Dining in Charlottesville

Apologies again for the lack of recent posts- as I said before had to finish up exams and a couple of crazy weeks of work but I should be posting pretty regularly from now on.

I just spent the weekend in Charlottesville visiting my alma mater for the Foxfield races. Having spent four years in this fabulous city, and of course being in love with food, I figured I’d dedicate the post to anyone visiting the area looking for a great bite to eat.

The two main areas for restaurants in Charlottesville are “The Corner”- located right next to the University of Virginia’s sprawling campus and the “Downtown Mall” which is a historic, brick-laid area with tons of boutiques and restaurants.

UVA Corner Flickr Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/imarcc/

Breakfast:

Bodos Bagels: Amazing, fresh, New York-style bagels; Cheap and delicious you can order just about anything you can think of to create a one-of-a-kind bagel sandwich; they have three locations located throughout the Charlottesville area off Route 29 and on the Corner.

Bluegrass Grill and Bakery: Two words: biscuits and bacon. The venue is pretty tiny though so make sure you get there early!

The Tavern: If you love traditional southern breakfasts (accompanied by cheap pitchers of beer) the Tavern is the place for you. Definitely has that down home country feel- the servers joke around a lot and if you come back often enough will sneak you extra biscuits. Better hurry up and get this one in since it looks like it will be closing end of this year.

Lunch/Brunch:

Take it Away: One of the most charming sandwich shops you will ever visit, Take It Away features a great selection of bread, deli meats, cheeses and fresh toppings (sprouts, roasted red peppers, cucumbers). Definitely opt for the “secret sauce” on the sandwiches.

Hamilton’s: Since it’s one of the few restaurants on the Downtown Mall open for lunch, I put the restaurant under the lunch category, but it also has some excellent dinner selections too. Hamilton’s features contemporary cuisine and some of the best service I’ve ever experienced in the Charlottesville area. Definitely a bit pricier, but well worth it.

Foods of All Nations Deli Sandwiches: Another great on-the-go sandwich option located on Ivy Road off 29. This is actually one of the most unique specialty food stores I’ve ever been to and has been in the Charlottesville area for over 50 years.  The deli menu features specialty or made to order sandwiches. The Roma was one of my favorites- fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil on ciabatta with olive oil– ask for it lightly toasted and add a dash of balsamic dressing- heaven.

Mellow Mushroom Pizza: It is a chain…..but their pizza is SO good. Try the Kosmic Karma, Magical Mystery Tour or the Mighty Meaty.

Charlottesville Downtown Mall Flickr Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/koocbor

Dinner:

Mas Tapas: Tucked away on Monticello Road this remains one of my all-time favorite restaurants in Charlottesville. The place doesn’t take reservations and is pretty much always packed so prepare to enjoy a couple of margaritas or specialty cocktails at the bar and don’t worry- it’s totally worth it. Even if you are not a “small dish” or tapas person, I promise you will walk away from this restaurant satisfied and already planning your next trip back.

Bang!: Yes, another tapas place. This restaurant features Asian-inspired small plates and an awesome Martini bar. Great for group dinners- especially recommend this place for a ladies night out.

Michael’s Bistro: Looking for something inbetween the pricier Downtown Mall options and bars on the Corner- don’t overlook Michael’s Bistro. Despite being located on The Corner, this restaurant features slightly more upscale options without hurting your wallet too badly. Also has the best beer selection on the Corner by far. Go for the Baked Brie appetizer and don’t forget to read the specials board (has some of the best options).

Downtown Grille: “Steaks done right.”  Seriously. Like true traditional steakhouses, the Downtown Grill cook their steaks on the rare side and feature some of the “finest Midwestern corn fed beef.” This would be my choice for the ladies and gentlemen who enjoy their meat and potatoes.

C&O Restaurant: Fine dining and a ton of history all in one restaurant. C&O is one of most highly-rated restaurants in Charlottesville with impeccable service and mouth-watering entrée selections of high quality.  The restaurant features an intimate ambiance with six different dining options.

Late Night:

White Spot: If you ever visit Charlottesville, trying the legendary Gus Burgers is a must. A hamburger with a fried egg on top.

Little John’s: Specialty sandwiches and subs you’ve only dreamed about.

Christian’s Pizza: Thin-crust pizza by the slice with a variety of fresh toppings (feta, artichokes, avocados, mushrooms, basil, etc).

I could seriously put about 20 more recommendations on here. Charlottesville is amazing- especially if you are a food lover! It also contains a ton of history (UVA, Monticello, etc.) and activities (wine tasting, tubing, rock climbing, etc.). Visit if you have the chance.

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