The Best 9 Restaurants in Charlottesville, VA

  • Share
Share with your friends









Submit

The kitchens of Charlottesville, Virginia are where Southern comfort food meet east coast upscale dining. At most restaurants, you can mow down some pimento cheese or a fantastic steak, but there are some unique surprises to be found in this trendy city, too, like imaginative takes on quintessential fried chicken, oysters Rockefeller, or stunning farm-fresh fare.

1
Restaurants /

The Ivy Inn Restaurant

Old Virginia classics are elevated to upscale dining heights at the The Ivy Inn Restaurant, which is just as charming as it sounds. Down-home favorites like lamb chops or salmon are served here with class and flavor that would make any big city eatery jealous, and country-eating appetizers like shrimp ‘n grits and tomato biscuit pie cozy up to fancier fare like foie gras.

Insider Tip

Beefed out? Try the free range bison steak, which has far less fat than the bovine version.

Details
2
Restaurants /

Hamiltons’ at First & Main

This downtown Charlottesville restaurant serves contemporary American cuisine and is a favorite among locals, travelers, and university students. Watch the sunset from the outdoor patio and you’ll understand why Charlottesville residents often visit this fine dining establishment several times a month. Another reason: the hushpuppies, made with Hamiltons’ at First & Main’s inventive take on pimento cheese, a Southern favorite.

Insider Tip

Vegetarians can feast on the daily “blue plate special,” a meatless entrée that changes daily.

Details
3
Restaurants /

Spudnut Shop

The exterior of Spudnut Shop is not going to win any beauty pageants, but the doughy delights baked every day will easily win your sweet-tooth. The Spudnut Shop opened nearly five decades ago and specializes in potato flour-based donuts, based on a German pastry. Spudnut Shop’s cherry cinnamon donut is a long-time favorite among Charlottesville sugar lovers.

Insider Tip

The donuts sell out pretty much every day—arrive before noon for your best chance at nabbing one.

Details
4
Restaurants /

Downtown Grille

While Asian fusion cuisine and molecular gastronomy definitely have their place, sometimes the classics, like grilled steaks and seafood served on spotless white tablecloths, are what count. Downtown Grille isn’t stuffy or excessively inventive, but the chefs here create American wonders with class every night. Like any steakhouse worth opening your wallet for, the martinis are strong and expertly crafted.

Insider Tip

Don’t retreat from the greens just because you’re at a spot famous for meat—the iceberg wedge and classic caesar salad are surprisingly satisfying.

Details
5
Restaurants /

Sultan Kebab

Sultan Kebab brings the succulent flavors of Istanbul to the middle of Virginia, and this relaxed restaurant is terrific for those wanting to eat well but who also desire a laid-back vibe. The platters of kebabs of kofte will satisfy several hungry people, and the sandwiches slammed into homemade pita bread are tasty American takes on Mediterranean favorites. Baklava and rice pudding are available with Turkish coffee—some of the strongest brew available.

Insider Tip

Get the hummus casserole, a version of the Middle Eastern dip, baked with tomatoes and cheese.

Details
6
Restaurants /

Michie Tavern

Scrumptious fried chicken and peach cobbler, buttermilk biscuits and mashed potatoes—The Ordinary at Michie Tavern serves favorites just like your mom used to make: that is, if your mother was a fantastic cook who knew how to push Southern comfort food to a soul-satisfying limit. Housed inside a historic building, a visit to this eatery is like a trip to the early 1800s (the staff even dresses in period outfits), and the food is served buffet-style with flavors that are anything but hokey.

Insider Tip

Since it is so close to Monticello, The Ordinary at Michie Tavern is an appropriate capper to a tour of Thomas Jefferson’s old estate.

Details
7
Restaurants /

Threepenny Café

The casual ambiance at Threepenny Café makes it a suitable choice for a lunch or dinner with family, as well as a great place to meet up with friends for drinks and small bites. With menu selections like oysters Rockefeller, petite filet mignon, and tuna nicoise, however, the kitchen is undeniably serious about what they are doing. The bar offers a long wine list of locally grown bottles, a large craft beer selection, and plenty of classic cocktails.

Insider Tip

With the breakfast pizza served with a silky poached egg on the brunch menu, you can indeed have pizza anytime.

Details
8
Restaurants /

Public Fish and Oyster

From the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, Public Fish and Oyster selects only the finest oysters—the meaty gems of the ocean—to serve raw everyday. Order a martini with an orange twist alongside a plate of Oysters Rockefeller and you’ll feel like a captain of industry from another era, all at a reasonable price point. The tasty little morsels also pop up in the oyster stew, oyster Lyonnaise, and the PFO pan roast.

Insider Tip

If you aren’t in the mood for raw oysters, opt for the moules frite: deliciously cooked mussels with Belgian-style fried potatoes.

Details
9
Restaurants /

Old Mill Room

With its rich wood walls and ceiling, eating at the Old Mill Room offers a quaint but elegant experience, where everyone who steps in the door is automatically a Virginia gentleman or lady. A fireplace roars while friendly servers bring fresh seafood and carefully-made martinis, and contemporary creations like panko-encrusted ahi tuna or wild rice-stuffed zucchini show off that the chefs are still as inventive as those from any upscale option in a bigger city.

Insider Tip

The doors of the Old Mill Room open early, so stop in for a gourmet breakfast to start your journey through Virginia’s wine country.

Details

You might also like

Guides

8 El Dorado County Restaurants Where Foodies…

El Dorado County’s hills, Gold Rush history, innovative restaurants, and world-class wineries combine for a…

Read More
Guides

8 Great Hood River Restaurants to Try

Even at the most urbane restaurants in Hood River, expect friendly, down-to-earth service, and delicious…

Read More
Guides

Where to Eat in Placer County

Placer County has a thriving restaurant scene, thanks in part to the talented chefs who…

Read More
Guides

The 8 Best Restaurants in Eugene

Eugene is lovely, eclectic place, so it’s really just best to go with the flow…

Read More