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Bilbo Baggins, Chef Michael Armellino on Queen and North Lee Streets in Old Town Alexandria


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A great brunch place not too far off King Street is Bilbo Baggins, which serves homemade raisin bread. They also have a very good bar with a solid collection of beers.

Really?! I have not been in years as the last couple of times the food (dinner) was horrid. I was just talking about this place with someone recently that had the same opinion. Have there been some changes there in the recent past that might put this place back on the radar?

They do have some good beer on tap as well as cider.

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I went earlier this year and it was godawful. I would've posted about it but I wanted to put it behind me. Major service issues, and a frightening menu (it's all over the place) that leads to some truly disappointing food.

The bar did look kinda cool, though.

This stale, but I went once about 20-years ago for brunch and it was so bad I swore I would never go back. I mean the bottom half of my coffee was grounds. I have kept my promise. I don't know how this place has stayed in business for so long.
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This stale, but I went once about 20-years ago for brunch and it was so bad I swore I would never go back. I mean the bottom half of my coffee was grounds. I have kept my promise. I don't know how this place has stayed in business for so long.

Has it really been there for 20 years?

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Has it really been there for 20 years?
At the top of the opening page of their website: "Over 25 Years Serving Alexandria"

I ate there for one of rwtye's holiday parties last December. It was the worst meal I had all year (the sauce on top of my pasta dish was refrigerator-cold) and the service was so surly it was comical.

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At the top of the opening page of their website: "Over 25 Years Serving Alexandria"

I ate there for one of rwtye's holiday parties last December. It was the worst meal I had all year (the sauce on top of my pasta dish as refrigerator-cold) and the service was so surly it was comical.

For anyone who has seen Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, Bilbo Baggins will look familiar. What should be a cozy place serving simple, yet flavorful, food is instead an unmitigated disaster offering overwrought and poorly prepared slop. How this "Global Wine Cafe & Restaurant" (a huge warning sign, I know) has managed to operate for 25 years is beyond me. My only hope is that with dining options in Old Town getting better every year, this space will one day be turned over to restaurateurs who aren't stuck in some early-1990s fusion cuisine mindset. It can't come soon enough.

I had the unfortunate experience to visit Bilbo Baggins within the past month. My prior encounters consisted of three visits to the lounge where I enjoyed the beer selection (but not the over-priced bar food) and one visit to the restaurant (about 2 days before the bar exam, so I really wasn't focused on food). In any event, the "Others" of my group picked Bilbo Baggins, so I acquiesced. Big mistake. The menu is nightmarish, with most entrees having about 8 too many ingredients. My "Filet of Beef Stroganoff," described as "sauteed with wild mushrooms, fresh garden vegetables, in a paprika lemon sour cream sauce; served over fresh Fettuccine pasta," was nearly inedible: tough, gray beef that most certainly did not originate near the tenderloin; overcooked pasta that bore no indicia of freshness; a thick glob of sour cream; and a truly odd assortment of vegetables whose only purpose seemed to be to trick the recipient into believing the meal was worth $19.95.

On our walk home, both Mrs. M and I commented that that may have been the worst allocation of $80 we ever spent. A mistake not to be repeated.

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Can't believe that my first post will be a bad one, but I just wanted to add to the unpleasant and slow service. We should've known to walk out when we overheard an angry woman looking for a manger to complain about her dinner. Anyway, food sounds great in writing, but no where as great in your mouth. Also, you can tell that the place has been there for 25+ years, the cheesy decorations are dusty and some paintings by the tables have food stains...sorry if I'm sounding too negative, but that was just my experience there.....

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Haha! I have to chime in. About 20 years ago, it was one of my go-to Old Town restaurants. I absolutely loved the carpaccio, and the wine-by-the-glass list was ahead of its time. I proposed to my second wife there in 1989, and that was the last time I was in the place. The marriage has ended, thankfully, and I'm glad I haven't been back to the restaurant from what I'm reading on this Board.

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I think the service has improved compared to Capital Icebox's experience three years ago; however, I can't say the same for the food. Plus, it was only dessert. But it tasted like dessert that was sitting-in-the-fridge-for-the-past-few-days-and-you-kind-of-forgot-about-it-flavor. My friend's cake was stale and my was not piercable by a fork. The super nice thing was that they took of off our bill. Very grateful. The beer list is nice, though. Two beers also kind of made up for things. I guess, in other words, not much to report here.

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In the early 1980s, nearly 30 years ago, Bilbo Baggins had the best carpaccio in the DC metropolitan area, and an impressive wine program for the time. Now, it sucks.

And Potowmack Landing is the first and last place I have ever had sashimi with a fork.

Yes, there are bad meals to be had all up and down King St.

They have a great beer list.

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(not as impressive as it sounds...they only had one bottle of each...and those were on loan smile.gif)

 

Tell that to the six bottles I bought to go at $100 under retail each! smile.gif

It sucked, I didn't have the money, and yet, I knew for a fact that I could not turn it down.

Truly, twenty years ago, Bilbo Baggins had a small but serious wine program.

I tipped the server $20 who packed up the wine, and she said, "Come back soon - I hope." :)

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I think the service has improved compared to Capital Icebox's experience three years ago; however, I can't say the same for the food. Plus, it was only dessert. But it tasted like dessert that was sitting-in-the-fridge-for-the-past-few-days-and-you-kind-of-forgot-about-it-flavor. My friend's cake was stale and my was not piercable by a fork. The super nice thing was that they took of off our bill. Very grateful. The beer list is nice, though. Two beers also kind of made up for things. I guess, in other words, not much to report here.

Not sure if I should chime in here. I used to work there. Perhaps that says enough.

The beer selection is fantastic. The menu probably hasn't changed in a decade or so and it is a little long.

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