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chowworthy restaurants in Charlottesville, VA? [Moved from DC/Baltimore board]

Hubby and I are thinking about a one night trip to Charlottesville for Labor Day weekend. Any restaurants that are not to be missed? And what would you recommend at said restaurants?

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  1. for lunch or snacking at downtown mall there is great pizza at Christian's and used to be a great soup joint called Revolution. the Mudhouse is a good coffee shop at mall. and there is a neat little lunch/homemade ice cream and donut shop. I forget the name but there is usually a coffee wagon out front. the homemade ice cream is to die for.

    1 Reply
    1. re: 42duffy

      The ice cream shop is called Chaps and is a C'ville fixture. Very good, very fat ice cream.

    2. concur, if you're wandering the downtown mall during the day, and need a nibble, christian's for pizza and revolution for incredible soups and sandwiches. but for chow worthy dinners -Duner's (in Ivy just outside of town), L'etoile (on main drag) or best of all - Palladio at Barboursville Vineyards (a 15 minute beautiful drive outside of town)for an extremely impressive and memorable dining experience (food and service).

      1. sunday brunch at the boar's head inn is also not to be missed.

        1. I agree with Christians, but there's another pizza place on the mall that is just as good, imo.

          Not on the mall, but I'm not sure where, is a South African restaurant that we really enjoyed once last year. Sorry, I don't know the name.

          1. C&O Restaurant, just off the Downtown Mall on Water Street is a good bet. We were there in the Spring and had a great meal. The goat cheese wantons with beets was out-of-this-world good. I can still recall the Steak Chinoise, sliced skirt(?) steak with a ginger cream sauce, and can't wait to get this again. They have a casual space downstairs and more formal setting in upstairs dining rooms, but I think both serve the same menu. This place has never disappointed.

            For brunch Southern Culture on Main Street just west of the Downtown Mall is our favorite spot. Try the Eggs Basin Street (poached egg with jalapeno hollandaise and a baby cake (a fried seafood hash brown kind of thing)). Good grits last time we were there too.

            I have heard good things about Duner's too.

            There is a gelato place on the Downtown Mall that has loads of flavors. We found the gelato decent but not exceptional.

            1 Reply
            1. The recommendation below is two years old, so I don't know if it's still valid, and I have not been there personally. But it is intriguing....


              1 Reply
              1. re: Steve

                I think this was linking to a Ciboulette review although I couldn't pull it up. Ciboulette is closed. A new restaurant - Orzo - recently opened under new ownership. I haven't been there yet, but have read decent reviews of it.

              2. I haven't been to either of these places in a while; however, when I did go, they were probably two of the most memorable meals of my life.

                First, Tastings is excellent and if you like wine it's awesome. In addition to the food and wine being off the hook, it's sedate...I don't like loud places or ones that make you feel rushed. I found the web page: http://www.tastingsofcville.com/

                Secondly, it's not too long of a drive...try the restaurant at Chateau Mt. St. Michele (or it might be st. michele winery...ask the consierge and they should know). When I went it was also outrageously good.

                Go to Tastings...you won't be disappointed.

                1. I think this poster means Prince Michel Winery (pronounced "Michelle"), which is about 45 minutes north of Cville along route 29.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: charmedgirl

                    The Prince Michel winery once did have a very good restaurant. Now, it has no restaurant at all. But, even when it did have a restaurant, it wasn't worth the 45 minute drive from Charlottesville. Especially with Ciboulette, Fuel, and Zocalo in town.

                    Maybe Tastings used to be better than it now is. Because, now, it's just not good. Tired cuisine. The kitchen substitutes butter for talent. And, for a wine bar, the wines by the glass are remarkably bad. Often warm and "off."

                  2. Bodo's Bagels -- get the chicken salad on an onion bagel. Nothing like it in D.C.

                    1. I only scanned the replies but I didn't see anyone mention Bizou which is on Main St. across from Christian's pizza. Bizou is great, they usually have awesome fish/seafood dishes...as well as beef, pork and chicken. My brother and his family live in C'ville and this is one of their favorite places.

                      If you want to go somewhere a little fancier...and pricier...everyone raves about OXO http://www.oxorestaurant.com/
                      They were even written up in InStyle magazine years ago.

                      1. In my mind, there is no place better for the best, fresh seafood than Blue Light which is on the downtown mall and has a wonderful outside seating spot. Wonderful appetizers; must try the fried oyster wraps. They not only have great seafood but the best spareribs I've ever tasted. They are not pressure cooked, but smoked with a wonderful rub; no sweetsy bbq sauce.The chef does an excellent job on presentation and the wine selection is great.Desserts very innovative.You will want reservations no matter where you go. I don't think much of Duner's anymore, nor Zocalo as it's too noisy. C & O too stuffy. Lunch places given are good. Good brunch on Sunday is Mas in a cute setting downtown or Mono Loco, 1 block off the downtown mall. A lot depends on where you're staying. If staying downtown, everything would be within walking distance. Enjoy Ch'ville, it's a wonderful place.

                        1. I had a superb brunch at Fuel Co. a month or so ago. I'd check it out. Nice presentation, very tasty, and good use of fresh produce.

                          1. Bizou is fantastic, although it doesn't look like much. C&O is a nicer looking place and also good. Duner's is a funny place, but has good food. I can't agree with the Blue Light recommendation - some of the worst food I've had. There is a tapas place called Mas that is pretty good (although a bit hard to find). Note that service in C-ville is among the worst I've ever had.

                            1. I might get flamed for this..... on the way up to Monticello, there is a tourist spot that serves food from Jefferson's era etc. I didn't like most of the food, but it was the best friend chicken I have ever eaten. I normally don't eat fried foods, but it was pretty amazing.

                              I also stayed at Keswick Hall, they seemed to have a pretty good chef on hand.