The first thing I noticed about Richmond, VA was how many restaurants this little city has to offer. They seem to be endless. Every corner has a new restaurant, coffee shop, bar, or brewery popping up left and right. Below is a list of a few of my favorite spots.
Okay so you’re in Richmond and you need coffee? Whisk is your answer. Grab a latte and a big macaron or other delicious pastry to start your morning.
10 Italian Cafe
I happen to stumble across 10 Italian Cafe when I moved (pretty much) across the street. I absolutely love every coffee beverage I've ever ordered from this place. Like a true European cafe, you order at the counter and sit down. They barista will bring you your beverage when it's done. Their pastry section is deeply lacking, but their paninis and sandwiches are good.
On the weekends they usually have great live music playing. If you're not interested in drinking coffee, they also have plenty of wine to choose from.
Secret Sandwich Society
Arguably my favorite sandwich place in Richmond. If you're downtown checking out the capital building or staying at the Hilton, this would be a great place to try for lunch. It can get very busy during the weekday lunch rush, but usually the wait isn’t too bad. All sandwiches are named after presidents.
My favorite: The Truman with fries + pimento cheese. There's something about the combo of turkey, blue cheese, apricot jam, and crunchy onions that is absolutely amazing. At first I was hesitant about the apricot jam, but the sweetness with the blue cheese is fantastic.
Pit and the Peel
Two words. Smoothie bowls. They are so incredibly good. They also have an espresso smoothie that will wake you the fuck up. It is a little overpriced in my opinion and the staff can be less than friendly, but I still will go for an instagram-able smoothie bowl. It is the perfect summer lunch when trying to survive hot and humid July in Richmond.
One of the first places I had lunch in Richmond was Union Market in Church Hill. When you walk in the door there is a little market and to order you just go through the market towards the back. Union Market always has a new sandwich or soup of the day to try and has a bar. With plenty of tasty vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, this is a great spot to enjoy a fresh lunch outside.
A more recent addition to the popular Carytown neighborhood, Jasper's charm and craft cocktails are a great way to start or end an evening. Opening everyday at 5pm, it's a must for a great drink in Richmond. This darkly lit bar is great for a date night or drinks with friends.
If you're looking for a fancy craft cocktail in a low-key environment, this would be the place you should go.
The graduate is hands down the best rooftop in Richmond for having a drink. Some may argue that the Quirk hotel's rooftop is better, but I just don't agree. The view from the Graduate is unparalleled in the city. I highly suggest going right before sunset to catch an amazing view of the city.
Ardent is a big local favorite. You can bring your pup and sit outside to enjoy the weather. On weekends and nice days, Ardent can be pretty packed. Ardent is located in Scott's Addition. This is what I would consider the brewery district of Richmond. You can make a day of it and walk from brewery to brewery.
Right down the street from Ardent is Veil Brewing. Veil is one of the most popular breweries in Richmond. They have a great outdoor space as well as a fun interior. If it’s a busy day they will serve you with plastic cups, but if it’s a more low-key evening they pour their beer in big wine glasses which makes you feel fancy. Veil also cans their beer (and has fantastic packaging) so you can bring some home with you.
And right now the street from Ardent and Veil, you’ll find Vasen. Scott’s Addition has a ton of breweries which makes for an easy day of bar hopping/day drinking. Vasen also has kombucha on tap if that’s more your style. Inside you’ll find a large mural of a deer with long community tables. There is also an outdoor patio with corn hole. You can almost always find a few dogs on the patio too.
En Su Boca
En Su Boca is my favorite Mexican place in Richmond. It's not your traditional Mexican restaurant. There are several “styles” or flavors to choose from. Then you pick if you want it to be a taco, burrito, or quesadilla. If you are going to En Su Boca you absolutely have to order the street corn. It’s fantastic. They have a cute patio and plenty of margarita options.
Located in Richmond's Carytown neighborhood, Daily Kitchen has fairly diverse menu with great indoor and outdoor space. From sandwiches, to pizza, to stir-fry bowls, everyone in your party is sure to find something they will enjoy. My personal favorite from the Daily is their fish tacos. At $16, they aren't the cheapest fish tacos you'll have in RVA but they are fantastic. It's hard for me to order anything but the fish tacos when I go there. My second choice would be the Fig and Pig pizza.
Mekong is one of my favorite places to go if I'm craving pho. It is a little bit outside of what I would consider Richmond, but worth the drive. They also have an extensive beer list as all of the servers shirts say "Mekong is for beer lovers". Next door to Mekong is The Answer Brew Pub.
Located in Richmond’s Scotts Addition neighborhood, Brenner Pass is a modern style restaurant inspired by the Alpine region. I have eaten there a couple of times and highly suggest ordering their cheese plate. In all honestly, it can get very expensive but the cheese plate is worth it. First of all, they roll out a cheese cart. YES. An entire chart dedicated to showing off the cheese selection. The server goes through each each and then you pick the ones you want.
Although I haven’t been too impressed with the dinner, the cheese plate and cocktails are well worth the price. My suggestion would be to order drinks and a bottle of wine. If you’re looking for a cocktail, the Snow Bunny cocktail is my favorite.
Celebrating a birthday or significant event that should include cake? Go to Shindigs. Shindigs is a completely dessert based restaurant and there is almost always a wait for their amazing cake selections. Shindigs has two parts, one "to-go"/waiting area and the actual restaurant next door. Grab a slice of cake to go or wait to get seated at the restaurant. Word of advice, unless you really want your own piece, you can probably share. The cake slices are huge.
My favorite: The fruit cake. Sounds old fashion and kind of gross right? WRONG. Absolutely the best cake I've ever had and if I could use them for my wedding in Michigan, I would. The fruit cake is vanilla cake with vanilla icing and fresh fruit in-between every layer. Somehow it takes light for a massive pice of cake.
Looking for ice cream? Go to scoop in the fan district. It's cute neon signs and unique flavors are a great way to cool off from the hot Richmond summers while taking the perfect Insta-worthy ice cream photo. You can even get fun toppings like a macaron. They also have vegan options.
My favorite: Brown Sugar Cookie Dough. So sweet so you should get a scoop of coffee or another flavor to balance it out.
These are some of my go-to places in Richmond, however there are so many great restaurants and so many more opening every month. I am struggling to publish this article because I could keep typing for countless hours because I love so many places here. I always say that I have been pleasantly surprised with Richmond and its food scene is no different. Whether you are here for a day or live here there are so many places to try.