Great dınıng ın Charlottesvılle
I am takıng a total of 6 people out to dınner thıs Saturday nıght after the UVA-Mıamı baseball game. We are stayıng at the Hampton Inn on Maın St. and would prefer the suggestıons to be close by ıf possıble.
Your comments please for great food, good wıne choıce and atmosphere ıs most apprecıated, cost not a consıderatıon.
Also what about a nıce breakfast-brunch on Sunday mornıng?
Thankıng you ın advance for your comments.
Ok...for dinner there is Fleurie. It's very nice french and it's on the mall. There's also C&O, which is at the opposite end of the mall from the hotel. It's very good, more american. On the mall as well there is Zocalo: http://zocalo-restaurant.com/. After dinner if you want some gelato there's Splendora. There's also L'Etoile, which I've heard is good, though I've never been there. For breakfast there's a great local bagel place called Bodo's and it's right near the mall. I highly reccomend Bluegrass Grill & Bakery. Everything's baked from scratch and they have delcious biscuits and pancakes.Mudhouse, right by your hotel, is a great local coffee place.
When you walk out the Hampton Inn and stand on Main Street, the UVA Corner is to your left and the Downtown Mall is a couple blocks down on your right. The Corner is largely students and young alums. The Downtown area has finer dining. Here are my suggestions as you head towards Downtown:
Continental Divide - Upscale Southwestern on Main Street towards Downtown. Think seared ahi tuna over blue corn tostada with goat cheese and black bean puree. Entrees are $9-16ish. Great margaritas and 40 tequilas. Limited wine list. Local fave, so get there early for a table. No website.
Downtown Grille - Near your end of the Downtown Mall. This is where you go if you want a great steak. They have some other options, but red meat is what they do best. Sides are sold separately and family-style. If your party wants something different, go to one of the other places. http://www.downtowngrille.com/
Zocalo (also mentioned above) - Latin Fusion in the middle of the Downtown Mall. Beautiful food. Nice wine list. Great bartenders that know how to make a martini. Non-smoking. Website in above post.
C&O - French American on the far end and outside of the Mall. A local gem for over 25 years. Three different levels give you three atmosphere options. I like the mezzanine as it is not smoky like the bistro and not as formal as the upstairs. http://www.candorestaurant.com
I do not recommend Fleurie for a party of six. The food is excellent, but it is very tiny and formal. Your group may not be comfortable.
Fellini's just off the Mall has a good brunch, including a Bloody Mary Bar. The DAM eggs are really good: http://www.fellinis9.com
L'etoile is the class of the field from the above mentioned restaurants. They have a fairly expansive wine list, excellent service and interesting food. As I've noted elsewhere on the board, they do occasionally completely miss on a dish here and there, but the fine service allows them to rally from such an issue and not have the meal be ruined. They also do a lovely job with desserts, so the meals always end happily.
Continental Divide, while doing a decent job with food is more a bar than anything else. Its not fine dining and they have nothing resembling a wine list. What they do have is one of the best tequila lists you'll ever see in any restaurant, anywhere and they make some of the best margaritas I've ever tasted. If you're up for a drink and some nibbles, a good choice.
Zocalo is also a good place, they have an almost exclusively spanish wine list which complements their food very well. They have good service and enough space that 6 of you would be quite comfortable. The food is a bit more heavy handed (big, bold, spanish flavors and aggressive seasoning -- a chipotle glazed strip steak is a staple on their menu.)
Personally, I find Fleurie to be a puzzle. It should be great, the food is usually first rate on the whole (though they, too, miss at times but seem less capable of dealing with it than L'etoile) but I always end up leaving feeling like something was missing and that I paid far more than necessary for what I got. I don't mind paying a lot for meals....its just that somehow it always bugs me when I leave there.
Cassis was doing food that I found to be nearly on par with Fleurie, but at substantially lower cost and with, in my opinion, better service. I also like the ambiance at Cassis quite a bit. The wine list is not large, but is well chosen and reasonably priced. The cocktails are exceptional.
Downtown Grille is a traditional steakhouse in a southern town in Virginia. Makes for an odd meal.
So, if it were me, I'd go to Cassis or L'etoile and given the proximity (L'etoile is all of a block and a half from your hotel) I'd choose the latter. (And, in fact, when I'm in town later this week, we're going to L'etoile.)
As for coffee, you're a bit further from the Mudhouse than izzizzi suggested (along about 6 blocks or so...not super far, but a hike for morning coffee). Also, if you like straight ahead coffee (espresso based, no syrups) Milano in the Main St. Market is excellent (its about 3 blocks closer to your hotel.)
You might also take a peek at Southern Culture if they're still serving brunch. They're also on Main St. about 2 and a half blocks from your hotel. Gospel Brunch, gumbo, grits, corn muffins...etc. Great bloody Marys and decent food. The muffins are excellent.
Southern Culture has been closed for some time now. The Blue Moon Diner has re-opened, but I haven't been there since it re-opened - maybe a good choice for breakfast.
I agree on Milano. I'm a Mudhouse fan, but had coffee from Milano the other day - terrific. And, if you're at Milano, stop in Feast and grab some sandwiches for lunch - I love the Italian sandwich.
I had dinner at L'Etoile Friday night - very nice, excellent service, great drinks, terrific atmosphere.
re: Cville Mel
Oh yeah, if I'd stopped to think for a moment I'd have remembered that. Though I guess I also thought that the new owners would have finished the remodel and gotten open again. Granted, I'm sure they don't plan to do the gospel food thing.
Hopefully Blue Moon is a bit cleaner than before. I always loved the place (especially the french toast) but it wasn't exactly pristine. I think they've opened the diner in a new space, though, and their catering operation (which is in the old diner space) is glowingly clean and tidy now. So, good reason to give them a shot.
Actually, the Blue Moon Diner is exactly where it used to be. It seems cleaner than before and the owners are very nice, but they haven't quite gotten the food down yet. I waited 45 minutes for a cold omelette and potatoes that would take 15 minutes anywhere else. The catering biz has moved to another location.
Maya - the new restaurant opening in the old Southern Culture location - looks like it will be great. One of the original owners of Zocalo, Peter Castiglione, has partnered with Christian Kelly, former chef at Clifton Inn. My understanding is that they will focus on upscale American Southern cuisine. Opening is scheduled mid April.
Shebeen is quite good at what they do, but they're not fine dining. They do have an interesting, South African focused wine list. Depends on what the OP is looking for, my sense from the post was that they're looking for dine dining. Good option if you need lunch before the game though.
Thanks to all of you for your comments.
Friday night my wife and I had a late dinner at L'Etoile, fantastic! The food was excellent, tasty and fresh and done with imagination. I had the duck and my wife had the shrimp risotto, both very nice! Nice wine selection as well as after dinner drinks. Atmosphere and service very good. Will definitely go back when we visit C-Ville again.
Saturday night I took a party of 6 to the Downtown Grille and again very pleased. A fun place on a Saturday night with excellent beef, good wine selection and service.