As most food lovers know, appearances aren’t everything when it comes to fine dining in Virginia. What makes under-the-radar restaurants so appealing is the fact that there’s no distraction around what matters most: delicious food. The following is a compilation of some of the most unassuming, yet completely mouthwatering spots around the state. Walk into any of these restaurants, and you’ll be greeted by a friendly staff and the smell of excellent cooking. Here are the 10 spots you’ll want to add to your dining bucket list soon:
1. The Black Sheep (Richmond)
This local gem is tucked away in Richmond and promises to delight. The menu prominently features sandwiches, although its other food items which range from banana french toast to authentic chicken and dumplings (featured above) are equally mouthwatering. Address: 901 W Marshall St
Richmond, VA 23220.
2. Crustacean Boil N' Grill (Henrico)
Who knew there was an authentic New Orleans-style cajun restaurant waiting just outside of Richmond? Well now, you do. When you stop in, be sure to order the "House Bag," a two-pound medley of shrimp, clams, mussels, and crawfish all seasoned with the delicious "magic dust." Address: 8902 W Broad St. Ste C, Henrico, VA 23294.
3. La Mexicana Bakery and Taqueria (Alexandria)
When it comes to delicious Mexican food, you really can't go wrong with simple, delicious ingredients. That's exactly what the authentic La Mexicana bakery and taqueria promises to deliver. This hidden gem has been a staple in the area for a long time, and continues to delightfully surprise diners. You can't go wrong with any sort of tacos or burritos here. Address: 2907 Arlington Dr
Alexandria, VA 22306.
4. Rinkeydink Cafe (Petersburg)
If ever you find yourself craving a home cooked meal that's full of all your Southern favorites, look no further than the modest yet delightful Rinkeydink Cafe. Nearly all entrees feature something deliciously fried, accompanied by all the traditional sides you could hope for: corn bread, green beans, cabbage, and mac & cheese. Address: 2550 S Crater Rd
Petersburg, VA 23805.
5. Marco & Luca (Charlottesville)
Tucked away in Charlottesville's Downtown Mall, you'll find this charming little spot with the best dumplings in town. Favorites include the hot and sour soup as well as the pork bun. For a quick on-the-go bite to eat, this place is not to be missed. Address: 112 W Main St., Charlottesville, VA 22902.
6. Fresh Crust Trattoria (Virginia Beach)
No list is complete without mentioning an under-the-radar Italian place that serves dishes to die for. Fresh Crust Trattoria is your Virginia Beach go-to spot for all things pasta and pizza. But perhaps most popular of all are the garlic knot rolls. Just trust us on this one. Location: 1060 Lynnhaven pkwy, Ste 106, Virginia Beach, VA 23452.
7. The Grill at Great Bridge (Chesapeake)
The Grill at Great Bridge might have an unassuming exterior, but inside is where the real magic happens. This small Mom & Pop joint serves some of the best burgers in town. They're also locally renowned for their delicious Philly Cheese steaks. Address: 388 Battlefield Blvd S
Chesapeake, VA 23322.
8. Dunk & Deli (Abingdon)
For a breakfast on the go, you can't beat Dunk & Deli. It's here you'll be able to order a delicious breakfast sandwich for under $2. Also, as shown by the picture above, this is THE spot for donuts in southwestern Virginia. Freshly made, these mouthwatering treats are worth the drive if you don't happen to live nearby. Address: 924 E Main St
Abingdon, VA 24210.
9. Fardowners (Crozet)
Rest assured that you won't leave Fardowners hungry. This beloved local spot in Crozet serves home cooked favorites in sharable portions. Most popular are the wings, wraps, and french fries. Address: 5773 The Square
Crozet, VA 22932.
10. The Wine and Duck Restaurant (Front Royal)
Tucked away in Front Royal, the upscale Wine and Duck restaurant isn't a hole-in-the-wall in the traditional sense, but it flies under the radar of most Virginia residents. This tiny restaurant serves up classics such as chicken Marsala, fresh pasta, and (of course) duck. Address: 117 E Main St., Front Royal, VA 22630.