Virginia December 15, 2015
Most People Don’t Know These 13 Small Towns In Virginia Have AMAZING Restaurants
Small towns in Virginia get plenty of praise for their history and charm. And many get an extra shout out for hosting unique events or having beautiful natural attractions nearby. But often, when it comes to naming top-rated restaurants, small towns can get overlooked. And sure, cities might have more selection or be a bit more convenient, but when you see what these 13 small towns in Virginia offer in terms of dining – from down-home to gourmet – you won’t care how far you have to go.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. South Boston: Bistro 1888
It’s hard to even know where to start with this amazing little find in South Boston - so, we’ll start with awards. Voted as the top restaurant in Virginia by “Downtown Dining Destination” in 2010 and a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence winner in 2015, Bistro 1888 is no stranger to rave reviews. In 2014, Chef Margaret Moorefield, owner and head chef, was named one of the top chefs in the country by “Best Chefs America.” Known for their elegant cuisine, fresh ingredients and innovative menu, this hot spot in South Boston is truly a destination dining experience. Visit them online for more information at
2. Lovettsville: The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
In a recent release from Open Table, an online restaurant reservation and review source, The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville was voted one of the Top 100 Scenic View Restaurants in America. This top spot has also been named a “Northern Virginia Magazine” best more than once. Patowmack Farm is one of the first “farm restaurants” in the U.S. and offers three columns: found, raised or grown. Best of all, every organically gourmet meal is served up with breathtaking views of the Potomac River and countryside vistas. And yes, you’re going to want to get reservations. Visit them at
The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
to learn more.
3. Washington: The Inn at Little Washington
As one of the state's most acclaimed inns, the Inn at Little Washington is as well-known for its world-class cuisine as for its luxurious accommodations. At the on-site restaurant, Chef Patrick O'Connell offers gourmet, French-inspired cuisine, that when combined with The Inn's award-winning wine cellar, makes for a dining experience that is nothing short of amazing. The Inn has been awarded the Forbe's 5-star rating for 25 years, the AAA 5-Diamond award and countless others awards and accolades. Located in Virginia's rural countryside, The Inn at Little Washington is an experience you won't want to miss. I will warn you, reservations can be tough, so plan your visit now at
The Inn at Little Washington
4. Onancock: Charlotte Hotel and Restaurant
If you’ve ever used Yelp, the online review resource, then you know that some people just like to complain. To find a 5-star rating is a rarity up there with leprechauns and unicorns. But Charlotte Hotel and Restaurant is a gem worth its weight in gold. Located in the small seaside town of Onancock on the Eastern Shore, Charlotte’s offers fine dining at its best. Chef Sam Yokum offers award-winning Eastern shore delicacies made from locally sourced seafood, meats and produce. With an ever-changing seasonal menu, the food is always fresh and every bite is worth the trip. Learn more at
Charlotte Hotel and Restaurant
5. Eggleston: The Palisades Restaurant
Housed in an historic old General Store that operated from 1926-2000, The Palisades is a pleasant surprise. You might not expect handcrafted foods prepared in a brick oven imported from Italy in the heart of Giles County, but after one taste of this incredibly unique menu, you won’t be surprised by anything The Palisades serves up. And most importantly, you’ll never be disappointed. Enjoy live music, an impressive wine and port selection, incredible food and a warm and cozy atmosphere that will keep you coming back time and again. Find out more about this Giles County gem at
The Palisades Restaurant
6. Culpeper: Foti’s Restaurant
Foti’s owner/chef/husband/wife team bring an impressive background with them - and it shows in every delicious dish they create. Trained at the world-famous Inn at Little Washington, these chefs craft gourmet meals from local meats and vegetable, handmade cheeses and premium seafood to create truly delicious entrees. And then there's dessert. Be sure to try the chocolate brulée, complete with a candied bacon "spoon." Yes, I said bacon spoon. Visit
to see more of their exciting menu options.
7. South Hill: Horseshoe Restaurant
Looks can be deceiving, so don’t let Horseshoe's hole-in-the-wall appearance fool you. This place serves a seriously amazing menu and has the “Virginia is for Lovers Culinary Challenge Finalist 2015” plaque and Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor to prove it. With fresh ingredients, many of them locally sourced, and an ever-changing diverse menu, the Horseshoe is incredible food where you least expect it. Find out for yourself at 311 W Danville St, South Hill, VA 23970.
8. Gordonsville: BBQ Exchange
I know we’ve been talking about slightly more “upscale dining,” but for good old fashioned barbecue? BBQ Exchange is one place you won’t want to miss. Located in downtown Gordonsville, the BBQ Exchange serves up hickory-smoked pork shoulders and spareribs that are first dry rubbed with a secret ingredient, then cooked to perfection using a specialized wood-burning cooker. Offered with homemade sides like cornbread, pickles, salads and slaws, Brunswick Stew, baked beans, hushpuppies, macaroni and cheese and collard greens, this barbecue is worth the trip. See for yourself at
9. Troutville: Pomegranate Restaurant and Gathering Place
The small town of Troutville has not been known, historically, as a fine-dining destination. But maybe that’s because not enough people know about Pomegranate. This classy, yet cozy, spot in Botetourt County offers fresh, farm-to-table food in every manner possible – from casual to 5-course. Known for their ability to perfectly pair wines, Pomegranate is worth the drive for out-of-towners. And if you’re a local? Consider yourself lucky. See a complete menu and get directions at
10. Smithfield: Smithfield Station
Photo provided by Smithfield Station
Located in scenic Smithfield, this waterfront restaurant is part of the Smithfield Station Inn. Whether you want to enjoy a candlelit dinner overlooking the marina or prefer to sit on the outside deck, an all-around awesome menu focused on local seafood with plenty of Smithfield's world-famous ham worked in is perfectly accented by gorgeous views of the Pagan River. Visit
for menus and directions.
11. Wytheville: The Log House 1776
If you’re looking for a taste of history along with some amazing food in an out-of-the-way spot, then look no further than The Log House 1776. Located in an authentic log cabin built in c. 1782, The Log House is a culinary delight with traditional southern fare that one reviewer called, “the best food this side of the Smokies.” Set in the heart of downtown, The Log House offers fine dining with ambiance to spare. They are located at 520 E. Main Street, Wytheville, Virginia 24382.
12. Wachapreague: The Island House Restaurant and Marina
Overlooking the beautiful Wachapreague Harbor, The Island House is a favorite for its fresh seafood, but also for its dazzling views. Enjoy local oysters, fresh-caught fish and award-winning crab cakes, then take a walk up the restaurant's spiral staircase to the lookout tower for panoramic views of the Eastern Shore's Barrier Islands. Plan a visit and see complete menus at
The Island House Restaurant and Marina
13. Linden: The Apple House
The Apple House is truly a little bit of home-cooked happiness. Since 1963, The Apple House has been a go-to for Warren County locals and visitors alike. Known for their outstanding BBQ and Zagat-rated Apple Butter donuts, this family-owned business sits just at the start of the Skyline Drive. Stop in anytime for great food and great service, but don’t forget to visit the gift shop for amazing goodies to-go. See a full menu at
The Apple House
Obviously, these aren’t the ONLY amazing small town restaurants, but they are certainly a mouth-watering place to start. If there’s a small town hidden gem that you know of, be sure to give us a recommendation so that we can feature it in an upcoming article. In the meantime, we would love to hear about any of your favorite restaurants in the comments below.