The 10 Best Restaurants in Charlottesville VA

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Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just a few hours south of Washington DC, Charlottesville is widely regarded as one of the best mountain towns in Virginia.

Foodies will appreciate the fact that C’ville consistently ranks in the Top 20 for having the most restaurants per capita (along with much larger cities like New York, San Francisco, and Seattle).

This city has an impressively diverse food scene, offering a mix of farm-to-table cuisine, international influences, and traditional Appalachian comfort food.

From fine dining to casual hangouts, the best Charlottesville restaurants offer a little something for everyone.

Read on for our in-depth guide to the 10 best restaurants in Charlottesville VA, including UVA campus favorites, international flavors, and a French bakery so good it may make you consider moving to the area!

READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Charlottesville VA


Top Places to Stay in Charlottesville VA

  1. Kimpton – The Forum Hotel (centrally located modern luxurious IHG hotel)
  2. Inn at Court Square (luxurious romantic getaway w/excellent breakfast)
  3. Fairhaven Guesthouse (budget-friendly cozy B&B w/organic continental breakfast)
  4. The Draftsman (downtown boutique hotel w/restaurant & good breakfast)
  5. 200 South Street Inn (historic B& B w/breakfast and wine cheese hour)
  6. Residence Inn (pet-friendly downtown Marriott hotel w/breakfast)
  7. Quirk Hotel (Art-forward boutique downtown hotel w/rooftop bar)


Best Restaurants in Charlottesville VA Guide

  1.  Bodo’s Bagels
  2. Citizen Burger Bar
  3. Clifton Inn’s 1799 Restaurant
  4. Dürty Nelly’s Pub – Deli
  5. Farm Bell Kitchen
  6. MarieBette Café
  7. Michie Tavern
  8. Public Fish & Oyster
  9. Tavola Restaurant
  10. The Virginian

READ MORE: 15 Great Romantic Getaways in Virginia for Couples

downtown Charlottesville VA restaurants - Bodo's Bagels
Bodo’s Bagels, Charlottesville VA

1. Bodo’s Bagels

1609 University Ave, Charlottesville, VA • (434) 293-6021 • Official Website

HOURS: Mon to Fri 7AM-3PM, Sat to Sun 8AM-3PM

If you’re on a quest to find the best downtown Charlottesville restaurants, we recommend heading to The Corner, a hip and bustling business district neighboring the University of Virginia’s historic campus.

Here you’ll find Bodo’s Bagels, which is crowded with tourists, shoppers, and bleary-eyed students feasting on sandwiches, salads, and fresh-baked New York-style Bagels.

Bodo’s is almost as well known in C’Ville as Founding Father (and longtime Virginia resident) Thomas Jefferson! 

My personal go-to is an Everything Bagel with Lox and Cream Cheese, while Heather usually goes with a build-your-own sandwich or a fresh salad.

With 3 locations, Bodo’s is truly a Charlottesville institution. In 2021, they were voted Best Cheap Date, most likely by the UVA students, who are always looking to stretch their food budget.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Staunton VA

Charlottesville lunch - Citizen Burger
Citizen Burger, Charlottesville VA

2. Citizen Burger Bar

212 E Main St Charlottesville, VA • (434) 979-9944 • Official Website

HOURS: Sun to Thu 11AM-10:30PM, Fri to Sat 11AM-11:30PM

For the best burgers in Charlottesville VA, head to Citizen Burger Bar on the Downtown Mall. Enter Citizen Burger and you’re instantly treated to the sight of plates with massive burgers and French fries.

Teaming with nearby farms, Citizen offers burgers and sandwiches with meat from grass-fed cows and free-range chickens, topped with local produce and cheeses, on tasty buns.

If you’re a traditionalist like me, try the American Classic, which is made with 100% grass-fed beef, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and tangy Citizen Sauce.

Their snack menu, including Shishito Peppers, Beer-Battered Onion Rings, and hand-cut French Fries, is perfect for a pick-me-up after shopping in the Downtown Mall. We love to pair our meal with a craft brew or cocktail from their full bar.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Restaurants in Staunton VA to Visit

romantic restaurants in Charlottesville VA - Clifton Inn 1799 Restaurant
Clifton Inn 1799 Restaurant 

3. Clifton Inn’s 1799 Restaurant

1296 Clifton Inn Dr, Charlottesville VA • (434) 971-1899 • Official Website

HOURS: Breakfast 7-10:30AM; Lunch 11:30AM-2PM; Dinner 5:30PM-8PM; Sunday Brunch 11:30AM-2PM

One of the most romantic restaurants in Virginia, the Clifton Inn’s 1799 Restaurant offers fine dining with seasonal menus highlighting local ingredients, many of which come from the Chef’s Garden.

Their dining room’s floor-to-ceiling windows offer spectacular views of the surrounding Virginia countryside. The veranda is perfect for a sunny al fresco breakfast, or dinner outside on a warm evening.

We dined on delicious Virginia Peanut Mousse, Turnip Schnitzel, and Beef Bourguignon. Heather complemented her meal with a Very Rare Old-Fashioned, while I had the Maple Walnut Manhattan.

Our only regret was that we didn’t save room for their Pear Helene or Citrus Eton Mess for dessert!

READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Harrisonburg VA & Rockingham County

Charlottesville VA bar - Dürty Nelly's Pub
Dürty Nelly’s Pub

4. Dürty Nelly’s Pub

2200 Jefferson Park Ave, Charlottesville VA • (434) 295-1278 • Official Website

HOURS: Mon to Sat 11AM-12PM Closed Sun

My first introduction to Dürty Nelly’s Pub was back in the 1980s, before going to a UVA football game.

The pub is just a short walk away from UVA’s Scott Football Stadium, and it’s a C’ville restaurant staple with great beer, an awesome deli, and live music.

Their deli serves up all the classic subs and sandwiches, as well as vegetarian options and standard bar food, including nachos, chicken wings, soft pretzels, and more.

Nelly’s is a prime example of the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” On the outside this Irish Pub looks like a dive bar, but on the inside it’s a welcoming community favorite.

Some 30+ years after my first visit, Dürty Nelly’s remains a game day tradition for us, and I still get the delicious Italian Sub!

READ MORE: The 10 Best Restaurants in Harrisonburg VA to Visit

Farm Bell Kitchen

5. Farm Bell Kitchen

1209 W Main St, Charlottesville VA • (434) 205-1538 • Official Website

HOURS: Mon to Sun 8AM-2PM

In our experience, enjoying a delicious Charlottesville brunch is a great way to start the day before hitting nearby hiking trails or exploring the Downtown area.

We discovered the Farm Bell Kitchen during a morning walk from our favorite Charlottesville hotel, The Draftsman.

Everything the Kitchen creates showcases the expertise of local farmers and artisanal food vendors. Our morning treats included their decadent Banana Beignets and the Farmer’s Market Platter.

Farm Bell Kitchen is housed in the historic Dinsmore Inn, and we enjoyed dining on the granite dining terrace, which is surrounded by the charm of old Virginia architecture.

The Kitchen is a multi-year winner of “Best Brunch in Charlottesville” and, after dining there, we enthusiastically agree!

READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Waynesboro VA (Augusta County)

MarrieBette Bakery

6. MarieBette Café & Bakery

700 Rose Hill Dr, Charlottesville VA • (434) 529-6188 • Official Website

HOURS: Mon to Fri 8AM-5PM, Sat to Sun 8:30AM-4:30PM

If you fancy a trip to France, we heartily recommend the MarieBette Café & Bakery, where you can indulge in a taste of Paris with fresh-baked pastries and a hot cappuccino.

Known for elevating simple, locally sourced ingredients, the café owes its unique name to Marian and Betty, the daughters of the Charlottesville bakery’s founders.

Our visits are always highlighted by the aroma of fresh baked goods, brewing coffee, and the sights of European-style treats under glass displays. While the flavors are suited for France, this friendly little bakery is distinctly C’ville!

Popular highlights of the pastry case include Salted Pretzel Crezzants, Financiers, Brioche Feuilletees, and (our favorite) decadent Apple Galettes! MarieBette is arguably the best of the Charlottesville bakeries.

READ MORE: The Best Restaurants in Lexington VA & Natural Bridge VA for Foodies

The Historic Michie Tavern

7. Michie Tavern

683 Thomas Jefferson Pkwy, Charlottesville, VA • (434) 977-1234 • Official Website

HOURS: Wed to Mon 11:30AM-3:00PM, Closed Tuesday

Located less than a mile from Monticello, the Michie Tavern is our favorite C’ville restaurant for traditional Appalachian Mountains fare in a delightfully rustic setting.

Fried chicken, biscuits, corn bread, mashed potatoes, and pulled pork are a few of our favorite menu items to enjoy at this historic tavern, which opened circa 1784 (just after the American Revolution)!

In Winter, we enjoy savoring hot chocolate and a snack by their cozy fireplace. We also make time to check out the General Store and the Tavern Shop for unique Christmas gift ideas.

Their 1784 Pub is open Friday and Saturday from 3:30PM to 7PM, offering Southern delicacies like country ham biscuits, fried tenders and local wines, beers, and hard ciders.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Small Towns in Virginia to Visit

Charlottesville seafood restaurant - Public Fish & Oyster
Raw Bar at Public Fish & Oyster

8. Public Fish & Oyster

513 W Main St, Charlottesville VA • (434) 995-5542 • Official Website

HOURS: Sun to Thu 4PM-9PM, Fri to Sat 4PM-9:30PM

If you have a yearning for fresh East Coast Seafood, Public Fish & Oyster is our pick for a taste of the coast while still in view of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

While Heather doesn’t share my passion for oysters and sushi, this fantastic seafood restaurant and raw bar has plenty of options for her as well.

This restaurant is a small venue with patio seating as well as bright and lively dining areas. While I usually focus on all things oyster, Heather loves their Fried Brussel Sprouts and the fresh Catch of the Day.

The bar has a comprehensive list of wines, as well as plenty of local craft beer and interesting cocktails to pair with your feast.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Lexington VA & Natural Bridge VA

Charlottesville VA fine dining - Tavola Restaurant
Tavola Restaurant

9. Tavola Restaurant

826 Hinton Ave, Charlottesville VA • (434) 972-9463 • Official Website

HOURS: Mon to Sat 5PM-10PM, Closed Sunday

One of our favorite Italian restaurants in Charlottesville, Tavola features intimate dining areas with elegant décor. And the Cicchetti Bar is a lovely space to wait for a table, or spend the evening sampling cocktails and appetizers.

The kitchen at Tavola uses high-quality seasonal ingredients in preparing their classic Italian cuisine.

On our last visit, we shared an order of Carciofo (fried Roman Artichokes) with whipped goat cheese aioli. For the main course we went with the Bucatini all’Amatriciana, a delicious house-made pasta with marinara, pancetta, and Grana Padano.

If you’re looking for exceptional fine dining in Charlottesville VA, this is the place! 

READ MORE: The 10 Best Virginia Wineries to Visit for Wine Tastings & Tours

The Virginian Restaurant

10. The Virginian

1521 University Ave, Charlottesville VA • (434) 984-4667 • Official Website

HOURS: Mon to Sun 11AM-2AM; Sunday brunch at 10AM

Reigning as the oldest restaurant in Charlottesville VA, The Virginian is a C’Ville icon and always on our list of the best food in the downtown area.

Since 1923, The Virginian has been serving locals, tourists, and college students tasty burgers and sandwiches, fresh salads, and (our favorites) Crab Cakes and Mac’n Cheese.

This Downtown Charlottesville restaurant has old charm with weathered wooden booths, pressed tin ceilings, and photographs on the walls documenting the history of the area.

It’s located in the “Corner” area of downtown Charlottesville. So it’s easy to include a lunch or dinner there while strolling between the University and the old Downtown shopping mall. –text & photos by Heather Taylor & Jon Weaver


Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

The universities brought Jon and Heather to Harrisonburg Virginia in the 1980s and the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley has kept them there to this day. Heather has a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education and 10 years of experience as an editor and technical writer for online training sites. After college, Jon worked several years at a weekly newspaper before joining his family business which he ran until retirement. Jon and Heather enjoy traveling and sharing their stories with others. Locally, they love exploring the towns and mountains of the Blue Ridge near their hometown of Harrisonburg VA.