I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Charlottesville, Virginia this summer for Rand McNally and USA Today’s, “Best of the Road.” Our mission was to find the “best food” in small town America. What we found in Charlottesville was simply a foodies paradise. We sampled nearly twenty different Charlottesville restaurants, and, we were only scratching the surface. Below is a list of all the different places we visited, along with the videos we produced from Charlottesville. If you have a favorite restaurant that’s not on this list, please leave a comment below and include them.
Before our Charlottesville restaurant tour even began, we visited the weekly public market where many of the local chef’s get their fresh ingredients. The “farm-to-table” moment is a mantra you’ll hear a lot of in Charlottesville.
1) Our first stop was Brookville Restaurant, where Chef Harrison prepared one of his signature dishes…fried green tomatoes. The Brookville is closed for lunch, so we had the place to ourselves and were able to watch Chef Harrison in action.
2) After a tour of the University of Virgina campus, we headed to a great sandwich shop that caters to students, Take it Away Sandwich Shop.
3) Next was a visit to “Peter Chang’s”, where we enjoyed a signature dish made with Asian eggplant. There is an interesting story behind this elusive chef, click here to read about it.
4) Bacon wrapped dates with some fine wine…oh my! This was one of the dishes we had at chef Thomas Rahal’s MAS.
6) Across the street we went to a modest little place called “Belmont BBQ,” serving a catchy dish called, the “Slop Bucket.” It’s a large cup layered with comfort goodness. First is a layer of au gratin potatoes, then a layer of baked beans, a layer of pulled bbq pork, topped off with cole slaw. This was comfort heaven in a bucket.
7) Next door to “Belmont” was Tavola, a cozy and rustic restaurant serving Italian fair with a variety of seafood and local wines.
8. We then visited C&O where the kitchen crew works tirelessly cultivating relationships with local farmers, cheese makers, vintners and ranchers bringing the best of what’s available.
9) Across the way was “Tempo,” a chic upscale restaurant/lounge. Here we tried a variety of things, from the Lemongrass Scallops Lafayette, Spicy Tempo Shrimp to the Roasted Beets.
10) Splendora’s was a wonderful reprieve from all the eating…here we indulged in a tasty gelato palate cleanse.
11) We enjoyed some light fare at Petit Pois, with a bowl of their signature pea soup.
12) Positively 4th Street had some tasty sliders, shrimp and grits and a roasted beet salad with arugula on tap for us.
13) At Bizou we tried pan seared trout and another sampling of shrimp and grits…a southern favorite.
14) It was time for a spirit break at 9 1/2 Speakeasy, an authentic 1930s, secret prohibition-style lounge. We tried a couple of their specialty drinks…one was called the “Betty White,” the other, the “Smokey Gentleman.”
15) The Whiskey Jar lined up three flights of varying types of Virginia whiskey for us to try. If that didn’t send us over the edge, the scrumptious freshly baked peach cobbler did the trick.
16) We had the most fantastic breakfast at the Boar’s Head Inn. They offer an outstanding buffet as well as signature dishes presented in culinary elegance. We indulged in the Eggs Chesapeake, Pan Roasted Salmon and the Blue Ridge Eggs Benedict.
I should mention that we also enjoyed paired Virginia wine and beer with nearly every meal. Amateur and professional foodies alike will rejoice in the vast selection and high quality culinary options in Charlottesville, Virginia. If you’ve been to, or live in Charlottesville, leave a comment below and let my readers and me know what your favorite spot is?
Click the following link to see area and food pictures of Charlottesville.