7 Best Charlottesville Restaurants You Don’t Want To Miss

Check Out These 7 Excellent Charlottesville Restaurants For Superb Dining

Guests of the Iris Inn are always asking, “What Charlottesville restaurants would you recommend?”

Well, the good news is Virginia restaurants love to prepare good Southern comfort food, and they do it quite well. But if you’re looking for a taste of the South with a generous helping of upscale dining, we’ve got seven Charlottesville restaurants that we highly recommend!

Yes, you’ll find the simple BLT sandwich, but you’ll also find some creative re-imaginings of the South’s best known comfort food, fried chicken, as well as delightfully fresh farm to table fare, and oysters Rockefeller.

So, here are our top picks for a mouth-watering dining experience. Bon apetit!

Upscale and Down-to-Earth Fine Dining


Hamiltons’ at First & Main

Duck Spring Rolls

Duck Spring Rolls


Located on the historic Downtown Mall, Hamiltons’ has been a favorite for 20+ years. The restaurant has a strong commitment to working with local suppliers and farmers to have fresh ingredients, and it shows in the quality of their cuisine.

From their re-invention of pimento cheese, their take on hush puppies to dishes like Pan Roasted Crab Cake With a Sunny Side up Farm Egg, Potato Hash and Creamed Spinach, you simply cannot go wrong choosing Hamiltons’ for lunch or dinner.

Vegetarians can enjoy a daily “blue plate special” that changes daily. An extra bonus is watching the sunset from the patio. Beautiful!



The Ivy Inn Restaurant

Ivy Inn Restaurant


About a mile from the University of Virginia, you’ll find an absolutely delightful dining establishment, The Ivy Inn Restaurant. Another longtime favorite, you’ll find down home faves like salmon or lamb chops that have world-class flavor.

Cozy up to appetizers like shrimp and grits, tomato biscuit pie, and foie gras. And, if you want a change from beef, try their free-range bison steak!




Sultan Kebab

Turkish Cuisine

Turkish Cuisine

Not a Southern-influenced restaurant, the Sultan Kebab instead brings a taste of Turkish cuisine to Central Virginia. And what a taste it is!

Enjoy a laidback, relaxed atmosphere while feasting on platters of kebabs of kofte, or meatballs–enough to satisfy several hungry diners.

Sandwiches are jammed with Mediterranean favorites served inside of homemade pita bread.

Highly recommended is the hummus casserole with baked tomatoes and cheese served with a Middle Eastern dip.

And dessert?

Baklava and rice pudding! Both are served with Turkish coffee, and it’s some of the strongest brew you can find.


Downtown Grille

Lobster & Steak


An absolute classic! The Downtown Grille serves seafood and grilled steaks to perfection.

The wine list is extensive and the chefs are serious about creating American cuisine delights every night of the week.

Not a stuffy restaurant, you’ll be served exquisite food on crisp white tablecloths.





Public Fish and Oyster

Pan Roast

Public Fish and Oyster Pan Roast


Oyster lovers, this one’s for you! Public Fish and Oyster combs the Atlantic and Pacific sea coasts for the finest oysters you can find.

Then they are served raw every single day. There aren’t many Charlottesville restaurants that do that!

You’ll find the ocean’s gems in stews, Oyster Lyonnaise, and the PFO pan roast.

But if you’re not into raw oysters, ask for the moules frite, a delicious mussels dish served with Belgian-style fried potatoes.

Be sure to order a martini with an orange twist and pair it with a plate of Oysters Rockefeller. YUM!



The Ordinary at Michie Tavern

Southern Fried Chicken

Southern Fried Chicken at The Ordinary


Classic Southern fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, green beans, mashed potatoes, and peach cobbler–Yes, it’s the menu you’ve read in every Southern 18th-century novel, and it comes to life here.

The Ordinary at Michie Tavern serves absolutely scrumptious cuisine, and in period costume. 

It’s immensely satisfying–and filling–food served buffet style inside their historic building. But you’ll need to catch this crowd-pleasing cuisine during the hours of 11:30-3:30.





Maya Restaurant

Maya Restaurant


Another local Charlottesville restaurant that caters to Southern cuisine with a twist is Maya Restaurant.

Using seasonal ingredients, Maya takes a fresh approach to southern food. From ribs, chicken, local trout, beef, catfish, and vegan dishes, the flavor and presentation are always exceptional.

And, Maya Restaurant also offers gluten-free options on most of their menus! 

Let us know what you think of the restaurants you choose. Just remember. We’ll have a hearty breakfast for you in the morning! Make your reservation here.