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Norfolk - Freemasons Abbey, Kincaid's or Where

Will be in the VA Beach Norfolk area for a week. My in-laws (who I don't necessarily trust on this issue) recommended Freemasons Abbey and Kincaids. We are looking for good food, expensive or not. Are these places OK, and where would you recommend. Also, any recs near ODU? Thanks.

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  1. Try Bobbywood downtown, it gets great reviews. I personally like the food at Omar's Carriage House on York Street -- it is continental/morrocan and a really charming space in an old carriage house. Near ODU you get mostly college dives, but there are a lot of places in Ghent. Look further down the threadss and you will find lots of recommendations

    7 Replies
    1. re: rossinyc

      Omar's Carriage House is actually on Bute St and is in the same category as Freemason's Abbey and Kincaid's - for the old and boring non-chowhounds who wish to play it safe. Omar's and Freemason both have VERY charming dining rooms but do not have to culinary attention to detail to match - more like mass produced hotel food using instant hollandaise and fake butter.

      1. re: jjb75

        Thank you for the insult. You realize you are in Tidewater. Talk about boring. I will stay in Manhattan where folks are not rude. Or boring.

        1. re: rossinyc

          Come on now...

          1. re: rossinyc

            I'm sorry but I speak the truth. I'm not being rude, the dining atmospheres of both Freemason's Abby and especially Omar's are very charming. However, i'm pretty sure that NO Hampton Road's "Foodie" goes to any of the afore mentioned places for quality, creative food. i'm not trying to be snotty but i have a bit of an insider's veiwwpoint since i have had the misfortune to have briefly worked at two of them and the knowledge from culinary school and several years in better restaurants to back it up.

          2. re: jjb75

            I most definitely DISAGREE with your comments regarding Omar's Carriage House. He is anything but bland & you won't find faux butter in any of his 3 award winning establishments, Carriage House, Voila & The Pagoda - they're all wonderful!

            1. re: JayVaBeach

              perhaps voila may be acceptable for a "foodie" wanting quality fine dining but i'm afraid the quality of product and ingedients at omar's and pagoda are definately not what you think - trust me. lots of things there are not make from scrach such as the hollandaise, demi, certain dessert sauces and there is no extra virgin olive oil to be found. did you know there was such a thing as "Imitation Saffron?"

              1. re: jjb75

                Pitty !

        2. YOu should look at the thread called "Hampton Roads--where should we eat next?"
          There are lots of places in Va Beach--Terrapin, Zoe's, Eat, Il Giardino, and many more in Norfolk. For Norfolk: Really good latin/bolivian food at Luna Maya, good seafood at AW Shucks, good small plates at Empire (but bar-ish atmosphere). Both Luna Maya and Shucks are in ghent--not far from ODU at all. What kind of food do you like? what kind of atmosphere?

          I haven't been to freemason abbey in years but I don't know that I would go there if you want really good food. Kincaids is in the mall--it's pretty good but not real special either.

          1. Freemason Abbey is very "eh" for me. But, I've only been for lunch and could have made not the best decisions. Kincaid's is a chain, again, "eh".

            Love, love, love Empire. Mabye not the best option with the folks, unless they're pretty hip or you go right at 5 p.m.

            AW Shucks is great seafood. Definitely check out the post referred to above.

            1. Todd Jurich's Bistro on Boush St in downtown Norfolk is great. For steak, Sterling's on Granby downtown is also very good. Zio's on Colley Avenue in Ghent has good Italian food. For casual Texas bbq and some Mexican dishes, we like San Antonio Sam's, also on Colley in Ghent. For breakfast, there's a place called D'Egg in downtown Norfolk - I haven't been there, but hear it's good. HTH.

              1 Reply
              1. re: GotGarlic

                I'm in agreement with you "GotGarlic" with Todd Jurich's Bistro 1st choice; however, I must add that like most restaurants after getting "too big for their britches," they tend to lose some of their classic charisma. My all-time favorite Norfolk spot was when Todd & his ex-wife, Barbara had Bistro 210, which was @ 210 York Street - another unnecessary demolition thanks to the city of Norfolk as that lot still sits vacant.

                My 2nd runner up for charm & quality comparable to the original Bistro is Omar's Carriage House around the block - it's wonderful. The sister restaurant, Voila is equally as good, but maybe a bit more elegant.

              2. definately not either one of these unless you are old and boring. there are many other much better options in the area.
                Vintage Kitchen, located in the Dominion Tower building in downtown norfolk;
                Bardo on 21st St in the Ghent neighborhood for an Eastern take on small plates;
                the Boot, also on 21st St for an Italian themed menu using all Virginia products;
                Sirena, downtown on Granby has pretty good Italian with homemade pasta and is probably a place the in-laws would also enjoy.
                Terrapin Restaurant, near the oceanfront off of Laskin Rd on Holly Rd in VA Bch.
                Vintage Kitchen and Terrapin are very similar so you could just pick one of them.
                Cogan's for wonderful pizza, a great beer selection and interesting people watching ($5 off pizza on sundays)
                AW Shucks for lunchtime po boys or raw bar
                Charlie's on Granby St At 17th or 18th is a MUST for breakfast
                Near ODU - La Herradura on Monarch Way for Mexican, Fellini's at Colley and 41st(?) for Italian and pizza