Fourth Estate/Elizabeth Wiehe

Restaurants and cafes to try in Old Town Fairfax.


A 20-minute walk or a five-minute CUE bus ride from Mason and you can find yourself in the heart of Old Town Fairfax. Filled with unique, locally owned cafes and restaurants, Old Town Fairfax is a hub for some of the best places to grab a bite to eat. With such a wide variety of restaurant and cafe options, it is hard to determine which place is the best. So I did the work of asking students what they think their favorite spot is for you!

This first restaurant is a hidden gem offering a wide variety of authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Located on Main Street, Eastwind is highly rated for its friendly and relaxed atmosphere. With affordable large portions and a huge menu, Eastwind will leave you feeling full and satisfied! 

My favorite dish to eat here is the Spicy Hue Soup, which has a spicy beef broth with beef shank and thick rice noodles. The spicy broth adds a kick to the warm flavors of the beef and absorbs nicely into the soft noodles, making it the perfect meal to savor in winter.  

Not even a block away from Eastwind is another one of Mason students’ favorite restaurants, Sister’s Thai. This restaurant calls itself “the ordinary room cafe.” Having a cozy interior with flowers hanging from the ceiling and a bookcase that lines the wall, it makes you feel like you haven’t left your home. 

The menu has classic Thai food options such as Drunken Noodles and Panang Curry. It also has refreshing Thai iced tea! 

Junior Anna Lopez recommends ordering the Pad See Ew. “The Pad See Ew is super yummy and inexpensive, I’ve never ordered it and not liked it,” said Lopez.

Amongst the students who were asked, everyone seemed to mention De Clieu Coffee and Sandwiches as one of the best places to eat at. “I enjoy going there because of the quality,” said Morgan Olschewske, a junior at Mason, “The food is made with fresh ingredients and can be specialized to fit your cravings.”

Olschewske said their favorite sandwich is the Jack of All Trades. This fully loaded sandwich comes with egg, sausage, bacon, cheddar cheese, spinach, tomato, and house-made mustard aioli on a brioche bun! At De Clieu you can order different kinds of homemade breakfast and lunch sandwiches, specialty coffee with handcrafted syrups and warm bakery goods.

De Clieu even offers online ordering for when you are in a rush, or like Jessie Ferguson, a junior at Mason, on your way to class! Ferguson’s favorite items to order are a blueberry muffin and a hot cafe latte with oat milk.

 “It’s some of the best coffee I’ve ever had and the staff is so friendly! Even with a busy rush of customers…The atmosphere is [also] a great place to study or grab coffee with a friend,” said Ferguson.

Each season De Clieu creates unique coffee drinks with their house-made syrups. This keeps the menu new and exciting and keeps Mason students coming back for more.

These three restaurants and cafes are just some of the delicious spots to eat at! So, the next time you want to try something new or get off campus and head down to Old Town Fairfax to eat at some of Mason students’ favorite restaurants and cafes!