Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Oct 30, 2012 07:40 AM

Dulles to Charlottesville Recommendations and Local Specialties

We'll be in the Dulles to Charlottesville for about 5 days -- would love some inexpensive, fun regional recommendations.

Dumb question: any regional specialties?

Thanks and hope everyone got through the hurricane safe and sound.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You might want to clarify your plans a bit more. Are you spending any time in the Dulles area, or just getting a car and heading to C-Ville? C-Ville is a couple of hours away and while you can search for places there on this board, you should also check out the South board.

    Regional specialties around Dulles hardly exist. The thing that comes to mind first is either Korean or Sichuan. Korean is bountiful in the Chantilly area. I'm not up to speed with specific locations there, but I know that area is one of two in the region with a lot of Korean representation.

    For Sichuan there are two places that will also more or less be on your way when leaving Dulles airport. Both are along Rt 50, one just East of Rt 28 and the other is further East on 50 just as you start to get to Fairfax. I'm blocking on the name of the one near Rt 28. It's good and if you go there don't do the buffet. The one at the edge of Fairfax is 100 Degree Hot ( and is supposed to be pretty good, though I haven't made it by there yet.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Dennis S

      We are staying mostly in Dulles and then have 2 days on the road and 1 night in charlottesville. TThanks~

      1. re: Jodie

        We have a strong Salvadorean population in the area as well. Betty's is a place that makes perhaps the best saltenas in the area. They actually make the saltenas that get served on Saturdays in Arlington at a place folks rave about. But the real deal is near Dulles.

        Nothing overly regional about either of the next two places, but Lightfoot is a nice place in Leesburg. It's in an old bank across from the courthouse. You can do some light antiquing if you're into that and then get dinner or lunch.

        The other place I'd point out is Passion Fish in Reston Town Center. Higher end seafood - part of a group of restaurants that are mainly downtown DC - except this one.

        Ford's Fish Shack is a newish place in the Dulles/Ashburn area. I haven't been yet, but a trusted source really favors the place.

    2. It's been a few years since I was there, but Foti's in Culpepper is very good. I was there for dinner but I remember that they had a much less expensive lunch menu.

      2 Replies
        1. re: KeithW

          My husband had lunch there this week.

          It's About Thyme is wonderful as well.

        2. Pig and Steak - Madison, VA.

          Funky little BBQ and steak joint not far from Rt. 29 in Madison.

          Descents pulled pork sandwiches good sauces for both tomato and vinegar based preferences.

          Have had the steaks but they seem to take pride in them?

          4 Replies
          1. re: drewpbalzac

            The Madison reference also brings to mind that there's the German place on 29 just South of Madison. I haven't been but have only heard good things.

            Back to regional, though, there are Ham and Oyster meals in the fall held all over. Often the food is served by Scouts and they're often at churches, legion halls, etc. We used to have access to a cabin near Madison and the first time we went there was a fish fry around this time of year at the legion hall in Madison. Nearly all of these events take place on the weekend, but fairly large signs are usually posted at least a week in advance to advertise.

            1. re: Dennis S

              The German restaurant is The Bavarian Chef (A personal favorite of mine). Note that they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and wierd weekend hours.

              Menu is here:


              Something beverage-related that I love in Culpepper is going to the Kopper Kettle tour where they make legal moonshine (he was actually profiled on that History Channel show about moonshiners recently).

              It's a fun little tour and you can buy some legal moonshine to go ;o



              1. re: Dennis S

                The Baviarian Chef -- yes, excellent choice! They also opened one up in downtown Fredericksburg.

                1. re: diamondsnthesky

                  I saw that when I went to their website. That's good news and I got in that direction more often.

            2. Charlottesville has a wealth of good food. Although the only regional specialty is probably wine. Lots of threads on the South Board. I really like the Main Street Market it's worth a stop and Orzo inside is good. Duner's is always good. The Local and Maya.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ktmoomau

                The meal I had at The Local was comically bad (to the point where we talked to the manager to get the pre-added gratuity removed), but in Charlottesville I've always been impressed with Zinc. There are a lot of really good options down there. Revolutionary Soup is always a good one for lunch, too.

              2. Thanks to everyone for the recommendations. Virginia has amazing, amazing food. Clancy's at Reston Town Center was very good. We went to Its About Thyme in Culpeper but it was closed, so we at the BEST BBQ EVER at a little hole in the wall called the Cattle Company or something like that. I had a brisket sandwich topped with cole slaw. Literally, the best food I've ever had. Truly a great state.