A visit to Charlottesville can suit just about anyone’s taste, with Blue Ridge Mountain views, historic homes, hiking, and vineyard-hopping all easily accessible. The culinary scene can also please any palate, with options ranging from a popular Neapolitan pizzeria in the charming Belmont section of town to modern French cuisine at Fleurie on the Downtown Mall. You’re never too far from a vineyard (or brewery, cidery, or distillery) here, and many offer tours and tastings which allow visitors to get a sense for the production process. The next time you’re in Charlottesville, use this list to point you in the right direction.
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Bodo’s Bagels – A popular Charlottesville bagel shop with three locations around town. Friendly, efficient service and a great option for a casual bite.
Bluegrass Grill & Bakery – Located just a stone’s throw away from the Downtown Mall, Bluegrass serves both classic and creative breakfast and brunch options; a highlight is made-from-scratch bread and biscuits. Be warned: there’s often a wait for a table.
Blue Moon Diner – A small diner on Main St. with breakfast and lunch fare and regular live music that just reopened in September 2019.
More Breakfast Places:
Oakhurst Inn Cafe – Breakfast and brunch in a cozy setting within the property of the Oakhurst Inn. The seasonal menu changes, though the bacon gruyère scone with scallion butter is deservedly a mainstay.
Bizou – Classic Virginia dishes using French culinary techniques, brunch is served on Sundays where the chocolate croissant is a must-have.
MarieBette Café and Bakery – Popular eatery in the Rose Hill neighborhood serving up breakfast, brunch (menu offerings include quiche lorraine, lemon ricotta and baked eggs) and lunch.
More Brunch Restaurants:
Citizen Burger – This burger joint on the Downtown Mall has something for everyone, with an ingredient-driven menu that includes salads and shareables.
Take It Away – This sandwich shop near UVA is known for quality ingredients like French bread and house dressing.
Feast! – Located in Main Street Market, Feast! Is a speciality food shop and restaurant all in one. The cafe, with a menu featuring soups, salads and sandwiches, is open Monday through Saturday until 3 p.m.
Roots Natural Kitchen – A healthy fast-casual option specializing in grain bowls and salads.
More Lunch Spots:
Public Fish & Oyster– A seafood lover’s delight with a fantastic daily happy hour from 5-6 p.m. Raw bar and seafood entrees including mussels, crab cakes and more.
Red Pump Kitchen – House-made pastas and gourmet pizzas stand out at this Downtown Mall restaurant that’s suitable for a special evening out or a “just because” dinner.
Mas Tapas – Spanish tapas in a lively setting in the Belmont neighborhood, the space includes a large bar, indoor seating and a large patio. No reservations, but any wait is worth it!
Lampo – Neapolitan-style pizzeria with indoor and outdoor seating. Dine-in only, no take-out or reservations.
More Dinner Destinations:
BBQ Exchange – Located outside of Charlottesville in Gordonsville, some might argue that it’s worth a visit to this town for this ‘cue alone. We’ll let you decide.
Ace Biscuit & BBQ – This casual spot with a chalkboard menu offers the classics like pulled chicken and pork alongside chicken and waffles, fried green tomatoes, and a build-your-own biscuit option.
Red Hub Food Co. – Pulled pork, fried chicken, and slow-smoked ribs all make the menu at 24-seat joint with indoor and outdoor seating.
More BBQ Places:
-FOR YOUR SWEET TOOTH-
Gearharts Fine Chocolates – An artisanal chocolate shop voted one of Chocolatier Magazine’s “Top 20 Artisan Chocolatiers” in the U.S.
Splendora’s Gelato Cafe – A gelato shop on the Downtown Mall offering traditional and seasonal flavors.
Albemarle Baking Company – Breads, cakes, and pastries all shine here, though some would argue the Princess Cake steals the show.
Cocoa & Spice – Handcrafted chocolates, confections, and drinking chocolate in York Place on the Downtown Mall.
More Places to Find Something Sweet:
The Alley Light – Bitters, syrups, and sodas made in house means the cocktails shine at this French restaurant.
The Lost Saint – Cocktail bar with a speakeasy vibe below Tavern & Grocery.
Tavola’s Cicchetti Bar – Craft cocktails in a bar behind Tavola’s main restaurant with snacks and seasonal drink options.
More Cocktail Places:
-FOR CRAFT BREWS OR CIDER-
Blue Mountain Brewery and Restaurant – Craft brewery and restaurant in Afton with casual pub fare, pizzas and beer flights, all with a mountain view.
Three Notch’d Craft Kitchen & Brewery – Located in IX Art Park, Three Notch’d is a great place to enjoy a beer or a meal, with ample seating and a family-friendly space.
Champion Brewing Company – The Champion Brewery Company taproom is a great place to try a beer or two in a chill environment. On the Downtown Mall, head to Brasserie Saison, a restaurant started by Champion and the first combination brewery and restaurant in Charlottesville.
Potter’s Craft Cider – Beer not your drink of choice? Cider lovers should head to Potter’s Craft to enjoy seasonal releases and take in the beautiful can designs. (FYI: Potter’s will be opening a brand new tasting room off of Route 29 just south of Charlottesville in mid-November!)
More Breweries & Cideries:
-FOR THE WINE LOVER-
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards – Pippin Hall offers a picturesque setting any time of the year in North Garden just outside of Charlottesville. The on-site tasting room is a great place to order a bite to pair with your wine.
King Family Vineyards -Located fifteen minutes outside of Charlottesville in Crozet, King Family delights guests with its Crosé Rosé and Sunday polo matches in the summer.
Blenheim Vineyards – It’s worth visiting Blenheim for the unique look of the tasting room alone, which was designed by Dave Matthews and master craftsman William Johnson to have minimal impact on the environment.
What are you waiting for? Visit these Charlottesville restaurants and find more awesome food experiences around the Commonwealth to eat and drink what you love in Virginia!
Based in Charlottesville, Meg Irvin works at Richmond PR firm The Hodges Partnership and does freelance writing on the Virginia food scene in her spare time. She and her colleague Kelsey run the food Instagram @letsshareadish, where they share dining recommendations for Richmond, Charlottesville and beyond.