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May 13, 2007 03:51 PM

Richmond, VA and surrounding area

In Richmond, VA this weekend for a graduation. We have one vegetarian with us. We have a car so can drive (maybe even far, say an hour), especially because things around the area will be packed. I also hear Charlottesville has graduation so that may be out of the question. Any ideas would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. May 19 & 20 is indeed UVA graduation, so Charlottesville will be packed. I doubt you can get a reservation at this late date. Richmond is a safer bet.

    Janet From Richmond - you out there?

    3 Replies
    1. re: mojoeater

      Janet from Richmond is back after attending graduation in Blacksburg! VDaddy...are you going to UofR's or VCU's graduation? I second the Mekong recommendation. There is also a good Indian place, Rushee, on Midlothian Turnpike and my Ex-husband (who is a vegetarian) loves it.

      1. re: Janet from Richmond

        Janet - I lived in Richmond for 36 years and was back recently to visit. I went to Ruchee for lunch because it is (was) my favorite Indian restaurant (since India House moved to the westend) and frankly, I was greatly disappointed. It has changed management and the lunch buffet was terrible. Not only was the food of poor quality and flavor there was little variety and it was cold; which is a bad sign when it is an open buffet. This may have been a one time thing but I mentioned this to a friend of mine and she agreed that Ruchee has taken a major nose-dive.

        1. re: hootyj

          I am very sorry to hear this :-( I have not been in a while and was unaware of the change in management. It was such a little gem.

    2. Mekong is great for Vietnamese - it is out a bit on W. Broad Street and should be good for vegetarians as well as meat eaters - great barbecued meats in some of the dishes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: amykw21

        I have to put my two cents in and say that Mekong has been pretty inconsistent the past year or so. A better bet is Da Lat, farther west on Broad Street. Some of the staff of Mekong left about the time Mekong became inconsistent and opened up this restaurant which is very good. Some other recs:

        Can Can (French brasserie) in Carytown - make reservations

        Mamma Zu - get there before 6:30 or expect to wait. Better yet make reservations at Edo's Squid, it's sister restaurant - Great Italian!

        Comfort - Great southern comfort dishes (I'm going tomorrow - yea!). No reservations taken so get there before 6pm or expect to wait.

        Do you have an preferences to narrow this down?

      2. 3rd St. Diner
        218 E. Main St.
        Richmond, VA 23219

        Spectacular diner, open 24 hours. My wife (who was a vegetarian and still doesn't eat red meat) says the Greek food offerings are good (dolmas, spanikopita, etc). This is classic diner stuff, nothing fancy but all very very good. It won't be the one big meal, but it will serve you well for every other meal while you're in Richmond.

        11 Replies
        1. re: ccbweb

          Thanks for the replies guys. They all sound great, while I am definitely a diner person, the vegetarian is not (so I might go without her!). To narrow it down, French is probably out, but the others are great.

          I also heard about this place Strawberry St. Cafe - any thoughts?

          1. re: vdaddy

            My wife reports that Strawberry St. Cafe is "ok." Her dad is a huge fan of the chicken pot pie. Decent martinis. She says "the food is solid but not exquisite" and to be careful about asking what is in items if you have food allergies (or ar a vegetarian) because the menu is not very descriptive.

            1. re: ccbweb

              Strawberry Street is okay and is consistent, but has no wow factor from the menu (stuck perpetually in a previous decade) to the food (which is solid but not spectactular).

              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                What Janet said. Strawberry Street for some reason is an institution and you'll find folks here who will sing its praises despite what Janet describes which is pretty much my view as well.

                1. re: hopkid

                  It's sad to see the above recommendations as being the best choices in Richmond; except for CanCan, there is nothing special about them, and who wants to wait in line at 6:00pm on an important occasion? Chez Max is certainly more quiet and elegant; there must be others -

                  1. re: pollychowing

                    Chez Max is very good and consistent. I don't know I'd want to take a vegetarian there.

                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                      I would certainly make sure that Chez Max had a good vegetarian dish offer when I called for reservations. Another lovely experience would be to sit out on the porch at Old City Bar viewing Main St Station - I know David will fix a favorite vegetarian dish if asked.

                      1. re: pollychowing

                        We had a very good meal last week at Old City Bar. And Havana is fun for celebratory mojitos. If I knew the number of people and the time of their dinner, I'd throw in Sensi and Millie's into consideration. Sensi will take reservations (as will Old City Bar).

                    2. re: pollychowing

                      I personally rate food over elegance/ambiance in my dining priorities which is why I make it a point to go early to places that I think have outstanding food but may not take reservations or have white table cloths. In my mind it's always worth it!

                      1. re: hopkid

                        It's mighty nice to have both, but waiting in line at 6:00 pm for even the best meal in a less than very pleasant setting is out of the question; I prepare good meals at home and rarely before 7:30.

                        1. re: pollychowing

                          Just to clarify, my recommendation for those places was to arrive by 6:00pm (6:30pm may be OK depending on the night) in order to avoid having to stand in line.

          2. DO NOT drive an hour to go to cville, there are PLENTY of great restaurants in Richmond, and a lot of veg-friendly places. Stay in the city! don't eat at mekong on ugly Broad Street (although it's good), or for heaven's sake don't go all the way to Midlothian Tpk! Good restaurants in the fan and city: Edo's Squid (italian), Ipanema Cafe (creative vegetarian), Millie's in Church Hill (excellent, haute dinner, nationally known), Dogwood Grill (named richmond's best last year, it's a good special occassion place, $22 entrees, not terribly expensive but the best service you'll have in your life and great menu), anything along Main Street is good, even Davis & Main. Don't go to Strawberry Street Cafe, it's terrible, bland and boring. Can Can is good but loud. There is a good Thai restuarant in Carytown that has outside seating but it's more casual, called Mom's Siam. Also a place called Ginger that's a little nicer looking. Accacia in Carytown is excellent, chef was written up in food and wine, great porch to sit on and price fixed menu too. Also Amici is an italian place down the block that is also excellent.

            3 Replies
            1. re: CeCe Pepper

              Dogwood = most overrated restaurant in Richmond. I have never understood the appeal of this place. Terrible food and medicore service.

              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                But, apparently, every restaurant on Main Street is good, so you've got plenty of options. But be sure not to eat at mekong even though its good.

                I'm having trouble sorting all of this out.

                1. re: ccbweb

                  I would say that Mekong was once good. Now it's inconsistent at best.