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Richmond, VA

What do you think are the best restaurants in Richmond? Here are some of my favorites that I go to regularly or I left knowing that I wanted to go back.

Pho So - This is the best Vietnamese restaurant hands down. Authentic food, great prices and family owned. Pho So is way better than Mekong and Vietnam 1. At Mekong you are paying for the atmosphere and below average food. At Pho So you are paying for excellent authentic food. #24 and #49 are the way to go. Their soup is also very good. You can always tell which Asian restaurants are the best because they are filled with Asian people.

Full Kee - This is the best Chinese restaurant in Richmond. Go for the dim sum breakfast. Lunch and dinner is your typical Chinese restaurant. Dim sum starts at 11am and they bring 2 carts around with food that you choose from. No other place in Richmond does this. This is the best authentic Chinese food in Richmond.

Davis & Main - One of the best fan restaurants. Tuesday nights they have live jazz. The crab cakes and salmon are amazing. They always have some interesting specials also. I'd rather go to a restaurant that specializes in something rather than serving everything imaginable. Great friendly bar and well trained wait staff. Excellent key lime pie for dessert minus the raspberry dressing.

Zeus Gallery Cafe - A little more expensive than usual, but fantastic food. Writing the menu on a chalk board is odd and hard to read. Our waitress was able to make recommendations. Fig and goat cheese salad and a great beef tenderloin.

Bacchus - Another fan favorite. Professional and very good waitresses. Very good seafood, pastas and duck. Excellent bar and drinks. Rather expensive, but worth it.

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  1. I like most of your recommendations, but I think Davis and Main is overrated - I've eaten there probably a dozen times, and only had one REALLY good meal. The rest were not memorable at all.

    I like Kuba Kuba, Millie's, Comfort, and Azzuro are probably my favorites, off the top of my head. Mama Zu's is sometimes not worth the hassle, but that's some good food, too!

    I know there are a lot of mixed reviews on this, but I still miss the Frog and the Redneck.

    1. Zeus Gallery is very good but can be inconsistent. Davis & Main...very overrated IMO.

      Edo's Squid is IMO the best restaurant dollar for dollar in Richmond. Also on my "Best of" list would be Comfort, Karsen's, Millie's and Chez Max. I was never a fan of Frog and the Redneck, but enjoyed the meal I had at Sneed's new place, Carena's. Azzuro is great for pizza and pasta but I find their meat/seafood dishes inconsistent. I also recently tried Lulu's and very much enjoyed it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Janet from Richmond

        I'm looking to take my girlfriend out to dinner tonight and we want to try something new. I have NOT been to Karsen's, Mamma Zu's, Rowland's, Cirrus or Escobars.

        I'm looking for a a quiet atmosphere and excellent food. Casual Fine dining. Food wise, I am looking for maybe stuffed mushrooms, fried oysters, duck, salmon. I love rich flavors. Seafood, beef, vegetables...

        What do you'all think?

        1. re: blumonk

          Edo's Squid comes to mind...as does Karsen's. I always enjoy Rowland though don't get there as often as I'd like (they don't take reservation for small parties so that's one issue).

      2. haven't eaten at any of the others you list but i had one of the worst meals i've ever had at davis & main. my husband and i both thought it was dreadful.

        i've had a pretty good meal at europa and at mama cucina (not fancy but homemade).

        i live in the west end so our staples are malabar and ichiban (think both are great).

        and as far as fine dining, i've had 3 VERY good meals at patina grill. i know not everyone loves them (and they might not be worth the drive if you live surrounded by restaurants like it) but i have to list them since they have some fab dishes. although my favorite is off the menu now.

        1 Reply
        1. re: AMFM

          oh and TOTALLY different but since we've had 2 parties done by TD's barbecue and everyone raved (and it's ridiculously inexpensive), i have to list them as one of the best places i've had food here.
          although it is in no way a great "restaurant" since you can't eat in.

        2. Somehow I can't understand the raves about Edo's Squid; the noise level and rowdy crowds remind me of a school cafeteria - the time i was there my main thought was to get out as fast as possible. Are there others who can praise Bacchus? I haven't been there in years. Tell me what you like at Karsens; I don't eat farmed salmon, and you need to trust the chef to find otherwise.

          23 Replies
          1. re: pollychowing

            We ate at Karsens last week and I enjoyed the seared sea scallops with andouille sausage - interesting riff on the ubiquitous shrimp and grits theme. My wife also enjoyed the roast duck with the red bean and ham cassoulet.

            They had a lamb shank special that night that other tables seemed to enjoy as well. We would have ordered that dish but the waiter asked us how we would like the lamb cooked. Since we like dishes such as lamb shank to be fall off the bone tender, we are bit perplexed by that question and didn't want to risk a chewy shank. As it turned out, I think we just had an undertrained waiter, as became more clear as the evening progressed.

            1. re: pollychowing

              For me, the noise and crowds are part of the Edo's charm...love going there with a crowd for family style and I have never had a dish there that wasn't terrific. I've never even had what I would call an average meal there. It's constantly "OMG, this is SO good" and that combined with the noise, the smell of garlic, etc. is wonderful. Also, I have never had a dish overcooked or undercooked...I'm amazed at their consistency, especially with seafood and pasta. I wish they had better parking..that's my only gripe and one I know they don't have control over.

              I love the tuna at Karsen's. Some of the best I've had. Their crab cakes are very good also.

              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                We decided to check out the new place called Cirrus on Main St.

                Summary: Not that great, not interested in returning.

                The Good: I'll start out with the good. No reservations and we were seated promptly. Cool clean white interior, which is a big change from all the dark hard wood of the fan. Very clean inside. Not too loud. There was a neat silent water fall on the back wall and a mute flat screen TV at the bar. The food looked good. It looked like someone had taken the time to make sure it looked perfect.

                Waitress: Typical waitress. No complaints, but nothing that exceeding our expectations. No smiles, no eye contact. She looked like they didn't want to be there. However, she kept an eye on our table and was quick. Order was correct. Checking out with the credit card was quick and painless.

                The Food: Nothing really blew my mind. Nothing was memorable. There was nothing that made me feel like returning to this place. The bread was room temperature, hard as a brick crust, slightly burn on the bottom. I'm not sure if they were going for the European crunchy crust and lite center or not. I ate the center. Regular bread. Nothing amazing about it. We had the mushroom stuffed with crab cake appetizer, which was exactly that. Nothing really memorable about it. Not many flavors other than the mushroom and crab cake. Very natural I suppose, trying to make solid foods taste...well like they are suppose to. We both had the duck as our entrees accompanied with raisin couscous and cooked pears. I'll start with the duck. Not as good as the duck I had at Bacchus about 3 weeks ago, but Bacchus was a few dollars more. It was cooked very much like pork and even tasted like pork. We told our waitress to cook it medium-rare to medium or whatever the cook suggested. Personally, I would have liked it a little more rare. The couscous seemed like something different to put on the menu besides mashed and sweet mashed potatoes, which everyone is doing now. However, it was just kind of blah. I'm not a big fan of couscous in the first place. The raisins made it tolerable, but I ate about 1/2 the portion they gave. There were a few green beans that were cooked to perfection. I was expecting a more fruity flavor from the pears. Instead I got a mouth full of vinegar and red wine flavor. I think I would have preferred something else, maybe not a fruit with the duck. I thought I'd try it out though. No dessert, no drinks.

                Conclusion: Not recommended. I'd rather go someplace that I've been before and knew that the food was going to be great. The food is more important than the interior and look of a restaurant.

                Also, the entire time we were there, there was this annoying guy wearing jeans walking up and down the restaurant. I guess he was a manager or part-owner of the restaurant. He didn't seem like he was doing anything, just walking around inspecting everyone. A few times I thought he was coming over to our table to talk to us, but he slithered past like he was patrolling the area. I hope he's not taking a portion of the waitress' tips. He nodded with a straight face as we left.

                1. re: blumonk

                  not memorable. exactly how i would describe many trying to be cool restaurants in richmond. sorry your night wasn't great. maybe next time! :) happy new year! here's to better in 2008...

                  1. re: AMFM

                    Yes, maybe next time. On New Years Eve my girlfriend and I decided to stay home and cook. Great idea! Thanks. Happy New Years to you too!

                  2. re: blumonk

                    Dh and I went to Cirrus a few weeks ago and were disappointed as well. In that area Rowland and Six Burner are much better. Also Avalon is really growing on us. It's our daughter's favorite so we've been there quite often in recent months and they do tapas much better than Si does IMO.

                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                      Ipanema Café

                      Summary: Highly recommended. Fresh and tasty. Great for lunch or light dinner.

                      This was my first time at Ipanema Café on Grace St. It's in a basement and the menu is written on a chalk board just inside the restaurant. We thought we would try it out. There was one waitress and she was friendly and quick. I had the smoked gouda and tomato sandwich and my girlfriend had the BBQ turkey wrap. We both got the sweet potato fries and a small side salad with ours. Both of them were great. Extremely fresh and tasty. Someone spent time on these dishes and it showed. Fresh bread and great tasting ingredients. The sweet potato fries tasted like sweet potatos rather than just french fries like Kitchen 64's sweet potato fries. The side salad was tossed in a very light asian vinegar style dressing with garlic and sesame seeds. Delicious! This place is definitely for the VCU crowd and their regulars are typically the vegetarian/vegan/hipster type crowd. However, the food was great and beyond what we expected. I give this restaurant a 9.5 out of 10. We waited a little longer than expected for our food, considering the few people in the place, but it was worth the wait.

                      Conclusion: I will be returning. No too pricey either. I was out the door paying less than $25 for 2 including 20%+ tip. Yummy!

                      1. re: blumonk

                        have heard good things. glad to hear another good report. it's not a place my hubby would likely go :) but maybe i'll get there one of these days. glad you had a better meal.

                        1. re: AMFM

                          I haven't been to Avalon but I have to say I was happy with the offerings and stylish decor of Si. Much better than Europa.

                          Thanks blumonk, for the review of Cirrus. I had been wondering but haven't been out to try it yet. Looks like I'll give it a pass. And a big "RIGHT ON" regarding Pho So. We go at least a couple of times a month.

                          Count me in as someone who loves the food at Edo's Squid but can't stand the decibel levels. I'd much rather go to Mamma Zu - easier to park, more casual atmosphere, great (similar) menu.

                          My favs (not already mentioned): Kuba Kuba, Comfort, Can Can, Zuppa, Patina, Pho So, Pomegranate, and the best Chinese in town, IMO, China Star.

                          Any thoughts on Sensi?

                          1. re: hopkid

                            I really enjoy Sensi. The pasta is fabulous and I also like you can get a "first course" portion if you like. Good wine list, etc but it is expensive. Dh swears by the veal chop.

                            1. re: hopkid

                              Last trip to Avalon was the best in a while. It was a fall seasonal menu and everything was quite good. I think the difference between Mamma Zu and Edo's is actually more about reservations and credit cards, but I actually like the Mamma Zu food just a bit more. They tend to have escarole from time to time and I see more interest in the food there. BUT, my office is across the street from Edo's so I am there often.

                              We have been regulars at Pho So #1 since they opened in the previous location--best fast food in Richmond!. If you are adventurous, try some of the smaller places in the neighborhood behind Pho So...really great lunch at the bakery back there! But, if you are less adventurous, the House of Vietnam in Short Pump prepares excellent, well seasoned, Vietnamese and Chinese food, and they are very accomodating.

                              I still like the original Thai Diner on Broad St. (Westland Shopping Center) They have the best Pad Thai in town.

                              Staying in the West End, I really like Ichiban, off Ridgefield Parkway. The sushi is always fresh, and they do some innovative rolls and raw fish treatments. They are opening a new location up in the Short Pump Mall area--I hope things don''t change at my location.

                              I don't know China Star, but I can't beat Full Kee for chinese in Richmond. The dim sum is good, but their cantonese noodle soups are fantastic, especially the shrimp dumplings. Get an order of roast pork or roast duck from the hangars in the window and an order of one of the many green vegetables--my current favorite is the snow pea leaves sauteed with garlic--and you'll see why there is no Chinese restaurant even close to this in the area.

                              We don't go to Patina any more. The last 2 meals were pretty to look at, but short on flavors. Can't spend that kind of money and consider using the salt shaker! Maybe we'll give it a try this year. BUT, in the same shopping center is a gem of a small Indian restaurant: Malabar!!

                              I ate lunch recently at Cous Cous and was surprised by some of the choices and the quality of my meal--it was quite good.

                              Finally, Buzz and Ned's is worth the trouble. The pulled pork is the best in town, and the brisket is outstanding...but the wait is long!!

                              okay, I am hungry now!

                              1. re: chefsalad

                                you must live near me. i've only been to patina in the last 6 months but 3 times and all have been really good. love ichiban and malabar. i like td's barbecue - not had buzz & ned's yet. will have to try the rest suggested. didn't know ichiban was expanding. ugh. agree with you that i hope it doesn't hurt. the staff there is the BEST. both there and malabar are GREAT with my little ones.

                                1. re: chefsalad

                                  I forgot about Thai Diner. Yes, it's our favorite Thai place as well. And Cous Cous, Rowland, and Six Burner are places on my list to try. I'm on the fence about Karsen's.

                                  As for BBQ, while I like Buz and Ned's, Alexander's is just as good in my opinion and it's a lot closer to my house in Short Pump. It's touted as Virginia BBQ so no brisket but their ribs are great.

                                  And definitely try to get out to China Star (corner of Cox and Three Chopt), chefsalad. All of the local Chinese expats I know swear by it. I have to say that I do like Full Kee as well for the Cantonese experience and the dim sum.

                                  1. re: hopkid

                                    How long has it been China Star? We go to Tony's from time to time with soccer and baseball teams, but it has been a while since we ate in that Chinese restaurant...we'll have to give it a try. We have always loved Dan Alexander's place, but his hours are so irregular that we miss it more than make it. I remember in the old days when he had the family 9.95 special: 1 lb of pulled pork, large container of slaw, beans, sauce, and a six-pack of kaiser rolls. With a gallon of sweet tea (or a Diet Cheer Wine for me!) it was a perfect take-home meal.

                                    As for Ichiban, we spoke to them before the holidays and they are taking the old San Francisco Grill (??) spot up near Betucci's at Lauderdale and Broad, across from Short Pump Mall. She is keeping the Ridgefield location for her sister to run, but her focus will be on the new spot. I hope they keep the sushi chef or hire someone as good. Keep in mind West Enders: not only is Ichiban opening their new spot, but a new Sushi and Japanese Steakhouse opening on the other side of Short Pump in the new shopping plaza out near Stranges. At least these aren't more of the chains we have been flooded with.

                                    Has anyone eaten at either the new sushi restaurant or off-shoot of Mary Angela's Pizza (Carytown) that have opened on the other side of Twin Hickory out near Chee Burger-Chee Burger?

                                    MORE INDEPENDENT RESTAURANTS TO SHORT PUMP!!

                                    PS I heard the Track in Carytown is good again. I was the chef there for a long time, but only recently have I heard great things about the kitchen...anyone checked it out?

                                    1. re: chefsalad

                                      Back in the day, we used to go to The Track at least once a month. Allison was a terrific waitress there (this was 99-01 time frame as best as my memory serves) and the menu was always interesting and the food terrific. We had a falling out with management one evening concerning a group of us and refused to go back, but perhaps with the changes and enough time has passed to give it a try.

                                      1. re: chefsalad

                                        We've been going to China Star for at least 3-4 years. Not sure how long they were there before that. I'd be interested to hear what you think. I also hear what you say about Alexander's. They do have some strange and irregular hours.

                                        While I also like Ichiban I really wish we'd get one decent Japanese restaurant that does other dishes well. I think we have some good sushi but lack decent yakitori, katsu, etc. What I wouldn't give for a decent okazuya or ramen shop! And please, no more Japanese steakhouses!

                                        What's the name of the new sushi place in Twin Hickory? Anyone been to the place in Innsbrook with the conveyor belt service? Could it be any good?

                                        1. re: hopkid

                                          I recently tried Sushi Go Around and it was okay. If you go when it's not busy there isn't much actually on the conveyor belt, but a sushi chef stands in the middle of the restaurant and you can shout out what you want and he'll make it. The prices are pretty cheap and orders come in the form of a half role so you can try more things. My only complaint was that the menu was pretty bare bones. If you like inventive sushi like at Ichiban or Osaka you'll be disappointed with the selection. The atmosphere is really cool, though. I think it's worth a trip.

                                  2. re: hopkid

                                    Just came to mind is a new Mexican place on Quioccasin, Tortilleria San Luis. They make their own corn tortillas every day and have a small menu of authentic tacos and gorditas. One day they even had lengua! It's mainly take out and I think they may add things to the menu as time goes on.

                                    1. re: hopkid

                                      Where on Quioccasin is this? I'd love to try it.

                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                        It's in the strip mall that used to have Custom Shoe Repair, Custom Tailors, etc. but burned down a few years ago. It also has a Brazilian restaurant that was recently written up in the Weekend section of the T-D. It's on the south side of the street just past Quioccasin Station (where the Food Lion, Wendy's, and El Chapala are). It's a strange strip mall in that it is positioned perpendicular to the street.

                                        1. re: hopkid

                                          it's right past regency/ starling drive. will have to check it out. thanks for that too.

                                          1. re: hopkid

                                            I know exactly where you are talking about...thanks!

                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                              Has anyone been to the Brazilian place? It's also on my list of new places to try.

                        2. Well, we're off to Karsen's tonight; last time it wasn't so good (my DH ended up with one shrimp for dinner); at least we'll understand the menu bettr.

                          1. Karsen's was our destination, and we did have a nice evening. First, pleasant, supportive staff (we are very Sr), sturdy drinks (always important - never a time to be parsimonious), an unobtrusive combo making pleasant enough music, a quiet booth and a big desire on my part to have a gourmet experience. Arugula salad fresh and good, a different and interesting Austrian Pinot Noir, a good lamb shank for Dh, and finally the Ahi Tuna for me. Now here is where things became questionable. A dish with black beans and rice - totally bland rice, totally bland black beans; suddenly a Jalepeno that sent me thru the roof; a lovely grilled tuna, seasoned with a dry chili powder; it simply did not mesh; I ate til I was full, but most of it stayed on the plate.. Wherein is the statement?
                            Should I return? I did so want to find a meal in Carytown to keep me comin' back for more.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: pollychowing

                              I have strong feelings on what passes as a good meal in independent kitchens. When many of us (then young) chefs started in Richmond in the 80's (Track, Puzzles, Du Jour, Millies, Zeus Gallery, etc.) we were making some noise with food that was fresh, varietal, well paired with wines and spirits, but also different from the last wave of food (continental, formal french, classical Virginia, etc.) Now it is true that we all had to serve our version of the crabcake, the filet mignon, etc. but we could take some liberties with sauces and presentations on those dished to get away with introducing international and seasonal flavors and ingredients to the mix. This was a great time to cook, to feed people, to help the innovations spread from NY and DC to those who wanted to really eat well in Richmond.

                              My issue today is that things seem the same as they were. Lots of culinary training doesn't always add up to innovative, tasy food. I love service, especially as I have gotten older, and I enjoy great food of any sub-group. But I am concerned about a grilled tuna on black beans and rice. I think you put it perfectly: you ate it until you were full. I want to eat in places like this because it is delicious--period. And I haven't found too many consistent venues that weren't explicitly ethnic in nature.

                              Not to say that we were all that back in the day, but at least change the menus, show us the chops of the new young cooks. And PLEASE invest in some great bartenders who can make a good drink.

                              But, as I last posted, I hear The Track is doing some good things in their (TINY!!!) kitchen...it IS in Carytown.

                              See my new thread: What is the best steak in Richmond?

                              1. re: chefsalad

                                Hear, hear! You are spot on in that assessment of what is frustrating about many of the independents in town. I'll definitely check out The Track in the near future.

                                1. re: chefsalad

                                  but sometimes a twist on the same old can be good. i had stopped ordering tuna but the ahi with black beans and yams and something else literally made me want to lick the plate at patina this summer. different somehow. not cumin on tuna which frankly i could do at home if i wanted. unfortunately they took it off the menu because they stopped being happy with the quality of tuna they were getting but i can appreciate things done well. my trouble with a few restaurants here wasn't so much the filet or crabcake but the items with one too many ingredients - like they wanted to show off and say that their cuisine was big city cool but it didn't work. i moved here from cleveland which is a FABULOUS restaurant town and it's killing me.
                                  i've driven by china star a lot though and will try one of these days. it's hard to know which strip mall dive is the gem. so thanks!
                                  i had heard nice things about the track and i like the looks of the atmosphere. maybe our next night out.... :)

                                  1. re: AMFM

                                    okay - i tried to search for the menu at track and there are some BAD reviews out there even really recent. now i'm not so certain. will have to keep thinking. i'm anti chain but it's not that hard to see why known entities at least do well...

                              2. I finally figured out China Star: we were getting the non-chinese menu. Last week we wondered out loud what everyone else in the place was eating. It cetainly wasn't on our menu. "Oh, you don't really want the Chinese menu, do you?" was the reply. We are happy now!!

                                I am not surprised to hear some lingering complaints about the management at The Track. The owner can be unyielding; but I have to hope the place makes a comeback--I spent 12 years of my life in that kitchen.

                                One more review for this week: we went to Kitchen 64 and the food was mediocre and the service absolutely horrible.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: chefsalad

                                  Oh yeah. I always forget to tell people to be sure to ask for the Chinese menu (which is in English BTW). It's 95% different than the regular menu and is the real thing. Went last Wednesday for Chinese NYE and had the cumin lamb which was wonderful if not an experience unlike licking the sun. Also had the light broth three delicacy (I think) soup and the scallops with mustard greens. Yum!

                                2. I finally went to Cous Cous last night and was very happy with my meal. Many of the dishes are touted as small plates/tapas which seems to be a new fad in town. There were many offerings that sounded very intersting. My wife and I started with the curry platas, which were basically french fries (and pretty good ones although a tad over fried) with a curry mayo dipping sauce. We were hoping for a thick curry sauce dumped over the top like you get in Ireland or England when you order curry chips but I have to say the curry mayo was tasty and had a bit of a kick.

                                  For the mains we skipped the kebabs (next time) and went with a lamb tagine, green greens, and the chicken b'stilla. The lamb tagine, slow cooked chunks of lamb with peppers and squash and served with cous cous, was the star. Lamb was tender and the seasonings nice. Green greens that night (it changes depending on what is available fresh that day) was halved brussel sprouts and cherry tomatoes. While I'm not a big fan of brussel sprouts the sauce in which it was cooked was great. And the b'stilla was a chicken/veggie hash inside a puff pastry with a spicy sauce which seemed like sriracha sauce. Nice and fluffy with a good taste although it couldn't be totally sure that chicken was in there but it was tasty all the same. I washed it all down with a glass of a nice malbec. The total bill sans tip was $37 and we were full. We actually took leftovers home.

                                  Ambience is nice after getting past the stark lobby inside of what is an old apartment building. Although I didn't ask so I'm not totally sure, I believe it is non-smoking which was also very nice. We'll definitley be back.

                                  www.couscous900.com

                                  1. My current favorite spot in Richmond is Bistro 27 at the corner of Broad and Adams. If you haven't tried it you should. The menu has enough variety to please anyone in your party and the food is consistently delicious. It has never failed me! And their desserts are delicious. Prices are great, food is well prepared and presented and the serve staff is always pleasant and accomodating.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: asoutherngal

                                      I fell in love with the Shahi Kitchen this afternoon. They have Indian, Pakistani and Bengali cuisine. The Tandoori chicken, spiced lamb, chick peas, and lentils were all perfectly prepared. Flavors were spicy, bright,and fresh. The buffet is huge and $9.99 a person. In addition, my husband and I couldn't believe how delicious the desserts were, including galab jaman, Indian doughnuts in rosewater, and the requisite chai tea. Regal meal for a pittance. Also, very authentic; on a Saturday afternoon, many Indian families were enjoying this delicious meal while enjoying a barrage of Bollywood. We've lived in quite a few cities, and not since Chicago have we enjoyed such delicious Indian food. Plus, the owners were very kind and accommodating!

                                      1. re: stephaniearnnold

                                        good to hear. i've heard good things about this place but i've not been. curious about the new one at short pump too.

                                        1. re: AMFM

                                          so i tried anokha indian cuisine on lauderdale in short pump last night. was surprisingly pretty upscale/fancy for indian food. felt bad about bringing my kids, in fact, but it would be lovely for date night indian food. decor is way above average for most indian places i have visited. service pretty good too - although a bit hovering but somehow still slow. nice though and sweet to my kids (who loved it but the little one was just a bit out of his element).

                                          as for the food, started with papadum (not complimentary but ok- i like malabar's better). they brought a lovely trio of chutney's and raita. tried 2 appetizers, madras prawns (seemed a bit one note of curry for me but not bad - and i didn't get a chance to eat them with the accompaniments so i wouldn't really judge) and the cauliflower (which had a real name but i can't remember). this was like nothing i have ever tasted and i LOVED it. seriously yummy. i thought my kids would too but a bit too spicy for them (although it's not really). seriously, you should try this!

                                          for entrees my husband got the chicken chetinadu which i think he thought was pretty good. the kids and i got the garlic chile salmon from the tandoor which was AMAZING. my kids couldn't get enough. and my daughter even loved the medium sauce choice that came with it. we also shared the dal which was yummy. breads were good too. all in all a very nice meal. a bit pricier than some of the divier places with some different things on the menu. but the atmosphere was charming. don't know what i'll do now as my kids loved it but it's a bit out of the 3 year old's league! the 6 year old was fine! anyway i wanted to let you all know it was worth trying for something different. we still want to try shahi kitchen and we still like malabar!

                                        2. re: stephaniearnnold

                                          We, too, are in love with Shahi Kitchen. We have lived all over the country and Shahi Kitchen serves up really great food. The owners are truly gracious. I love the Bollywood. If you are not familiar with Indian/Pakistani/Bengali food the servers are more than happy to make suggestions to fit your palate. Last time we visited we had chaat papdi and chicken 65 (at the waitresses suggestion). Both were delicious. The navartan korma perfectly blends spicy with creamy, soul-satisfying, comfort. The ckicken tikka masala was also very good. Their biryanis are wonderful as well. I can't say enough good things about Shahi Kitchen. Below is their website. Their menu is at the bottom of their website on two separate links (it took me a while to figure that out).

                                          http://partnerpage.google.com/shahiki...

                                          1. re: white174

                                            New to Short Pump is Lehja's.

                                            A group of us happened on Lehja's Thursday evening is this is now my favorite US Indian Restaurant -- great food, superb wine list and a friendly staff (and management team). No buffet (which for me is a great sign) and the staff spends time explaining to the uninitiated what the dishes are about and how Indian food is prepared. For those who like "hot", Lehja's does things with "ghost chillies" or Bhut Jolokia that are excitingly hot without masking subtle flavors.

                                            If you enjoy quality Indian food this will be your place!!

                                            1. re: DaveDude

                                              Anyone been to 5 Star Gyro & Subs? I'm looking for a good Gyro.

                                              1. re: blumonk

                                                Try the lamb gyro at Nader's inside the Chevron on Glenside just past K-Mart and Bob Evans, kind of across from Skillagalee.

                                                1. re: blumonk

                                                  Basilis in Carytown has a good one. They also have a kick-ass falafel sandwich.

                                                2. re: DaveDude

                                                  just went the other day and i'd agree that lehja is lovely. it and anokha are both wonderful. the short pump area is very lucky!

                                          2. Cafe Gutenburg is amazing! Love their food, service and atmosphere. Highly recommend. It's new American with a euro twist. Don't expect your food to come out in 5minutes or for it to be like Denny's grand slam breakfast. It's classy and just a great place to go. Support your local restaurants! They use a lot of ingredients from the farmer's market and get bread from a local bakery too. Love going here, can't wait to go back again.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: blumonk

                                              haven't been since they reincarnated but i used to like the vibe. it's still good?

                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                i like it. some people complained because they changed a few things, but they were smart to make the changes they did. some things were cool, but they just didn't make sense from a profitability standpoint. in this economy you have to be smart and make decisions to yield the most profit possible without destroying your customer base. the foods is still incredible. the service is still great. now they have more room to have more tables and more customers. it just makes sense. i thought the atmosphere rocked, was there for about 2 hours just sipping on some coffee and chatting with my friend.

                                                1. re: blumonk

                                                  glad to hear. like the location.

                                                  1. re: AMFM

                                                    hello Richmond, we're down in a couple weeks staying at the omni and need restaurant advice within walking or shuttle distance. Open to anything but a good wine list is a must. Is corkage allowed in Richmond?

                                                    Thanks

                                                    Jay

                                                    1. re: jhw59

                                                      No corkage in Richmond. (or Virginia). Downtown I would go to Millie's Diner (it's not a diner) or Lemaire at The Jefferson Hotel. If you want southern food Comfort is good and has a good wine list. I have not been to Julep's in MANY years and several chefs ago, but it gets a lot of good buzz.

                                            2. recent trips:
                                              very good apps at fanhouse and acacia (with amazing desserts at acacia too - desserts at acacia remain about my fave in the city, always different and delicious). no service issues there either.
                                              did the tasting menu at sensi last night. yummy. they were short staffed and it showed. and honestly the chef should do smaller portions for a tasting menu but the striped bass was DIVINE!!! capers and tomatoes and a lemon beurre blanc. mmmm.... everything else was good too.

                                              10 Replies
                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                i thought there was a string more on indian places in richmond but i couldn't find it. anyway, had a great lunch today at lehja at short pump (modern indian in the hotel next to dick's). VERY nice and VERY good. would recommend it too. now we have a ton of great choices right next to each other - but more importantly, perhaps, an interesting choice at the mall!

                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                  Hey!! We were there Friday night too!!! LOL I also had the seabass and it was amazing!

                                                    1. re: AMFM

                                                      thanks folks! Any love for mezzanine?

                                                      1. re: jhw59

                                                        Not from me. I think it's one of the most overrated places in town.

                                                        1. re: jhw59

                                                          I've had good and bad there. The last time there the ribs were almost too salty to eat and i'm always disappointed with thier lack of any interesting or new desserts. They are a great group of guys, but the last couple of times I wondered if maybe they've taken their eye off the ball. I know response on the board is mixed, but I've had better, more interesting food (and great inventive cocktails) at Six Burner. And the desserts are super. I am a big Acacia fan, but somehow like the vibe better at Six Burner. Acacia rivals Edo's for noise!

                                                          -----
                                                          Six Burner Restaurant
                                                          1627 W Main St, Richmond, VA 23220

                                                          Edo
                                                          22299 Exploration Dr Ste 402, Lexington Park, MD 20653

                                                          1. re: nyctripper

                                                            I hate everything about Mezzanine....the stupid lack of menus, the snobby service (and they have not earned it), the uninspired choices, etc., etc.

                                                            We had a FABULOUS meal at Edo's last night and it's always on my Best of Richmond list. It was their first night back from vacation and not crowded at all.

                                                            -----
                                                            Edo
                                                            22299 Exploration Dr Ste 402, Lexington Park, MD 20653

                                                            1. re: nyctripper

                                                              i like six burner too. tasting menu was awesome.

                                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                                And their prix fixe dinner (choice of starter, entree, dessert from select menu before 7pm, Mon-Thu) is the best deal in town.

                                                            2. re: jhw59

                                                              I liked Mezzanine. Have to eat there again before I rave about it, but I will go back. Seemed much like six burner and acacia to me - ate at all 3 within a couple of weeks and they pretty much blended together instantly.

                                                              The menu chalkboard is a neat idea, that doesn't work at all. Its annoying and needs to go away.

                                                              Service was excellent

                                                      2. I disagree with your choice for Pho. I have sampled every Pho restaurant in Richmond over the last 10 years, including those you've mentioned, and without question the best Pho is found at Pho Tay Do on Rigsby Rd. Hands down. The broth and service is unmatched.