The Columbia Firehouse

4.3
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2131 reviews
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$31 to $50
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American
In 1871, the City of Alexandria introduced the Columbia Steam Engine Fire Company. The outfit initially occupied Star Firehouse on the east side of the 100 block of South St. Asaph Street until 1883, when a new station was built for Columbia just across the street at 109 South St. Asaph.

126 years later, Alexandria’s Neighborhood Restaurant Group relaunched this historic and beautifully preserved property as Columbia Firehouse, a sumptuous modern American brasserie and bar located in the heart of Alexandria’s Old Town.

Columbia Firehouse stands as a historic, beautifully preserved piece of Old Town’s heritage. From the street, the building has changed little while the interior has given way to sumptuous dining rooms on four levels, an atrium an outdoor patio and an exquisitely detailed barroom.
What 2131 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
4.1
food
4.4
service
4.4
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Quiet
76% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 4

Food was Luke warm and steaks overcooked. Bill wasn’t split appropriately and waiter rolled his eyes when asked to correct it. I’m so disappointed because I’ve been coming here for years when In town and always loved it! The ambiance is super cool in an old firehouse but .... won’t be going there next time!!!

HD
Washington DC
41 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabian was our waiter and he was great. He made the whole experience very pleasant. Food was good and we will be back.

M
1 review
Dined on 6 October 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Great server - Fabian
Meal came quickly.
Steak and Dinner Salad very good.
Gaspaso was way too salty.

SW
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on 6 October 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 5

The location and ambiance was great... but the restaurant failed to deliver on quality food and service. We were given chipped coffee to drink out of (only half full with coffee); when we asked for refills, the coffee we received had “floaters” in it, which forced the brewing of a new pot... but not clean nor fresh mugs! The food was of the quality you might find in a well run dinner. It came with fancy titles, but lacked the pizazz. All in all, it was a mediocre showing and not something that bears repeating.

DS
1 review
Dined on 5 October 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server was absolutely lovely! The food was incredible. Will certainly return.

T
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on 4 October 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

Service and ambiance was good. Disappointed with food. I had shrimp cocktail, garden salad, and shrimp fettuccine. All of it was very bland and tasteless. My spouse had the shrimp cocktail, salad, and pork chop. She indicated the pork chop was good. So overall/or in comparison, we were not impressed with taste of the food. The next night we ate at Patsy in Tyson, no comparison, Food was much better.

BK
St. Louis
13 reviews
Dined on 1 October 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We had great service, and our meal was solid. I would certainly recommend this restaurant. Also got to explore the VA wines

OT
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on 30 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabian was excellent!

B
1 review
Dined on 30 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food, great atmosphere, our server Chris did a great job explaining the menu, and making recommendations, we came for my friends birthday, and they said they haven't been to a restaurant of this quality in, they don't know how long. Absolutely loved it

L
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on 24 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best Filet Mignon I've had all year. Perfectly good, amazing taste. Service was great, menu had great variety, but not too many items. Perfect night.

EP
Atlantic City
12 reviews
Dined on 23 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Enjoyed the good food and service. This is an area that has lots of dining places This is one of them.
I will return.

A
Minneapolis
2 reviews
Dined on 23 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Columbia Firehouse had amazing service and good food. Our waiter went above and beyond to make us feel special on our anniversary.

MK
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on 21 September 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Reliable for varied and appetizing menu. The staff are consistently friendly and attentive. The bar area gets a bit crowded and lively. The main dining room is spacious and comfortable with a pleasant ambiance and moderate noise level that makes conversation easy. Highly recommend.

J
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on 18 September 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Great service! Loved the Oaxacan mezcal/tequila cocktail and well chosen list of wines by the glass. Beer list is solid too. Tasty entrees, shared calimari app just ok. Like the cozy look of the booths in the atrium but the A/C was blowing right on us...Brrrrr!

s
Raleigh
8 reviews
Dined on 14 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great time! Steak and fish and chips were spot on. Very quiet and for awhile we had the room we were in to ourselves. Loved the cast iron shrimp appetizer

JC
1 review
Dined on 13 September 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

beautiful Restaurant, service was excellent, food was very good

E
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on 13 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service was friendly and food was delicious. Good choices and the atmosphere is always cozy.

JT
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on 13 September 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

Service was good limited menu

R
Washington DC
60 reviews
Dined on 7 September 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

Service was excellent as was the ambiance. The food choices and drink selections were nothing out of the ordinary. Love the ambiance of the place though.

OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on 6 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Tuna tacos appetizer and salmon entree were great!

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

We were celebrating our son’s 24th birthday. It was a great brunch.

FS
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on 31 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Nice but not too fancy, good menu, food was very good, quiet enough to have a conversation, service was good.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 25 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

They provide great service and the food is consistently on point.

f
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 24 August 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 5

Great atmosphere and great ambience...Food absolutely average or even below...

OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on 24 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was wonderful! The service and food were great. Lighting was perfect!

JR
1 review
Dined on 21 August 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Met friends from out of town and had a great time! One of our guests had food allergies and the chef came out to make sure everything was prepared safely. Thank you!

F
New England
12 reviews
Dined on 17 August 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The waiter was great. Very attentive and courteous. The food was very good. Enjoyed Restaurant Week here. Overall, the starters and entree options were great, but wish there were more dessert options. Enjoyed the beer. (Groupon was also offering 20% off, so it was a great deal.)

T
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on 10 August 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Service was great. Sat outside, comfortable with fan. Food was good. Portion of entrée was small. 4 scallops is not very filling. Could not really taste the pesto. Table next to us got 1 biscuit and there were 2 of them which was funny, they rectified it right away. Shrimp appetizer was very good.

CB
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on 9 August 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 5

Service was less than stellar being ignored most if the time. They good wasn’t impressive at all. My steak had zero seasoning on it and I had to ask for salt and pepper to make it edible. My husband’s burger was not cooked as he asked. We will not be back.

GB
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on 4 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A lovely restaurant in Old Town Alexandria built in, as the name suggests, an old firehouse. The dining room, sitting in the glass-covered space that was once the shed for the fire engine, has lovely ambiance, and the food is delicious and reasonably priced for a restaurant of this sort.

JD
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on 28 July 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 1

The street presence of Columbia Firehouse is lovely. That’s all it has going, however.

Service: With the exception of the enthusiastic gentleman that kept refilling our glasses, the staff was not very attentive. There seemed to be something a little off with them all. Just standing around and looking at everyone with an odd side eye. No warm greeting when entering. Just cold and odd.

Food: Basic. Actually, on the low end of basic. If I were eating this brunch at the holiday inn, I would say the food was okay. The drinks were watered down and didn’t meet the elaborate description on the menu. The classic eggs Benedict was very basic- but with stale muffins and thin pre-sliced sandwich ham. The bacon (a 5$ add on) consisted of small greasy pieces. The waffle with “fresh seasonal fruit” was actually just a waffle with spray-can whip cream and brown cherry compote smeared across the top. The “Southern Benedict” tasted like gravy flavored with taco-seasonings. The coffee was mediocre. It’s almost like a menu consultant developed a really impressive, hip menu without consulting the inept kitchen staff (“chef”).

Value: awful. Bill for three people with the items above was $120. Outrageous. Almost any other restaurant in town would be less, and a better experience.

Ambiance: gross. Everything is dated and needs replacing/ cleaning.

The worst part is that we were hungry by the time we got home.

Avoid this place until the next restaurant comes in.

DC
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined on 27 July 2019
Overall 2food 1service 5ambience 3

Our food was very bland, prime rib full of grissle, seafood fettucine had only 4 shrimp. Service was great but we will not go back.

B
Sacramento
2 reviews
Dined on 25 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Columbia Firehouse was recommended to us and we found it to be everything and more. the food, atmosphere and service were the BEST.

BC
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on 20 July 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

My first time here. The food was outstanding! My wife's mussels were excellent as was my apple cider brined porkchop. There were very tasty biscuits provided before the meal. The server was good but not great. The noise level was at times a little loud but not overwhelming. I recommend this restaurant.

T
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on 20 July 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food! A little pricey for my taste, but obviously that doesn't apply to everyone.

AC
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on 19 July 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 4

Been wanting to try this place for a while because the inside looks so beautiful. However, I was very disappointed in the food. The calamari appetizer was barely enough for one person let alone two to share. The burger and fish and chips were way too greasy that it was almost impossible to eat. There are so many other great restaurants in old town so I will not be returning.

l
Oklahoma City
3 reviews
Dined on 16 July 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Arrived during happy hour, and had to continually get up and walk to the bar to get drinks and food. Waiter would only serve food and drinks that were titled “happy hour.” I found this very strange and inconvenient. Place was nice, but there are lots of other nice places in Alexandria worth a visit.

MC
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on 14 July 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Really good food and service was good. Had to wait a little to be seated despite having a reservation, but only ~5min. Definitely would recommend the Benedicts over the waffles.

JD
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on 13 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I used to live in Alexandria in the mid to late 1980's & ate at your fine restaurant when it was still operated by Portner's. Thus when I decided to pay Alexandria a visit this past weekend, it was a given that I would once again enjoy a meal at your restaurant. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. The food at your fine restaurant is as good if not better than when you were Portner's. Your staff was warm, friendly & very helpful. The staff we had helping us was Chelsea, our waitress, I believe her name was Selena, position unknown & Roger the restaurant Manager. They are all very nice & extremely helpful!!!!!! The only disappointment I had was that the evening we visited you did not have Crab Cakes on the menu. We were told you only offer them from time to time as a special. Perhaps it is time to consider putting them back on you menu as a regular Seafood Selection.

We will be coming down again in December for the Alexandria Christmas Walk & will definitely be enjoying another fine meal & very pleasant evening at your restaurant.

TV
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on 9 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, prompt service, terrific indoor or outdoor setting.

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