Cafes in Old Town North

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Though people no longer have to cross continental boundaries to sample exotic flavors, the average spice rack still tends to lack diversity. At the Spice & Tea Exchange of Annapolis, a staff of flavor-seeking specialists stocks gourmet seasonings and spices, cooking herbs, sugars, and sea salts to expand their customers' cooking horizons. In addition to fresh herbs and flavorings, the team designs signature seasoning powders that infuse dishes with medleys of chili, savory hints of cheese, or the essence of smoke. They also carry an assortment of gourmet teas, which are good to keep around the house in case a local king decides to stop by.

320 King St
Alexandria,
VA
US

A renovated colonial warehouse, Union Street Public House evokes a sense of history while spoiling diners with a fresh selection of signature entrees and 15 on-tap beers. A cavalry of potatoes roasted with oregano vinaigrette holds new york strip steak prisoner ($27.95); grill-fellow barbecue pork belly cavorts with risotto, dixie bell tomato, and garlic ragu ($21.95). Customers can order a half-dozen oysters on the half-shell ($10.50 for locals; out-of-towners pay market price) to share as they await a serving of tipsy mussels in steamed riesling with lemongrass and coconut ($18.95). Craft beers such as Yuengling Lager ($4.25) and Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale ($4.95) help troubled pint glasses overcome existential feelings of emptiness. Happy hour runs Monday - Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., ensuring that parched mouths are watered at half price.

121 S Union St
Alexandria,
VA
US

Food and wine make for a great tag-team duo, assuaging stress while filling the belly with scrumptious sustenance. At GRAPE + BEAN, patrons can sample wines, small plates, and large plates to satisfy the pickiest of sippers and tasters. A knowledgeable staff helps customers pick out palate-soothing drinks and eats amid an inviting atmosphere that features original brick walls, exposed beams, and rustic wood finishes. Sample tasty bites off the lunch, brunch, or dinner menus, which offer selections such as the rosemary ham with melted aged gruyere ($11), truffled egg toast ($12.50), and duck confit with white-bean casserole ($22). Or, opt for smaller plates, such as artichoke with pecorino, fresh mint, and basil ($9) and organic heirloom tomato with serrano ham ($9).

118 S Royal St
Alexandria,
VA
US

Bread & Chocolate hand crafts breakfast and French pastries for patrons throughout the Washington DC metro area and has done so for 30 years. We also serve Washington's "Best Brunch" as well as lunch and dinner in our unique cafe environment. Join us for a coffee and a sweet, a savory or just take in the atmosphere.

611 King St
Alexandria,
VA
US

Inspired by early 20th century chili parlors, Hard Times Cafe aims to preserve the tradition of delectable, hearty fare served in a friendly, lively community eatery. Elevate taste buds to new heights with an order of legendary grilled wings in one of five flavors, including original Texas, chili-lime, honey-barbecue, and eternity ($8.99 per order). Hard Times Cafe serves four distinct varieties of chili. The authentic chili mac is served over spaghetti with your choice of accouterments ($7.49–$8.89). Burgers, sliders, and chili dogs are easily transportable by hand or hovercraft, and savory steaks and other suppertime favorites provide more refined nourishment options. To reward you for your literary prowess, every Groupon reader who texts HTCGRP to 59925 gets an additional coupon good for one order of bar nachos. Combine this offer with a Groupon, or save it for a subsequent visit.

1404 King St
Alexandria,
VA
US

Growing up, Chakra Café’s owner Monisha lived two different lives. At school, she was known by her given name and spent lunch hours twirling spaghetti on a fork. But at home, Monisha’s Bengali parents only referred to her by her nickname, Hashi–or laughter–and mealtimes meant scooping up lamb curry with a piece of luchi. The duality of Monisha’s two worlds–and the food she was exposed to–left a lasting impression and is the driving force behind the Café’s menu.

Inside Chakra Café’s kitchen, chefs marry Indian flavors with culinary traditions from around the world, using recipes adapted from Monisha’s mother, according to a Patch.com article. Traditional Bengali dishes such as begun bhartha–roasted eggplant flavored with green mango–are served solo or stuffed inside quesadillas with smoked fontina cheese, roasted pine nuts, and raitha yogurt sauce. Other Indian staples are also Americanized, from the tandoori chicken that tops flatbread pizzas to spaghetti paired with lamb meatballs and a whisper of ghee. Each item on the menu is clearly marked as halal, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free, making it easy to decipher the dishes without meat and the ones that require each bite to be chewed 32 times.

600 Franklin St
Alexandria,
VA
US