(updated May 2022)
The challenge of creating a list of the best restaurants in Charlottesville VA is the fact that there are SO MANY great restaurants! For its size, Charlottesville is ranked 14th, along with NYC, San Francisco, and Seattle for having the most restaurants per capita. That means for every 10,000 residents there are almost 23 restaurants! We can certainly help you find a restaurant for whatever type of food or atmosphere that you are craving; if it isn’t on the list, call us! We love helping you find your new favorite spot.
But why is Charlottesville brimming with so many great eating places? The reasons aren’t entirely obvious. First, and foremost, we are located in the South, which is known for spectacular food. There are many places with modern twists on classic Southern dishes as well as superb versions of the classics. Second, much of the food served in our restaurants is grown or raised within an hour of here. Farm to table is no stranger to Charlottesville. Third, our population has originated from every corner of the globe, making the cultural influences and choices truly international. Finally, when there is such a concentration of restaurants, the competition just makes everyone better!
We have divided up our favorites into categories. Don’t think that these are the only great restaurants, because, for sure, they are not! There are many more choices!
Contemporary American Cuisine
The Ivy Inn is located in an 18th-century house with a garden and patio dining area also available. Dishes range from a rack of lamb and brined pork chops to sauteed rockfish. Don’t miss the ham and cheese biscuits. Perfect for a special occasion.
Location: 2244 Old Ivy Rd, Charlottesville
The Local is a gastropub known for locally sourced foods. The menu has way more than burgers. You’ll also find truffled mushroom ragout and local beef short ribs. They also have a good cocktail, wine, and beer listing.
Location: 824 Hinton Ave, Charlottesville
Citizen’s Burger Bar
The Citizen’s Burger Bar takes burgers to the next level; with local grass-finished beef, local buns, cheeses, and more! Located in the Downtown Mall, it’s the perfect spot for a great burger and drink.
Location: 212 E Main St, Charlottesville
The C&O Restaurant is a fine dining establishment with a long history of graduation dinners, anniversaries, and proposals. The menu is limited, but the dishes are exquisite.
Location: 515 E Water St, Charlottesville
Public Fish and Oyster
The Public Fish and Oyster has classic east coast seafood with a raw bar, lobster rolls (when you can get them), and other favorites. Craft beer and cocktails, as well as a select wine list, are available.
Location: 513 W Main St, Charlottesville
Hamilton’s at First and Main
Hamilton’s at First and Main is conveniently located Downtown in the Mall and offers contemporary American cuisine in an unpretentious setting. Make sure you take a look at their award-winning wine list.
Location: 101 W Main St, Charlottesville
Orzo Kitchen and Wine Bar
The Orzo Kitchen and Wine Bar channels an industrial-chic vibe in the Main Street Market. Their menu claims to fuse the culinary traditions of Italy, Greece, Spain, and the South of France. Find main dishes like lamb shank tagine, harissa roasted cauliflower, or grilled duck breast.
Location: 416 W Main St, Charlottesville
Look for inspired rustic Italian meals at Tavola, with a chic bistro atmosphere. With homemade pasta and an innovative menu, this delightful spot has a side entrance through a small alley.
Location: 826 Hinton Ave, Charlottesville
Vivace is an informal eatery in a historic farmhouse serving locally sourced cheeses, clams, and authentic Italian pasta and cured meats. Make sure you visit the 1940’s era serpentine bar!
Location: 2244 Ivy Rd, Charlottesville
Blackened catfish, fried chicken, and shrimp and grits! Whiskey Jar has southern food at its best. It’s also the home of the Whiskey Society of Central Virginia.
Location: 227 W Main St, Charlottesville
Maya offers a fresh perspective on Southern comfort food (think fried oysters, pimento cheese fritters) using seasonal ingredients in a classy, intimate atmosphere. They even have Southern classics in vegan and gluten-free options!
Location: 633 W Main St, Charlottesville
Located in the Downtown Mall, Brasserie Saison calls upon both meanings of the word “brasserie,” which are brewery and neighborhood restaurant. They serve Duck Confit and Mushroom Wellington, along with French Wines and their own craft beer.
Location: 111 E Main St, Charlottesville
Located in the Downtown Mall, Petit Pois Restaurant specializes in Virginia flavor using French techniques. Enjoy Coq au Vin or Bouillabaisse with shellfish and sea bass, along with other seasonal flavors.
Location: 201 E Main St, Charlottesville
Located just off the Downtown Mall, Fleurie is an intimate space offering upscale modern French cuisine. Meals are served as a prix fixe menu with three courses for $89; you can include a sommelier pairing for an additional $75.
Location: 108 3rd St, Charlottesville
The Alley Light
Neatly hidden away in the side streets near the Downtown Mall, The Alley Light offers classic French shared plates, along with craft cocktails, and a well-curated wine list.
Location: 108 2nd St SW, Charlottesville
Mas Tapas features traditional, regional, and seasonal Spanish cuisine with an emphasis on tapas. There are more than 2 dozen selections at various price points including salads, mussels, and paella.
Location: 904 Monticello Rd, Charlottesville
A bistro located in the Downtown Mall, Zocalo infuses the flavors of Spain, Mexico, and South America into its menu–like Black Bean and Corn Relleno, or Chili Dusted Scallops.
Location: 201 E Main St, Charlottesville
Milan Restaurant goes out of its way to explain Indian curry and spices to diners not familiar with Indian cuisine. Voted best Indian restaurant more than 15 years in a row, they offer many choices, including many vegetarian options.
Location: 1817 Emmet St N, Charlottesville
You can see that the choices are extensive and phenomenal! We can’t wait to see which of these best restaurants in Charlottesville, VA become your favorites. All of these restaurants have worked so hard to survive the last few years, and have returned with many options even better than before. If you need help while you are planning your Charlottesville getaway, we consider ourselves local experts! Let us help you make your stay at Foxfield Inn and Charlottesville perfect!