The Columbia Firehouse

4.3
2029 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.
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What 2029 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
4.5
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
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EE
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

The only thing I can say I didn't like about my hummus dish was it lacked a bit of lemon, olive oil & salt. Presentation and portion was great for the price and that may very well be is that up North we're used to big flavors. I kind of think that changes around the VA area, as I've experienced in past visits. No matter, the rest of the family like what they ordered. Our server was super nice, I liked her the minute she brought over those fabulous biscuits! I could've ordered six and a lemonade and been perfectly happy. We thought the staff was great, the restaurant itself very nice and inside and well, Old Town, I'm recommending that to everyone heading to the DC area. I'd come

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GW
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Beautiful place with great food!

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S
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 2

The restaurant was slow that night, yet the service was even slower. We had a table of 6 and I heard great things about the restaurant. Our drink order took about 20 minutes for 4 wines and water all around. The portions were small, one example was four scallops the size of quarters (a little larger) for $27– oh my! Also, I never had cooked carrots peels still on with hummus—interesting combination. Th-ere was also a 20% gratuity added. Our food was auctioned to us and our checks were set as a stack. I hear their brunch and bar service is great! Have low expectations when you arrive and you may just be pleasantly surprised!

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R
Cleveland
41 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 3

Annually, my wife and I have enjoyed the Columbia Firehouse, but this time was a brutal exception.

The waiter was a pleasant, attentive young man who made every effort to insure that our evening was pleasant, but the chef let him down.

The difference between a cook and a chef is the chef ‘s ability to develop flavors, balance and blends which should a respect for the proper elements in each selection.

The Caesar salad was a moderately tasteful presentation with the poor taste to sense serve anchovy paste and a few dry crotons as boisterous witnesses to a bad me. It was a said reflection on last year’s marvelous Kale Caesar.

We suffered a dry, stringy half-rack of ribs, corrupted with a puny ramekin of scrambled cabbage masquerading as coleslaw.

This is the first time we ever had such a terrible meal which misrepresented the restaurant which we had chosen for the kick-off of our annual Cherry Blossom visit to Washington.

Dr. Reg

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JH
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 4

Very, very poor service! It was obvious to us they were short on staff. Staff not friendly. Would never go back.

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JG
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Mussels and roast chicken were outstanding. The biscuits and Hiney to die for. The polenta with the chicken is soul-satisfying.

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y
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

It was reservation for 3 but we (2 people) were seated for a 2-person table
After we asked to be moved they yield us a bigger table

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MW
1 review
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The perfect amount of attention from our waiter, with old town ambiance, and fresh delicious ingredients made our Sunday brunch perfect! And since I picked the place and made the reservation, I was very pleased everyone had so many delightful comments about the Firehouse.

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SA
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

The venue is gorgeous, the perfect mix between casual and upscale. However, the small portion sizes and high prices were not justified by the mediocre quality of the food.

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OT
Raleigh
13 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

I would recommend Columbia Firehouse based on the location and ambiance of the building but service was a little slow and food was good but not outstanding.

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JR
Baltimore
4 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Server was great. The right amount of friendliness, very knowledgeable about menu.

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JB
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 4food 2service 4ambience 3

Prime Rib was overcooked and fatty. Scallops were good. Would prefer choice of bread instead of the biscuits.

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GM
New England
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

This was our first time at the Firehouse - we were visiting from out of town.
Food was excellent, nicely presented and a good value.
It's the service, though, that really stood out. Jules was our wait-person and she just has an infectious, joyful personality. She's friendly and engaging without being intrusive. She's also knowledgeable about the food and wine offerings - based on what she'd tasted. Not all waitstaff folks are knowledgeable of the menu items and so we really appreciated her insight. We'd come back just to sit in her section!
The ambience was pleasant - with much noise from the bar area. But then, it was a Friday evening happy hour - so, to be expected.
Our only criticism is the upkeep of the furnishings. Our seat (bench) was torn - maybe a replacement was "on order" - but if, not, it should have been taken care of right away. It's not an inviting presentation. But overall, an enjoyable dinner/evening!

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Historic charm. Tasty food. Great service!

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M
Los Angeles
10 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 4

We have dined at Columbia Firehouse several times and this meal was very disappointing compared to previous visits. The special of the night was Lobster Mac and Cheese . The plate has less then one lobster claw of lobster present and the serving of mac and cheese was less than a side portion at most restaurants. It it has been $15 fine, but it was closer to $30. The favor was good but it was incredibly disappointing to get so little food for the price. Additionally, our server did not check in with us during our meal and no manager stopped by to ask how our food was. Both server and manager walked passed multiple times. It felt as if they knew the portion and price were not acceptable and were trying to avoid having the conversation.

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Lovely dinner - great glass of wine, super waiter.

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A
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 4

Our experience was disappointing. The restaurant looked as though it was high-end in the late 90's or early 2000's, but it hadn't been kept up since then. The decor was dated. The service was slow and lack-luster. The bar was slower still. The food was fine, but the price was much higher than just "fine." Both a fork and a coffee mug came to our table visibly dirty.

I would not go back again, and I wouldn't recommend you spend your money this way either.

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RW
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Atmosphere was fantastic for a date night. I had the Prine Rib special which was cooked to perfection and seasoned perfectly. The service was awesome. I would definately return anytime I am planning an evening in Akexandria.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food, amazing service!!

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K
Detroit
21 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 5ambience 3

I had dinner at the Firehouse a few years ago and was so excited that I had time to visit again on this trip. I was so disappointed. It has changed for the worse. My filet was so thin and so gristly it made me sick. The wine list only had Virginia Wines and I remember the wine list being outstanding. I was told they were going through changes. Lets hope it goes back to how it was. Cool atmosphere just needs to take advantage of this and create a fine dining experience again.

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OT
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brunch: their chicken and waffles are too legit to quit and so are the biscuits and gravy eggs benny

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N
Richmond
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

I loved Columbia Firehouse. The only thing that made my dining experience bad was the waiter swiped my credit card for someone else's tab for $192.13 and my total receipt was for $49.95. So my card got swiped for two tabs. Instead of her advising me prior to swiping my card a second time. She voided it and then came and showed me a void receipt so I now have multiple pending charges that I have to wait to go back onto my account. I was highly upset.

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DT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place overall. Great food, great service, great beer, great wine and great company! Would definitely come back.

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b
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 5

Beautiful place, we went on the day of the Alexandria st. Patrick’s day parade so maybe that was the issue for the night. We got our shared salad that we wanted before dinner at the same time as dinner and no plates to eat it on. All food was decent. Irish coffee was cold

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Good food and great service. Don't get the risotto. A small serving and way over priced. We were encouraged to add protein which would have been good for more to eat, but $24 for risotto and chicken??

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SW
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

I would recommend to customer but select a different dish and Ithe food was okay.

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KM
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 5

We have been to Columbia Firehouse several times, but unfortunately the last few times we have been there the service has been really terrible. It took us 20 minutes to be greeted by a server on Saturday evening, then another 10-15 minutes before he took our order.

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DV
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 4

We'd been to the restaurant about two years ago and just remember having a great dinner for our group of 7. Unfortunately last night was just a total disappointment.

Souvide Duck breast and rissoto special. Bland, no basic seasoning like salt, boring. Not to mention that it cost $30, and the portioning felt on the smaller side. My wife's steak frites were equally dissapointing.

The only plus was that service had the food out quick and were pleasant enough.

Unless your interest for the night is overspending on bland food, consider somewhere else.

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BD
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food and great, friendly service! My girlfriend and I were celebrating our anniversary and valentines day and we had a great time. We had heard only good reviews and when we showed up we found every review true. The meal was absolutely delicious and the atmosphere calm and cool. I hope to come back here for a dinner again soon!

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H
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good food, server was very attentive. Would definitely go again!

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DW
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Great atmosphere. Love the décor, the story of the building and the wait staff are very attentive. The food is good and the biscuits are great!

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M
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 3

Everyone loves to dine out. Columbia Firehouse had awesome reviews, so I decided to give them a try. First off, I was asked to sit at a tiny table against a wall in the back and I asked to move to a bigger table. The waitress was very polite but forgot a lot of stuff throughout the night. I ordered the prime rib special and my date ordered the roasted salmon. The food came out very quickly. The prime rib came with mashed potatoes and green beans and au jus gravy on the side. There was no flavor whatsoever with my meal. I used more salt than ever before to try and eat my meal. The Roasted salmon came with brussel sprouts and parmesan cous cous. Which included a vingarette dressing. That meal as well was plain, the salmon was mushy, no flavor anywmehee to be found. So that meal wasn’t even finished. We were in and out of the restaurant within 45 minutes. Anyone should expect more from your meal given the price.

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A
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Columbia fire house has excellent service, good food, and is broken up into several inviting dining rooms. A good place for date night.

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GM
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great atmosphere , great for a date night overall one of the best in Old town

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RS
New England
3 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

Ambiance and Service both excellent but the majority of the food was rather flavorless. "Hot chicken" hardly spicy at all, and everything underseasoned.

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r
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Food is decent but overpriced small portions. Bring a scarf and mittens in the winter because it’s poorly heated in the main dining room.

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EN
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent service and wine recommendation from our server. I will definitely recommend it.

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D
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on February 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous special event: wine dinner!

The selections were perfectly paired—both red and white, and from three continents. One did not need to be a wine connoisseur to enjoy. Whether novice or expert, all could learn and enjoy the tastes.
Wine pourings we’re generous as well.
The food was delicious and do plentiful. Beautiful fois gras starter, savory scallops second, the two following entrees to enjoy—wonderful pork tenderloin and then strip steak, both with lovely vegetables—locally sourced ingredients —all so plentiful. Milk chocolate mousses with strawberry compote. Can’t wait for the next winedinner!

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OT
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great chicken and waffles!

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LM
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

We had such a great waiter! He was exceptionally kind and helpful.

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