Eating & drinking in Charlottesville VA - any suggestions?
My husband and I are travelling to Charlottesville, VA, from Washington DC for a Memorial Day getaway weekend (likely with the rest of the tri state area!) and will be staying at the Omni on the mall for two nights.
We're looking for restaurant recommendations for Sat and Sun nights; please forgive me if there's already a discussion underway but I couldn't find anything more recent than summer of 2008 in my searches.
I've come across Savour and The Staunton Grocery...wondering if there are other comparable options for good food in the area, not necessarily "fine" dining. Perhaps something using locally grown foods or bistro fare.
Additionally, if anyone has input re: both the "don't miss" and the "don't bother" vineyards and wineries in the area, I'd be all ears...
One of the best restaurants in Charlottesville is at Clifton (www.cliftoninn.net). Clifton's Chef Dean Maupin uses mostly local ingredients (he grows his own vegetable garden and cures his own olives!) and the tasting menu makes it fun to build your own meal, how you like it. Enjoy!
Just off the downtown mall, on West Main Street is the Main Street Market, http://www.themainstmarket.com/. Orzo is a favorite of mine, definitely fits in the local/bistro genre. Also check out Feast - a local foods grocery/cheese shop also in Main Street Market - especially if you are interested in picking up a picnic for your winery wanderings.
Agree with the Mudhouse, Zocalo, and Bizou recommendations on the Mall. Make sure to grab some gelato from Splendora's, http://www.splendoras.com/
Another great coffeehouse is Shenandoah Joe. You can stop at the one on Preston Avenue, pretty close to the Omni, or the one on Ivy Road as you head out west to wineries. http://www.shenandoahjoe.com/findus.html.
Also, on Saturday morning, you'll see the crowds heading up to the City Market (a.k.a. farmer's market). You can also get a Shenandoah Joe fix there, also check out the donuts made on the site, the cheeses, etc.
Don't miss tapas at Mas in the Belmont Neighborhood and I also enjoy The Local just across the street from there, Escafe on the downtown Mall or Maya on West Main for a casual meal. If you are willing to drive, Duners in Ivy. If I had to pick two, it would be Mas and Duners, though Duners has no bar area so the wait outside is a hassle in the heat or rain....Maya would be next on the list.
As soon as you walk out the Omni onto the Downtown mall, you'll encounter Mudhouse. It's a locally owned coffee joint with nice pastries.
Also close to the Omni and on the Mall is Bizou. Sort of upgraded comfort food and a local favorite for both lunch and dinner. No website.
About half way down the Mall is Zocalo, one of the town's best restaurants. Spanish influenced, casual but upscale atmosphere: http://zocalo-restaurant.com
Maya is a couple of blocks off the Mall down West Main Street. Locally sourced good food: http://maya-restaurant.com/
A little further down West Main is L'etoile, definitely more fine dining and they also source locally: http://letoilecville.blogspot.com/
We like the vineyards West of town, including Veritas, King Family, Cardinal Point. I'd skip Afton Mtn Vineyards as their wine is very sweet. Also in that area is Blue Mountain Brewery. They make excellent beers.