Richmond, VA restaurants

Old Feb 28th, 2007, 05:06 AM
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Richmond, VA restaurants

50th birthday dinner in Richmond....any ideas of someplace not to frou-frou but with good ambience and fresh food?
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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 05:59 AM
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Is this an intimate dinner or a large group? All of the following have really good food and good atmosphere, but are not stuffy:
Acacia (Carytown)
Dogwood Grille (Fan)
Zeus Gallery Cafe (Fan)
Cafe Lafayette (upper Fan) -- very casual atmosphere (like a small old grocery shop), but one of my favorites for food and wine.
Bookbinders (Shockoe Bottom)
Patina Grill (West End)
Azzurro (U of R area)

I have heard good things about, but haven't been to, the following:
1 North Belmont (Carytown -- French)
Six Burner (Fan)
The Bank (Downtown)

Happy to respond further if you can provide more info about what you're looking for.
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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 06:26 AM
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Wow! Thank you!! It is an intimate dinner for two. You must be a local to know so much about Richmond! The only one of the group that I have been to is Bookbinders. I liked that you didn't have the typical things like The Tobacco Company and Sam Millers on the list. While "famous" I find their food overrated! Any personal favorites among your list?
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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 07:17 AM
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I've eaten at Tobacco Co. and Sam Millers, and while they have good ambience (particularly TC), I don't think they provide the level of attention to their menus and food prep that makes a special dining experience.

I love all the restaurants I listed, so it really comes down to a matter of what food/ambience/location you're looking for.

Acacia: wonderful food on the fancier side (Dale Reitzer has won awards from Food and Wine mag); the dining room is interesting but a bit odd, as the restaurant is sort of in the foyer of a retail area, but many love it. (It's an old bank building that is now the restaurant and a few shops.)

Dogwood: A typical fan restaurant in ambience (small/medium size, tin ceilings, dark woods), with a really good menu. It's become a real favorite. Not unusual to see prominent figures there (ie. the governor).

Zeus Gallery -- It's a unique Richmond place, and one of my personal favorites. It was tiny (8-10 tables) until they recently added a room. Chalkboard menus, generally excellent food. Romantic in a very slightly bohemian way.

Cafe Lafayette -- Also a small place, and one of my favorites -- but the atmoshpere may be too casual for what you're looking for. The kind of place where your server is also likely to be the wine buyer, which can really enhance the food/wine experience.

Bookbinders -- you've been there. Much bigger than most on my list, and a bit more formal -- but a beautiful atmosphere in an old tobacco warehouse, and very good fish/steak type menu.

Patina -- best restaurant in the west end, and good ambience, but it's a suburban strip mall. The food is excellent, but I don't think it's your best choice unless you're in the area.

Azzurro -- Great choice if you like Italian. Romantic yet fun atmosphere. It can be loud inside. The menu is a bit less adventurous than some of the others I've listed, but consistently very good.

I should also have mentioned Juleps (in Shockoe Bottom). Excellent southern cuisine, in a beautiful, romantic atmosphere. If you want something of regional interest, this is a great spot, and certainly romantic enough for your occasion.

That was quite a mouthful (pun intended), but it's fun to recall all those good meals!
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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 07:31 AM
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sg92--THANK YOU so much. Wow! You should start a richmond restaurant review web page! Dogwood and Zeus Gallery look very intriguing--I went to their web pages. I have been to Juleps once, and loved it, and we will spend some time in the Bottom. I will present your descriptions to my husband to see what "a-peels". Again, thank you for the very thorough answer!
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Old May 21st, 2007, 10:26 AM
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I think Dogwood is the most overrated restaurant in Richmond, by far. Zeus is good, but has consistency issues and also recently expanded and shortly thereafter lost their chef and two veteran waitstaff. For dinner for two, I would offer up Can-Can in Carytown or Millie's Diner. 1 North Belmont is also rumored to have consistency issues.
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