Charlottesville's most prolific food writer, Simon Davidson, writes for C-VILLE Weekly and his website The Charlottesville 29, where he answers: if there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29? Drawing on decades of experience, here he shares tips on where local lovers of food and drink go in Charlottesville.
You haven’t been to Charlottesville until you’ve been to Bodo’s, the bagel bakery that feeds more than 6,000 residents per day. To create your sandwich, choose a bagel flavor and toppings from a huge menu of offerings, like eggs, pastrami, cream cheeses, and more. Sides and salads are worthwhile, too, including the mini chocolate “cakes.”
What to order: Deli-egg on an Everything Bagel, cut in half
In 2017, former James Beard award semifinalist Jose de Brito left The Inn at Little Washington to rejoin the kitchen of Fleurie, and the restaurant is as good as ever. Sophisticated French cuisine from a chef whose combination of skill, effort, passion, and creativity, is rarely seen anywhere, let alone Charlottesville.
What to order: Tasting Menu, Cured Scottish Salmon, Sautéed Skate
Lunch is your best bet to find a seat at this tiny, popular, no-reservations Neapolitan pizzeria that offers much more than just the best pizza in town. Three of Charlottesville’s best young chefs join forces with one of the area’s top bar managers to create a must-stop for any food and drink lover visiting Charlottesville.
What to order: Panuozzo, Cavoletti Di Bruxelles, Specials, Whatever Andrew feels like pouring
4. The Ivy Inn
With white table-cloths, professional and welcoming servers, and an intimate setting, this throwback remains the best special occasion restaurant in town. After more than two decades of success, somehow the food is still fresh and exciting, too, thanks to two-time James Beard award semifinalist Angelo Vangelopoulos.
What to order: Duet of Lamb, Grilled Rag Mountain Trout
Take your millennial friends to Charlottesville’s best exemplar of the latest generation of great urban restaurants, which prove that passion for food can be cool. In a former service station, the minimalist space and unpretentious service allow the food to shine, under the care of one of Charlottesville’s most talented and passionate kitchens. Small and large plates for sharing.
What to order: Shaved Salad, Octopus with Tasso Aioli, Grilled Shrimp with XO Sauce