Vola's Dockside Grill

4.3
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982 reviews
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$30 and under
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Seafood
Vola’s Dockside Grill and the adjacent Hi-Tide Lounge provides a relaxed and casual style seafood restaurant, and a retro-cool, hideaway bar for tourists and locals alike. Named after Vola Lawson, a much-loved and iconic citizen of Old Town, Vola’s Dockside Grill embraces the simpler times and has been designed as a spot that feels as if it is as integral to Old Town as the cobblestone streets. Vola’s is a friendly, familiar place with a raw bar and the largest outdoor riverside patio in Old Town, where the food, atmosphere, service, and experience are always fantastic.
Join us for lunch, happy hour, dinner, or weekend brunch! Vola’s ‘All Day’ menu is based on chef-grade simple, classic seafood and waterfront-inspired foods made with peak season ingredients all while enjoying our expansive patio.*
*Although we do our best to accommodate all seating requests, all reservations are for Vola's inside dining only; we do not take advance reservations on our patio.
What 982 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.2
food
4.4
service
4.2
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
86% of people would recommend it to a friend
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p
Houston
13 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Vacay meal and opportunity to watch baseball playoofs. Great service and good food. Patio dining available woukd b nice if not interested in ball game.

AC
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on 12 October 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food, amazing service, and they have a dinner menu for dogs! Taylor was our server and she was wonderful! We’ll be back again

BH
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on 12 October 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

It is a good place. Oyster poor boy had half fried oysters other half were barely cooked. Portions were generous. Way too loud. I had company from out of town and we could hardly hear each other talk.

LR
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on 11 October 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food was great! Service was great.

DA
Oklahoma City
2 reviews
Dined on 1 October 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful patio dining for our final night in the DC area. We took the boat over and had awesome food with an ocean view!

DM
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined on 29 September 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Above average food and service, will be back in the near future

LP
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on 29 September 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

I was slightly disturbed that even though I arrived earlier than my reservation, I still had to wait and was initially given an option of separate tables.. even with a reservation. Outside of that. The experience was lovely and the food enjoyable.

FR
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 27 September 2019
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 3

Waiter was great. But I don’t think anyone in our party of 7 liked their meal. I had shrimp tacos and it just did not taste good. Something pickled was in it and didn’t do it any favors. Appetizers too tiny to share.

c
Washington DC
22 reviews
Dined on 27 September 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

I've always wanted to try Vola's and was glad to have the chance. The food and service were very good. I had the crabcake sandwich and shared the s' mores sundae for dessert. However, in good weather, request a table outside. The noise level inside makes conversation impossible. I'd probably go back but sit outside if the weather's good.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 22 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Crab dip was among the best I've had and everything tasted great. It's not cheap, however.

OT
Washington DC
26 reviews
Dined on 22 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great day on the dock

JI
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on 22 September 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 4

Ok food, decent view and poor service. Not very accommodating of families with babies. Our baby cannot fit into a high chair correctly and the staff would not allow us to use her carrier to stay asleep in. They forced us to put our carrier somewhere else so we had to totally unpack that and move the baby to lay down on a chair who then woke up crying and creating a less than pleasant meal as our baby was fussy and we all had to take turns to hold the baby in order to eat. The server seemed annoyed of the whole situation and was not very friendly. I will look to spend my money at one of the many other restaurants in the old town area. If you have babies or kids this is not the place to go!!!

GI
London
7 reviews
Dined on 21 September 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Great location that lives up to its name. Good food and service. However, very dark and noisy

NK
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on 21 September 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

Vola’s Dockside Grill is in a very nice location with a great view. Our waiter (I wish I got his name- he wore a green t-shirt) was absolutely fabulous and we didn’t have to wait long for anything. Even though it was super busy (Saturday night), he kept checking on us.

That being said, this place is uncomfortably noisy. One of the noisiest restaurants I have ever been too. Even noisier than a sports pub on game night I would say.

The food was average, in my opinion, though I did like the coconut shrimp.

Not a great place for a date.

CB
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 21 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food, beautiful waterfront view and very friendly service.

M
Miami
3 reviews
Dined on 21 September 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Great site for a Sunday brunch--by the Potomac river with great views of the Alexandria port. Lively crowd inside, so a bit noisy, but as it should be on a sunny Sunday morning. Good service and good food.
The one downside is that the portions may be fine if you are on a diet but, for the rest of us who want to eat until we are no longer hungry, bigger portions are needed. Nothing fancy, just more elements into the "brunch".

SV
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 21 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, awesome view, and good service. The brunch menu was tasty and included something for everyone! The manager stopped by to see how our food and service was and to ensure that we were satisfied. The servers were attentive and our food came out quickly. I'll visit again.

PE
Baltimore
26 reviews
Dined on 19 September 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Even though Vola’s reported us as no-shows to OpenTable, I can attest that hubby and I were there and thoroughly enjoyed happy hour and our dinner. Happy hour prices were excellent! I had a frozen strawberry daiquiri in a big red “Solo” cup (it wasn’t disposable plastic) for $6. Hubby had a draft Yuengling for $3. We shared roasted corn again, plenty of food and it was fine quality throughout. We were too full for dessert but the choices were tempting. We will absolutely return to Vola’s next time we’re in town!

KV
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on 19 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

beautiful location and food is fantastic. Definitely will come back

NS
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on 17 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A great evening spot to bring out out of town guests. We were able to get a reservation on line but then when we arrived it was such a balmy evening that we opted to switch to waiting in the bar for an outside table. The hostess was terrific. Very accommodating. Our table was ready, our orders were taken, they did not rush us and we enjoyed crabcakes, chowder and the fish of the day. Everything was cooked beautifully. Only disappointment was the 'salt and vinegar chips' which had zero salt and vinegar flavor. They're just potato chips. Blah.

DC
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on 16 September 2019
Overall 1food 1service 5ambience 5

I had booked the reservation for lunch. It was too hot to sit outside and we went inside to dine
The restaurant had a very strong odor like a dirty sponge. We had to leave and go next door to dine.

N
Washington DC
34 reviews
Dined on 15 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Taylor the waitress was very nice!

QS
Richmond
7 reviews
Dined on 15 September 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Waitress very friendly pleasant. Area was a bit dirty. Could have been cleaned better.

D
1 review
Dined on 11 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We had a very enjoyable night here. The location and atmosphere are great. The restaurant is casual to fine and it's right on the river, so it has a wonderful view.

K
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on 7 September 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

This experience would have been much better outside. We were a little cramped at our table that was near the bar. The service was a little slow. The food was just okay (shrimp tacos were too salty). Most importantly, the dishes kept piling up on the table. We had to ask for them to be cleared. The waiter had a wonderful attitude, however.

JS
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on 7 September 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 4

Several of the items that we ordered never arrived. The manager on duty did stop by to offer free dessert, but the food quality was such that we elected to go down the street for ice cream. Amazingly, after it became clear to both our server and management that our service was below standard, we experienced even slower service that we had prior to the mishap. The food was average, noise level tolerable if everything else was right. But it wasn't, so we won't be going back here again.

LN
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on 7 September 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 2

It was very loud on a Saturday night. Food was so-so. Service and views are great. If I go again, I would sit outdoors, though my understanding is you can't make a reservation for outside seating.

TM
Philadelphia
12 reviews
Dined on 6 September 2019
Overall 2food 2service 5ambience 3

So.. the fish and chips was great the shrimp tacos were horrible completely over seasoned and the cucumber slaw it was served with was so salty I couldn't finish it.
The jalapeno margarita was delicious!

M
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on 6 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and gorgeous views of the water at a fraction of the price of other waterfront dining options in the area, but the service was the best part- our waitress was so kind and patient with my hard-of-hearing grandparents. Excellent experience, will be back!

EH
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on 6 September 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Really enjoyed a lovely evening outside at Vola. Nice service, great drinks and wine and yummy seafood. My blackened grouper was fresh and spicy and my friends had shrimp and fish tacos and enjoyed both. Street corn was amazing. Only disappointment was the hush puppies which weren’t cooked all the way through, but they were totally eaten anyway! Will definitely visit again and recommend to friends.

DT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on 5 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My first time at Vola’s, and I was very pleased. Previously, I’ve eaten at several other restaurants in Old Towne, which are also good, but now I will place Vola’s on the lust of places to return to

J
New York Area
18 reviews
Dined on 2 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our waitress was very helpful with getting us a table inside once the thunderstorm hit.
Food was very good, as always

OT
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on 2 September 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Food was ok and service was slow

m
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on 2 September 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Blackened grouper sandwich - screaming hot and a little spicy with dynamite old bay fries on the side was perfect with a glass of the sparking rose! Service was terrific!

D
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on 1 September 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

The location is prime in the Old Town area. Great celebration for my husbands birthday. The service was excellent! Our waitress was kind, prompt, and very professional. We had a group of 9 pp they were very kind with assisting us seating for 4 add'l people. The food was average. Calamari & fish/chips were wet and wasn't cooked all the way through. The coconut shrimp was amazing, chicken and blacken cod were average. Key lime pie was good.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 1 September 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 5

The staff were friendly and the views from the outdoor patio were amazing. The service was inconsistent: we had to ask twice for coffee after requesting it with other beverages; appetizers arrived without plates; and our waiter didn’t check the table after the entrees were delivered, so refills were short. The food was lack luster compared to prior visits: the monkey bread had barely any dulce de leche, and the biscuits were dry and without condiments. The eggs and hash browns were cooked well. The views and outdoor atmosphere were great, but the inattentive service brought the overall experience down.

JB
Austin
3 reviews
Dined on 1 September 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

Shrimp & grits were excellent as well as the crab cake Benedict. Loved using biscuit instead of English muffin for the Benedict. Service was a little slow but all in all a good experience!!

OT
1 review
Dined on 31 August 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Love Vola’s food but we had a drink ahead of time at the HiTide Lounge (bar area) and the entire place smelled like it was wiped down with a stinky dish rag. We ate outside. Not sure I would have stayed if we had to eat inside

KL
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on 31 August 2019
Overall 3food 5service 5ambience 1

It was SO hot in the restaurant tonight!! Even though the food was good, we couldn’t wait to get out of there because we were sweating the whole time, my friend was there for the first time and I could tell she was miserable. Not sure I’ll go back ☹️

KH
1 review
Dined on 31 August 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

The food was overpriced but okay, But the restaurant had absolutely zero air circulation where we were-you were grateful for the big of breeze a waiter created as he tried to get through the tables. It was also extremely loud inside—it was hard to have a conversation. It as very uncomfortable and, I doubt we’ll be back.

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