Dining Out

9 Noteworthy Virginia Restaurants | Listen

By: Stephanie Ganz

Our top 9 Virginia restaurants from tried-and-true classics to new hotspots

Whether you’re craving Southern classics or inventive takes on new dishes, Virginia has it all with their diverse mix of cuisines and restaurants. In the Local Palate’s 2024 Restaurants Issue, Virginia writer Stephanie Ganz provides a guide to new and tried-and-true local spots with these 9 Virginia restaurants.

5 New Virginia Restaurants

Dish served at Ellie Bird at Virginia
Image courtesy of Albert Ting

Ellie Bird | Falls Church, Virginia

Falls Church natives chef Yuan and Carey Tang returned to the roost to open this sister restaurant to Rooster & Owl in DC. Ellie Bird draws a crowd for their inventive cross-cultural takes, like a Vietnamese-inspired French onion soup and Amish chicken piccata. Named for the owner’s daughter, it’s no wonder this is also one of the best places in Northern Virginia to eat with your kids

Kirby Club | Fairfax, Virginia

Everything at Kirby Club, from the decor to the menu to the hospitality, is as bold and vibrant as the hot-pink beet-infused tahini served alongside their Egyptian-style falafel. Inspired by a social club founded by co-owner Rose Previte’s grandparents, who settled in Ohio from Lebanon, Kirby Club invites guests to linger over luscious muhammara and garlicky havuc, a guest-favorite carrot dip. Bring a friend so you can try the Kebab Shindig, which includes kebabs, salads, and extras for two.

Stanley’s | Richmond, Virginia

Richmond’s equivalent to The Bear, this Philly-style bar is staffed by former fine-dining professionals who have turned their talents toward cranking out massive cheesesteaks, textbook tomato pie, and semiregular Sugo Sundays—five-course dinners where the kitchen can truly flex. Daily specials, like a surprisingly French frisée salad and a plate of “deli” tuna crudo, offer more chances to catch the kitchen’s skills on display.

Odyssey | Richmond, Virginia

Chefs Lee Gregory and Bobo Catoe have teamed up again to champion sustainable seafood from the Mid-Atlantic. The duo hooked a devout following with sister restaurant Alewife, Southern Living’s Best New Restaurant in the South in 2020. Odyssey’s seasonal menu shines thanks to raw and roasted Virginia oysters, Parker House Rolls served with trout roe, and a life-changing roasted sweet potato with chili butter, sorghum, and benne seeds.

Smyrna | Charlottesville, Virginia

Buzzy but chill, Smyrna is the spot where UVA students hope their parents will take them when visiting. With a Mediterranean-Aegean menu inspired by chef Tarik Sengul’s Turkish heritage, Smyrna excels at the standards—luxuriously silky hummus and tender charred lamb skewers. But don’t miss the manti, tiny traditional Turkish dumplings that, in this case, swap out the meat for locally farmed mushrooms.

4 Tried & True Virginia Restaurants

Mas Tapas | Charlottesville, Virginia

This neighborhood eatery serves chef Tomas Rahal’s plentiful tapas menu plus paella for two, paired with European and Mediterranean wines.

Plated sashimi offered at restaurants in Virginia
Image courtesy of Greg Powers

The Inn at Little Washington | Washington, Virginia

Awarded a Michelin Green Star, this romantic and whimsical hotel restaurant from James Beard Award-winning chef Patrick O’Connell offers a small, eloquent menu of fine-dining classics with a local spin.

Mussels and seafood served at Love Song in Virginia
Image courtesy of George Culver

Love Song | Virginia Beach, Virginia

Creative but simple small plates fill the menu at this vibey coastal eatery that specializes in natural and biodynamic wines and promises to be “a cure for the blues.”

The River and Rail | Roanoke, Virignia

A Southern bistro with local ingredients, The River and Rail offers a menu of made-from-scratch dishes, like Virginia oyster wraps and confit duck cassoulet, that change daily.


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