6 Unique Dining Experiences to Try in Virginia


Virginia might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think about food, but to ignore this great state would be a true travesty. Virginia has historically been at a crossroads of the north and south. This inevitably meant that its culture has been in constant flux through its short history. And if history has taught us anything, the blending of cultures often results in a delicious fusion of flavors! So with this in mind, what makes Virginia a famous foodie paradise, and what are the top restaurants you must visit when in the state?

What Foods Is Virginia Famous For?

As one of the most diverse states in the country, Virginia represents a wide range of cultures. You can find rolling hills, rivers, cliffs, beaches, deep valleys, and rivers. In Virginia, you will find unique dining experiences that you will not find anywhere else. From fresh Atlantic ocean seafood directly from the Chesapeake Bay to the fresh, natural produce from the Appalachian region, there is plenty of variety to sate even the fussiest of eaters. Moreover, Virginia is well-known for its peanut butter, blueberries, and peaches as it has the ideal climate for growing a variety of fruits. This abundance of fresh and delicious produce means that Virginia is home to some world-class eateries on the East coast. 

Six Exciting Restaurants To Try When Visiting Virginia

Now that your appetite has been well and truly whetted, you are probably eager to find out which restaurants offer the most comfort for your soul, stimulation for your mind, and titillation for your tastebuds. Well, luckily for you, this post will cover six of the most exciting restaurants on the east coast that everyone should try when in this part of the nation.

The Local

In order to start his list off, it is wise to begin in the location of Thomas Jefferson’s famed estate, Monticello, and the home of the University of Virginia. This mixture of history and the modernity of being a modern student town have created arguably one of the best restaurants in Charlottesville. The Local is known for being just that, a place for locals to come together and enjoy the traditional Appalachian fare at its finest. You can find fantastic pork chops made using local meat, served with liberal dollops of fresh apple sauce, as well as healthier options like grilled trout caught fresh from the Atlantic Ocean. There is something for everyone here, and you certainly won’t leave with an empty stomach!


If you are looking for a more fine-dining experience than good ol’ boy cooking, Julep’s is the place to go. Juleps is a restaurant that specializes in southern cuisine, is delicious, and serves food with impeccable presentation. They have a wide variety of dishes, from the common to the more exotic. They also have a live entertainment program that is sure to please anyone who comes through their doors. It is located in a beautiful old building that has been a house, brewery, soap factory, and cigar box maker at various points in its illustrious history. It also happens to have some fantastic drinks, with a heavy focus on whiskeys and bourbons.

Miyagi Sushi

If you have a hankering for something on the more exotic end of the spectrum, then Miyagi Sushi might very well be the place for you. Located in McLean, you will discover a range of East Asian cuisine lovingly created by some of the top chefs in the city. Most reviews tend to center on the fact that while it isn’t the best presented, the taste and price make this a must-visit restaurant if you find yourself in this neck of the woods.

The Swinging Bridge

If you are the type of person who needs an exciting atmosphere to accompany your meal, then look no further than The Swinging Bridge. It is located within an old hunting lodge with a bridge connecting two parts of its mezzanine (hence the name). According to their website, they offer “homestyle good cookin’ with a Southern gourmet flare,” and reviews seem to match this sentiment. You will also be serenaded by live music every Thursday while you tuck into your country-cooked meal!

Gadsby’s Tavern

Gadsby’s Tavern is located in Alexandria and within the walls of a 17th-century tavern (when the city was first founded). However, aside from its historical significance and beautiful surroundings, it is also well-known for its delicious seafood and hearty steaks.

Havana ’59

You end this list with some Cuban flair. If you walk into Havana ’59, you may think you’ve been transported to Cuba, thanks to its on-point décor and funky vibe. The food is also excellent and perfectly matches the style of the place. Moreover, you can chill with friends after you’ve eaten by sipping a lovingly made Mojito or even learn to salsa dance every Thursday evening!

So there you have it, Virginia isn’t only a state of mountains and pork bellies. There is a plethora of cuisine available if you take the time to look around! Hopefully, this list has provided you with some inspiration to get out there and try for yourself, but be warned; you might end up moving up a few notches after visiting!

Written by Megan Taylor
Megan is a beauty expert who is passionate about all things makeup and glam! Her love for makeup has brought her to become a beauty pro at Glamour Garden Cosmetics.