Rustico Restaurant & Bar


69 Reviews
Rustico Restaurant & BarRustico Restaurant & Bar

Type: Bar, Eatery

827 Slaters Ln
Alexandria, Virginia, 22314-1219
United States

(703) 224-5051 | map

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Added by novabeerguy on 03-05-2006

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Reviews: 69 | Ratings: 91
Photo of wisrarebeer
3.93/5  rDev -9.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

I've stopped by Rustico numerous times and always enjoy the beer and food. On my last visit they had De Ranke XX ($8), Blvd Saisonbrett ($7), Jade IPA ($5), Spacewalker ($4) and several others. Not bad for a draft list.

One of our beers came out with a bit of foreign material floating in it (probably something from the beer line that dislodged) and our waitress exchanged it immediately. I wouldn't ding Rustico just because it does happen occasionally. We also were brought a beer that we didn't order and were told to keep it on the house.

Food is above average and include pizzas, hummus and other better bar food.

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Photo of Badger6
4.76/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I used to live around the corner from this place...I wish I still did, it is probably the best bar I've ever visited.

The food is unique, eclectic, and always tasty...just understand that you may see some stuff font he menu that will be a surprise, like Pizza Duck Confit. But, don't let that dissuade you, the food is always good, and well prepared. When busy, the presentation can suffer, and sometimes the food quality (which still remains exceptional) is not as good as when not busy. Favorite time to visit the place was late afternoon, right at the beginning of happy hour or early Sunday afternoon.

Service never suffers, but the busier it gets, the longer it will take to get a refill, but planning ahead, and you'll never see the bottom of the glass.

Selection. Nearly 40 taps, casked ales, and hundreds of bottle varietals. You will find something you like there...from PBR all the way to a $40 a bottle rarity. They have it, if they don't they either sold it out, or it is not at the distributor.

Easily a go I said, wish I still lived around the corner.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.13/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

One of my go to places when we're out in the town and in the mood for a few good beers. I really enjoy the couches by the fireplace. If you get there early enough, you can secure a seat there. Fun art and tile work decorate the walls. Open and spacious feeling.

Nice list of rotating drafts, offering a variety of styles, to include a few out of market beers. Two casks available.

Decent bottle list, although some of the beers are marked up way too high. This isn't a cheap place by any stretch.

Great food. Far above average for a place that is seemingly focused on beer.

Definitely worth a stop if you're in the area.

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Photo of Sludgeman
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Updated after a 4/22/12 visit.

Very similar to the Ballston location. Excellent selection of beer, but never the same as Ballston, so do not make that assumption. 40+ taps and a book for the bottles.The bottle beer can get quite expensive. On tap is the way to go, especially with 40+ choices.

A good bar scene with a vibe more towards a younger crowd (more so than Ballston). I like the bar and lounge layout better in Alexandria. Seems a little brighter which is preferable for me. Nice bar with knowledgeable and friendly bartenders.

A nice place to eat. Their menu is a bit "fancy." The pizza I had was better the second time. The "grilled" pizza was wonderful.

Parking can get a tight on Friday and Saturday nights.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

My wife and I visit this location several times a month, and it never gets old. The atmosphere is really nice. It has a very modern feel with nice decor. It's usually crowded enough to not feel like a forgotten location, but is rarely excessively crowded, though admittedly we don't tend to go here on Friday or Saturday nights. The only place I take off points here is the lighting, which is almost non-existent in some areas of the bar.

The beer quality and selection are both fantastic. While the selection has dipped a bit since Churchkey opened up and presumably takes some of Rustico's allocation, this is still one of the prime spots in Northern Virginia to grab a beer. The tap list is filled with interesting offerings from here and abroad, and is frequently rotating.

The service is normally quite good. Some of the bartenders and servers are friendlier than others, but all tend to be very competent.

The food is quite good. The pizzas are my favorite, though the entrees tend to be very nice as well.

Overall, it is a bit on the pricey side, but not out of the norm for the area.

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Photo of DapperGrowler
4.95/5  rDev +13.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I have been to Rustico in Alexandria twice now. First was for a birthday and the second was for Port City Brewery’s One year anniversary stout release. The place has a great vibe, it feels upscale but relaxed. The beer selection is amazing; there was a great selection and variety of beers. The staff is very knowledgeable. It is hard to find a waiter/waitress who truly understands their beers and beer/food pairings. The food was amazing but the prices were a little high. Because of this, I don’t know how often I can afford to go back. Otherwise, a great place.

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Photo of Vierenner
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Great beer selection, server very knowledgeable on their beer offerings. Food was surprisingly good. Chef obviously takes pride in his/her preparations. Highly recommend!
Great beer selection, server very knowledgeable on their beer offerings. Food was surprisingly good. Chef obviously takes pride in his/her preparations. Highly recommend!
Great beer selection, server very knowledgeable on their beer offerings. Food was surprisingly good. Chef obviously takes pride in his/her preparations. Highly recommend!

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Photo of clayrock81
3.83/5  rDev -12.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Went on a busy Saturday night and can't complain. Were able to find two seats near the bar and w/ the loud din of people and sportswatchers we were able to get a server quick and who was very attentive. Food is good although not worth an arm and a leg (I'm a pizza snob mind you). Beer selection is a mixed for me - the bottle list is nothing special and most of what was on tap was nothing a beer geek will get excited and then there are a few beers on there (that not only did I try but they are very kind to let you get a regular pour or a 4 oz sample) that I have not seen anywhere else in the area at all. I would come back to grab a small bite and a brew or two for a game so take it at that and don't expect a beervana place.

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Photo of Jesstyr
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This place is as good as they come for a beer and a great meal. Its not quite Birch & Barley, but its a great sister restaurant, and a great place to find some unique brews.

Excellent design is clear, bar to the right with a mix of long tables and other high tops. Lighting is medium, and creates a nice atmosphere, though a bit loud. Everything here is great quality - top craft beers, excellent seasonal ingredients.

Service is good, though not necessarily very beer knowledgeable. Friendly and easy going. Selection is excellent, with a solid list of rotating taps, and a huge, but overpriced, bottle list. Food is a key, and without the brew, this would still be a great place to grab a meal.

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Photo of siege06nd
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

It's a craft beer bar, a gourmet pizza joint, a foodie haven...basically, it's my favorite bar in town.

Atmosphere: Fantastic. The interior is open, dark earth tones and wood adorn the restaurant. The bar area has a nice assortment of booths, tall-boys with stools, and even a lounge area with a couple of coffee tables. All are first come, first serve. The dining area is also impressive, with booths and table/chair set-ups all over. The design is similar to Churchkey, a blend of modern and rustic (HAH!) that is warm and inviting.

Quality: Great. One of the deepest draft lists and cellars I have seen. Always high quality craft beer on tap, often uber local, import, or rare items. They pair the beers with the appropriate glassware, which is a refreshing break from the standard pint glass that seems to plague this area (yep, I've had Abacus out of a standard pint). Food menu is deep, and foregoes standard pub fare in favor of eclectic, creative dishes.

Service: No complaints. Bartenders are knowledgeable and wait staff is happy to make recommendations on both the food and drink menu. They know the big draw here is the beer, and it is obvious management takes the time to train its staff in this regard. I'm used to staff having to check with the bartender for recommendations or questions, but the wait staff here knows its beer. Doesn't take too long to get seated, even on busy weekends.

Selection: Deepest beer list in Virginia. Great selection of imports, locals, and craft favorites. Almost always something rare on tap as well. They frequently throw events (e.g. brewer's nights). Food is also impressive. Their pizzas are made with choice ingredients and the rest of their menu offers more variety and complexity than one would expect from a beer bar.

Food: Outstanding. Gourmet pizza is the centerpiece of the menu, but there are plenty of other options (apps, salads, steaks/chicken/fish) to choose from, all inventive and all delicious. I've not had anything here that I haven't enjoyed. If you like pairing beer with food, this will be your mecca because of the flavors and complexities offered not only on tap, but on the menu as well.

Value: It's a little expensive, but the experience is one of a kind. Highly recommended.

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Photo of whrice
3.85/5  rDev -11.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

So I've been to this place a hand full of times and it's not bad. The decor and atmosphere are great, as you would expect for the area. The food that I've had here was good, I've only had pizza or apps I believe. The bar is big with lots of taps and bottles to choose from. I have to say the main thing about this that draws is their selection of beer, it's very impressive, especially for the area. I don't think there is any place that comes close in the area. Drinking outside is great and probably the best thing about it, however the bar is great too. I do have to say the first time I went here the I asked the server to bring me something she'd recommend. She brought me a framboise served in a highball glass. Really? A $10 framboise is my first impression. I hope she got fired. Horrible recommendation, I sent straight to a dark stout afterwards to make up for it. The other times I've been here the bartenders and servers have been great. The last server we had actually recommended a beer for my fiance based on what she said she liked and he got it right, which is no easy task with her. That was impressive. The main thing I don't like about this place is it is really expensive. Yeah I know the area is expensive and beers usually start at $5, that's not what I'm complaining about. It's the fact that some import and special bottles are priced way over what they should be. Maybe it's the distributor and not them. I bought a build your own six pack once from here and it was like $25. Really?!?!?!? The food is overpriced too. $10 for a small cheese pizza, literally like an appetizer size? It was good, but no pizza that size which probably cost $2-3 to make, should be $10. Overall a nice place just overpriced and honestly a little over-hyped.

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Photo of Godot
4.08/5  rDev -6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Great beer selection (about 20 taps, large bottle list) at reasonable prices. Happy hour every day from 5-7 with I believe was 2 dollars off drafts. They also do tasting pours at a reduced price (4oz for half the price of a full pour). I had the oak aged unearthly from Southern Tier which was very good. I then had Sierra Nevada's Southern Hemisphere which did not seem to be as fresh as what I had had a few days earlier at another place. My wife enjoyed her selections as well.

The food is the weak point here. Pizza was underwhelming. Nothing offensive about it but I wouldn't give it more than a C+. My wife ordered the crispy salmon sandwich which was dry and, again, underwhelming. Prices seemed a bit steep for the quality of food (14 dollars for the salmon sandwich, about the same for pizza depending on toppings).

Highly recommended if your looking to try something interesting on draft. Ambiance was nice and service was attentive. However, I would go elsewhere if you are looking for a meal as well.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I stopped here with Mike (Thorpe429) while in town, this was a very short walk from his house. How lucky to live within walking distance of a nice place like this.

We didn't order food, but it looked like they had a really decent menu. The taps were my main draw, maybe 20 deep and all solid. Good local breweries like Port City and DC Brau, also a nice cross-section of other major cities. The beer styles were widely represented as well, I had no difficulty finding a flight of good things to try.

The atmosphere is very nice as a restaurant, laid out to be family friendly but also with a central bar. We took outdoor seating as the weather in DC is a lot better than central OH.

Prices were reasonable, especially given the quality. Recommended.

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Photo of CuttDeez
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

The atmosphere and vibe of the place is a little funky new age. Nothing bad but nothing fantastic. It isn't the real bar feel but something trendy.

Quality and service were good. The staff was knowledgable and they were attentive. It is a little slow getting your beer but I was not in a rush. note on the service - I orders a gueuze from the bottle menu and they accidently poured the same brewery's lambic and just gave me both while only charging me for one. I enjoyed that. Bonus points.

Selection was incredible. Always good solid beers on tap. They always have at least two taps that suprise you "wow that's on tap" 2 please! They also have things on cask all the time which is awesome. They do a 4 brew taster in little snifter glasses which is very nice and well priced in my opinion. The bottle menu is awesome and they have a good balance and selection of new bottles and age rare offerings.

Food was great! Get a pizza they are all good! I didn't ask for it but the staff is well versed enough to pair brews.

Value - a bit pricy in general but for the selection and quality I like it.

Notes: Go earlier in the week. They release their beer menu early in the week and you are more likely to get what you want on draft that way.
They have a can craft brew happy hour for 3 dollars a can craft beer. Not bad for the area. Ill take a Gubna for 3 bone!
Get on the newsletter online so you get a heads up of what they are offering.


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Photo of jayhawk73
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Rustico in Alexandria is becoming a go to place for me. Great draft selection (Had Sculpin on draft today), and big bottle list, and always a couple cask ales. The atmosphere is nice, not too loud, and usually not super packed for lunch. The service has been nothing but phenomenal, and I've been there probably 10 times over the last year. I ordered an espresso today, and their espresso machine was on the fritz. My waitress said, "I'll find you one", and ended up going across the street to get me one. Wow. It's been like that every time too. Above and beyond the call of duty. The food is fantastic as well- never had anything there that's been less than stellar. You can drop $30-$40/lunch w/ a couple beers, but it's worth it. Fantastic place, and I will continue to go there at least monthly. HIGHLY recommended!!

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Photo of SingleFin1969
4.85/5  rDev +11.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Stopped in for a quick beer and fries for lunch after reading good reviews of this place.

Wow, what a beer selection!!! 2 cask ales, about 24 drafts of quality brews, and an uncountable number of bottled beers. I sat at the bar and ordered a Franziskaner draft and started looking over all the bottled beers: Dupont, Trappist Rochefort, and on and on.

The service, to echo prior reviews, was great. Beers are served in proper glassware for their types. The barkeeper was attentive, but allowed me to enjoy my beer in peace. I received a nice cloth napkin and silverware before the fries came.

I will be a repeat customer, since I enjoy quality service and I need to try those cask ales.

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Photo of ethippo
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 2

This place is a beautiful beer bar/restaurant; a wonderful ambiance. It manages to do everything at once, cozy, spacious, cool, you name it.

The beer list is absolutely great. I could spend an afternoon there just drinking beer.

The service was friendly and attentive, but not so much that I felt rushed, (like the Sweetwater restaurants), a big point if you like to savor your beer.

The food: I eat out four to six times a week somewhere in Northern Virginia. While this may not make me an epicure I have experienced a lot of food. The main items we ordered were marginal. That being said the bib lettuce salad was very good, but it should be, for what was essentially a ten dollar pile of lettuce. The hamburger, ordered medium, was dry and tough. The Italian sausage pizza was described by my wife as like a certain brand of cheap frozen pizza. She was right. Fireworks Pizza in Leesburg is far better. Apparently pizza is more of an art than I thought as Fireworks is having trouble with their Clarendon location pizza chefs.

They hit all the high notes except for the food, I may go back to drink.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Tucked away in what I can only describe as a Pleasantville-esque enclave of Alexandria, off Rte 1, between the Potomac Yards No-Mans-Land and Old Town, is a community of bougie stores and chi-chi townhomes, all perfectly laid out in a development that must look as good in real life as it did on the blueprints. Being there makes me feel like I've discovered suburban Shangri-la.

Rustico is a restaurant on the corner of "Good Food" and "Something for Everyone." It has beer (lots of beer), it has wine, it has pizza, it has burgers, it has chicken, it has fish, it has steak, it has salad, it has pasta, it has pork, it has fries, it has chips ... Lots of beers on tap - management (beer directors) here seem to know a bit more about beer than the Ballston location. This and the other place gets really packed on the weekends and peak dinner times during the week even. Impressive selection of beers. I asked the beer director for his off-the-grid beer selection and he recommended me Green Flash Le Freak which he charged $20 and another smoked beer free of charge as we built on rapport about the beer community and all that. Really nice experience here and I plan on going back to both locations often.

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Photo of Chaney
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

This place is definitely a standard craft beer drinking establishment in the Northern Virginia of the Washington DC.

Despite its name, there isn't much rustic about this place. It is very contemporary, with beautiful, yet weird glass architectural structures on the walls.

The food menu may not be extensive, but the quality of the food they have there is stupendous! My wife and I ordered fries with ranch dressing. What they brought out were orgasmic golden, freshly cut potato strips, with tons of yummy spices, and tossed in high grade ranch.

Our waiter knew a little bit about the beers. For instance, he knew that "Katherine the Great," while classified as a Russian Imperial Stout, is not exactly what one might expect from that style (more golden in color and fruity in taste).

I was a bit disappointed in brew selection the particular night that we went. Some of the more popular drafts were out, including: Founders Breakfast Stout, New Holland Icabod, and a couple of others. Some of the rare gems: Bruery Mischief, Avery IPA, Founders Dirty Bastard, Bell's Two-Hearted, and a few others. They also have an extensive bottle selection.

I've heard many say that they think the restaurant is overpriced. I disagree. My wife and I split a pretty good sized pizza for $14-15 bucks, a huge vat of fries $8, and two beers each. Since we went during happy hour, the beers were $2 off each. We walked away more than satisfied, even if our waistlines felt stretched afterwards.

Highly recommended!

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Quite the reference, even before Churchkey-Birch & Barley opened, and now it still maintains a distinctive edge, well worth stopping by if one is nearby.

Located in a relatively new brick construction off mainstream Alexandria, Rustico offers a broad and rich selection of bottled and on tap brews, assembled with care and dedication, always including at least a cask offering, and occasional rarities, as well as related events.

Atmosphere is friendly, contemporary, and relaxed. The bar might be short but is rather comfortable, and it is family/kid friendly in particular around lunch times. Staff is typically well trained and knowledgeable, eager to help with good insights. Food is a blend of rich bistro fare with upper contemporary touches. Rather rich, even if it may not look like it from the outset. In that context a medium/high price bracket is actually not that high considering all that Rustico has to offer.

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Photo of dtivp
4.58/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Stopped by for lunch while in town for the SAVOR. Appears a lot of new development in the area, the Rustico is a newer building with a nice clean and modern atmosphere. Nice seating area outdoors, however, with the high temperatures decided to dine indoors. Bar area was not large, however, the seating area was very spacious.
Beer selection was very impressive, approximately 30 on tap and a 30 page beer menu. Some very nice beer flights were offered. The Servers were extremely friendly and our server was very knowledgeable on the beers served.
Nice food menu, decided on the chopped salad which was excellent, along with a nice Italian sausage pizza.
Very enjoyable experience and I hope to return soon.

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Photo of Gavage
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I finally made the stop here after having this place on my radar when driving south past Wash DC into Virginia. Only about two miles off I-95, it is easy to find but parking is a bit tough.

It is a nice brick building with outdoor seating. Upon entering the bar is on the right and can seat about 12 people. Plenty of high tops and couches in front of a fireplace make this more of a homey upscale bar. There are plenty of dining tables on the left.

There are about 30 beers on tap which include some nice selections I can't get in NJ like BBC Jefferson Reserve Stout, Flying Dog Raging Bitch, and Bell's Two Hearted Ale. Loads of bottles are able to be viewed in glass front refridgerators behind the bar. A beer menu makes it easy to select what you want.

Service was friendly and they knew the beers. Food was very good, especially the pizzas and crab bites appetizer.

This is a great place everyone should make an effort to get to. I will visit this place each time I head down I-95 in the future.

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Photo of Greenline13
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This place is a very friendly and clean environment. You can really enjoy your drink here and not worry about some one steeling your seat if you get up. It seems to be an older crowd, which is nice because you don't have to deal with the typical bar crowd. Your tab is always right and the staff is professional. This really is a place were people come to relax.

If there is one thing they do right its beer. They offer cask beer at the right temperature, and the have a great display that showcases each and every beer available. The light hits them as if they were miniature trophies. And after you win a couple of these awards you can enjoy the food.

Here is an excerpt from the web site:

There's no mistaking Rustico's love for barley & hops! The bar's focal point is a custom galvanized inverted T bar with 30 brilliant taps book-ended by two massive coolers holding more than 331 different types of ales, lagers, ciders and stouts. If you need beer on the go, we've got you covered. Grab a larger bottle of your favorite brew with a Rustico pizza for dinner or pick up a six-pack to take with you to a party. Just ask a bartender to hook you up!

Free parking...

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Photo of drabmuh
4.13/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

An overall good experience at Rustico. Last night my wife and I ventured into NOVA for dinner and a beer. We both ordered a pizza and had a couple of beers.

The restaurant looks like a modern American restaurant. Big open floor plan, high ceilings, a bar, varied seating, stand alone tables, high tops, a long bench with several small tables ponied up to it. The place looked busy but its so huge in there, we were seated immediately. The waiter brought us chilled water with no ice. This is a pet peeve of mine, ice water. Ice is a huge waste of energy. I usually ask for two glasses of water when I'm at a restaurant, one without any ice, then I mix the two. No need here. Chilled water, no ice.

The waiter was reasonably attentive. My first beer took forever to come out but I guess he was busy. Our food came out quick, the appetizer was brought my someone else. Our bill came quickly and he was friendly.

Beer selection is good. There are about 20 beers on draft and nothing terrible. There are some interesting obscure beers available. I didn't even look at the bottle menu (which if its not on their website it should be) until it was time to go. This is the point I got pretty impressed. Great selection, nicely done. Probably several hundred bottles. Organized by style / flavors. An interesting way to organize the menu.

Our food was decent, we both ordered pizzas. I would recommend the italian sausage on anything. It was really good. Our beers were in 5$ range and our food was in the 15 - 20$ range. Food was a bit pricey but the beer was reasonable. I would go back.

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Photo of jnezda
3.78/5  rDev -13.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Went straight here from the airport with a friend who is a local and knows I have a thing for places with a good selection or beers and this place did not disappoint. The atmosphere was lively and the bar was packed on a Friday about 9. The bar tenders still were fairly attentive and did not mind answering questions but did not do so well in the recommendation category. The beer list is extensive with good selection of bottles and drafts but very few large format beers. They did have a cask which was a nice touch. The beer did overshadow dinner which was good but nothing to write home about. The polenta appetizer is very interesting and had good flavor but the pizza could have used a touch more flavor. The prices were right with beers being about $6 and appetizers and cheap entrees for as little as $11 to $15. All in good value and selection with comparable service, certainly worth a revisit to try and couple more beers on their list.

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Rustico Restaurant & Bar in Alexandria, VA
4.36 out of 5 based on 91 ratings.
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