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A delicate scallop and daikon salad at Longoven.
Longoven/Facebook

18 Essential Restaurants in Richmond, Virginia

The abundant dining scene in Virginia’s capital offers classic soul food, Jewish deli fare, and much more

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A delicate scallop and daikon salad at Longoven.
| Longoven/Facebook

If it’s been a minute since you’ve made the trip down I-95 to Richmond, now is the time to return. Dine near the scenic James River, pick up natural wines at newcomer Celladora, and soak up the culture of Richmond’s arts and museum districts. It’s easy to stay well fed in Richmond thanks to these 18 essential restaurants, which represent just a snapshot of the the stellar food and hospitality River City has to offer.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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1. Lehja Restaurant

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11800 W Broad St suite 910
Richmond, VA 23233
(804) 364-1111
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Richmond’s outdoor mall Short Pump Towne Center houses this modern Indian jewel with a jaw-dropping wine selection from master of hospitality Sandjeep “Sunny” Baweja. Lehja excels at delivering both regional classics like the seafood kerala curry or expertly spiced biryani as well as inventive specialties, including a stuffed paneer tikka and shrimp chicken zafrani.

2. Brenner Pass

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3200 Rockbridge St #100
Richmond, VA 23230
(804) 658-9868
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Top Chef contestant Brittanny Anderson’s ode to the food and wine of the Alps, Brenner Pass offers a spacious, modern setting to enjoy fondue in Dansk pots, potato-topped flammkuchen (an Alsatian flatbread), or a dry-aged cote de boeuf au poivre. But save room for a trip next door to Black Lodge, a fun-loving dive bar born during the pandemic where barman James Kohler’s killer cocktails pair nicely with the “Tower of Power” — a selection of hot dogs, patty melts, and French fries that satisfy late-night cravings in one fell swoop. Looking for something just a skosh more German? Head to Church Hill to sister restaurant The Metzger, where the Frühstück Brett (charcuterie, pretzel roll, soft egg) at brunch is an unmatched delight.

Steak au poivre from Brenner Pass
Steak au poivre from Brenner Pass
Brenner Pass [official]

3. ZZQ Texas Craft Barbeque

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3201 W Moore St
Richmond, VA 23230
(804) 528-5648
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Consistently regarded as Richmond’s best barbecue, this Texas-style ‘cue joint coaxes smoke into an array of supple, meaty treats. Load up the tray with pulled pork shoulder, massive beef ribs, and, of course, the marbled brisket. Friday-only homemade pastrami is worth a special weekly trip. Try it by the pound or in a sandwich with homemade kraut and “giddy-up” sauce. The team’s new next-door burger spot, Eazzy Burger, is a collaboration with neighboring Ardent Craft Ales.

ZZQ for the $20 Diner
A Texas barbecue platter from ZZQ
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

4. Stella's

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1012 Lafayette St
Richmond, VA 23221
(804) 358-2011
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The scent of garlic and oregano welcomes you before you ever open the door at Stella’s, a welcoming Greek neighborhood spot from the Giavos family. Fill the table with flaky tiropita, keftedes (lamb and beef meatballs), and flaming mushroom saganaki, and prepare to share. Greek comfort food in ample portions includes braised lamb over butter noodles and the deliciously creamy artichoke moussaka. Around town, keep an eye out for six locations of Stella’s Grocery, a market specializing in pre-made meals and gourmet goodies, each one with a little something special.

Egg noodle hilopites with gigantes beans, pine nuts, cherry tomato, kalamata olive, feta, fresh mint, and extra virgin olive oil from Stella’s
Egg noodle hilopites with gigantes beans, pine nuts, cherry tomato, kalamata olive, feta, fresh mint, and extra virgin olive oil from Stella’s
Stella’s/Facebook

5. Longoven

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2939 W Clay St
Richmond, VA 23230
(804) 308-3497
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Longoven’s covered garden patio is a true oasis in the middle of rapidly developing Scott’s Addition. Find a seat among the flowers from which to enjoy Longoven’s seasonal snacks, or reserve a table inside the serene dining room to try inventive tasting menus bursting with creativity, with attentive service to match.

Spicy squid and cedar-aged hamachi from Longoven
Spicy squid and cedar-aged hamachi from Longoven
Longoven/Facebook

6. Garnett's

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2001 Park Ave
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 367-7909
Visit Website

This relaxed and homey corner cafe offers some of the best sandwiches in the city. Try one of several “Croques,” like the Croque Park Avenue with black forest ham, gruyere, spinach, and garlic aioli under a blanket of mornay sauce, or the Scuffletown Chicken Sandwich, a classic version with big chunks of chicken and a pickly twang. Garnett’s happy hour ($3 glasses of wine and pints of beer, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) and week-long $33 date night special (any two menu items and a bottle of wine or pitcher of beer after 6 p.m.) are two of the best-kept secrets in Richmond. When on the city’s Southside, visit Garnett’s sister restaurant, the modern fern bar Laura Lee’s.

7. Edo's Squid

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411 N Harrison St
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 864-5488
Visit Website

At the top of a flight of carpeted stairs sits this consistently-packed Richmond institution for rustic, Italian-American dishes like scungili (conch) insalata, braised fennel, and spaghetti with crab meat. Sister restaurant, Dinamo, offers a more casual take on the vibe, with crostinis and homemade pasta. And for takeout, try another sibling restaurant, 8 ½, with crushable heroes, seasonal antipasti, and some of the best pizza the city has to offer.

8. Restaurant Adarra

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618 N 1st St
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 477-3456
Visit Website

Named one of Esquire’s best new restaurants in 2020, Adarra marries Basque flavors and cooking philosophies with hard-to-find, easy-to-enjoy natural wines from around the world. Seafood, especially conservas, is the star of the show, and chef Randall Doetzer draws out its full potential with his arsenal of garlicky, paprika-tinged sauces. Whether you’re in the cozy dining room or Adarra’s charming back patio, there’s not a bad seat in the house (but you’ll need a reservation to get one).

9. Jamaica House Restaurant

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416 W Broad St
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 358-5793
Visit Website

Around since 1994, owner Carena Ives recreates the Jamaican food of her childhood, like jerk chicken, curry goat, and beef patties, from a small restaurant on Broad Street. At its new location (just a few blocks down from the original), channel Caribbean vibes while sipping fresh-pressed juices while awaiting a whole crispy-skinned snapper escovitch.

A curry vegetable platter at Jamaica House Restaurant.
Chad Williams, Creative Visual D

10. Saison

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23 W Marshall St
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 269-3689
Visit Website

Over the last decade, Saison has cemented itself as a hip but focused New American neighborhood spot, and for good reason. Dishes like the pillowy buckwheat gnocchi appetizer and the roasted chicken show the refined skill of Saison’s chef de cuisine Marc Rhodes. With just 10 tables, it’s best to make a reservation, or come for a late-night menu and seat at the bar and prepared to be wooed by cocktails like Cool as a Coconut with spiced rum and an herbaceous blend of bitters. Next door, Saison Market is an all-day cafe with a wine and beer shop and espresso bar.

Saison/official photo

11. Mama J's Kitchen

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415 N 1st St
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 225-7449
Visit Website

From the heart of historic Jackson Ward, James Beard Award-nominated Mama J’s Kitchen feels like just that, a mother’s kitchen that leaves patrons feeling full and loved. Crispy fried catfish, candied yams, and baked macaroni and cheese, and a legendary peach cobbler are a few of the soul food standards that bring back Mama J’s devoted following for meal after meal.

Fried trout from Mama J’s
Fried trout from Mama J’s
Mama J’s/Facebook

12. Soul Taco

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321 N 2nd St
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 308-1010
Visit Website

Soul food meets Latin American flavors at this playfully clever Jackson Ward taco shop. Try the buffalo cauliflower taco and the oxtail al pastor in a grown-up “happier meal” — two tacos, a beer, and a toy for $10. Or, fire up the taste buds with an order of Flaming Hot Cheeto Elote Loco, and then mosey a couple doors over to Suzy Sno for an icy, New Orleans-style snowball to cool things down.

The bright and cheery interior at Soul Taco.
Soul Taco/official photo

13. Perly's

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111 E Grace St
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 912-1560
Visit Website

This charming Jewish delicatessen in the heart of downtown is known for impressive fish boards loaded with bagels and cured specialities like smoked trout and silky gravlax with all the fixings. All the Ashkenazi comfort food favorites are here, from the baseball-sized matzoh ball soup to chopped liver to knish, but Perly’s truly shines when riffing on the classics, as seen in the Shapiro Schnitzel sandwich with crispy schnitzel, pickled cauliflower, and fiery zhug sauce.

14. L'Opossum

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626 China St
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 918-6028
Visit Website

Inn at Little Washington alum David Shannon showcases the fantastic twists on exquisite French fare he’s refined throughout his fine-dining career. Luscious dishes include swank bank (lobster mac and cheese) and a Fabergé egg “bedazzled” with caviar and dill cured salmon, plus “vodka-powered accoutrements et les jigglés de la Champagne rose.” L’Opossum captures the eclectic spirit of its Oregon Hill neighborhood, between a phallic stained glass window and bathroom bursting with clowns. Try the very fun, plastic-wrap-covered Laura Palmer cocktail with gin, Dolin Blanc, cherries, and lime.

15. Sub Rosa Bakery

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620 N 25th St
Richmond, VA
(804) 788-7672
Visit Website

Wood-fired breads made from locally-grown, house-milled grains and the flakiest seasonal pastries fill the case at this Church Hill bakery owned by brother-and-sister duo Evrim and Evin Dogu. While pastries like the fig and cheese croissant and seeded braid usually enjoy the spotlight, sleeper hits like the earl grey cookie or Turkish pogaca (a biscuit-like dough stuffed with feta) hold up nicely for the trip back home. Bonus: a small but excellent selection of natural wine and cider available to-go.

16. Cobra Burger

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400 N 27th St
Richmond, VA 23223
(804) 643-8824
Visit Website

Former butcher shop owners Adam Musselman, Joshua Franklin, Melville Johnson IV, and Mike Epps took their deep meat knowledge to Church Hill, where they sling freshly ground beef patties every night but Tuesday. Grab a bottle of wine from the exquisite Second Bottle shop one block over, and take the goodies to Libby Hill Park for a picnic with some of the best views in the city. Then come back the next morning for the silly sloppy breakfast sandos of “Bronchfest.” The Church Hill neighborhood is also home to hip hangout Pizza Bones.

17. Alewife

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3120 E Marshall St
Richmond, VA 23223
(804) 325-3426
Visit Website

The South’s best new restaurant of 2020 according to Southern Living, Alewife is all about sustainable Mid-Atlantic seafood and the waterways that surround the Chesapeake Bay. Start with one of beverage director Andon Whitehorn’s ethereal cocktails while you peruse the chalkboard specials, which change frequently and display the full range of chef Bobo Catoe’s creativity and sheer excitement for ingredients. Plan ahead with reservations for this always-bustling spot.

Seafood dishes from Alewife
Seafood dishes from Alewife
Alewife [official]

18. Grisette

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3119 E Marshall St
Richmond, VA 23223
(804) 562-6207
Visit Website

Grisette’s menu flexes on French classics (think steak frites and fluke en papillote) with a sincere commitment to using local and peaking ingredients. And then there’s the wine. Affordably priced and exceedingly drinkable, any pour pairs nicely with chef Donnie Glass’s curated smorgasbord of charcuterie. When in The Fan, snag a seat on the patio at Jardin, a wine shop with selections by the glass plus snacks from the Grisette family.

Beef tartare from Grisette
Beef tartare from Grisette
Grisette [official]

1. Lehja Restaurant

11800 W Broad St suite 910, Richmond, VA 23233

Richmond’s outdoor mall Short Pump Towne Center houses this modern Indian jewel with a jaw-dropping wine selection from master of hospitality Sandjeep “Sunny” Baweja. Lehja excels at delivering both regional classics like the seafood kerala curry or expertly spiced biryani as well as inventive specialties, including a stuffed paneer tikka and shrimp chicken zafrani.

11800 W Broad St suite 910
Richmond, VA 23233

2. Brenner Pass

3200 Rockbridge St #100, Richmond, VA 23230
Steak au poivre from Brenner Pass
Steak au poivre from Brenner Pass
Brenner Pass [official]

Top Chef contestant Brittanny Anderson’s ode to the food and wine of the Alps, Brenner Pass offers a spacious, modern setting to enjoy fondue in Dansk pots, potato-topped flammkuchen (an Alsatian flatbread), or a dry-aged cote de boeuf au poivre. But save room for a trip next door to Black Lodge, a fun-loving dive bar born during the pandemic where barman James Kohler’s killer cocktails pair nicely with the “Tower of Power” — a selection of hot dogs, patty melts, and French fries that satisfy late-night cravings in one fell swoop. Looking for something just a skosh more German? Head to Church Hill to sister restaurant The Metzger, where the Frühstück Brett (charcuterie, pretzel roll, soft egg) at brunch is an unmatched delight.

3200 Rockbridge St #100
Richmond, VA 23230

3. ZZQ Texas Craft Barbeque

3201 W Moore St, Richmond, VA 23230
ZZQ for the $20 Diner
A Texas barbecue platter from ZZQ
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Consistently regarded as Richmond’s best barbecue, this Texas-style ‘cue joint coaxes smoke into an array of supple, meaty treats. Load up the tray with pulled pork shoulder, massive beef ribs, and, of course, the marbled brisket. Friday-only homemade pastrami is worth a special weekly trip. Try it by the pound or in a sandwich with homemade kraut and “giddy-up” sauce. The team’s new next-door burger spot, Eazzy Burger, is a collaboration with neighboring Ardent Craft Ales.

3201 W Moore St
Richmond, VA 23230

4. Stella's

1012 Lafayette St, Richmond, VA 23221
Egg noodle hilopites with gigantes beans, pine nuts, cherry tomato, kalamata olive, feta, fresh mint, and extra virgin olive oil from Stella’s
Egg noodle hilopites with gigantes beans, pine nuts, cherry tomato, kalamata olive, feta, fresh mint, and extra virgin olive oil from Stella’s
Stella’s/Facebook

The scent of garlic and oregano welcomes you before you ever open the door at Stella’s, a welcoming Greek neighborhood spot from the Giavos family. Fill the table with flaky tiropita, keftedes (lamb and beef meatballs), and flaming mushroom saganaki, and prepare to share. Greek comfort food in ample portions includes braised lamb over butter noodles and the deliciously creamy artichoke moussaka. Around town, keep an eye out for six locations of Stella’s Grocery, a market specializing in pre-made meals and gourmet goodies, each one with a little something special.

1012 Lafayette St
Richmond, VA 23221

5. Longoven

2939 W Clay St, Richmond, VA 23230
Spicy squid and cedar-aged hamachi from Longoven
Spicy squid and cedar-aged hamachi from Longoven
Longoven/Facebook

Longoven’s covered garden patio is a true oasis in the middle of rapidly developing Scott’s Addition. Find a seat among the flowers from which to enjoy Longoven’s seasonal snacks, or reserve a table inside the serene dining room to try inventive tasting menus bursting with creativity, with attentive service to match.

2939 W Clay St
Richmond, VA 23230

6. Garnett's

2001 Park Ave, Richmond, VA 23220

This relaxed and homey corner cafe offers some of the best sandwiches in the city. Try one of several “Croques,” like the Croque Park Avenue with black forest ham, gruyere, spinach, and garlic aioli under a blanket of mornay sauce, or the Scuffletown Chicken Sandwich, a classic version with big chunks of chicken and a pickly twang. Garnett’s happy hour ($3 glasses of wine and pints of beer, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) and week-long $33 date night special (any two menu items and a bottle of wine or pitcher of beer after 6 p.m.) are two of the best-kept secrets in Richmond. When on the city’s Southside, visit Garnett’s sister restaurant, the modern fern bar Laura Lee’s.

2001 Park Ave
Richmond, VA 23220

7. Edo's Squid

411 N Harrison St, Richmond, VA 23220

At the top of a flight of carpeted stairs sits this consistently-packed Richmond institution for rustic, Italian-American dishes like scungili (conch) insalata, braised fennel, and spaghetti with crab meat. Sister restaurant, Dinamo, offers a more casual take on the vibe, with crostinis and homemade pasta. And for takeout, try another sibling restaurant, 8 ½, with crushable heroes, seasonal antipasti, and some of the best pizza the city has to offer.

411 N Harrison St
Richmond, VA 23220

8. Restaurant Adarra

618 N 1st St, Richmond, VA 23219

Named one of Esquire’s best new restaurants in 2020, Adarra marries Basque flavors and cooking philosophies with hard-to-find, easy-to-enjoy natural wines from around the world. Seafood, especially conservas, is the star of the show, and chef Randall Doetzer draws out its full potential with his arsenal of garlicky, paprika-tinged sauces. Whether you’re in the cozy dining room or Adarra’s charming back patio, there’s not a bad seat in the house (but you’ll need a reservation to get one).

618 N 1st St
Richmond, VA 23219

9. Jamaica House Restaurant

416 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23220
A curry vegetable platter at Jamaica House Restaurant.
Chad Williams, Creative Visual D

Around since 1994, owner Carena Ives recreates the Jamaican food of her childhood, like jerk chicken, curry goat, and beef patties, from a small restaurant on Broad Street. At its new location (just a few blocks down from the original), channel Caribbean vibes while sipping fresh-pressed juices while awaiting a whole crispy-skinned snapper escovitch.

416 W Broad St
Richmond, VA 23220

10. Saison

23 W Marshall St, Richmond, VA 23220
Saison/official photo

Over the last decade, Saison has cemented itself as a hip but focused New American neighborhood spot, and for good reason. Dishes like the pillowy buckwheat gnocchi appetizer and the roasted chicken show the refined skill of Saison’s chef de cuisine Marc Rhodes. With just 10 tables, it’s best to make a reservation, or come for a late-night menu and seat at the bar and prepared to be wooed by cocktails like Cool as a Coconut with spiced rum and an herbaceous blend of bitters. Next door, Saison Market is an all-day cafe with a wine and beer shop and espresso bar.

23 W Marshall St
Richmond, VA 23220

11. Mama J's Kitchen

415 N 1st St, Richmond, VA 23219
Fried trout from Mama J’s
Fried trout from Mama J’s
Mama J’s/Facebook

From the heart of historic Jackson Ward, James Beard Award-nominated Mama J’s Kitchen feels like just that, a mother’s kitchen that leaves patrons feeling full and loved. Crispy fried catfish, candied yams, and baked macaroni and cheese, and a legendary peach cobbler are a few of the soul food standards that bring back Mama J’s devoted following for meal after meal.

415 N 1st St
Richmond, VA 23219

12. Soul Taco

321 N 2nd St, Richmond, VA 23219
The bright and cheery interior at Soul Taco.
Soul Taco/official photo

Soul food meets Latin American flavors at this playfully clever Jackson Ward taco shop. Try the buffalo cauliflower taco and the oxtail al pastor in a grown-up “happier meal” — two tacos, a beer, and a toy for $10. Or, fire up the taste buds with an order of Flaming Hot Cheeto Elote Loco, and then mosey a couple doors over to Suzy Sno for an icy, New Orleans-style snowball to cool things down.

321 N 2nd St
Richmond, VA 23219

13. Perly's

111 E Grace St, Richmond, VA 23219

This charming Jewish delicatessen in the heart of downtown is known for impressive fish boards loaded with bagels and cured specialities like smoked trout and silky gravlax with all the fixings. All the Ashkenazi comfort food favorites are here, from the baseball-sized matzoh ball soup to chopped liver to knish, but Perly’s truly shines when riffing on the classics, as seen in the Shapiro Schnitzel sandwich with crispy schnitzel, pickled cauliflower, and fiery zhug sauce.

111 E Grace St
Richmond, VA 23219

14. L'Opossum

626 China St, Richmond, VA 23220

Inn at Little Washington alum David Shannon showcases the fantastic twists on exquisite French fare he’s refined throughout his fine-dining career. Luscious dishes include swank bank (lobster mac and cheese) and a Fabergé egg “bedazzled” with caviar and dill cured salmon, plus “vodka-powered accoutrements et les jigglés de la Champagne rose.” L’Opossum captures the eclectic spirit of its Oregon Hill neighborhood, between a phallic stained glass window and bathroom bursting with clowns. Try the very fun, plastic-wrap-covered Laura Palmer cocktail with gin, Dolin Blanc, cherries, and lime.

626 China St
Richmond, VA 23220

15. Sub Rosa Bakery

620 N 25th St, Richmond, VA

Wood-fired breads made from locally-grown, house-milled grains and the flakiest seasonal pastries fill the case at this Church Hill bakery owned by brother-and-sister duo Evrim and Evin Dogu. While pastries like the fig and cheese croissant and seeded braid usually enjoy the spotlight, sleeper hits like the earl grey cookie or Turkish pogaca (a biscuit-like dough stuffed with feta) hold up nicely for the trip back home. Bonus: a small but excellent selection of natural wine and cider available to-go.

620 N 25th St
Richmond, VA

Related Maps

16. Cobra Burger

400 N 27th St, Richmond, VA 23223

Former butcher shop owners Adam Musselman, Joshua Franklin, Melville Johnson IV, and Mike Epps took their deep meat knowledge to Church Hill, where they sling freshly ground beef patties every night but Tuesday. Grab a bottle of wine from the exquisite Second Bottle shop one block over, and take the goodies to Libby Hill Park for a picnic with some of the best views in the city. Then come back the next morning for the silly sloppy breakfast sandos of “Bronchfest.” The Church Hill neighborhood is also home to hip hangout Pizza Bones.

400 N 27th St
Richmond, VA 23223

17. Alewife

3120 E Marshall St, Richmond, VA 23223
Seafood dishes from Alewife
Seafood dishes from Alewife
Alewife [official]

The South’s best new restaurant of 2020 according to Southern Living, Alewife is all about sustainable Mid-Atlantic seafood and the waterways that surround the Chesapeake Bay. Start with one of beverage director Andon Whitehorn’s ethereal cocktails while you peruse the chalkboard specials, which change frequently and display the full range of chef Bobo Catoe’s creativity and sheer excitement for ingredients. Plan ahead with reservations for this always-bustling spot.

3120 E Marshall St
Richmond, VA 23223

18. Grisette

3119 E Marshall St, Richmond, VA 23223
Beef tartare from Grisette
Beef tartare from Grisette
Grisette [official]

Grisette’s menu flexes on French classics (think steak frites and fluke en papillote) with a sincere commitment to using local and peaking ingredients. And then there’s the wine. Affordably priced and exceedingly drinkable, any pour pairs nicely with chef Donnie Glass’s curated smorgasbord of charcuterie. When in The Fan, snag a seat on the patio at Jardin, a wine shop with selections by the glass plus snacks from the Grisette family.

3119 E Marshall St
Richmond, VA 23223

Related Maps