What used to be a hospital during the Civil War, and later on was used for making illegal suds during prohibition, is now a fine fish restaurant. That’s right, a place where musket wounds were field dressed is now a great place to pick out a live lobster or do some oyster shooters.
The Fish Market, located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, just a block up from the Potomac, opened its doors in 1976. From the outside, it looks like any other restaurant in Old Town Alexandria. But on Friday and Saturday nights there is one notable exception and that is the line that extends from the door and spans the entire length of the establishment.
If going on a weekend night, especially in the spring and summer, one should be prepared to wait at least 20 minutes before being seated. Do not fret though; the two-story restaurant has a lot of tables, and even a small balcony upstairs that is perfect for couples looking to enjoy their catch outside under the stars and above the fray.
Near the entrance is the impossible-to-miss raw bar. There, fresh seafood is spread out on ice around a large lobster tank. Patrons can sit at the raw bar and toss back a couple of beers along with some oysters.
For those looking for more than just a couple of oysters, one of the menu’s standout dishes is the Po’ Boy Fried Oyster sandwich ($9.99). The crunchiness of the fried oysters in the remoulade sauce on the fresh ciabatta bread is a little slice of heaven.
The rest of the menu is mostly fish or seafood, but there is something hidden near the bottom that is not to be overlooked. In this writer’s opinion, the Fish Market’s BBQ Baby Back Ribs ($9.99 for a half rack, $16.99 for a full rack) are the best thing on the menu. The pork is tender and the bbq sauce is finger-licking good. The half-rack is more than filling, and when combined with the coleslaw and fries, diners will not leave hungry.
If all that isn’t enough, the desserts at the Fish Market come from Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, which is owned by the Fish Market and located right next door. Each of its 24 flavors is made fresh on site so that diners can cap off their meals with a scoop of Coffee Espresso ice cream or a full-on banana split.
One of the more popular attractions of the Fish Market is its Anchor Bar, where every Nationals game is televised on large HD TV’s and half-priced appetizers from the Fish Market are offered every Monday through Friday from 4 – 7 p.m. Also, patrons can catch a DJ there on Friday and Saturday nights after 9 p.m. And one cannot forget their happy hour specials which include half-priced oysters and wings every Monday through Thursday.
Daily “recession proof” specials are also offered, including Wednesday’s “Whole Maine Lobster Night” with $14.99 lobsters available from 5 p.m. until they are gone.
So, whether hungry diners want great fish, great ribs or just a 32-ounce schooner of beer from the Anchor Bar, The Fish Market is a great place to, as its menu says,”Take care of those who take care of you and be nice or go home.”
The Fish Market
105 King St., Alexandria
fishmarketva.com • 703-836-5676
The Fish Market is open daily from 11:15 a.m. – midnight.
The Anchor Bar is open daily until 1 a.m.