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Charlottesville, VA


s'kat
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  • 1 month later...

Just in case anybody references this at some future point, Charlottesville is filled to the brim with awesome little casual joints, as well as quality dining.

Two cases in point: Sticks, an incredible little kebab shop that uses organic, locally produced foods, and Tastings of Charlottesville, a wine store/wine bar/restaurant that was fabulous. My husband and I had such a great time eating and drinking during our short little journey, that we have already planned a return trip with our dinner-club companions for a weekender 'restaurant vacation'. :cool:

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Thank you for this followup s'kat. I hadn't been to Charlottesville in a while which is why I didn't respond, but I've found some very good work being done outside of DC proper, and I suspect there's better cooking than people realize in Fredericksburg, Richmond, Charlottesville, etc. In our area, I think Eve Zibart writing in the Post "Weekend" section stays on top of this outlying scene the best--she's the one who turned me onto the great job Jay Comfort was doing in Fredericksburg, my wife and I had a pretty impressive tasting menu at his hands based on her recommendation and look what happened recently--the guy gets the Poste job to turn it around and gets mentioned by Marion Burros in the NYTimes despite the fact that all his dishes happened to arrive at her table that day not warm.

I'm glad for everyone cooking and living outside the immediate core that there is someone with a roving eye like Eve who pays attention to them, critically and without attitude or agenda.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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I didn't see this post before. Although I have not been there in roughly 3 years, the Ivy Inn in neighboring Ivy, Virginia is/was excellent.

PS: It is/was an upscale dinner place (maybe they have a brunch as well)

Edited by Zeb A (log)
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  • 1 year later...

Charlottesville has a fantastic restaurant scene centered around the Dowtown Mall ( outdoor center of town) a new spot seems to pop up every few months. I would bypass Tastings and go for Mano Loco- a cool Cuban Joint- even just to sit outside for some margaritas and home made chips n salsa, maybe try some empanadas and tamales. good stuff.

Oxo is great ( altho a bit $$), Bizou is a definite stop & probably a better value, Bluelight Grill as well if you are an oyster fan-

I am from Richmond, but we take occasional trips to check out the new spots in the Ville. if we have too many there is always the omni hotel about 100 yards from us..

Its def. a nice change from richmond and DC-

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turned me onto the great job Jay Comfort was doing in Fredericksburg, my wife and I had a pretty impressive tasting menu at his hands based on her recommendation and look what happened recently

I, too, went to Jay Comfort's fine Bistro 309 and had a relatively great meal, certainly the best meal offered that night in Fredricksburg. I remember the first time I met him at Poste, we pieced together the puzzle and realized we had met each other down in Fredricksburg the year before. I'll miss him at Poste.

When you're getting your breakfast at Charlottesville, you will, of course, end up at The Tavern: "Where students, tourists and townspeople meat." (<--- next-morning edit: nice spelling) I'd nix their buckwheat cakes and go for the fluffy stuff, with lotsa bacon and about four eggs, and buy all means DO pay the extra dollar for real maple syrup. I've been a few times, and would happily go again.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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turned me onto the great job Jay Comfort was doing in Fredericksburg, my wife and I had a pretty impressive tasting menu at his hands based on her recommendation and look what happened recently

I, too, went to Jay Comforts fine Bistro 309 and had a relatively great meal, certainly the best meal offered that night in Fredricksburg. I remember the first time I met him at Poste, we pieced together the puzzle and realized we had met each other down in Fredricksburg the year before. I'll miss him at Poste.

When you're getting your breakfast at Charlottesville, you will, of course, end up at The Tavern: "Where students, tourists and townspeople meat." I'd nix their buckwheat cakes and go for the fluffy stuff, with lotsa bacon and about four eggs, and buy all means DO pay the extra dollar for real maple syrup. I've been a few times, and would happily go again.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Memories! As a double Hoo, 87-91 and 96-98 I can tell you the quality of the restaurants has improved by Charlottesville always had good food. The old C&O restaurant was really one of the only fine dining options in central VA for a good 20 years.

Its been a while so I will not make any serious suggestions. However, Don is correct about the Tavern. However, us old timers call it Seargent's. Late night drunk dining should be done at the White Spot on the Corner (the main student drag near the University). The specialty is a Gus Burger which is a burger w/fired egg on top. I was always partial to a double Gus all the way. You can still see remnants on my waistline.

Also on the corner is the Virginian. Its the oldest student bar/restaurant in town and full of history. Food quality I have no idea. Sam Shepard tried to pick up on my date there one night, while I was in the bathroom. He did that (not only to me) on a regular basis.

On the downtown mall Miller's is an old jazz bar. Metropolitan is a good restaurant on the Mall too. Nearby is Fuel Co, a gas station/restaurant owned by super-social-climber Patricia Kluge. Avoid this place on principle alone. Actually, Charlottesville has a number of gas stations with excellent food. The Exxon in Ivy has a mean virgnia ham sandwhich.

For the biggest burger in Virginia go to Big Jim's. FOr good bagels try Bodo's (the bagels are coming!). The nicest hotel is 20 minutes out of town at Keswick Hall. This tuscan villa was (is?) owned by Laura Ashley's family and was part of a trio of worldwide hotels she owned (the others were in St. Michaels, MD and Wales). ANother great hotel/Inn is Clifton.

Don't miss spending some quality time at the University. The grounds were designed by Thomas Jefferson and are an architectural wonder. Each building on the Lawn and Range is in a different classical style and was designed so young men could study the great architecture of Europe without leaving Charlottesville.

Have fun!

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  • 1 month later...

Hi

I'm planning to do a trip from DC to Richmond on a july Saturday that includes some wineries and lunch in Charlottesville. Can any recommend a good lunch spot, preferably NOT too near the U??

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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OxO i think is the best restaurant in c'ville, but i'm not sure if it serves lunch.

Hamilton's on the downtown mall serves a damn good lunch, i would go there.

if you stay for dinner you might also want to try an inspired little place about halfway between the university and the downtown mall called continental divide.

I wanna say something. I'm gonna put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don't, send it right back. I want to be on you.

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On the downtown mall I'd suggest Bizou (consistently good and inexpensive with outdoor seating on the mall) or Revolutionary Soup (best soup and salads).

I don't think Continental Divide does lunch, otherwise that'd be great.

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My memory is a bit foggy due to the all day wine tour that day, but I remember going to a tapas joint in C'ville that I enjoyed. It seemed to be in a kinda iffy neighborhood, but it had lots of outdoor seating and a funky bar area.

Anyone know the name?

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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Also on the corner is the Virginian. Its the oldest student bar/restaurant in town and full of history. Food quality I have no idea. Sam Shepard tried to pick up on my date there one night, while I was in the bathroom. He did that (not only to me) on a regular basis.

On the downtown mall Miller's is an old jazz bar. Metropolitan is a good restaurant on the Mall too. Nearby is Fuel Co, a gas station/restaurant owned by super-social-climber Patricia Kluge. Avoid this place on principle alone. Actually, Charlottesville has a number of gas stations with excellent food. The Exxon in Ivy has a mean virgnia ham sandwhich.

For the biggest burger in Virginia go to Big Jim's. FOr good bagels try Bodo's (the bagels are coming!). The nicest hotel is 20 minutes out of town at Keswick Hall. This tuscan villa was (is?) owned by Laura Ashley's family and was part of a trio of worldwide hotels she owned (the others were in St. Michaels, MD and Wales). ANother great hotel/Inn is Clifton.

Sam Shepard is/was notorious for that kind of behavior. I hear the Bodo's on the Corner *still* hasn't opened (I'm a Curry M.Ed, Winter '00), but Shepard also likes the Bodo's downtown for his undergrad-scoping-needs.

Keswick Hall used to be owned by Laura Ashley's family but they sold out to a Korean (I think) company five or more years ago. Reportedly, there's good food to be found there, too, as well as at the Boar's Head Inn, although both places were too rich for my grad student blood when I was down there.

Metropolitan is widely regarded to be the best restaurant in C'ville. C&O was considered the runner-up. There are also lots of nice places on the Downtown Mall, although they seem to come and go, that are more affordable and less spectacular, where you can get a decent meal. (I did eat at both Metropolitan and C&O, thanks to kindness of others!)

And everyone's right about The Tavern. You can't go to C'ville without eating at The Tavern.

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Also on the corner is the Virginian.  Its the oldest student bar/restaurant in town and full of history.  Food quality I have no idea.  Sam Shepard tried to pick up on my date there one night, while I was in the bathroom.  He did that (not only to me) on a regular basis.

On the downtown mall Miller's is an old jazz bar.  Metropolitan is a good restaurant on the Mall too.  Nearby is Fuel Co, a gas station/restaurant owned by super-social-climber Patricia Kluge.  Avoid this place on principle alone.  Actually, Charlottesville has a number of gas stations with excellent food.  The Exxon in Ivy has a mean virgnia ham sandwhich. 

For the biggest burger in Virginia go to Big Jim's.  FOr good bagels try Bodo's (the bagels are coming!).  The nicest hotel is 20 minutes out of town at Keswick Hall.  This tuscan villa was (is?) owned by Laura Ashley's family and was part of a trio of worldwide hotels she owned (the others were in St. Michaels, MD and Wales).  ANother great hotel/Inn is Clifton.

Sam Shepard is/was notorious for that kind of behavior. I hear the Bodo's on the Corner *still* hasn't opened (I'm a Curry M.Ed, Winter '00), but Shepard also likes the Bodo's downtown for his undergrad-scoping-needs.

Keswick Hall used to be owned by Laura Ashley's family but they sold out to a Korean (I think) company five or more years ago. Reportedly, there's good food to be found there, too, as well as at the Boar's Head Inn, although both places were too rich for my grad student blood when I was down there.

Metropolitan is widely regarded to be the best restaurant in C'ville. C&O was considered the runner-up. There are also lots of nice places on the Downtown Mall, although they seem to come and go, that are more affordable and less spectacular, where you can get a decent meal. (I did eat at both Metropolitan and C&O, thanks to kindness of others!)

And everyone's right about The Tavern. You can't go to C'ville without eating at The Tavern.

LOL! I was talking 1989 about "The Bagels Are Coming".....the first interation of Bodos.

College 91, Darden 98

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My memory is a bit foggy due to the all day wine tour that day, but I remember going to a tapas joint in C'ville that I enjoyed. It seemed to be in a kinda iffy neighborhood, but it had lots of outdoor seating and a funky bar area.

Anyone know the name?

al- i googled it and it's MAS Tapas on monticello rd. i couldn't for the life of me remember the name-way too much sangria and other brain cell killers that nite.

"Ham isn't heroin..." Morgan Spurlock from "Supersize Me"

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My memory is a bit foggy due to the all day wine tour that day, but I remember going to a tapas joint in C'ville that I enjoyed. It seemed to be in a kinda iffy neighborhood, but it had lots of outdoor seating and a funky bar area.

Anyone know the name?

al- i googled it and it's MAS Tapas on monticello rd. i couldn't for the life of me remember the name-way too much sangria and other brain cell killers that nite.

That was one whacky evening. :wacko:

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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It's not right in Charlottesville, but I had an amazing meal at Palladio, which is located at Barboursville Vineyard, a little northeast of C'ville. We had lunch there (which is quite a bit cheaper than the dinner) and my husband ordered the best entree he's ever had. It was duck, and it was so tender that it literally melted in your mouth. I swear I've never tasted such great duck in my entire life! Also, because it is a vineyard, they have perfect wine pairings for each of the courses.

I recommend reservations, because even for lunch on a Sunday, we called two weeks in advance and were put on a waitlist.

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There is awsome restaurant called Fleurie off the mall downtown Cville. Menu is Modern seasonal french done very very well. The prices are fairly expensive for the area, but for the quality and care you receive it is well worth it. Check it out.

soupkitchen

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It seems a lot has changed since I left C'Ville in 1990. I was there for four years training in anesthesiology. at the time the best restaurants in the area IMO were Eastern Standard and The Silver Thatch Inn. I have no idea if either is still in business.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I second the vote for lunch at Barboursville's Palladio. My lunch was also fabulous. A two course meal paired with wine plus taxes and a 20% gratuity was $50. Nice atmosphere, delicious food, well paired wines. Also on the mall in C'ville we just had a great early dinner at Blue Light Grill. We had an oyster tasting and shared three appetizers (calamari, shrimp, and tuna rolls - which were excellent). I'm not sure if they're open for lunch (the bar was open when we arrived at 4pm and was serving food from the raw bar but the kitchen didn't open for dinner until 5:30).

Some say the glass is half empty, some say the glass is half full, I say, are you going to drink that?

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Just got back from a quick corporate junket to Charlottesville courtesy of the primary breadwinner's highly-reputable professional services outfit. They were good enough to put us up at the Boar's Head, whose lodgings I can thoroughly recommend although our dinner options there were limited to the usual anodyne large-group banqueting fare.

Since it was not I, thankfully, who was being "professionally developed," I did sneak out for lunch in town on Friday, towing a hangover of acid trip proportions resulting from an introduction, effected by some former Wahoos in attendance, to the local custom of mixing good bourbon with ginger ale. Anyway, I managed to dodge the dreads-and-dog-on-a-piece-of-string crusties panhandling at one end of the downtown Mall and the Wankstas practicing their scowls at the other to find out a few things that may be of interest.

First, the New Dominion bookstore should be the template for all good bookstores anywhere -- piled to the roof with books in no great order and staffed by nice ladies who'll tell you the one you wanted wasn't much good anyway and here, read the latest Martin Amis instead.

Second, OXO is open for lunch, from 11:30 Tuesday-Friday according to their door, except that they weren't when I turned up at 12:00. That was a pity because just reading about the steak and stilton sandwich special on the posted menu made me drool on the doormat.

Thirdly, Bizou is an good substitute. I had a nicely seasoned tomato, corn and basil soup and a tasty steak salad with blue cheese, walnuts and a balsamic vinaigrette. It also has a pleasantly informal diner feel, they happily let me take up a whole booth on my own and the waitress called me "honey" despite being somewhat younger than me and a fair distance out of my league.

I can also recommend the local alt-weekly paper (C-ville?) which had an extensive food section and appeared to stay well on top of the scene there. Two items of interest: Metropolitan, referenced above as one of the town's best, is closing down at the end of the month as the owners (who also run Bizou) couldn't make a go of it. And, for gastro-tourists, there's apparently now a pretty decent South African restaurant in the Vinegar Hill shopping center with an interesting wine and beer list including Castle, Windhoek, Tusker etc. It's called the Shebeen, slang for a backyard drinking den, and while I didn't make it out there this time, the recipe in the paper for for their lentils sauteed in brandy and red wine looked interesting enough.

Other than that, the Tavern still rules. Also, if you've never been to Monticello, as I hadn't, go.

Edited by iamthestretch (log)

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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It's been a while, but we used to love to go to the wineries in the area, and have lunch either from the little bits of food they sold, or packing our own. If we weren't up for packing our own at home before our travels, there were places nearby to buy sandwiches and other picnic fare.

This idea may be way outdated.... if so, my apologies.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Thanks much--especially for the Palladio suggestion. I made a late lunch reservation there. My thinking is to hit Grey Ghost, St Michal's and then Barboursville for tasting and lunch--and then get to Richmond in time for dinner. Is that reasonable--and are there other vineyards on the way we could hit briefly if we have time?

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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