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Restaurant recommendations in Charlottesville, Va.?

rachel.anna Jun 24, 2010 07:45 PM


I'm looking to get a friend a gift certificate to a restaurant in Charlottesville, Va., as part of her wedding present. I've never been (she's attending law school there) and would love some suggestions! Her and her fiance are pretty laid back, casual people, so I don't think they'd want anything too pretentious or fancy, but good food is a must, and it still should be special enough for a date night. Thanks in advance for your help!


  1. m
    mojoeater Jun 24, 2010 08:01 PM

    There are a lot of good places in Cville. These would be my suggestions:


    5 Replies
    1. re: mojoeater
      ccbweb Jun 25, 2010 08:34 PM

      Good advice here (as usual from mojoeater). I'd go with either Zocalo or L'etoile over the others. L'etoile is a bit fancier than Zocalo (though not super fancy still...only fancier by comparison). Zocalo has a superior bar, L'etoile has a superior wine list. The food at both is quite good though Zocalo almost never changes their menu so I think it's entirely possible to get somewhat bored with it. That said, unless your friends are regulars there they'll love it. The service at both places is also very good.

      L'etoile Restaurant
      817 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22903

      201 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902

      1. re: ccbweb
        Littleman Jun 26, 2010 06:20 AM

        What about The Ivy Inn. I always enjoyed dining there. Has it changed recently. Thanks.

        1. re: Littleman
          ccbweb Jun 26, 2010 02:40 PM

          From my perspective The Ivy Inn executes quite well but they're quite predictable. They're very seasonal (which is good, generally speaking) but somehow too much so. Or at least they don't seem to get away from the half a dozen things everyone knows about each season. I don't find it an exciting place to eat if that makes any sort of difference. Many people aren't looking to be excited when they go out to eat, they're looking for good service and good food and The Ivy Inn certainly delivers both of those. I prefer L'etoile simply because I think that they try to imagine new things on a fairly regular basis.

          Of course, now that I'm thinking about it, I love The Ivy Inn's setting and on a warm summer night the porch is a spectacular place to take your coffee (if they still let you do that.) They've got a patio but it's got a huge white tent over it so it's not exactly outside anymore and loses a lot of the charm of the old house.

          L'etoile Restaurant
          817 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22903

          1. re: ccbweb
            Littleman Jun 26, 2010 04:05 PM

            Thanks for your kind report.

      2. re: mojoeater
        Abby0105 Jul 13, 2010 05:56 AM

        I second all those recommendations! My husband and I were in Charlottesville recently and had two very nice dinners: one at Mas and one at Vivace.

      3. m
        Moranin Jun 29, 2010 12:17 PM

        I would suggest the Shebeen. I haven't been there in a few years (moved out of the area) but I recall it having a wonderful atmosphere and fantastic food. South African pub food. Yum!


        1 Reply
        1. re: Moranin
          Seanchai Jul 2, 2010 09:28 AM

          Unfortunately the Shebeen has developed some real service issues and the food has become very inconsistent. You can still get a good meal here, but it's a bit of a roll of the dice.

        2. c
          cook262 Jul 6, 2010 07:15 PM

          What about Duner's? We were there for my daughter's graduation and really enjoyed it. The only negative is that they don't take reservations, but the food is worth it!

          4372 Ivy Commons, Charlottesville, VA 22903

          1. Aphioni Jul 21, 2010 10:05 AM

            we will be in C-ville for the state little tourney this weekend- any suggestions on a great place to take a bunch of 10/11 year old athletes?? non chain preferred- we want them to experience new things!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Aphioni
              Seanchai Jul 23, 2010 05:37 AM

              Most non-chain places in Cville aren't all that big. A solid choice that would have room and something for everybody would be the Timberwood Grill. It's up 29 North a bit across from the Hollymead Town Center. An eclectic American menu:


              Timberwood Grill
              3311 Worth Xing, Charlottesville, VA 22911

              1. re: Aphioni
                mojoeater Jul 23, 2010 11:39 AM

                You could also try Shebeen: http://shebeen.com/ - just call ahead if you've got a bigger party and they might sit you on the patio. Food is really good and different from the usual stuff. They don't have a kids menu, so splitting might be a good option.

                1. re: mojoeater
                  Aphioni Jul 25, 2010 06:18 AM

                  Thanks for the info! So far we tried Blue Light Grill- just The Man and me, and it was spectacular. Corn and goat cheese pudding with crispy ham and chive oil, crabcake that had actual full crab claws within, served on the creamiest cheese grits Ive ever had outside of my mom's kitchen.

                  Then we had a team dinner catered by Jinx Barbeque- tender smoky pulled pork and juicy, flavorful chicken thighs, plus potato salad, crisp slaw and baked beans- fan-freakin-tastic. Jinx is such a wonderful, hospitable, funny guy to take care of all 40 of us- so far C-ville has unbelievable food and hospitality. loving it!

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