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need help in Richmond, VA

need help in Richmond, VA

Old Mar 8, 05, 7:32 am
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need help in Richmond, VA

I live in Richmond, VA and am fairly new here. My boyfriend is flying over from London for 2 weeks on March 24th and I'm trying to find an esquisite restaurant to take him to but that is known more for its food, not its reputation. Richmond has some well known restaurants like the Tobacco Company but I think it is all reputation and the meals are not worth the $30-$40 dollar price. Can anyone suggest any local or hidden restaurants that have excellent food for a decent price (willing to spend $25-$35 per entree) and have a quiet (so we can talk and not yell over people) but has a unique and fun atmosphere?
Thankyou so much!!
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Old Mar 8, 05, 9:22 am
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Originally Posted by sangster
I live in Richmond, VA and am fairly new here. My boyfriend is flying over from London for 2 weeks on March 24th and I'm trying to find an esquisite restaurant to take him to but that is known more for its food, not its reputation. Richmond has some well known restaurants like the Tobacco Company but I think it is all reputation and the meals are not worth the $30-$40 dollar price. Can anyone suggest any local or hidden restaurants that have excellent food for a decent price (willing to spend $25-$35 per entree) and have a quiet (so we can talk and not yell over people) but has a unique and fun atmosphere?
Thankyou so much!!
Lemaire at the Jefferson might fit your needs. I agree that the restaurants in the Slip and the Bottom don't typcially warrant the price.

http://www.jefferson-hotel.com/dining_lemaire.htm

Another good choice is Acacia:

http://www.acaciarestaurant.com/

Last edited by dchristiva; Mar 8, 05 at 9:34 am
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Old Mar 8, 05, 9:24 am
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I've been travelling to Richmond for years now and my favorite place in town is Millies Diner - it's an upscale diner serving extraordinary food ($20-25 entree). Great ambiance but shady neighborhood. Their menu changes monthly. http://www.milliesdiner.com

Originally Posted by sangster
I live in Richmond, VA and am fairly new here. My boyfriend is flying over from London for 2 weeks on March 24th and I'm trying to find an esquisite restaurant to take him to but that is known more for its food, not its reputation. Richmond has some well known restaurants like the Tobacco Company but I think it is all reputation and the meals are not worth the $30-$40 dollar price. Can anyone suggest any local or hidden restaurants that have excellent food for a decent price (willing to spend $25-$35 per entree) and have a quiet (so we can talk and not yell over people) but has a unique and fun atmosphere?
Thankyou so much!!
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Old Mar 8, 05, 11:46 am
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You might consider Franco's on West Broad Street, or Chez Maxwell's on Patterson.

A little more down-scale but with really good food - Grapeleaf on Patterson & Three Chopt (tell them Melanie sent you, this is a Lebanese restaurant), or Pescados on Midlothian - good seafood.
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Old Mar 8, 05, 9:25 pm
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Mama Zu's

My personal favorite for food is mama zu's. It is a total dump from the outside but it is one of the best Italian restaurants I've been to. They don't take small-party reservations and the waits can be horribly long (up to 90 minutes). If you want to go, get in early, and they only take American Express or cash. Prices can run high by the end of the night. It's very dark and the menu is on a chalk board, so the ambience is either romantic or dark and crowded depending on your outlook. But having lived in Richmond, i think most of the restaurants that are high on atmosphere are overrated. Lots of overcooked meat and boring, unoriginal stuff. Frog and the Redneck was good but it is long gone, I hear.
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Old Mar 13, 05, 2:27 pm
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Edo's Squid, by VCU on Harrison. Italian, seafood, meat. Looks like a hole in the wall, but same mgmt and similar food as Mamma Zu, with reservations, credit cards accepted, better service, and in a better neighborhood. Entree prices $8 to $45. Loud, festive, busy atmosphere.

Acacia is great, somewhat expensive.

Can Can on Cary Street is very good, unique.
http://www.cancanbrasserie.com

Copper Grill in Short Pump is very expensive, but is outstanding.
http://www.coppergrill.com

Helen's on Main Street is great. Eclectic menu, great service, intimate.
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Old Mar 13, 05, 9:21 pm
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Ok. I will be in Richmond for 4 nights. Price is no object. Please list the best 5. Again, really the food is the most important thing and I don't care if it is overpriced.
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Old Mar 13, 05, 11:36 pm
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Originally Posted by geadnic
I've been travelling to Richmond for years now and my favorite place in town is Millies Diner - it's an upscale diner serving extraordinary food ($20-25 entree). Great ambiance but shady neighborhood. Their menu changes monthly. http://www.milliesdiner.com
I've eaten here. First glance is that it's a hole in the wall but they had a decent wine selection and the food was really good.
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Old Mar 14, 05, 11:38 am
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thankyou

thank you all for your help! I've made up my mind on where to go but I can't say where because my boyfriend is a flyertalker too! For anyone else I'd also suggest The Hard Shell in shockoe bottom and Emilio's Tapas bar which is inbetween the Fan and VCU. It has real spanish tapas and a great flaminco band.
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Old Mar 16, 05, 12:41 pm
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also, if you're looking for someplace cool and you're under thirty, you might try a place called "Sticky Rice". it's obstensibly a sushi bar, but it's very laid back. .... put it this way, a common order is for sashmi and pabst blue ribbon if you get it, you'll get it.
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Old Mar 27, 05, 4:44 pm
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My 2 cents...

Edo's Squid and Mama Zu- as have been mentioned- are virtually the same menu. You won't find- the world's best- sweetbreads at Edo's but its a little more "normal" in that it has a bar and taxes visa and mastercard in addition to Amex. Honestly, in the same company as The French Laundry, Citronell, Tetsuya and Taka Sushi, Mama Zu is in my top 5 list.

However, that being said (and I know you've made your choice) neither sounds like the upscale kinda place you are looking for.

In Richmond the only real choices are
-Lemare at the Jefferson Hotel- its come a long way! I love the food but the wine service needs work (the list is exceptional)
-La Petite France on Thalboro Rd.- its off the beaten path in a building without much curbside appeal, but its wonderful food... maybe a tad stuffy
-Francos - west end shopping center - a lot of fanfare but honestly as Italian food goes, its disappointing as is the setting.
-Chez Max- I know nothing! I only hear good things though
Edited to include: I guess these are not the ONLY choices... I'm sure I'm missing some other people's favorites.

regarding some other places:
-Can Can, I was there the night they opened and was blown away. As someone who lived in Paris for a while, it really reminded me of a classic brasserie like Balzar (in the 6th) but the service needs serious work. Its extremely popular right now and until they learn to deal with that its hard to enjoy a great meal there. I've been there about 5 times, with in about 6 weeks, and still couldn't get any recognition. Last time we sat for 30 minutes with out any service. The worst part was that we were 4 feet from the owner. All in all, this will be a great place if they start appreciating regulars and step up the service. Food is spot on french as the the atmosphere.

Tobacco Company- no chef, mass produced "blah" food for business travelers. Stay Away!

Hana Zushi- best (and only really authentic sushi) in town. Sit at the bar on the right most end. Satcha is the "master" chef and is excellent if you engage him. Ordering off the menu from a table is unexceptional and just average. Ordering right from Satcha (though it befuddles the waitresses, who are very nice despite) is a fantastic experience.

Sticky Rice- SCARY SCARY SCARY... i mean, for a cold beer and some keroke, its great, but please don't eat there. I know people who work in medicine here and they don't need that... (we had some smelly smelly salmon and some grey tuna... I saw the uni in a puddle 'melted' and thats when we ran) Sorry Rives !

Other favs:
Indochine - carry town, Carry St. - French / Vietnamese ... lots of great vegetarian stuff too. Small, intimate and wonderful food. The seafood stands out in particular.

Lumani- Carry Town, Carry St. - very simple seafood. Just fish, grilled on wood planks with a little olive oil. Always fresh, AMAZING service and the nicest staff. Really the best place for cooked fish that I know of.

Full Kee- Horsepin Rd. west end- Authentic Chinese- I think they have general Tso's chicken, but their focus is on the real deal... crispy whole fish in black bean sauce, amazing stir-fried oysters, and some damn good soft-shells with chilis when in season.

This got rather long, but I'm a foodie, 100%. In fact, I just called an order into Edo's (some brocolitti, baked cabbage, and liver and onions!). We love the Richmond food scene, but I often find myself hyping places like Lumani over red lobster or Lemare of Ruth's Chris to no avail.

I cannot wait to hear what the OP chose and hope this helps future visitors.
Again, its jut my 2 cents and there are a lot of great other opinions/reviews out there!

-N
p.s. if you had the last order of sweetbreads at Mama's last weekend, watch out, I'm gunning for you

Edited to include:
Charlottesville - about 50 minutes away- has some amazing places... too many to list here. However, I cannot talk about food around central Va with out mentioning the C&O cafe. Think old shack along the railroad tracks for workers coming through town, then add modern, clean, innovative food, white table clothes and an amazing wine list. Its a great juxtaposition. A lot of reviews call it some of the best food near DC, and thats a 2.5 hour drive.

Last edited by SpaceBass; Mar 27, 05 at 4:50 pm
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