The New Year is looking super tasty in Virginia: Some outstanding new restaurants joined the Commonwealth’s already elite share of eateries in 2016 or are slated to open up in the next couple of months.
We thought it high time, therefore, to spotlight some of the very best new Virginia restaurants from across the state. You’ve got the perfect excuse for checking them out sooner rather than later: an excuse called Valentine’s Day. Too cool to celebrate the lovers’ holiday? No way: Step up your romance game and woo your date at one of these fresh-on-the-scene eateries.
Nothing seduces a Virginia foodie, after all, like a plateful of locally sourced goodness...
Heirloom does most of the work for you in terms of inspiring the appropriate Valentine’s Day mood. It’s not just the fantastic small plates—which nod to Thomas Jefferson’s horticultural legacy via heirloom veggies, cheeses, and other local artisanal products—or the zesty Prohibition-era cocktails: It’s also the gorgeous rustic panorama that backdrops your wining and dining, given the perch is a rooftop bar and patio. A side order of sunset? Go for it.
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Named for a mighty James River hickory whose wood makes the restaurant’s communal table, Shagbark puts the spotlight on Virginia flavors: You’ll find plenty of homegrown (or locally harvested) meats, produce, seafood, and other edibles on the menu. Kick off with a few starters at the bar, then work your way through entrees like Chesapeake Bay crabcakes and housemade gnocchi all the way to an oozy dessert: Whatever you choose, it's sure to be a Cupid-approved meal plan.
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Piedmont cuisine takes center stage at Field & Main, seasoned with a little bit of Marshall history: The establishment occupies a building managed as a restaurant back in the 1800s. Field & Main proudly evokes the local foodshed by using the bounty of area farms for much of its source material. Be sure to cap your multicourse date-night feast off on the proper sensual note with a decadent dessert: maybe the Pear & Persimmon Galette drenched in Lairs Apple Brandy Caramel & Maple Bourbon Cream? Yikes, we’re turned on just thinking about it.
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Blue Ridge Highlands
Mark Valentine’s Day with 100% more tacos than last year. Tuco’s Taqueria Garaje—occupying a beautifully designed nook in downtown Roanoke—uses the freshest and highest-quality meats and produce alongside bold spices and seasonings to whip up its to-die-for tacos. And you’ve got the goods for toasting love (old or new) with the proper ceremony, what with the arsenal of tequila and mescal on hand.
If your date is of the vegetarian or vegan persuasion, we’ve got just the ticket for a Valentine’s night out right in the heart of Fredericksburg: Legume Kitchen & Bar. Actually, the restaurant’s creative dishes, anchored by top-grade greens and seafood, should appeal to just about any palate. And the lineup of artisan cocktails, craft beer, and fine wine is pretty hard to argue with.
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Local oystermen and fishermen provide much of the fare at Shiptown, which markets itself as an “old-school oyster bar”: in other words, genuine Tidewater culinary awesomeness. And heads up: They say oysters-on-the-half-shell are natural aphrodisiacs, which we’d say makes ‘em just the ticket for this particular occasion.
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From pizza to calamari, the cookery of Italy’s swoon-worthy coast comes to the nation’s capital courtesy of James Beard Award-winner Chef Michael Schlow. A glass of wine, a platter of lemon-drizzled scallops: All that’s missing romance-wise is a crooning Andrea Bocelli beside your table, ramping up the passion factor a few notches…
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