With thousands of fantastic lunch options scattered throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, it’s almost impossible to narrow the choices down to just 10. But whether you’re visiting the state for the first time or you’re a local, stopping in at any of the following 10 delicious restaurants for a quick bite will provide you with an authentic taste of the region and a memorable dining experience. Read on, and prepare for lunchtime nirvana.
Many of the best Virginia Beach restaurants are known for their waterside views and fresh seafood dishes, and Rockafeller’s is no exception. Since 1989, Rockafeller’s has racked up accolades and served the community through sponsorships and partnerships with a wide array of organizations. The casual, friendly environment and incredible view of the ocean make for a winning combination. But of course, the most important aspect is the food. The lunch menu is extensive: satiate your appetite with a Tidewater Steamer sampler, filled with local oysters, juicy clams, steamed shrimp, broccoli, celery, onions, crawfish, mussels, crab and shrimp hushpuppies, and corn on the cob.
Cutlass Grille in Chesapeake, Virginia serves up Jamaican Jerk Barbeque. This top TripAdvisor lunch recommendation in the city doesn’t disappoint. The flavors are authentic, with Jamaican favorites like curry chicken, brown stew chicken, curry goat, red snapper, and oxtails. Try a Caribbean beverage, like the kola champagne, ting, or ginger beer. The menu also includes fried seafood, sandwiches, barbeque, and salads.
The Black Sheep in Richmond, Virginia, is a local favorite and regular stomping ground for the rich and famous, including television personality Alton Brown. The Black Sheep is known for their “Battleship” sandwiches that are so large they can be split between four people. Don’t be surprised if there’s a wait for a table at this cozy establishment—it’s worth it.
Join Mike Isabella of Top Chef fame at his Greek eatery, Kapnos Taverna, in Arlington, Virginia. The lunch menu is inspired by traditional Mediterranean offerings and includes flatbreads with spreads, seafood like the Ora King salmon and charred octopus, gyros, and raw bar. The meat and poultry offerings, including Peloponnesian style meatballs, spit-roasted lamb, and yogurt-marinated chicken are mouth-watering good.
Named as one of The Washingtonian’s “9 Restaurants to Try in Old Town Alexandria,” Gadsby’s Tavern has been in business since 1770. Yes, you read that right: Gasby’s once served the likes of George Washington’s contemporaries. You’ll dine in an “elegant Colonial dining room” with waiters dressed in Colonial-era clothing. The food is largely American-inspired with the von Steuben Schnitzel a notable exception. If you’re looking for a deliciously unique experience, then Gadsby’s Tavern is right up your alley.
Food for Thought in Williamsburg, Virginia, proudly offers, “American fare with global influences served in a conceptual eatery decorated with words of wisdom.” Discussion cards on the tables provide diners with topics to discuss relating to the quotes on the walls. One of National Geographic’s “10 Best Places for Families” and recipient of numerous local awards, Food for Thought’s lunch menu is a combination of grilled cheeses, seafood, and burgers.
Since 1987, No Frill Bar and Grill has offered a dizzying display of choices. Now with two locations, one in Norfolk and another in Virginia Beach, No Frill is a solid choice whenever you’re in the Hampton Roads area. While the pitas are delicious, particularly their Grilled pita quesadillas, you can’t go wrong with a sandwich, burger, or platter.
Don’t be fooled by Riverside Lunch’s humble interior and simple menu. Riverside in Charlottesville, Virginia, has supplied some of the best burgers in the area since 1935. The menu is affordable and straightforward, with burgers at the forefront. Hot dogs and sandwiches round out the menu with corn dogs, French fries, onion rings, wings, cheese sticks, fried pickles and more making up the side dishes. Save from for a slice of pie.
With award-winning food, atmosphere, and beer, Blue 5 Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia, is a lunchtime must. The menu consists of a wide range of dishes compiled with a southern twist. For lunch, you’ll find sandwiches and burgers in addition to flatbreads and salads served Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Come back at night for the live music and to sample from their 46 beers on tap.
The Mason-Dixon Café in Fredericksburg, Virginia, offers an authentic American diner atmosphere with contemporary flair and an outdoor patio. The lunch menu includes sandwiches, gourmet melts, burgers, thirteen different hot dogs, and nine different entrees. Breakfast is served all day, so feel free to order chicken and waffles for lunch. Check the website for weekly specials and regularly updated seasonal promotions.