Appetite: Get Some Fresh Air: 3 Spots for Al Fresco Dining in Alexandria

Appetite: Get Some Fresh Air: 3 Spots for Al Fresco Dining in Alexandria

Outdoor dining has been a necessity for restaurant-goers over the past year, but now that the weather is warming up (hello, surprise 85-degree April days!), it’s becoming a luxury, as well. Brunch, lunch, dinner – these restaurants are great bets any time of the day (or week).

Chadwicks, 203 Strand St.

Chadwicks has expanded its outdoor space to an area across The Strand from the restaurant itself, and the final result is a spacious, distanced dining experience that still garners plenty of attention from the waitstaff. Haven’t been out to eat in awhile? Don’t worry – all your favorites are still on the menu, with a few new flavors (such as the Flaco Taco Salad) joining the crew as well. Order up a beer from the restaurant’s extensive list and toast to good weather.

The Garden, 1503 Mount Vernon Ave.

What could herald a more appropriate dawn of warm weather than a trip to The Garden in Del Ray? Set up in the footprint of an old plant nursery, The Garden is practically made for good weather. Step One: Make a reservation online in advance. Step Two: Wear your mask when you’re not at your table. And that just leaves one more step: Decide what you want to eat from the restaurant’s festive and fresh menu (beer-steamed mussels? Fried chicken banh mi sandwiches? Beignets for a weekend brunch?) and feast.

Fontaine, 119 S. Royal St.

Walk along Royal Street one block off King and you’ll find the cutest little sidewalk seating anywhere in Old Town. Fontaine was an early adopter of expanded outdoor dining in the face of pandemic, and its popularity hasn’t waned. And why should it? The crepes are served up fresh in all their sweet or savory goodness; the salads are vibrant enough to feel downright healthy; and the entrees are hearty enough to last you for hours after lunch or dinner. Order a glass of wine to savor throughout the meal and take a deep relaxing breath.

Hope Nelson is the author of “Classic Restaurants of Alexandria” and owns the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at Email her any time at