The Columbia Firehouse

4.2
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2117 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 2117 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.2based on recent ratings
4.1
food
4.4
service
4.4
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
74% of people would recommend it to a friend
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Raleigh
8 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
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 3 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

beautiful Restaurant, service was excellent, food was very good

E
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

JT
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

Service was good limited menu

R
Washington DC
59 reviews
Dined on September 7, 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 September 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Tuna tacos appetizer and salmon entree were great!

OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on September 1, 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 August 31, 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 August 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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

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

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

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

JR
1 review
Dined on August 21, 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 August 17, 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 August 10, 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 August 9, 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 August 4, 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
2 reviews
Dined on July 28, 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 July 27, 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 July 25, 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 July 20, 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 July 20, 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
5 reviews
Dined on July 19, 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 July 16, 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
3 reviews
Dined on July 14, 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 July 13, 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 July 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

SS
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on July 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent service and really good food. What more can you ask for? Half priced wines on Monday were an added bonus. Enjoyed the Oysters Rockerfeller, Tartare and Salmon

JW
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 4

It was Sunday evening (July 7) so maybe the regular chef was off, but the food was aweful. The fish in the fish and chips was half batter/half fish and badly over cooked. I could make a much better hamburger at home. The French fries were badly over cooked. Live nearby but won’t go again.

OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

We were served rancid orange juice, 2 sides of bacon were forgotten, and dishes did not arrive at the same time. Okay food with discontinuous service

AG
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

Charming place, good service. Good wine selection and imaginative cocktails. Not all the food is great. Oysters Rockefeller are bland. Raw seafood is good, salads and other entrees are fine.

PB
Cincinnati
2 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My girlfriend and I had an 1115 reservation for Sunday brunch. We were initially seated inside the atrium. We asked if we could sit outside and the staff was very accommodating to our request. 2nd time we had brunch here in 10 months—Bloody Mary drinks were still delicious and the Thai red curry mussels with extra bread for soaking up the sauce was fantastic. Also recommend the New Englander muffin—lobster, bernaise sauce, egg and English muffin with potatoes cooked and seasoned just right. We love CFH for brunch!

M
Tahoe
53 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the better places in Alexandria. The ambiance was really nice and the food was delicious! There is a separate dining area from the bar and both were really interesting. I had the lobster and Mac ....slightly stingy on the lobster but the Mac was so delicious I didn’t care. Had a great meal...you should go!

X
Washington DC
19 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We've been coming to this restaurant since it was Portners over 20 years ago. It's nice that the restaurant has changed hands a few times but they've kept the interior the same. It's a great atmosphere. We brought our 19 yr. old son with us and he said it's his new favorite restaurant! He loved the oysters and ribs. It was a little loud in the bar area when we arrived since we had to wait for our table when the restaurant portion opened at 5:30 but that's only because there were loud young people behind us. The bartender was super friendly and we had a nice drink before our table was ready. We will definitely be back.

KG
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

I would definitely recommend Columbia Firehouse to friends and family. The menu selections are great, and the ambiance is amazing. A cute, quaint spot tucked in old town Alexandria. The service was slightly mediocre, as our server didn't check on us as much as I would've preferred, but overall, our time was great. The half chicken is an excellent choice, for portion sizes, and the lobster mac was great, but a little on the small side.

OT
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 2

The restaurant was excessively COLD! It actually felt good to go out into the 90°+ weather.

OT
Dallas
1 review
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 2

Should not be rated up there with fine dining steakhouses. It's causual fare.

LM
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on June 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

6:30 dinner on a Monday evening - service and ambiance was excellent. Greeted warmly on arrival, and Jay (as I recall) took great care of us, plus the happy hour half-price wine before 7:00 was a GREAT perk! Great bar area to meet for drinks and a warm, relaxed dining area. Food was excellent (center cut filet and roasted salmon entrees both cooked to perfection), and the Grand Marnier Brulee was fantastic! CF is now on my list as an Old Towne fav!

D
Washington DC
26 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What delicious food! We four had calamari appetizer, and they brought us lovely biscuits and honey before our meal: salmon, Caesar with salmon, and chateaubriand, with perfect wines. Dessert all around: gelato, sorbet, warm cookie with ice cream, and cobbler.
Our server was delightful. This was a perfect evening!

OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on June 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, atmosphere and service.

V
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were seated right away and food selection was great. The food itself was delicious. Server was attentive and patiently answered our questions. Food was served timely and was hot. Was a wonderful experience.

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