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May 8, 2009 01:34 PM

Best in Charlottesville, VA

NYC 'hound coming to Charlottesville for two nights over Memorial Day weekend. In need of two dinner recommendations in C'ville. One can be expensive, one moderately-priced (entrees in $15-22 range). Was hoping for one locavore and the other anything else.

We'll have been to L'Auberge Provencale the night before we hit C'ville; French restaurants fine if the compare (L'etoile?) but otherwise, we'd like to go in another direction. The girlfriend is vegetarian, but so long as there is something for her, no other constraints. We're looking for the best C'ville has to offer.


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  1. We had a great meal with a group of eight at Mas Tapas. Fairly expensive, the vegetarian choices are some of their best (don't miss the roasted tomatos, of all things). Sometimes there is quite a wait, and I have read some comments that suggest that the staff exercise preferential seating, yet we have talked to several Charlottesvillians who say it is their favorite restaurant.

    I don't know the town well enough to recommend anything stong on locavore.

    1. Duner's is the best -- a little ways out of town up 250, but not far -- should have lots of veg options.

      1 Reply
      1. re: lawhound

        I used to love Duner's but was less impressed on my last visit. Curious what others think.

        Visit C'ville frequently and my hands down consistent favorite restaurant is C&O on the far end of the downtown mall.

        For lots of other recs, search this board for Charlottesville. I've made lots of previous suggestions, all food types and price points,

        Have a fabulous trip! Charlottesville is a really special place.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. zocalo is really good. it's one of my favorite restaurants in cville. their menu rarely if ever changes, but they do everything perfectly. the chili dusted sea scallops with tostones and the grilled pork chop with roasted sweet potatoes are both excellent.

          as far as french, i prefer zinc. it's on the way to the downtown area near the main street market. it's cheaper and the vibe is way more relaxed. they have traditional french dishes and great specials. i've had the moules in a saffron cream broth, excellent! i've also had frog legs cooked with a garlic butter and they were so tasty. i don't see either of those on the current menu, but regardless, zinc has great french bistro food.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mikeismora

            I liked the food at Zinc but found the atmosphere cold. Will depend what you're in the mood for. You may want to poke your head in first. If you're at Zinc, make sure you stop by Gearhart's chocolate shop. I wasn't a real chocolate fan until I discovered Gearhart's.

            1. re: Meg

              yeah, the space isn't the best. it hasn't really changed much from when it was station. i haven't been in a while as i now live in dc, but i remember it was acceptable atmosphere wise when the house gets packed with diners and lively people at the front bar. then again, i've never seen zinc truly packed haha.

          2. EXPENSIVE - Ivy Inn (out Old Ivy Rd.), Downtown Grill (on the Mall), (I would avoid OXO).
            MODERATE to MOD+ - Hamiltons and C & O (both on Downtown Mall).
            INEXPENSIVE+ - Mono Loco (burritos, etc.), Thai 99 (the one north of Rio Rd. is amazing), Mellow Mushroom (great pizza and beers on the Corner), Marco & Luccas (dumplings and noodles).
            -Other local treats: Arch's frozen Yogurt & Spudnut donuts!!

            If I had to pick two of the better ones I'd say Hamiltons and Ivy Inn. Thai 99 was our local place, dear to our hears.

            2 Replies
            1. re: NoVA

              Oxo is long gone, so no worries there.

              My pick for inexpensive is Eppies on the east end of the downtown mall and Continental Divide on W. Main Street.

              1. re: NoVA

                Love those spudnuts! Thanks for reminding me!

                And for all you spudnut neophytes...