20 Best Restaurants in Central and Western Virginia, Virginia

L'Auberge Provencale

$$$$ Fodor's choice

Tucked away in the small town of White Post is a slice of Provence in a historic inn. L'Auberge Provencale is the epicurean getaway of choice for Washingtonians, and it's true that Chef Alain Borel has been on the gourmand radar for years. Borel and his wife Celeste grow their own herbs, vegetables, and fruit, and source their other sustainable foods locally from the bounty of the Valley. L'Auberge features not only an excellent list of French vintages, but many of Virginia's top wines as well. Reserve way ahead of time for the authentic Provencale five-course prix-fixe dinner ($90 per person).

Bodo's Bagels

$ | Downtown

You may have to wait in line at this locally owned establishment (which has three locations), especially at breakfast, but locals swear these are the best bagels south of the Big Apple. In true New York style, bagels are boiled before being baked, and all 10 varieties are true water bagels made with no fats or preservatives. Lunchtime is also popular, and the low prices appeal to both students and visitors. There are also locations at 505 Preston Avenue and 1609 University Avenue.

Boudreaux's Restaurant


Ever eaten gator bites or buffalo crawfish? Be sure and try them at Boudreaux's. What started as a project in business marketing for a pair of Virginia Tech students is now an established part of Blacksburg's downtown. The canopied rooftop is a particularly relaxing place to enjoy jambalaya or Cajun catfish, and they serve brunch on both Saturday and Sunday. Live bands often perform in the evening.

Recommended Fodor's Video

C&O Restaurant

$$$ | Downtown

Don't let the exterior fool you: behind the boarded-up storefront on which an illuminated Pepsi sign hangs, is an exemplary restaurant. The formal dining room upstairs, the lively bistro downstairs, and the cozy mezzanine in between share a French-influenced menu that has Pacific Rim and American Southwest touches. The heated patio and urban terrace are also lovely dining spaces during fall and spring. For a starter, try the panfried sweetbread medallions; entrées include steak chinoise with fresh ginger, tamari, and scallion cream sauce. The chefs source their products from local markets and farms, so the menu changes seasonally, and the wine list is 300 labels strong. For night owls, they offer a late night menu of appetizers, soups, salads, and sandwiches.

Carlos Brazilian International Cuisine


High on a hill with a spectacular sunset view, this lively restaurant has French, Italian, Spanish, and Brazilian dishes. Sit in the Olinda Room with its wall of windows. Try the porco reacheado (pork tenderloin stuffed with spinach and feta cheese) or the moqueca mineira (shrimp, clams, and whitefish in a Brazilian sauce). Brazilian radio often accompanies the meal. If you love chicken, try the sautéed version with pineapple and papaya. Carlos is also open for lunch on weekdays.

Clementine's Café


This lively downtown eatery was voted "Best Live Music Venue" in a reader's poll in a local publication and is also lauded for its great sandwiches and burgers. The dinner menu features steaks, pasta, and seafood with Southern sides like mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. The restaurant is housed in the former Strand Theater in the historic district, and hosts live bands from rockabilly and country to bluegrass and jazz on Friday and Saturday nights.

Continental Divide

$ | Downtown

A neon sign reading "Get in here" sits in the window of this intimate local favorite. The menu is Southwestern cuisine, with quesadillas, burritos, spicy pork tacos, enchiladas, and potent margaritas. Cactus plants decorate the front window, and the booths have funky lights. It can get crowded and convivial, and customers like it that way.

811 W. Main St., Charlottesville, VA, 22903, USA
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, No lunch, Reservations not accepted

Crozet Pizza


It may look like a shack, but this red clapboard restaurant 12 miles west of Charlottesville has been serving up what is renowned as some of Virginia's best pizza since 1977. Choose from about three-dozen toppings, including seasonal items such as snow peas and asparagus spears. Matching the outside, the interior is rustic, with portraits of the owners' forebears and one wall covered with business cards from around the world. On weekends, takeout must be ordered hours in advance.

Dave's Taverna


Get a bird's-eye view of Harrisonburg from the rooftop dining area at Dave's, an award-winning and family-owned local favorite. Like many casual Greek eateries, the menu runs from American classics like burgers and pizzas, to Greek and Italian fare like souvlaki, caprese salad, and linguine. But vegetarians need not worry as veggie pitas and burgers round out the menu.

Depot Grille


Located on the historic riverfront, Depot Grille offers classic American favorites including steaks, pasta, chicken, barbequed pork ribs, and lump crab cakes. An extensive kids' menu and the sound of passing trains make this a good choice for families.



This former motel diner 5 miles west of Charlottesville fills up early, and because they don't accept reservations, be prepared to wait up to 30 minutes. The fanciful menu, which changes daily, emphasizes fresh, seasonal fare in its seafood and pasta dishes. Appetizers may include lamb and green peppercorn pâté with grilled bread. Several fish selections appear daily on the menu, along with specialties like veal sweetbreads or duck breast, served Continental style. While there isn't a kids' menu, the chef will make a burger or kid-friendly meal, and also accommodate vegetarians and other special diets.

4372 Ivy Rd., Charlottesville, VA, 22902, USA
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, Closed Mon. and Tues., Reservations not accepted

Hamdingers Food Cart

While you're strolling the downtown pedestrian mall, pick up a gourmet nosh from Hamdingers Food Cart. This one-man show makes global cuisine from local ingredients. Try the Moroccan chicken or masala curry. He's open weekdays from 11:30 until 2.

Mac 'N' Bob's


The enormous growth in seating since 1980, from 10 to 250, testifies to the popularity of this establishment in downtown Salem, as does its continual title as "best local restaurant" in an annual poll. Sports memorabilia line the walls of the attractive redbrick building near Roanoke College, and sporting events are likely to be on the many TVs near the bar. The menu runs from hamburgers to steak to seafood to pizza. If you have a big appetite, try a fully loaded calzone, which flops off the sides of your plate.

Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant


A homey restaurant with plenty of booths, Rowe's has been operated by the same family since 1947, and still maintains a rock-solid reputation for inexpensive and delicious Southern meals. The fried chicken—skillet-cooked to order—is a standout. A local breakfast favorite is oven-hot biscuits topped with gravy (your choice of sausage, tenderloin, or creamy chipped beef). For dessert, try the mince pie in fall, or the rhubarb cobbler in summer.



This elegant steak-and-seafood house is in the converted tobacco warehouse district known as the Bluffwalk. With warm exposed brick walls and an urban sensibility, the restaurant offers a wide variety of steaks, chops, and classic seafood dishes. Think traditional, with a variety of cuts and preparations, in addition to seafood standards from surf and turf to shrimp cocktail and lobster bisque.

The Cellar


A gathering place and watering hole near the Virginia Tech campus, this storefront restaurant serves eclectic, inexpensive dishes. Try the Greek spaghetti with sautéed feta, garlic, and olives, or the "Mac Daddy": a single large meatball in marinara sauce and Parmesan. They also offer an extensive list of domestic and imported beers, and local bands perform here often. You can also purchase their craft beers to take home.

The Homeplace


Bring a big appetite with you on the drive up and over Catawba Mountain to get to the Homeplace. Famished Appalachian Trail hikers and diners in their Sunday best eat side by side family-style in this farm home in a tiny country hamlet—so come as you are. Old-fashioned cooking is dished up with all-you-can-eat fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, pinto beans, baked apples, and hot biscuits. It's a popular spot, so be prepared for about a 30-minute wait.

4968 Catawba Valley Dr., Catawba, VA, 24070, USA
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, No lunch Thurs.–Sat., no dinner Sun., Reservations not accepted, Closed Mon.–Wed.

The Palms


The original building, circa 1836, served as a public library and debating hall before becoming a retail space. In the Victorian era it was an ice cream parlor, and today it houses a full-service restaurant with both indoor and alfresco dining. Wood booths line the walls of the plant-filled room; the pressed-metal ceiling is original. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, and the menu features traditional salads, burgers and sandwiches, and steaks and pasta.

Violino Ristorante Italiano


Homemade pasta—about 20 different kinds—fills the menu in this cheery, yellow-stucco restaurant in the city's Old Town. Owners Franco and Marcella Stocco and their son Riccardo serve up their native northern Italian cuisine, including lobster pansotti (lobster-filled ravioli in a sauce of white wine and lemon). Try the Trio Violino, an antipasto platter with duck breast prosciutto, homemade venison bresaola, and duck salami with a raspberry vinaigrette. A strolling violinist entertains diners on weekends. The outdoor patio, enclosed by potted plants, is a quiet spot in the midst of street bustle.

Waterwheel Restaurant


Part of a complex of five historic buildings, this restaurant is in a gristmill that dates from 1700. A walk-in wine cellar, set among the gears of the original waterwheel, has 100 wine selections; diners may step in and choose for themselves. The dining area is decorated with Currier & Ives and Audubon prints. Some menu favorites are fresh smoked trout and chicken Fantasio (breast of chicken stuffed with wild rice, sausage, apple, and pecans). Desserts include such Old Virginny recipes as a deep-dish apple pie baked with bourbon. On Sunday, try the hearty but affordable brunch.