In no particular order, here are some of the best holiday dining spots in Charlottesville.
1. The Local Restaurant, Belmont
The Local was started in March 2008 to provide a venue to showcase the abundant supply of small farmers, artisan cheese makers, breweries, distilleries and award wining vineyards located in Charlottesville and the surrounding area. They are truly blessed to have such a wide variety of agriculture readily accessible and a local population so willing to support the local food movement. In addition, they strive to support local craftsman, and much of what you see in the restaurant is fabricated locally.
2. Parallel 38, Stonefield
A contemporary yet casual environment allows guests to explore the sometimes perplexing world of wine without pretension. Thei wine program offers 38 wines by the glass, along with 100 bottles from handpicked boutique wineries with an assortment of over performing staples, exotic varietals and unexplored regions.
Their beverage program offers 25 bottled beers ranging from cult craft breweries to fan favorites and a “farm to table” cocktail program features hand-crafted cocktails utilizing the freshest ingredients, modern technique and old school charm.
The menu provides an eclectic selection of small plates and shareable platters that will take guests on a journey through the Mediterranean.
3. Fleurie Restaurant, Downtown Mall
Brian Helleberg, the owner and head chef at Fleurie Restaurant, and his staff have created a memorable contemporary French dining experience. Located just off Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall on 3rd Street, Fleurie Restaurant’s elegant atmosphere, stellar wine list and innovative menu are sure to produce an unforgettable meal. Fleurie is perfect for special occasions, date night or an evening with loved ones!
4. The Downtown Grille, Downtown Mall
The Downtown Grille, located on Charlottesville’s historic Downtown Mall, serves only the finest in Midwestern corn fed beef and fresh seafood, including live Maine lobster. The restaurant has an extensive wine list which has been honored by The Wine Spectator with the Award of Excellence every year since opening in 1999.
The Downtown Grille’s lovely architecture and warm professional staff lend a superb ambiance to an exquisite dining experience.
5. Bella’s Restaurant, Midtown
BELLA’S Restaurant is a casual, family-style, Roman Italian dining venue, with a 60-seat capability. We focus on delivering authentic Roman Italian food, outstanding service, an inviting atmosphere, and affordable pricing. We are located in the booming, rapidly expanding city of Charlottesville, Virginia, and are located on the popular West Main Street.
6. Petit Pois Restaurant, Downtown Mall
Petit Pois is a modern French Bistro on the Charlottesville Downtown Mall featuring authentic bistro dishes, locally-sourced ingredients, affordable wines, local beers, excellent patio seating and great value.
7. Hamiltons’ at First & Main, Downtown Mall
Located in the heart of Charlottesville’s Downtown district, Hamiltons’ is the perfect spot for a delicious afternoon lunch or a romantic evening dinner. A cheerful, cozy atmosphere and attentive service ensure our guests enjoy an outstanding dining experience, be they Charlottesville natives, out-of-town visitors, or University students and staff. We also feature outdoor patio seating seasonally, providing our guests the opportunity to dine amidst the bustle of the Downtown Mall.
8. Ivy Inn, Old Ivy Road
The Ivy Inn, located one mile from the University of Virginia, was once part of a larger estate named “Faulkner House “ after William Faulkner, a Southern aristocrat and distinguished University “writer in residence.” In 1815, a fire destroyed the original Inn, which was built in the early 1700’s. A year later Jesse Pittman Lewis rebuilt the estate, adding several outbuildings including the present structure which now houses the Ivy Inn Restaurant. The kitchen, located in the back of the house, was formerly a tollhouse where weary travelers rested from their journeys between Richmond and Staunton. The University later acquired the several outbuildings and the Faulkner estate for guest housing and dining facilities. In 1893 the house was sold for only $3000 to James Kiblin, who was also granted 11 ¼ acres as part of the bill of sale. In 1901 it was sold to William H. Barlow, an attorney and engineer from England. The Barlow family owned the property until 1939 when William’s youngest son sold it to a University of Virginia professor of biology. Between 1940 and 1965 the house sold two more times and in 1973 the Ivy Inn restaurant was established in order to provide the community and visitors with a richly historical and elegant atmosphere for dining.
9. Old Mill Room, Boar’s Head Inn
The epicurean heart of Boar’s Head was built from the timbers of an abandoned gristmill along the banks of the Hardware River, which dated back to 1834. The relocation of the mill was an opportunity to preserve and transform a treasured Virginia artifact. It had survived burning despite the orders of Generals Grant and Custer during their march through Charlottesville in the Civil War. Indeed, it had continued to operate some 60 years after the war’s end. For 26 years running, the Old Mill Room has earned AAA’s Four-Diamond designation in recognition of its culinary artistry, distinctive Virginia ambiance and superior service.
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