Where to Find the Best Hot Chocolate in Arlington
Warm up from the inside out this winter with a cup of decadence.
Let’s face it—with the holidays behind us, the winter blues are hitting hard right now. On the bright side, there’s no time like the present to indulge in hot chocolate. Whether you’re looking for a delightful and sweet way to stave off the chilly weather, or you’re preparing for National Hot Chocolate Day on January 31, here’s where you can score the best hot cocoa in Arlington.
Think foam art is only for artisanal lattes? Think again. This Columbia Pike spot—known for its Ethiopian coffee and light bites such as vegetable puff pastry—serves a hot chocolate whose rich flavor only gets better as the foam melts into the chocolate. Sit down in one of the cozy leather chairs (or bundle up at one of the cafe’s outdoor seats!) and relax with your cup. // 1107 S. Walter Reed Drive, Arlington (Columbia Pike)
Adjoining Ted’s Bulletin in Ballston Quarter, this petite coffee and sweets shop is worth a standalone visit, or you can swing through on your way out after a meal. Pair a cup of cocoa, with hints of wintry spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon, with your favorite Ted’s Bulletin pastry or over-the-top dessert. Perhaps a brown sugar and cinnamon pop tart, a cosmic brownie or a Nutella Rice Krispie treat. // 4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (Ballston)
Think basic chocolate is the only option? Prepare to open your mind to the possibilities. Nicecream—known for its ice cream frozen with liquid nitrogen—serves classic cocoa along with varieties such as creamy caramel, fragrant lavender, smooth Nutella or spiced Mexican hot chocolate. And you can dress your beverage with a multitude of toppings, such as whipped cream, chocolate sauce, cherries or all of the above. For maximum indulgence, grab a pint of ice cream, too. One note: While you can place an ice cream order in advance, hot chocolate must be ordered on site. // 2831 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington (Clarendon)
If you’ve been craving a sip of childhood nostalgia, look no further. This outdoor ice rink-adjacent Westpost cafe makes a rich, flavorful hot chocolate with housemade 60% dark chocolate syrup. Sip a cup and put your feet up after a successful shopping trip—or take a break from skating and warm up with a sweet treat while the Zamboni is smoothing the ice. // 1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington (Westpost/Pentagon City)
The minimalist aesthetic of this Clarendon coffee shop exudes a cool and calm vibe that’s seemingly made for Instagram. But the hot chocolate—which blends milk with a punched-up dark chocolate sauce, courtesy of the cafe’s inhouse pastry chef—is anything but simple. Come warmer weather, try it on ice. // 2507 Franklin Road, Arlington (Clarendon)
We know that coffee pairs well with beignets; hot chocolate does, too! Bayou Bakery’s exceptional rendition is made with 64% Valrhona chocolate, a French premium chocolate. Rest assured this drink will provide an elevated experience reminiscent of the decadence and fun of The Big Easy. // 1515 N. Courthouse Road, Arlington (Courthouse)
Hot chocolate from a place whose menu also includes a power 4 & quinoa salad and a superfruit max smoothie? Sure, live a little. The velvety texture and frothed milk topping this sweet treat is sure to warm you from the inside out—and it’ll keep little ones happy if you have them in tow. Enjoy a little people watching from the high-top bar counter as you sip, or take to the streets with a to-go cup. // 3033 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (Clarendon)
The King’s Hot Chocolate at this Ballston favorite, featuring Arlington chocolatier Rob Kingsbury’s drinking chocolate, is a knockout. Order a steaming cup with one of Good Company’s signature doughnuts and get dunking. Who knew maple-bacon doughnuts are the perfect complement? // 672 N. Glebe Road, Arlington (Ballston)
The cozy ambiance at both Northside Social locations all but begs for a warm cup of chocolate happiness. Made with a rich, housemade ganache, it hits the spot every time. (You can also pick up a tub of said ganache “hot cocoa mix” to take home and blend yourself with hot milk.) Feeling peckish? Pair your cup with a chocolate croissant, scone or biscotti for a double dose of sweetness. // 3211 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (Clarendon); 205 Park Ave., Falls Church City
This roaster features myriad seasonal lattes, but don’t neglect the Hazelnut cracker cocoa, which blends chocolate ganache with cold brew concentrate, hazelnut, whipped cream and mini chocolate chips. The last two garnishes are optional, but go big or go home, right? Think being wrapped up in a blanket with a classic movie playing—that’s the feeling this hot chocolate inspires. // 520 12th St. S., Arlington (National Landing)