2017 Dine (and Date) Hit List: Virginia's Best New Restaurants

Photo: Casolare

Photo: Casolare

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...

Photos: Heirloom

Photos: Heirloom

Central VirginiA

Heirloom (Charlottesville)

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.

More hot new Central Virginia restaurants:

Photos: Shagbark

Photos: Shagbark

RICHMOND

Shagbark

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.

More hot new RVA restaurants:

Photos: Field & Main Restaurant

Photos: Field & Main Restaurant

Shenandoah Valley

Field & Main Restaurant (Marshall)

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.

More hot new Shenandoah Valley area restaurants:

Photos: Tucos Taqueria Garaje

Photos: Tucos Taqueria Garaje

Blue Ridge Highlands

Tuco’s Taqueria Garaje (Roanoke)

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.

Photos: Legume Kitchen & Bar

Photos: Legume Kitchen & Bar

Northern virginia

Legume Kitchen & Bar (Fredericksburg)

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.

More hot new Northern Virginia area restaurants:

Photos: Nick Sutton - Shiptown

Photos: Nick Sutton - Shiptown

Tidewater

Shiptown (Norfolk)

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.

More hot new Tidewater area restaurants:

Photos: Casolare

Photos: Casolare

DC

Casolare

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…

More hot new DC area restaurants:

Like all the best Virginia restaurants, each of these freshly minted eateries delivers the complete experience: from the choicest ingredients on the plate to an ambience that encourages deep savoring and free-flowing conversation. Celebrate Valentine’s Day at the forefront of Commonwealth dining at one of these winners or find more options on our dine list!