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Williamsburg - the Sequel

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I know Williamsburg has been covered on the board before, but the latest thread is several months old. So, I thought I'd ask and get updated suggestions. Where in Williamsburg should my other half and I go to eat during an upcoming weekend trip? No kids involved, but we don't have to exclude family friendly places.

Also, are there any places we definitely should not consider?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
Glenn
Kill Devil Hills NC

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  1. Live in Williamsburg and frequently visit area restaurants. There are 2 new excellent dining alternatives that have opened in recent months / weeks - Waypoint Grill and Seafood featuring a great kitchen led by Hans Schadler, former Executive Chef for Colonial Williamsburg, and Peter Chang, a newly opened, Chinese restaurant also led by a critically acclaimed chef featuring what is in my opinion the best Chinese menu and kitchen this side of DC. They also offer the best takeout around. In the Merchant's Square area near Colonial Williamsburg, there are 5 places I would recommend - The Fat Canary and adjacent Cheese Shop for fine dining, and great sandwiches and prepared takeout, respectively, the Trellis for American Regional, Blue Talon Bistro for classic French bistro fare in an upscale environment, the Dog Street Pub for nice English pub food and a great beer selection, and Berret's for seafood. There are also a couple of places in or near the New Town development, Center Street (American Regional with some nice Asian influences as well), and Buon Amici (Italian). Nearby is Baker's Crust, a good choice for weekend breakfast or lunch lunch. Moon Asian Bistro in the Monticello Shopping Center offers an upscale atmosphere, nice service, an innovative sushi and Asian menu, and a first-rate kitchen. I also like a local, one location Italian place, Giuseppi's on Old Towne Road near the Premium Outlet mall. Out Route 60 near Busch Gardens are an excellent decades-old French Restaurant, Le Yaca, and across the road from it a nice Thai place, Emerald, and another decent local Italian offering, Maurizio's. Near the College of William and Mary, many people like Paul's Deli for reasonably priced good food. That should get you started. There are plenty of good dining alternatives in Williamsburg now - far more than a few years ago for those who haven't been here in awhile.

    2 Replies
    1. re: 1Buckeye

      Thanks for all the info! A couple of questions if you don't mind.

      Where would you go for good breakfast? The other half is the bagels-for-breakfast type, tho she does eat bacon and eggs etc., and I'm more the bacon and eggs or sausage gravy and biscuits type (I'm originally from AL, so I come by that naturally) And if it matters, I prefer the crumbled up patty sausage in the gravy and not the cut up links version some places here offer.

      Also, are the prices at all of your suggested places comparable to the Fat Canary, for example? We're considering a "fine dining" dinner on one night, as part of the reason for the trip will be to celebrate the other half's birthday, but are also looking for places that are just a little cheaper, if possible. Thanks again!

      1. re: CDjockey

        Several places come to mind for breakfast. One is The Old Chickahominy House on Jamestown Road for a classic Southern breakfast, though they tend more to your side than your wife's. The Trellis and Blue Talon Bistro also serve nice breakfast menus, although a little more to the upscale side. Across the street from the Blue Talon is Aromas, a nice coffee shop and breakfast spot, although they tend more to your wife's preferences. The Williamsburg Lodge owned by Colonial Williamsburg serves a nice breakfast buffet, but it is higher-end. Baker's crust is open on weekends for breakfast. I would recommend them for both of your tastes, although I don't know about the sausage gravy. Fat Canary has been recognized as one of the finest in the region, justifiably so, and Waypoint Grill and Seafood would be nice for a special dinner to. Giuseppi, the Cheese shop for sandwiches and prepared sides, and Paul's Deli are all moderately priced. Peter Chang's is not too expensive either, if you like good Chinese, and I like Bakers Crust for lunch or dinner that isn't too expensive if you don't go there for breakfast.

    2. Agreed with 1Buckeye that Fat Canary is quite good. Caveat: it's ridiculously expensive. But if price is no concern, it is consistently elegant and delicious.

      Blue Talon is friendly, chic, casual, sort of a French bistro with a southern twist, or maybe we should say Southern comfort food dressed up in French bistro clothes--great wine, a top-notch mac & cheese, and some of the only tolerable coffee in Williamsburg (I think they use Illy, they make a fine cappuccino.) I've eaten there several times and it's always been satisfying, plus the ambiance is pleasant--bustling, cheerful, a sort of laid-back sophistication without being pretentious.

      However, the owners of Blue Talon also run Trellis and the new DOG Street Pub, which are nowhere near as good. Trellis is pricey and very 90s, from the dated decor to the menu. Dog Street has a good beer selection but the food is undistinguished.

      Peter Chang's is tremendous.

      Nawab is Indian cuisine in a strip mall off Monticello Road, just a mile or so from downtown--it's nicer inside than out, and draws a consistent crowd of locals, professors, etc. The Goan curry is the standout--a spicy coconut curry to die for, the likes of which I've never had anywhere else. Their spinach-stuffed naan, spiced with fenugreek or something, is like crack. I don't even want to know how much ghee is in it but I can't stop eating it.

      Saigon Pearl is good Vietnamese out toward the outlet malls on Richmond Road.

      Personally I think Berrett's is way overrated, and again, like most everything in Williamsburg, overpriced for what you get. (What is it with this town? See also: baffling, absurd housing market.) Never get the ravioli, which is a few saucer-sized goat cheese ravioli leaking their contents sadly into a bowl of inexplicable broth. Berrett's does have a delightful outdoor bar space which is like a little beach hut and is great for drinks and appetizers.

      For breakfast, I'd actually highly recommend FIVE FORKS CAFE, which is a small family-run diner at the Five Forks interesection (go figure) of Ironbound Road and John Tyler Highway. It looks utterly unremarkable from the outside, a nondescript little thing, but inside, it's a charmingly classic diner, wood-formica booths and bossy maternal waitress and all, and it is packed with locals. They have amazing specials that are often quite sophisticated, and their menu staples--including great biscuits, tender, peppery cornbread, and the usual range of omelets and waffles and pancakes--are all home runs. I go there with vegan friends and paleo friends and everyone's happy. Love this place. And so does everyone who goes there, as the wait on weekends will attest.

      2 Replies
      1. re: casiobeat

        Thoughtful, spot-on responses. Haven't tried Five Forks myself, but will.

        1. re: 1Buckeye

          Love Five Forks Cafe, but I generally only go on a weekday around 10:30 - between breakfast and lunch rush. I have anxious kids who have a hard time making it through a meal much less a wait ;)

      2. Another Williamsburger weighing in: Definitely Five Forks for breakfast, but time it right on a Sunday or you'll be waiting in line. Honey Butter down the road is owned by the same family.
        Waypoint Grill has a wonderful, affordable Sunday brunch.
        Big fan of the Fat Canary and The Blue Talon. Underwhelmed by David Everett's other ventures, Dog Street Pub and The Trellis. Dog Street is ok for a beer or three. Definitely avoid Berrett's.
        And if you want a truly sublime experience, try to snag a place at A Chef's Kitchen. If you are here during the week, you can probably get a spot, but if you are shooting for the weekend, book far in advance. It is a sumptuous meal, complete with wine pairings, and you watch the entertaining chef/owner prepare the meal. Pricey, but worth every penny.

        Decades old Le Yaca is just that. Skip it and go the The Blue Talon. If you are a liver fan, the liver is divine there.
        Help me , other Burgers with the name of the recent reincarnation of the Foxhunter out in Lanexa. It's the best Italian around and the quirkiest location--smack in the middle of an upscale mobile home park. You'll need a good GPS to get there.

        1. Casiobeat and 1Buckeye, we should get together to break bread!

          1 Reply
          1. re: VAfoodie

            Thanks, but currently out of town for medical evaluation & treatment.