piping-hot pho is sure to warm the body and spirit on a cold day. Whether beefy or meatless, the brothy, noodle-laden Vietnamese staple offers diners a bowl of comfort in an instant — and in terms of pho purveyors, you could do much worse than Caphe Banh Mi.

The small restaurant has earned quite a following since it opened several years back; as evidence, one simply needs to walk along the 400 block of Cameron Street on nearly any evening to see the gaggle of patrons waiting outside for their chance at a table. But the meal is worth the wait. The pho is hearty and teeming with flavor, and the other menu items, such as the various renditions of vermicelli, are equally satiating.

Dishes of India, 1510 Belle View Blvd.

Spicy and full of flavor, the dishes at Dishes of India provide a different kind of warmth for the wintertime, but it’s a comforting experience just the same. Tucked away in an unassuming downstairs spot within the Belle View Shopping Center, the restaurant opens up an unexpected world.

From rich, hearty channa masala — chickpeas in a sauce teeming with Indian spices — to vindaloo biryani, a rice-based dish incorporated tandoori-roasted chicken and a spicy sauce, Dishes of India’s menu is sure to warm you up in a multitude of ways, from the temperature of the dishes to the spiciness inherent in each. Order some naan bread to take the edge off, and maybe a saucer of rice pudding to cool your taste buds back down for dessert, and you’ll be ready to face the winter months head-on.

Hope Nelson owns and operates the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at Email her any time at