Gadsby's Tavern Restaurant and Museum Review: Alexandria

••• Gadsby's Tavern. Photo by Rachel Cooper

Gadsby's Tavern in Old Town Alexandria is an Early American-style restaurant and a museum of 18th-century antiques. The buildings are noted for exquisite Georgian architecture, preserved and restored to a colonial appearance. Gadsby's Tavern was named after Englishman John Gadsby, who operated the tavern from 1796 until 1808, when it was the center of Alexandria's economic, political, & social life.

George and Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had temporary quarters here during the 18th century.

The Bottom Line

Dining at Gadsby's Tavern in Old Town Alexandria is a unique experience. The food is excellent and the atmosphere exudes late 18th-century charm. Entertainment is provided and costumed staff provide friendly service. Gadsby’s Tavern hosts special events throughout the year to remind us of colonial times. Among these celebrations are candlelight tours, children’s days, Civil War balls, dance classes, teas with Martha Washington and the annual George Washington Birthnight Banquet and Ball. The museum offers guided 30-minute tours.

Pros

  • Great food and friendly service
  • Historic site and romantic setting

Cons

  • Gaslight-style lamps recreate an atmosphere of colonial times, but make the restaurant dark

Description

  • Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., Dinner 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday Brunch 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tours offered November to March: Wednesday to Saturday: 11 a. m. to 4 p. m., Sunday: 1 to 4 p. m. April to October: Tuesday to Saturday: 10 a. m. to 5 p. m., Sunday and Monday: 1 to 5 p. m. Closed: New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Guide Review - Gadsby's Tavern Restaurant Review

Gadsby's Tavern in Old Town Alexandria is a historic landmark dating back to the 18th century. The tavern was frequented by George Washington Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, and James Monroe. The restaurant has been restored to maintain the appearance of more than 200 years ago.

Servers are dressed in colonial period costumes, the men in knee breeches and the women wearing smocks. Roving musicians visit your table giving you personalized attention. Gadsby's tavern maintains its elegance and the menu has been created to appeal to the modern palate.

Appetizers include items such as Baked Brie en Croute stuffed with blueberries and pecans with raspberry coulis or Martha’s Puff Pastry - Virginia ham, Scottish smoked salmon and Chesapeake lump crabmeat with dill sauce & pepper relish.

Some of the main courses are authentic colonial period food like the Gentleman’s Pye, Cedar-Grilled Filet Mignon, Slow-Roasted Hereford Prime Rib Roast with Yorkshire Pudding and George Washington’s Favorite, a Cider-Glazed Duckling with Smoked Bacon-Sage Spoonbread.

Since these dishes are realistically quite heavy fare, the chef also prepares some lighter dishes such as the Pecan-Crusted Mahi-Mahi Meuniere and Jumbo Lump Crabcakes.

The white Chocolate Balloon is sinfully delicious! Other tempting desserts are Gingerbread with cinnamon icing, English Trifle, and Rum-Laced Banana Bread Pudding.

Reviewed December 2005 - Prices are subject to change