Charlottesville is earning a name for itself as a foodie town. With an emphasis on locally sourced and seasonal food, it's no wonder its chefs are making their mark in the food world. Spend a weekend noshing your way through Charlottesville, and you'll quickly see why Southern Living listed it as one of the Top Ten Tastiest Towns in the South.
The Ivy Inn Restaurant - This is our favorite place in Charlottesville, perhaps because of its sentimentality. After our wedding, this was the first dinner we had as a married couple, and the restaurant celebrated with us by providing complimentary flutes of champagne and lots of well wishes. The food, however, can perhaps be characterized best by the fact that Chef and Owner Angelo Vangelopoulos was just nominated for an award from the James Beard Foundation. A trip to Charlottesville would not be complete without a stop at the Ivy Inn!
Petit Pois - This French Bistro located on the downtown mall makes a great lunch stop! With food sourced from nearby farms, friendly staff, and great prices, make sure to give this place a try the next time you're in Charlottesville. Also they offer escargots and their menu is partially in French, so if you're really in the mood for a little bit of France, this is your place.
Hamiltons' at First & Main - We were first attracted to this place because of the outdoor seating on the downtown mall and the cobalt blue water glasses on the table. Then when this place was recommended to us by multiple people, we really knew we had to give it a try. This contemporary American cuisine offers brunch, lunch, and dinner.
Carpe Donut - Some places stretch themselves so thin by offering dozens of dishes, and as a result, nothing is really done well. Carpe Donut makes one thing - apple cider doughnuts - and they know how to do it really, really well. They're filling a niche in the doughnut world by providing organic doughnuts - everything from their flour to their eggs to the apple cider is organic. While apple cider might be their only doughnut, they also offer mulled hot cider, coffee, and Italian style hot chocolate. If you love their doughnuts (which, inevitably, you will), it may interest you to know that they have a food truck and make appearances at weddings.
Bodo's Bagels - This is a legendary bagelry. If you don't stop on your trip to Charlottesville, you don't know what you're missing. This place gives other bagels a run for their money (these are the tastiest bagels I have ever had!). There are three locations in Charlottesville. Put this at the top of your list!
Michie Tavern - Don't be fooled by the spelling of the name. Michie is pronounced "Mickey," like the mouse (if you can nail down the pronunciation, you might pass for a local!). Neighboring Monticello, this 1784 tavern served 18th century travelers with food, drinks, lodging, and serves visitors today with Southern hospitality. For $17.50, enjoy a Southern buffet of fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, stewed tomatoes, black-eyed peas, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, and green beans. Do not miss out on ordering the peach cobbler for dessert. It was the best thing we were served at the tavern, and is worth going back just for the cobbler alone. Note: This is a popular destination for tourists and is only open for lunch, so plan on waiting in line awhile before you're seated. We waited outside for over an hour before getting a table - but for us, the experience was well worth it!
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards - Although this is Charlottesville's newest winery, it's developed a reputation for itself as a premiere event venue. Brides.com listed it as one of the 50 most romantic venues in the U.S. In addition to what is possibly the most incredible view in Charlottesville, their tasting offers eight wines (four red, four white) and tasty food plated on slabs of wood and slate. If you go on a weekend, expect to be fighting crowds!