Barca Pier and Wine Bar also offers dock service. Pull up to Robinson Landing to be assisted by the Robinson Landing dockmaster, for an hourly fee.
In the Before Times, it was easy to know what to do in the face of extreme weather: Dine indoors. But now, as the delta variant of the covid-19 virus continues to work its way through the country, many diners are still leery of the dining room.
So what’s a hungry Alexandrian to do when extreme heat or wet weather take their toll?
Answer: Choose their locations carefully.
Barca, 2 Pioneer Mill Way
It may be broiling-hot in the sun, but the weather on Barca’s pier is nice and cool. The Potomac River certainly assists in this climate control, and the gauzy rooftop pitches in too. (Pro tip: Bring sunglasses or a hat regardless – the sun is still quite bright!) So with the temperature adjustments out of the way, you can enjoy the food, starting with an array of tapas (don’t miss the papas bravas and its decadent aioli) and perhaps moving on to a sandwich. The weather is positively crying out for a glass of white wine – to complete your meal, don’t deny the call.
Yunnan by Potomac, 814 N. Fairfax St.
Is the drizzly weather getting you down? The tents outside Yunnan by Potomac may not be able to withstand a deluge, but they can certainly handle some light rain. (Your trusty “Appetite” columnist has tested this out herself.) And the mixian specialities at Yunnan by Potomac also fit the rainy mood: With steaming bowls of brothy soup as well as salads and lettuce wraps, noodles are at the forefront of the proceedings. Do yourself a favor and order some bao buns and dumplings to accompany the feast and you’ll chase those storm clouds right out.
Cafe 44, 44 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 401
With Café 44, you’ve got weather protection in two different ways: The overhang on the balcony both shades from sun and keeps you dry from rain. Feeling the heat? Cool off with a refreshing cocktail (the Mule 44, a takeoff of the Moscow Mule, is always a winner) and then dive into your meal. The flatbreads are always a hit – go simple with a Quattro Formaggi or more complex with the Garden Truffle – and don’t ignore the entrée salads, from the seafood Cobb to the Potomac peach.
Lena’s, 401 E. Braddock Road
Since its arrival on scene last year, Lena’s Oasis has taken outdoor dining to a new level. The Oasis takes diners to a place far, far away, while never leaving the city limits (or darkening the doorstep of an indoor restaurant). In fact, diners never leave the parking deck, taking up residence on the top floor. But don’t worry – this isn’t a tailgating experience as much as it is a fine-dining excursion. The space is transformed into a feast for the senses, and the food a feast for the taste buds. You’ll spy some of Lena’s favorites – the giant meatball, anyone? – alongside an array of pastas, pizzas and salads. It’s been a long year. Live it up.
Hope Nelson is the author of “Classic Restaurants of Alexandria” and owns the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at www.kitchenrecessionista.com. Email her any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.