Anywhere nice in/near Haymarket?
I'm looking to buy a gift certificate at a nice restaurant for friends who have recently moved to Haymarket. They've lived in N. VA for years, but Haymarket is new to them. I know nothing about the area. They're partial to French & Italian. Any suggestions?
I'm coming in a bit late here, as I've been away for the holidays. I've lived in Haymarket for years and enjoy dining out in the country. I like both of the restaurants recommended in The Plains, which are the closest to Haymarket. The Rail Stop is sort of hunt-country casual, with has nice food. Girasole is a bit more upscale and is an Italian restaurant (which you said your friends enjoy). And of course the Inn at Little Washington is terrific :-).
Some other recommendations:
-- The Manor House restaurant at The Inn at Poplar Springs, in Casanova (near Warrenton) -- high-end continental, love the food (had New Year's Eve dinner there)
-- Napoleon's in Warrenton -- historic house, fun atmosphere, sort of upscale tavern
-- Red Fox Inn in Middleburg -- historic inn, food not exceptional but atmosphere (and the whole town) are a fun place to go
-- The French Hound in Middleburg -- French bistro, new, haven't been, but it's been very well reviewed
-- Lightfoot and Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg -- love Lightfoot, haven't been to Tuscarora Mill but it's highly recommended (there's been another thread on these recently)
-- Hunter's Head Tavern in Upperville -- hunt-country casual, English pub food, organic focus, really fun atmosphere and a beautiful drive
-- Foti's in Culpeper -- high-end continental, run by folks who came from the Inn at Little Washington, but much less formal (and less expensive), really good food, though service can get a bit hectic on Saturday nights
All these restaurants have web sites, if you'd like to check them out.
I'll definitely second the French Hound, and since we're ranging across the Va countryside, I'll throw in the Flint Hill Public House in Flint Hill (also in Rappahannock County near Little Washington) as well. Oh, another goodie is the Thornton River Grille in Sperryville.
Red Fox Inn: As you say, the food is not exceptional, but the peanut soup is luscious.
Hunter's Head Tavern: We probably ordered wrong on our visit last year -- softshell crabs that were really salty and puny too. I'd go back and give them another try, sticking to the pub food.
We had a nice meal at It's About Thyme in Culpeper a few years ago. It's my understanding that it's less expensive than Foti's but that both have their fans among Culpeperites (Culpeperians? Culpeperers?)
re: Bob W
We went once to It's About Thyme several years ago. We enjoyed it but haven't been back -- not sure there's enough special about it to make it worth a trip unless one is in the area anyway. Foti's is a whole 'nother story though, and indeed quite a bit more expensive but worth it. We think the food is really exceptional. We haven't been for several months but are missing it -- will probably go sometime this month. For us, it's definitely in the category of a destination restaurant. (Last year we went for New Year's Eve, but it's a long drive home for after midnight on New Year's Eve, and there isn't much in the way of nice lodging in the area. This year we went to Poplar Springs instead and splurged on the overnight inn package -- really nice!)
Incidentally, we used to like the Blue Rock Inn, but our last visit was only so-so -- not worth the drive for a return visit. I think they changed hands somewhere in the interim but don't recall for sure.
There are two nice restaurants in The Plains, which is close to Haymarket: The Railstop and Girasole (Italian cuisine). There's also Frogs and Friends in Marshall.That's a French restaurant. We haven't been to any of them recently, but definitely check them all out. They're all nice.