About Vola's Dockside Grill
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 try and do our best to accommodate all seating requests, all reservations are for Vola's Inside-Dining only.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Seafood, American, Comfort Food
Hours of Operation:
Vola’s Dockside Grill:
Monday-Thursday 11:30am - 11pm
Friday 11:30am - 12am
Saturday 10am -12am
Sunday 10am - 11pm
Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 4pm - 7pm
Brunch: Saturday-Sunday 10am - 3pm
Hi-Tide Lounge: Monday-Friday 3pm - 1am
Saturday- 12pm - 12am
Sunday- 12pm -11pm
Friday 3 pm - 2am
Monday-Friday: 3pm - 7pm
$30 and under
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
There are several public hourly parking garages within two blocks of the restaurant, and hourly street parking is also available on adjacent streets.
The free Old Town Trolley stops in front of the Hi-Tide Lounge at the corner of King and Union Streets, just steps from our entrance. It carries passengers from that point to the King Street Metro station. The Trolley runs every 10 minutes from 10am-10:15pm Sunday-Wednesday, and from 10am-12am Thursday-Saturday.
Bar/Lounge, Beer, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Vola's Dockside Grill Ratings and Reviews
Made a reservation at the last minute; staff was more than accommodating. We really enjoyed the service from the hostess to the wait staff, to the restaurant manager. The brunch menu is limited but everyone in our group found something to eat and truly enjoyed our meals. My friends from out of state returned the next day for another meal just because they liked it so. This restaurant is located on the waterfront but tucked away on the first floor of the Torpedo Art Factory. So it is easy to miss if you aren't looking for it. But that's what we liked about it. Definitely will be returning!
First, our waitress, Christina, was awesome! She gave us honest recommendations of what to get and what not to get, had a great personality and her service was outstanding. The restaurant was super dark, so dark we had to use our phones to read the menu, but when the manager stopped by our table and we told him about it, he did turn up the lights and we could actually see what we were eating. The appetizers were really good (calamari and deviled eggs), but the crab cakes weren't that great. The manhattan and bourbon slushy were fantastic though!
This was the only reservation we were able to get in Old Town Alexandria for New Year's Eve, even though we booked it over a month in advance. It was also our wedding anniversary so we were looking for somewhere a bit special. Vola's was fine, it was even good, but it wasn't really what we'd had in mind for a special occasion as it has the feel of a sports bar. We asked to be seated in a quieter more secluded area, which they did. The only real complaint we had was the timing on our meal. We'd ordered the conch fritters first, then lobster bisque, then we decided to share their NYE surf&turf special. The soups came first, and right after, the fritters. We should've said something then, as I suspected that the entrée would be right behind, and sure enough, we'd just finished the soup and started tucking into our fritters, when here came the steak and lobster tail. We did tell the waitress (Angelina) that we were feeling rushed and she said it was her fault and there was no rush at all and the kitchen was just turning out things quickly because it wasn't busy yet. So they held the entrée (under a heat lamp, I'm sure), until we finished our fritters. I know restaurants do this on purpose - to turn and burn their tables - but I find it incredibly annoying. When you're seated at an itty bitty table for two - watching all your food pile up and get cold when you want to enjoy a somewhat leisurely dinner that you're paying top dollar for, well, it's just... disappointing. Overall, my review is honestly "good" - I would go here again, just not for this kind of occasion.
A big reason we chose this restaurant was the great reviews it has recieved. We did not come away agreeing with the consensus. In fact, we were quite disappointed. I ordered the lobster roll. The flavor was quite bland and for the $24 price the sandwich was very small (the bun could not have been more than 4" long) and the scarce amount of meat was rather rubbery. My husband ordered the crabcake sandwich which was also quite small for the price and, in my husband's words, tasted 'meh'. Both sandwiches came with cole slaw which was pretty bad with the cabbage being very limp and soggy. The only redeeming item for both of us was the old bay fries which were hot & slightly crispy with just the right amount of seasoning. Our server was okay but the restaurant was far from busy yet we had to remind her several times to bring items we had requested.
The steamed mussels, crab cakes, and shrimp tacos were all very good and I would return for their seafood menu.
Ordinarily we would not have ordered dessert in a bar, but it was Christmas. We ordered two items to go. The bread pudding was dry, hard, and tasteless, and the apple crisp was made with canned apples and had very little crisp to it.
So go to Vola's for the seafood and casual atmosphere, but find dessert somewhere else.
My husband and I dined at Vola's and enjoyed a local gem. Our server, Shannon, was friendly, efficient, and was gracious about taking feedback. We ate indoors as it was cold that evening.
I had the seafood chowder which was Full of mussels, branzino, and shrimp. Quite generous. They could have used a higher caliber bread - such as sour dough or semolina - to stand up to the tomato base.
My husband had the shrimp and grits, which he enjoyed. Me, not so much.
Even with these minor flaws, we will return!
The dining experience at Vola's was mediocre. The staff we encountered from the manager to the host to the receptionist to the server were very friendly. That was probably the best part. The food that my husband and I ordered was sub-par bar food. My dinner was the fried chicken. It was a bit soggy and too salty as were the sides of corn and fries. It definitely wasn't a meal worth $18 and neither was the meal my husband ordered, according to him. Nothing special. Also, our server was SO busy the night we came and he may have had way too many tables. He didn't bring me butter when I asked and was hardly available to our table during the entire meal. We observed him moving rapidly between the indoor tables and outdoor patio tables oftentimes throughout. How can any one server responsible for so many table be attentive to any one table throughout their dining experience? We had to ask the bar for items we needed.
We sat outside on the dock with heaters and blankets. it was so cool to watch the boat parade under the full moon while having a delicious dinner. The coconut shrimp were the best I've had and the grouper was also excellent. The service was great too and we will certainly go back. it's a lovely, fun place with good drinks and ambiance.
I did a search on Open Table for Brunch locations and Vola's popped up. Decided to give it a try and really glad we did. Staff was extremely friendly and knowledgeable. Food was delicious. I had the shrimp & grits and he had the crabcake benedict - both of our meals were devoured. The brunch drinks are a great deal - buy one for full price and refills for $4, and you can mix and match! We will definitely be going back.
Amazing service from the manager and waiter. We found the quietest table was a high top by the bar. Food was delicious and arrived promptly. Seafood stew a little bland but nicely cooked. Not a place I would pay $17 for a glass of red wine, but the less expensive options were fine. All the great reviews from friends in Alexandria proved to be true. A much-needed addition to the Old Town waterfront.
I can see why this place is so popular. This was my first time (Sunday Brunch) and beside the great food and cocktails, the service was fantastic ! Several staff members constantly patrolled making sure all was good and we were well taken care of and did it without being intrusive. Thank you for your hospitality and kudo's to a well trained staff !
This is just your typical tourist trap type of restaurant, they have a great location in a tourist area, so they don't have to worry about the food, people will come there because they are out of town and this place has a great view
Enjoyed dinner Saturday evening. Liked the menu selections, had good service and well prepared food. Friends had raved about their Sunday brunch , so we decided to give it a try. While I may not rate it as a fine dining experience, we will certainly return. Our foursome ordered fish and shrimp tacos, scallops, and fish and chips. Excellent !!
Ok I get it people say "its my birthday" when it really isn't. But in this case it really was! That day, that hour 59 years ago, I was born. Not only did my server not care about it she seemed to go out of her way to not really care that we were even there - celebration or not. I chose this location because I am a sea-foody. The oysters and seafood stew were really great. So back to the birthday, a suggestion, "Oh I heard its your Bday the chef gave you an oyster free!" (Cost to the establishment maybe 50 cents and a repeat customer, worth $100+. Dessert? You don't need to sing to me - but here is a free cup of tea on a chilly night. The host knew it was my bday and the open-table reservation knew. The best personality? The cheerful young lady who handed out the blankets for the chilly waterfront diners. I know people can have an off night, but no sugar or spoons for our tea. No "how is everything?" My partner would have said - "your crispy fried chicken is is far from crispy, your biscuit is a bit odd, but your fries are good". All in all it was a nice chilly night, which could have been just a tad more special if the guest was made to feel honored to have chosen this location as their Birthday Dinner spot. I recommend the seafood, and the location - just know there may not be the warm fuzzy you were wishing for.
I was in Alexandria for a conference and chose this restaurant because it had good reviews and because of the location (view of the Potomac River). Service was timely and friendly. I had shrimp & grits and enjoyed them very much. I'd return if I ever have the opportunity.
It takes quite a bit for me to write a negative, or less than stellar, review. However, this venue fits the bill. Other than the outstanding waterfront dining view, I would give this place a two thumbs down.
Service was extremely slow and we had to hunt for the waitress for ice tea refills and other needs. The place was not very busy and this was very disappointing. The server was talking to other employees or could not be found.
The sandwiches, which we had heard from a friend were pretty darn good, barely ranked a "fair" much less anything else. I needed a microscope to find the grouper on the grouper sandwich. Half the bun had no grouper and the other had very little. The bun was soaking wet on the bottom and was very soggy.
The drinking water glasses on the table were dirty and had to be replaced and the water pitcher had a piece of food stuck on it. Not appetizing to say the least.
Somebody would have to prove to me that our visit was an anomaly. Neither of us said anything until we left about the VERY rowdy table of about 12 sitting nearby who were getting hammered at about 3 p.m.
I wish that I could have left a glowing review, but I can't. The property doesn't deserve it.
All the good was fantastic but the value was lacking. The Fish tacos were easily the best dish of the night but for 15 dollars you only get 2, not the standard 3 tacos every where else. The Coconut shrimp was a close second and had good portions but was nearly 30 dollars.
It can be difficult to hear every so often due to the proximity of Reagan National Airport and the planes flying over, but the scenic dockside seating and quality of the food will ensure we come back again.
The only thing that really bothered me is according to the restaurant they do not take reservations for outdoor seating. Okay, then why does open table allow me to select an OUTDOOR table for a reservation. I made a reservation for an outdoor table and was told “they don’t do that” when I arrived. It would have been nice to learn that information during the confirmation of my reservation. That would have been a great opportunity to say hey we apologize there is a glitch with our open table...
Please fix that if it is an error, it is misleading and extremely irritating.
I was given the option to make a reservation for outdoor seating on OpenTable, which I did. My party of 3 arrived on time, only to be told that despite the fact we had a reservation for outdoors, we would be put "on the top of the wait list" and a table wouldn't be available for at least 30 minutes. What's the point of a reservation then? Why was it even offered as an option?
Then they told us we would be seated right away if we dined indoors instead, which is reluctantly what we did. The indoors is nothing special and quite noisy. Our server was great and attentive, and the food is ok, but overpriced for what it is. The menu does have a good variety.
Although we are locals, this was our first experience at Vola's, and it was a hit. With out-of-town guests here for the weekend, it turned out to be the perfect brunch spot. It is important to us to be able to get reservations and we chose it for that reason as well. The menu is quite varied, the food tasty, and the service was excellent. Brian set a new standard.
Service as with many restaurants is dependent upon the server. Our server disappeared for long stretches, drinks were not refilled or forgotten about altogether.
Food was fresh and well presented. Seasoning was rather bland. Overall not memorable but not below average besides service.
Wonderful setting by Alexandria waterfront
We had reservations for Saturday evening at 7:15. We arrived a little early and waited at the bar for our table which was ready 'on time'. Service was great and so was the food. Great value for the money. We would highly recommend Vola's and will return soon. A.V.
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