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Calling All Hampton Roads Chowhounds!

There definitely isn't enough talk on this board about the local food scene. Any new restaurants you recommend? Any you don't? Let's talk!

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  1. I agree! Hmm, where have I been lately? Stove in Portsmouth is a great spot. We went recently and had their wonderful cheese plate, and some other apps (it's been a few weeks, I can't quite remember, but their cheese plate is amazing). I've also come to love the Boot in Norfolk. It had a rocky start, but the past few times have been wonderful--last weekend, I had mushroom risotto as an entree. It was a bit salty, but overall, very good, and they have reasonable and good wines by the glass. It's a fun spot.
    Pasha Mezze is the place in Norfolk that is getting all the buzz. I have heard wonderful things, and finally got the chance to try it this past weekend. Our experience was not great, but I will give it another try. Most of my complaints were due to the service. We had the turkish sampler as an appetizer (very good), and I had the "lamb chunks" and my husband had a chicken dish. We ordered off of the "mezze" menu (mezze means tapas), but the waiter brought the entree version (and brought rice instead of hummus...by the way, their hummus is fabulous). We never quite figured out how and why the miscommunication occured, but he tried to make up for it (only charged us for the mezze portion)-- but he was just not a very good waiter. I look forward to trying it again, and I will not choose the lamb next time. It was a bit dry and "gamey." I should be clear, however, that I've heard nothing but amazing things about Pasha so this is probably an anomaly.

    I'm also excited to hear that Zoe's has reopened in Va Beach, and still sad about the unfortunate closing of Bobbywood and The Lucky Star. I wonder where and when we will see Bobby Huber show up again???

    11 Replies
    1. re: alsky

      Thanks for responding! I thought it was a lost cause! :)

      Pasha Mezze sounds interesting, I'll have to give it a try.

      Went to Razzo in Norfolk this past weekend. It was good but nothing spectacular. Ordered the calamari as an app, very tender but WAY too oily. Husband had the Penne Ricotta which was great; the fire roasted tomatoes were fabulous in this dish. I had the Papradelle with sausage and peas; it was decent but very filling. The fresh hot bread was good as well. We were too full for desserts, but I'm sure we'll go back and try a few more dishes out.

      I've heard many things about Zoe's so I'll have to put that on my list. Where exactly is it?

      Very upset about Lucky Star. I've heard rave reviews about that place and was actually looking to go there instead of Razzo last weekend...too bad.

      1. re: krisrishere

        Zoe's is on 19th, betwen WRV and the convention center, and across the street from Waring's Gym.

        Lucky Star was no great loss -- above average food, average decor and service, horrible location. Scott Bernheisel will turn up somewhere.

        1. re: 23451bum

          had a really nice meal at zoe's while on vacation thanks to all your recs. would definitely recommend. charming spot and yummy food.

        2. re: krisrishere

          Zoe's is AMAZING. Some friends took me the first time a few weeks ago and the "Lobster Brulee" was out of this world. My husband and I are taking his parents next week. I can not say enough great things about this place.

          1. re: krisrishere

            That's too bad about your experience at Razzo's. We've eaten there twice now and had excellent experiences. I highly recommend their roasted garlic platter. It was so good, I've attempted a duplication at home - which comes close, but not *quite* as good as theirs. I've also had the salmon (a special - not on the regular menu) which was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. My dining buddies had the lasagna and Veal saltimboca. I didn't personally try the lasagna, but the veal was incredible. Hope you give them another try. My neighbors have also gone several times (it's right up the road) and everyone has been very pleased, so your experience sounds like a rare instance. I *do* advise going early and taking advantage of their wine specials during happy hour - plus you get seated quickly since their dining room is a bit cozy. http://www.razzo-norfolk.com/

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            Razzo
            3248 E Ocean View Ave, Norfolk, VA 23518

          2. re: alsky

            I don’t see any mention of Papa Willy's in this thread. Great Caribbean food (Jamaican patties, Trinidadian roti, curry goat, oxtail, etc.). Skip the jerk chicken, though. Last time I was there I tried the Irish Moss: a shake-like drink made from a type of red algae... sort of tastes like eggnog. Excellent.

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            Papa Willy's Caribbean Kitchen
            6220 Indian River Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23464

            1. re: rastan

              Never heard of it! How are their beef patties? More importantly, what color is the dough for the beef patties? That's the tell-tale sign of a good patty in my book!

              1. re: krisrishere

                The patties are pretty good, and the shell is the typical dark yellowish color. Try it out! They have weekly specials as well - Caribbean pot roast and shepherd's pie on Thursdays and conch on Saturdays, I think.

                1. re: krisrishere

                  Do you know of a place that makes a VI style pate? (The non-turmeric kind made with a sweeter dough similar to the Jamaican festival dough - filled with salt-fish, conch, goat, etc. instead of beef)? I've been looking, but have constantly run into the dry, baked yellow dough Jamaican Beef Patty - which is completely different to a Caribbean Pate or a Puerto Rican empanada. If you know of a place, please let me know! Thanks!

              2. re: alsky

                Alsky:
                I have eaten at Pasha and it is definitely worth a second try! The last time I was there it was brunch. Busy but not overcrowded, we had good service too. Friendly, helpful, made some excellent recommendations and prompt. Just the way I think service should be. The food was amazing! The muharamma is so delicious. The Turkish French Toast was enough to make you not care about anything else on the menu and there is sooooo much too care about! I hope you get a better waiter the next time around, b/c Pasha is the type of place that only comes around once every so often.

                Zoe's has re-opened and is by far my favorite place right now. They do wine tastings every so often and my friends and I usually follow that up w/a light dinner. The sommelier on staff is great at his job. I have never ordered a specific wine there. I pick my food, tell him what type of wine "mood" Im in, my price point and some things I know I specifically like or dis-like in wine. He goes to the back works his magic and brings me something this outstanding every time! Oh, and I can't forget the food! It's about that time of year for Lobster Brulee. It's a savory creme brulee as opposed to the typical sweet. That dish is undoubtedly, hands down, without hesitation the best food that I have ever eaten!

                One more thing, Back Bay Gourmet. It's in Red Mill Commons Walk in Va Bch. Good food, a bit pricey, but totally cool "foodie" place. I bought a can of bacon chocolate chip pancake mix there yesterday, just so I could try it.

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                Back Bay
                1869 Mileground Rd, Morgantown, WV 26505

              3. Yes, I've been wanting to try Razzo for some time--I live in Norfolk. Where exactly is it? I also want to try Captain Groovy's, have you been there?
                Bum, I think quite a few people would disagree about the loss of The lucky star. It was a really good restaurant.
                Went to Luna Maya last weekened--YUM! I always love Luna Maya, but hadn't been for a while...I forgot how good it is! And those mojitos...to die for!

                3 Replies
                1. re: alsky

                  I've been to Captain Groovy's twice. Once my sister and I split some appetizers, one being the steamed clams which came with this amazing piece of bread for dipping. We were excited to go back a 2nd time (for my wedding rehearsal lunch) to have it again..well we were disappointed. They were awful and it didn't even come with any bread. Everyone else seemed to like the food though.

                  I still have not yet been to Luna Maya and from what I'm hearing, that's a big shame on me.

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                  Razzo
                  3248 E Ocean View Ave, Norfolk, VA 23518

                  1. re: alsky

                    We've been to Captain Groovys and have been happy each time. Lively atmosphere. She Crab soup is pretty delish as is the crabcake appetizer (they serve it with this honey-mustard-tartar dipping sauce that was so addictive we were dipping the lettuce garnish in it and snacking on that before she cleared the dish to make room for our entrees). I had the Voodoo wings last time and they were pretty good. Next time I will ask for them 'naked' since I don't prefer a breaded wing...but the sauce was sufficiently spicy. They were NOT a buffalo wing spicy, so don't go into it expecting that...it was more sweet habanero spicy. Very different and decent. I've also had the Captain's Burrito (with tuna) and it was really good. Took leftovers home it was so large. Nachos were typical, but HUGE...great item to share if you're just going there to enjoy a game and drink some brews. My sister had the Seafood Rincon which I tasted and thought was really good.

                    I highly recommend you check out their "Nightly Specials" online to decide when you'd like to go as they have some pretty good deals and items that are not on their regular menu...the specials change seasonally. http://www.captaingroovys.com/index.php

                    1. re: alsky

                      Oh yeah! Razzo is on Ocean View - look for the pink building on the corner. http://www.razzo-norfolk.com/

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                      Razzo
                      3248 E Ocean View Ave, Norfolk, VA 23518

                    2. I am glad you started this topic :-) I love Razzo (the stuffed eggplant is to die for and I hate eggplant!) and I really like their roasted garlic and antipasto platter. They don't have the best wine selection but I like most everything on their menu. As for Groovy's, they have a really good happy hour and their "bucket of clams" is delish. I also love their Tahitian tuna sandwich and their specials are usually good as are their nachos. Another great place for nachos is Havana's. I love Luna Maya, thier tamales are my favorite as are their mojitos and I also really like Taqueria El Rey on Chesapeake blvd...they hand make their torillas, need I say more? Imperio Inca has the worlds best rotisserie chicken and their lenguado a lo macho is awesome. I am also really sad that Bobbywood closed (loved that place, esp the oyster stew and onion salmon) and have never been to Lucky Star or Zoe's so I can't comment. I do like the wine house (small plates not entree's), they have the best wine tasting (4-7 any bottle that's open that you want to taste for $15) and thought that Pasha's food was good when I went during restaurant week. The hummus is amazing and I really liked the turkish coffee and baklava. Has anyone been to Ibiza? I 've heard mixed reviews about the placebut love tapas and authentic Spanish food so I may have to give it a try. I also really like A.W. shucks, never had anything there that I didn't like and I love surfriders crab cakes though they are an "old school" joint. My fav sushi places are Nara and Kyushu (mermaid roll is the best) -both are at the beach. Fellini’s is still my fav for pizza but Cogan’s comes in at a close second and Jade Villa is awesome on the weekends for Dim sum. I also really like Citrus (beach) for brunch on the weekends (great bloodies and mimosas) and No Frill is another classicly good joint, esp for brunch. For the best chicken salad and sandwiches, Taste Unlimited gets my vote and for a romantic dinner for 2, I love the melting pot (know it's not the most gourmet but it forces my husband to slow down, take his time, and enjoy dinner with me for at least 2 hrs! Their wine list is also very extensive and I have always had good service there.

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: bythebayov

                        I agree with you re: AW Shucks (one of my favorite spots), Luna Maya, Fellinis, Cogans, Surfrider, No Frill, and Melting Pot....all great places! :)
                        Haven't been to Ibiza--I too have heard mixed reviews. Been to Kyushu once, liked it, need to go again....and really want to try Taqueria El Rey.
                        Also, I heard that Lucky Star reopened or is reopening at the Westin?? Very exciting!
                        Crackers is my other fave spot!

                        1. re: alsky

                          Definitely like AW Shucks, never been to Luna Maya and from what I've heard; shame on me. Never been to Taqueria el Rey which, again shame on me, because I live basically within walking distance of it.

                          What are some go to things to order at Luna Maya and Taqueria el Rey??

                          Very excited to here about Lucky Star. I really need to start a list of places that I need to go.

                          1. re: krisrishere

                            I always order tacos at el Rey, favs being the barbacoa (succulent pot roast type meat) and al pastor (think it's fried pork!). At luna maya, my fav is the tamale and the corn pastel or torta (think that's what it's called)and I also love the mojitos...

                            1. re: bythebayov

                              Oh yeah..all about the pastel. Might have to make a trip there this weekend. Does it usually get really packed at dinner?

                              On another note, just read that Trader Joe's on Laskin Road is opening. That's exciting.

                              1. re: krisrishere

                                really exciting, think it's grand opening is today!!!! If my mom wasn't flying in from south america, id be there~! Luna Maya is usually pretty full esp on the weekends but is def worth any wait!

                                1. re: bythebayov

                                  I can just imagine how packed that place is going to be...all. the. time.

                            2. re: krisrishere

                              Luna Maya: We always get Burrito Colorado and the Guacamole (they have the BEST guacamole!); recently I also got the taquitos. Yum. And the mango mojitos. They are known for their tamales, but that's not my thing. Packed on the weekends unless you go early!

                          2. re: bythebayov

                            have to add in a few more places...Pollards chicken still gets my vote for good down home southern food on the cheap (I order the chicken tenders, home made sweet and sour sauce, greenbeans, corn pudding, sweet potatoe fries, bread pudding, etc my husband loves the mac and cheese but it's a little weird (suspect it may be prepkged) to get my vote) and now we aslo love Tienda Jessy as much if not more than El Rey (enchiladas verdes are my fave here as are the aguas. They also have a bakery and sell latin cuts of beef!) We also go to the camel on saturdays for buy one get one free prime rib, not fancy but good and cheap (2 12oz slices w salad and a baked potato for $15, can't beat it and the camel really does a have an old school dive bar feel, something I am sure Anthony Bourdain would enjoy :-) There bloody marry breakfast (ny strip steak, 3 eggs cooked any way, homefries, bisquit or toast and a bloody for $8) is also one of the best deals in town, just remember THIS PLACE IS NOT FANCY!!! and the locals def have their own flavor that adds to the experience lol!

                              1. re: rastan

                                The Thirsty Camel is in the Ocean View area of Norfolk. Right by the OV Pier on West Ocean View Ave.

                                1. re: krisrishere

                                  Found it! Thanks

                                  The Thirsty Camel Restaurant
                                  394 West Ocean View Avenue
                                  Norfolk, VA 23503
                                  (757) 588-9877

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                                  The Thirsty Camel
                                  394 W Ocean View Ave, Norfolk, VA 23503

                              2. re: bythebayov

                                Thanks for the Pollard's recommendation - decent fried chicken and sides... and like you said, the price was right. Only downside were the creepy biscuits served with "honey sauce" (HFCS plus a dash of honey) and "52% whipped spread". I guess that's how they keep the costs down?

                                1. re: rastan

                                  u kinda have to embrace it as a part of the experience I suppose :-) glad you liked pollards, def better then any fast food place, sure there must be a good soul food joint w good chicken just don't know of one, if you do please let me know about it! Harrys Downtown (closed a few years back) made great ribs, chickens, fried pies, etc but they closed :-(

                            1. Another new place I just saw is on Tidewater Drive across from WalMart - Pho Hung I believe is the name. It's in the old taco restaurant.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: krisrishere

                                you're kidding! Have you tried it yet? any good?

                                1. re: bythebayov

                                  Nope haven't been there. It always looks closed for some reason...or just really dead. I love pho, but I haven't had any here in Virginia yet; I should give it a try.

                                  1. re: krisrishere

                                    There are quite a few Vietnamese joint in the area. For true authentic vietnamese feel, definitely go to Pho 79 in VB. for a little better setting, Pho 78.
                                    My favorite place is still Terrapin down towards the ocean front. Nice cozy atmosphere with great food and service.

                                    1. re: cosmofoodie

                                      I really didn't like Pho 79 ...what did you order? Thought the broth was too salty and the meat wasn't that great. Want to try Pho 78

                                      1. re: bythebayov

                                        Never been to either :( Where is Pho 78?

                                        1. re: krisrishere

                                          not positive, but will look it up...the vietnamese girl that does my nails occasionally told me it was the best in the area (where she and her family eat), she also said 79 was dirty?
                                          ok, here's the address and the link is for a couple of reviews on yelp

                                          http://www.yelp.com/biz/pho-78-vietna...
                                          752 Timberlake Shopping Ctr
                                          Virginia Beach, VA 23452

                                      2. re: cosmofoodie

                                        Have you tired Vietnam Garden on VB Blvd? It's tucked away a little shopping center near TJ Maxx/Bread Box Cafe. Excellent fresh food and we've been going for years. Small, but modern inside, and very clean. Don't let the sketchy shopping center deter you. Pho was great, but my fave are their spring rolls & seafood crepe.

                                          1. re: krisrishere

                                            My family and I have been going to Vietnam Garden for years and I would say it's the best vietnamese place in town. Try the sesame pancake, spring rolls, curry chicken, and pho. Could not rave too much about this place.

                                            -----
                                            Vietnam Garden
                                            2404 Virginia Beach Blvd Ste 114, Virginia Beach, VA 23454

                                2. Didn't feel like cooking last night, so hubby suggested we try Cagney's (corner of Little Creek and Chesapeake Blvd). It's Cracker Barrel meets Friendlys. They spent a lot of time with the decoration inside and it looked nice. I ordered the meatloaf with fried okra and mashers, hubby ordered fried shrimp with onion rings and corn. Apparently they had a party of 25 so the kitchen was backed up. Even after that order went out, food was still sitting in the window. After 40 minutes our food arrived piping hot but completely underseasoned. Everything was tasteless. Even the onion rings and fried okra obviously had no seasoning on them before or after they were dipped and fried. It might just be chalked up to a busy night, but I think I'm too forgiving.

                                  The prices were cheap, so that might (*might*) be a reason to try again. We both got milkshakes there a few days ago and they were good, but a little pricey. $6 for a small milkshake. I think it will be one of those places where you just go in and grab and appetizer and an ice cream.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: krisrishere

                                    sounds like that comercial where they serve cardboard...wondered about that place since I live near it and am glad to know it isn't great! Has anyone tried the new pho place on tidewater near walmart?

                                    1. re: bythebayov

                                      I wish we could get some local hounds together to go out for an evening of good food!