Vola’s Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge is a restaurant on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria. The menu features fresh seafood, tacos, and American cuisine. People also love coming to Vola’s for beer, wine, and cocktails. The Dockside Grill sits along the waterfront behind the Old Torpedo Factory. It has an open air casual atmosphere where diners and their dogs cans sit under large umbrellas, eat delectable food, and stare at the water and boats. The Hi-Tide Lounge is their indoor establishment where diners can eat and drink while sitting in a mid-century modern styled atmosphere. Vola’s offers an all day menu for lunch and dinner, a weeknight Happy Hour with bar drink and oyster specials, and they serve brunch every Saturday and Sunday.
My husband, dog, and I went to visit Vola’s Dockside Grill for a weekday lunch. They were very COVID-19 conscious. All the staff wore masks and all the servers had on gloves. Each table was given a large bottle of hand sanitizer for patrons to use. We used a QR code to access the menu with minimal contact.
We started our meal off with the Crab Dip appetizer. The dip featured lump blue crab, pimentos, sharp cheddar, and everything crackers. We dipped tortilla chips into the dip. The pimentos really made the crab dip have a unique flavor to it. It was creamy and decadent. I would say it would be best shared with four people, having only two people share it was not enough.
At the suggestion of our server, my husband ordered Vola’s Chopped Salad and he asked for shrimp on top. The salad consisted of iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, red onions, apple wood smoked bacon, a hard boiled egg, cheddar, and garlic croutons. The salad was dressed with both honey mustard and ranch dressing. The lettuce was crisp. All the toppings were well prepared. The dressings made the salad taste both cool and tangy. The added grilled shrimp was well seasoned and gave the salad an upscale vibe.
I ordered the Beef Alambre Street Tacos. The plate comes with three tacos which are served with red rice and frijoles rojos (red beans). The beef sat on a bed of vegetable escabeche, and were covered with queso cotija (cojita cheese), and cilantro. Everything was wrapped in a delectable tortilla. The beef had a lovely citrus taste to it and all the flavors melded well together. The escabeche gave the taco a nice crunchy texture to it. The red rice and red beans flavored similarly to a New Orleans gumbo instead of something one would find at a Latin American restaurant. The rice and red beans were stewed with smoked sausage and had almost a soupy texture. It was a bold choice that worked well with the tacos.
The tacos were made by the Riverside Taco Company, a food truck not far from the Dockside Grill. They are an adorable silver cylindrical style food truck that serves tacos, fajita bowls, and other specials. When I asked our server why the menu included food from the food truck he explained that when COVID-19 affected Vola’s indoor dining business they needed a way to adapt to the changing times. They opened a food truck to keep their business afloat, and then when restaurant dining reopened in Alexandria they incorporated the food truck’s menu into the restaurant’s all day menu.
One of my favorite parts of the experience was definitely the view from the Dockside Grill. I could see little ducks swimming in the water and people happily sitting on their boats. It was so lovely to feel the cool breeze and listen the water. The water made the atmosphere so calm and peaceful.
I also enjoyed how friendly the restaurant was to my dog. We were allowed to have him tied to our table. Our server brought out a dog bowl of water for him to drink. I always think that it is a nice touch when a restaurant brings out a bowl meant for dogs, because it means they had dogs dining with patrons in mind. Usually when I take my dog to a restaurant with me he will be served water from a take-out plastic bowl. I really appreciate how accommodating they were for my four-legged friend.
The food was delicious and the vibe of the Dockside Grill was so friendly. We will definitely be coming back!
The Torpedo Factory,
Old Town Waterfront
101 N. Union Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
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