It’s a popular destination for travelers who appreciate history, good food, and old-fashioned charm.
Staunton offers a perfect combination of natural splendor, small town USA hospitality, and an impressively vibrant cultural scene.
In 2023, Staunton was recognized as having one of the Best Main Streets in America by Country Living, while The Washingtonian picked Staunton as a “Great Train Trip from DC.”
If you visit, take the Staunton Downtown Trolley, which offers a nostalgic way to explore the Historic Staunton Downtown while sampling this burgeoning foodie paradise.
Read on for our in-depth guide to the best restaurants in Staunton VA, including personal favorites such as Aioli Mediterranean Cuisine, the Byers Street Bistro, and Wrights Dairy Rite.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Staunton VA
Best Restaurants in Staunton VA Guide
- Aioli Mediterranean Cuisine
- Baja Bean
- Byers Street Bistro
- The Clocktower Eats & Sweets
- The Depot Grille
- Mill Street Grill
- The Pampered Palate
- Shenandoah Pizza
- Wright’s Dairy Rite
- Zynodoa Restaurant
1. Aioli Mediterranean Cuisine
29 North Augusta Street, Staunton VA • (540) 885-1414 • Official Website
HOURS: Tue to Sat 5PM-8PM; Closed Sun & Mon
Chef Said Rhafiri serves amazing Southern European food made from the freshest local and seasonal ingredients in the heart of historic downtown Staunton.
With Spanish tapas (a.k.a. small plates), Italian-style homemade ravioli, and Southern French-style Red Snapper with Vegetable Provencal, Aioli offers unique flavors presented in a casual atmosphere with fine dining taste.
On our last visit, I ate Bacon-Wrapped Quail and Grilled Jumbo Shrimp paired with a local craft beer.
Heather loved the Parmesan Truffle Risotto with a glass of Prosecco. The Seafood Paella and Crab Cakes also come with great recommendations.
2. Baja Bean Co
9 West Beverly Street, Staunton VA • (540) 885-9988 • Official Website
HOURS: Sun to Tue & Thu 12PM-12AM; Fri to Sat 12PM-2AM; Closed Wed
My wife Heather was pleased to find that Baja Bean had many vegetarian options, choosing the Quesadilla with vegetables, while I tackled the Baja Burger topped with Jalapeno Slaw and a Fried Egg.
If the true test of a Southwestern restaurant is the quality of its Guacamole, Baja Bean’s is in a league of its own.
For dessert, walk next door to the Split Banana, which serves 24 flavors of authentic handmade gelato made from grass-fed milk and other natural ingredients. Try the Coffee Toffee and Mint Stracciatella!
3. Byers Street Bistro
18 Byers St, Staunton VA • (540) 887-6100 • Official Website
HOURS: Tue to Thu 11AM-10PM, Fri to Sun, 11AM-11PM; Closed Mon
The Byers Street Bistro is one of our favorite places to eat in the historic Wharf area of downtown Staunton.
Known simply as “the Bistro” by locals, the colorful, casual eatery offers a comfortable upstairs dining room, a cozy first floor bar, and a charming outdoor café.
This restaurant’s menu features Southern-style American fare with vegetarian options and nightly dinner specials. We were fortunate to have our nephew Ben, an employee at the Bistro, to help guide our menu choices.
Our party feasted on the Haystack Burger (accompanied by the best pasta salad I’ve ever tasted), Shrimp Tacos, a Monte Cristo Sandwich, and a Club Sandwich.
Their Pub Pretzels and Fried Green Tomatoes with Southern Pimento Cheese and Corn Relish were excellent starters. For drinks, we chose from an exhaustive list of wine, craft beers, and specialty cocktails.
The Bistro has a distinctive community focus, including outreach opportunities and a mug club for regulars, securing its place as a local favorite in the heart of downtown Staunton VA.
4. The Clocktower Eats & Sweets
The Clocktower Eats & Sweets is where Heather and I often eat breakfast or lunch while the nearby VW dealer performs maintenance on our vehicle.
For breakfast, we usually choose from the sweet treats in the pastry case. I usually select a fresh baked sweet roll or croissant with steaming coffee, while Heather looks for something with a little chocolate.
If I’m famished, their Loaded Breakfast Plate includes eggs, bacon or sausage, toast, pancakes, and either grits or home-fried potatoes.
For us, the lunch/dinner menu is all about the apps, with Fried Mushrooms, Fried Broccoli, and the Irish Nachos being among our favorite standouts.
Burgers, wraps, and sandwiches are also available here. And if you’re a Mac ‘n’ Cheese fan, the Clocktower menu has an entire section devoted to the cheesy pasta staple!
You can build your own Mac bowl or go with my favorites, the Chili Mac and/or Pulled Pork BBQ Mac. Dessert options are endless at the Clocktower, so save some room for a sweet ending from their pastry case.
5. The Depot Grille
42 Middlebrook Ave, Staunton VA • (540) 885-7332 • Official Website
HOURS: Tue to Thu 11AM-9:30PM, Fri/Sat 11AM-10:30PM, Sun 11AM-9PM; Closed Mon
The Depot Grille has been one of the favorite family-friendly restaurants in Staunton since opening in 1990.
Housed in the historic Staunton Freight Depot, this casual steak and seafood eatery offers delicious entrées and appetizers while preserving an iconic Shenandoah Valley landmark.
Built in 1854, the first depot was burned to the ground during the Civil War in Virginia. The replacement depot was severely damaged by a train wreck in 1890, leading to the third (and current) depot you’ll see today.
The Depot Grill’s main dining room has original hardwood floors and booths made from old oak church pews.
Their impressive lounge sports a 40-foot Victorian bar and offers stunning views of historic downtown Staunton and myriad old railroad cars.
Our most recent dining experience featured expertly grilled Tuna Steak paired with decadent, creamy Crab Bisque, and a basket of Fried Mushrooms with Horseradish Sauce that could’ve been a stand-alone meal.
6. The Mill Street Grill
1 Mill St, Staunton VA • (540) 886-0656 • Official Website
HOURS: Mon, Tue & Thu 4PM-9PM, Fri to Sat 4PM-9:30PM, Sun Noon- 9PM; Closed Wed
The Mill Street Grill specializes in palate-pleasing steaks, seafood, pastas, and ribs.
During our latest visit I opted for the White Star Rib Platter, a half-rack of baby back ribs and a half-rack of St. Louis-style ribs, both of which were slow-cooked and smothered in homemade sauces.
Heather chose the Vegetable Primavera Alfredo, but she’s also been known to go straight for the Vegetable Platter. Save some room for their warm and buttery homemade bread!
Also, be sure to try their seasonal specials and some local craft brews and wine. Our last meal included a Red Beard Day Lily Lager from Red Beard Brewing, a brewery located mere steps away from the Mill.
7. The Pampered Palate
26 E Beverley St, Staunton VA • (540) 886-9463 • Official Website
HOURS: Tue to Sat 10:30AM-3PM; Closed Sun & Mon
Part of Staunton’s Beverly Historic District, the Pampered Palate Café has been serving patrons since 1979 out of a building that was built before the Civil War (circa 1840)!
Owners Scott and Valorie Simmons choose high quality gourmet ingredients for the regular menu items, as well as the seasonal Daily Specials.
On a Summer day trip to Staunton, we chose the Café for lunch, escaping the heat at a shaded outdoor table.
We had the Soup du Jour, a delightfully refreshing cold Gazpacho, with a fresh-baked Quiche with spinach and provolone.
With Beverley Street closed to traffic on weekends, we watched a child play Giant Connect Four in the street with his grandfather while we enjoyed our lunch.
To end our meal, we enjoyed generous slices of Carrot Cake and a Limoncello Mascarpone Cake, which were both well worth the calories.
8. Shenandoah Pizza & Tap House
19 E Beverley St, Staunton VA • (540) 213-0008 • Official Website
HOURS: Sun, Wed & Thu 12PM- 8PM, Fri & Sat 12PM-9PM; Closed Mon & Tue
Beer and pizza are every bit as all-American as baseball and hot dogs.
Located on historic Beverly Street, the Shenandoah Pizza & Tap House celebrates the iconic pairing with more than 20 gourmet pizza varieties and 10 local beers on tap.
They also excel at Italian Subs, Calzones, and Strombolis. There are a range of healthy salads and wraps available if the best pizza in Staunton VA isn’t what you’re craving.
My personal approach is to stand at the counter by the pizza oven and pick whichever pie looks the most enticing as the chefs pull them out of the oven.
My recent favorite was a simple slice of thin crust Pepperoni Pizza paired with a mug of a craft beer from Staunton’s Redbeard Brewery.
I also shared my wife’s hearty Mediterranean Salad, while we both enjoyed the people-watching opportunities through the large window facing Main Street Staunton.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Roanoke VA
9. Wright’s Dairy Rite
346 Greenville Ave, Staunton VA • (540) 886-0435 • Official Website
HOURS: Tue to Sat 10AM-9PM, Sun 11AM-9PM; Closed Mon
For a nostalgic meal that recalls sock hops and riding in dad’s ‘57 Chevy, cruise into Wright’s Dairy Rite.
Since 1952, Wright’s has been serving all-beef hot dogs, drippy burgers, perfectly crispy crinkle-cut fries, and malted milkshakes via curb service (a.k.a. the original drive-up window).
Whenever we visit Staunton, we make sure to include a stop here to enjoy Americana atmosphere and diner fare.
In addition to the curb service, there’s an outdoor café. But we usually sit in the retro diner section, with its red vinyl booths and a jukebox. If you ask, they’ll even serve your meal in a Pink Cadillac serving tray!
We promise, by the time you’re done at one of the most fun places to eat in Staunton VA, you’ll be planning a trip to a drive-in movie and searching for a 1950s Cadillac convertible.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Bristol TN/VA
10. Zynodoa Restaurant
115 E Beverley St, Staunton VA • (540) 885-7775 • Official Website
HOURS: Tue to Sun 5PM-9:30PM, Sat & Sun Brunch 10AM-2PM; Closed Mon
There are several origin stories behind the name Shenandoah. My favorite is that it was derived from the name Zynodoa, a legendary indigenous chief of great strength and courage, who had a deep appreciation of beauty.
Zynodoa Restaurant elevates Southern cuisine to an inspired and stylish level. Located in a lovingly restored historic building, their seasonally-inspired menu is crafted with quality ingredients from local farmers.
Owners Jeff and Susan Goode opened Zynodoa in the spring of 2007, right as the farm-to-table movement was beginning in the Shenandoah Valley.
When it comes to the Zynodoa menu, our favorite starter is the Virginia Blue Crab Fritters, which are served with sweet and spicy togarashi remoulade.
For a Southern classic, try their twist on Carolina Barbecue Braised Pork, featuring melt-in-your-mouth pork with fresh collard greens, grits from Wade’s Mill (Virginia’s oldest operating mill), and apple & fennel slaw.
We have friends who always choose Zynodoa as their celebration destination because of its seasonal menu, full bar with local Virginia wines and specialty cocktails, and delicious homemade desserts. –text & all photos by Jon Weaver & Heather Taylor unless otherwise noted