Whisk- Cutest little european atmosphere. The inside is simple & beautiful. They have great coffee & pastries. I love their take & bake chocolate chip cookies & french buns! Fav menu items: iced latte, blueberry muffin, chocolate croissant, chocolate chip cookie.
Chair Lift– One of my favorite coffee shops. They use grass-fed organic milk and it makes the best latte in town in my opinion. Gorgeous inside & one of my favorite places to set up and get some work done!
Ironclad– This place has a garage door and opens up which is amazing when the weather is warm & beautiful. They have delicious coffee & I found out they overnight New York bagels, so that’s definitely a bonus! I need to try those, stat!
Sugar & Twine- Cute little shop in the Carytown area. Nice location for dropping in if you’re in the area. The seating can get filled up pretty quickly! Their coffee is delicious & they always have fun seasonal drinks using house made syrups. Fav menu items: maple pecan scone. Cappuccino, & cinnamon roll.
Idle Hands– More of a bakery but they serve coffee as well. Their sourdough bread is one of my favorites in town. They offer a bunch of different gorgeous & delicious pastries. Other favorite items: chocolate croissants and the grab & go pizza dough to make a pizza at home (they sell out fast on the weekends!)
Black Hand– Love their coffee and was a good walking distance from our old apartment. Personally don’t love the atmosphere in there so I always get a coffee to go, because I love the taste. If you like a dirty chai, this is the place to get it! Theirs is incredible and literally tastes like Christmas in a cup. I literally go just for that! I’ve also heard their breakfast sandwiches are wonderful!
Lamplighter– This was always my go to place before all these other coffee shops started popping up, but I still love this place. Their seasonal lattes are delicious & made with house-made syrup. I used to go for lunch often and loved to just the TLTNA sandwich (bbq plum sauce marinated tofu with avocado, tomato, mixed greens, and vegenaise). Not something I’d typically choose but my brother told me about it and it’s so delicious!
The Daily– Such a good restaurant for any meal of the day. They also have great cocktails, mocktails, juices, you name it. They have a pretty broad menu, which means pretty much anyone can find something that sounds good! It’s mostly organic, local, and have 2 locations now but my favorite is the original in Carytown. Fav breakfast menu items: pancakes, two eggs any style breakfast.
The Fancy Biscuit– I’m not a huge biscuit girl, but this place might convert me. I went for the first time and it’s so cute inside! There are hanging lights and lots of fun decorations. I got the bacon egg and cheese and it was absolutely fantastic. I would definitely go back again and try some other menu items, even just their biscuit with butter & jam.
Nate’s Bagels– Pretty good bagels! They definitely aren’t a New York bagel, they are a little denser but they are still yummy. They use a lot of local items which I love, and also serve Blanchard’s coffee (my favorite local coffee)! Fav menu items: the glamper, veggie, and simple breakfast. Thomas loves the lox w/ the works.
Early Bird Biscuit Co– I’ve only been here for coffee but their biscuits always look & smell amazing! Their coffee drinks are wonderful though, and it’s a super cute spot as you can see in the picture. The staff is also always incredibly friendly!
Sugar Shack– They have the best donuts! We are cake donut people, neither one of us really care for fried! They have seasonal donuts and all sorts of fun options as well as coffee too! Fav menu items: blueberry cake, chocolate cake, and old-fashioned donuts but you honestly couldn’t pick wrong.
Ginger Juice– Super cute and well done little juice & smoothie shop. They also have expanded their menu and offer things like toast, acai bowls, wellness shots, immunity drinks, etc. They use good quality ingredients and have multiple locations now! I haven’t tried too many things but everything I’ve tried has been good! They probably win as far as consistency in their smoothie bowls. Nice & thick just like they should be. Fav menu items: peanut butter punch bowl and smoothie & the basil pesto toast.
North End Juice Co.– A cute little walk up juice and smoothie shop. They have juices, smoothies, acai bowls, coffee, and foods on the fly (like a breakfast burrito, avocado toast, poke bowl, etc.). They also sell coconut milk gelato, which I haven’t tried but still need to! My favorite thing I get from there is their smoothies & sometimes their toast.
Pit & Peel- Another like juice, smoothie, and toast shop. They have a couple locations and their food is pretty good. They definitely don’t use the highest quality ingredients or all organic but it’s a good option!
The Boathouse- A great place for brunch especially since they offer all sorts of options. I honestly haven’t been for brunch very often but it’s definitely somewhere I love if I can go. Their locations are pretty big too which is great for a group. I always love getting appetizers and their shrimp dynamite tacos (pictured above).
Country Style Donuts– More donuts. Thomas loves donuts! We used to go to this place over Sugar Shack but now I haven’t been to Country Style in so long, I’m not sure which one I like better. All I know is you will not be disappointed at either place! Our go-to’s are always all the cake donuts!
The Juice Laundry– A new smoothie/ juice shop that’s 100% organic! They have a location in Charlottesville, and just opened a location here! It’s pretty cute inside and I’ve had their CB&J smoothie bowl and the flavor is amazing. Not as thick and I’d hope because it was melting as I ate it but still delicious! Also, love that they added the granola on the bottom, that’s how it should be!
Stella’s Grocery– If I’m going to eat lunch anywhere in town, it’s usually Stella’s Grocery. My favorite place in the world. They have soups, salads, sandwiches, souvlaki bowls, to-go dinners, desserts, fun products, etc. They also carry some grocery items which is great if you’re in a pinch. Beer, wine, seriously you name it. All their food is incredible! Fav menu items: classic greek salad (in the refrigerated salad section), a chicken souvlaki bowl, greek fries, paninis (turkey lafayette, italiano, mediterranean chicken, butternut squash, so basically all of them). Their palm springs caesar salad is also delish! Seriously it’s a must go. Their actual restaurant is incredible too, but now that they have the market, I can eat it anytime and it makes me very happy!
Union Market– Super cute, but further away for me. Similar to Stella’s grocery! Soups, salads, sandwiches, beer and wine, grocery items to go. Great little stop in spot in Church Hill.
Pop’s Market on Grace– They make all their bread daily, making for the best sandwiches. They are also HUGE. Biggest sandwich I’ve ever seen haha so you can probably split one (unless you’re Thomas or really hungry!). It’s a super cute atmosphere and they serve breakfast as well, but I definitely go for the Bahn Mi sandwich.
Roots– I originally found this in Charlottesville and LOVED it. It’s basically like Chipotle, but with local ingredients and you basically build a macro bowl. So you can choose your veggie base, then grain, then protein, and any extras! They have things like sweet potatoes, beets, brussels, etc. Super delicious! I still think the original location in Charlottesville is the best one, but this one is still great. Only downside is parking!
Goatocado- It started as a food truck and turned into a restaurant because it was so loved! A local restaurant using lots of local ingredients to create delicious wraps & bowls, ramen, sides & arepas! You can basically build your own with lots of different options. I usually love the Mediterranean bowl with greens & quinoa and topped with either a fried egg or organic grilled chicken!
Ellwood’s– Ellwood’s is a little health food market/ grocery store in Richmond. It’s near Carytown and has been around for years. They have a full grocery as well as lots of to-go food options. I don’t always love their hot food options or sandwiches, but I have to say that their sushi is my favorite in town. At least when it comes to fresh & good ingredients. I love every sushi roll, poke bowl, seaweed salad, and I literally crave their spring rolls like crazy!
Cava- Cava isn’t local to Richmond, but we love it and it’s an such an easy grab and go lunch. Mediterranean style where you can build your own salad or grain bowls. You can also order online to pick up. It’s always a winner in our book!
Chopt- Easy grab and go salads for lunch! You can get grains in your bowl too. They have all sorts of options, and you can also build your own. The best part is they mix everything together for you and chop it all up so the dressing and flavors are all melded together. My favorite is the Mediterranean and Thomas’ is the Chicken Tinga.
The Daily- Going along with everything I said above in the breakfast sections! All sorts of options for lunch, and fun to go sit outside when the weather is beautiful. The space is pretty spacious so it’d be good for a group! I always love their brussels sprouts appetizer, any of the tacos, pizzas, salads, and I haven’t tried their sandwiches yet but I’m sure they’re great.
Can Can- My heart in a restaurant and their lunch food is actually my FAVORITE. I lived in Europe for 2 months and almost stayed there (had Thomas not been pursuing me at that time haha, but God always has a plan!) Coming here brings me back to being in Paris, and I miss it. My favorites are: the cappuccinos, the croque monsieur sandwich (it’s heavenly), their fries, and thomas always gets the classic baguette with smoked salmon and boursin cheese and other goodies and he raves about it! Other favorites are any of the salads and you can’t go wrong with quiche. Also, take home a fresh baguette if you can. They make them fresh everyday!
Taste- Located in the Libbie/ Grove area which is super cute for shopping around, walking a little, and grabbing lunch. It’s very spacious inside so good for a group and it’s definitely fast! They have already prepped grab and go food, food to order, and other little goodies like peanuts, different sauces, and desserts. I’ve only been once, and I ordered their Northender Sandwich. Highly suggest! Turkey, bacon, avocado, havarti, tomato, romaine, and basil mayo on French bread. Need I say more?
Restaurants we haven’t tried but want to: Perly’s,
*When it comes to the dinner menu, most of the restaurants are also interchangeable for lunch! When it comes to lunch, I usually prefer some kind of sandwich/ wrap or a bowl/ salad. That’s why most of the lunch places listed are quicker options!
DATE NIGHT/ NICER DINNERS:
Stella’s- Our favorite dinner all around. It’s the best greek food & such a great atmosphere. We love it for date night & we like to get a bunch of appetizers as our meal, they are huge! Make sure to get a reservation or go early & try to sit at the bar. Favorite items: classic greek salad; octopus; meatballs, spanakopita, crab cakes, chicken souvlaki, yia yia’s fried potatoes, lamb frites, beets, lima beans, salted caramel ice cream with honey brittle.
Can Can– The food here is good for dinner, but the best for lunch! We love coming for a date night though, because it’s romantic and cozy and you feel like you’ve been whisked away to France for a little while. Don’t miss their desserts, all made in house, and they’re fabulous! Favorite items: beet & arugula salad, any of the mains and especially want to try the burger & fries still, & all desserts especially creme brûlée.
Edo’s Squid– Probably my favorite Italian restaurant. It’s a simple hole-in-the-wall with the best food. Highly suggest making a reservation, because they get super busy! Love going and getting some good wine, enjoying the atmosphere, taking our time, and eating delicious food. The portions are huge, so you can easily split a pasta dish or have some to take home! Favorite items: braised fennel (this appetizer is absolutely a must!), the squid, arugula, and white bean salad, & the pasta dish with sausage, ricotta, broccoli rabe (we order it with penne).
Bacchus- We used to come here all the time. It’s very inexpensive for all the food you get and they do vegetable appetizers very well. They specialize in Italian and seafood, and I haven’t tried anything I haven’t enjoyed. They also have a great date night special during the week for a bottle of wine and 2 pasta dishes for such a great price!
Mamma Zu– Another delicious Italian restaurant that Thomas’ parents always brought him to growing up. Same idea as Edo’s just in a different location. The menu is fabulous, the wine is delectable, and everything is great. It’s very small and they don’t take reservations so getting there early is best. Again, the portions are huge and it’s great for a small group about 4-6. Favorite items: orecchiette pasta with sausage and the broccolini.
Dutch & Co– We have only been here once and it was years ago, but we loved it. It’s a cute and quaint little restaurant, and we had a great bottle of wine there. I honestly don’t remember what we ordered overall, but I remember loving everything!
Brenner Pass– The inside of this restaurant is beautiful! I love the atmosphere and everything they’re going for. It’s pretty big so there’s a lot of space for a group. Their bar is also gorgeous and I’ve sat there before. I’ve only been once and I got the fondue burger and it was amazing! Their cocktails are also so fun too, and would be a great spot to grab drinks.
The Boathouse Rockett’s Landing– We used to come here often, because it’s such a pretty view of the city. This location is over the water and it’s so pretty. They also have great food so that’s a plus of course. Favorite menu items: oysters, dynamite shrimp tacos, boathouse crab cakes, & 12oz new york strip. If you go, save room for dessert! You can’t skip the classic zookie. It’s basically a chocolate chip cookie undercooked in a cast iron (so it’s like cookie dough) with ice cream. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
Restaurants we haven’t tried but want to: Lemaire, Shagbark, Max’s on Broad, Rappahannock, Mantu, Wong Gonzalez, Heritage, Perch
FUN/ CASUAL DINNERS:
*Any of these restaurants would also work for a date night of course! We’ve been to them for that plenty of times, they’re just more casual than the ones above 🙂
Burger Bach– Our favorite burger spot forever and ever. If you watch my stories, you’ve probably seen us here plenty of times. We love it. The people, atmosphere, the ingredients, taste. So good. The french fries are a MUST, and they make all dips from scratch. The french shrimp appetizer is a favorite! Thomas almost always gets the Hangover Burger (switches from beef patty to chicken patty, because you’d be surprised how much the meat change can change the burger in a good way and their chicken burgers are incredible!) I love the original and the aucklander, aka they both have bacon and I LOVE THEM. They also have great beers on drafts as well as fun cocktails. Great for a group or the whole family. T is a big fan!
Casa Del Barco– Great Mexican restaurant. It’s casual but I’d consider this a more upscale Mexican restaurant. Their food is amazing & isn’t your typical greasy type Mexican (which I also love), but they have so many options and we’ve loved everything we’ve tried. Love their tacos, their fajitas, and of course their guacamole and salsa.
Lemon Cuisine of India– I never knew I loved Indian food until I married Thomas, and it’s actually become one of my top cuisines. I love to dine in (if we don’t have T) or takeout when we want an easy dinner. They have so many dishes, but honestly their vegetarian dishes are our jam! They seriously have mastered vegetarian meals and I am obsessed. Favorite items: lasooni gobhi, garlic naan, raita dip, palak paneer, and chicken tikka masala.
Tazza Kitchen– Love this place. They have a few locations, and the food is always so good! They have such a broad menu, that I feel like most everyone could find something they like. Favorite items: brussels sprouts, meatballs, cast iron goat cheese dip, carnitas tacos (or any), and any of the pizzas.
Sabai– Authentic Thai street food restaurant that’s great for pickup or dining in. Their space is fun and their food is delicious. Their portions are definitely bigger. They also have plenty of fun tropical cocktails as well as beer and wine. Some favorite items are: nam tok, pad se ew, pad king, & gang panang.
Mekong- My favorite Vietnamese place in town. The restaurant is huge, and they also have a giant selection of draft beer which we love! Basically your classic Vietnamese and so delicious. Favorite items: fresh spring rolls or build your own spring rolls (one of my favorite activities and it’s huge so could definitely make it a meal or split with multiple people), & beef or chicken pho.
Boulevard Burger & Brew- Diner style burger joint. All things burgers, fried foods, milkshakes, etc. So delicious when you want a good dinner burger with all the fixings and the atmosphere. It’s set up diner style so it gives you that feel! Plus they have milkshakes that I haven’t tried yet, but are definitely on my list.
En Su Boca– Quick and easy yummy Mexican. The place is always crowded, and for good reason, because it’s good and lots of fun. They also have so many fun margarita options so that’s always a winner. Margaritas are one of my favorite cocktails. Their chips are also actual tortillas that are fried and they are thick and incredible Don’t miss those! Fav items: chips with guacamole and salsa, slow roasted carnitas tacos, braised chicken tinga tacos, carne asada tacos, & black bean tacos.
The Daily– I have the Daily listed for all 3 meals, because their menu is delicious and truly all their food is good! Same deal here basically as lunch. You can’t go wrong with any of their items in my opinion.
Citizen Burger- Another burger place we love located in Carytown. Everything I’ve had is delicious and it’s a fun environment. Especially if you want to watch a sports game because they have lots of TVs, or it’s nice to sit outside in the warm weather. I love that the burgers come with a pickle haha! They also use 100% local grass-fed beef which is a plus in my book. Favorite items: sweet potato fries, american classic (mine), & the southern (Thomas’).
Anohka- This is a nicer Indian restaurant, that’s absolutely delicious. Each Indian restaurant that we’ve tried have all had their own flavors/ tastes. This one is delicious, and nice for dining in. It’s also located in the Short Pump area which can be convenient, but we still prefer Lemon first!
TAKEOUT FAVS (can also dine in):
Ginger Thai– Definitely my favorite Thai in town. To me, it seems the freshest! It’s one of our go-to Sunday night takeout dinners. You can totally dine in as well, which we’ve done plenty of times. We literally love so many dishes! Favorite items: fresh vegetable spring rolls, dumplings, grilled beef special salad, lemongrass with chicken, spicy basil leaves with beef, green curry garlic chicken
Lemon Cuisine– Same details from above!
Mediterranean Bakery & Deli– My father-in-law brought this home for dinner one night & I had no idea about the place. Everything was fantastic, and I also love Mediterranean food so I’m always in. It’s definitely fast casual and would work to dine it for lunch too. Taking it home for dinner is my preferred option. Favorite items: pita, spinach & feta fatayer, hummus, vegetarian stuffed grape leaves, taziki, chicken shawerma, & the falafel.
Akida- My favorite sushi restaurant. It’s a little hole in the wall, but seriously it’s tiny. Sometimes it gets busy but it’s not too much of a wait. We love dining in, but it’s also great for takeout! Their rolls are simple, but that’s what we like! I don’t prefer a bunch of sauces or toppings. I like when I can taste the inside. Favorite items: seaweed salad, steamed dumplings, avocado roll, cucumber roll, spicy tuna roll, new york roll, & Thomas loves sashimi so he typically gets a few of those.
Peter Chang– When it comes to takeout, I’m not a huge Chinese takeout fan but Thomas loves Chinese! I’d rather have Thai, Indian, or Sushi aka the other places above! Sometimes, when Thomas is really craving it we’ll takeout (or dine in because it’s nice inside!) Favorite items: vegetarian spring rolls, steamed pork dumplings, chicken with mixed vegetables & hunan chicken.
Pupatella- This is my favorite pizza in town when I want nice, delicious pizza that doesn’t make me feel heavy. It’s certified neapolitan pizza and they do such a good job! It’s light, but fluffy and just so dang good. It’s usually our go-to whenever we do takeout. You can totally dine in as well. Our favorites pizzas are: diavola, pepperoni, spinach, margharita DOC, & sausage and onion. They are all so good, you can’t go wrong. We usually always get some side salads as well!
Billy Pie– Billy Pie is a great place to go enjoy some good pizza along with some appetizers and beer/ wine. Their menu is so simple (which I love), but they do great appetizers as well! Their pizza is also delicious! Favorite items: meatballs, panzanella, arugula & fennel salad, ricotta mushroom white pie, pepperoni red pie, prosciutto & arugula red pie.
Belmont Pizzeria– Perfect place for a good old classic take-out pizza in the Richmond area. Tastes good, looks good. I love cheese, pepperoni, or the loaded veggie & pepperoni one. All depends on what you’re going for! I’ve heard you can ask for the crust extra crispy if you want, but I prefer doughy crust which is why I love this!
Candela’s- Candela’s is actually located in Midlothian, but I always grew up going here so it’s quite a bit of nostalgia for me. I’d always go with one of my best friends families and we’d always do the salad bar and cheese pizza with onions. Now when we pick it up as takeout, I love to order the greek salad (it’s huge) and then I still love cheese and onions or pepperoni!
Zorch Pizza– I haven’t been here yet, but I’m adding it to the list, because I want to try it that badly. Zorch is a food truck around town (you can check their Instagram/ website to see where they’ll be located) selling NY style pizza. They’re known for selling it by the giant slice! I love pizza, especially New York pizza so this place is high on my list!
Gelati Celesti– The gelato of all gelatos in Richmond, for sure. It thick, creamy, and insane. Our go to if we get ice cream. They also have a few locations! My favorite combo isnmint chip with oreo and Thomas’ is strawberry with vanilla. Other phenomenal flavors are: salted caramel, just ask, and their premade ice cream cookie sandwiches in their refrigerated section.
Charm School– Our other favorite place to get dessert. This is ice cream, not gelato, which I sometimes prefer and they do an amazing job. They always make super fun and and seasonal flavors and also have some vegan flavors. Also, just learned that they offer soft serve, which we are both dying to try! Favorite flavor: cinnamon toast crunch milk (honestly one of the best ice cream flavors I’ve ever had in my life).
Shyndigz- Shyndigz is basically dessert heaven. They have a restaurant side that’s the cutest to go grab a dessert and wine or a coffee or a fun drink. Or they have a to-go side where you can preorder cakes for an event, pick up a slice or more, or grab any of their other good! Favorite items: fresh fruit cake (not usually my go to but it is amazing!), oatmeal cream pies, salted caramel chocolate cake & the banana cake (only comes out a few times a year and it’s hands down my favorite cake I’ve ever had. Like a mix of banana bread and cake with cream cheese frosting. Enough said).
Pearls Cupcake Shoppe– If you need some good quality and gorgeous cupcakes to bring somewhere or you just love cupcakes, this is your place to go! They do a wonderful job, and their cupcakes and desserts are phenomenal.
Proper Pie Co– So this one is a random addition, because I’ve only had it once and FOREVER ago. I wasn’t super impressed, but apparently they’ve gotten even better & apparently I ordered the wrong thing haha. I actually LOVE pie, so this is at the top of my list to try again soon!
Triple Crossing- One of our favorite breweries. They have two locations and we love them both. The downtown location is more for just beer, and the Fulton Hill location has a fun outdoor area, a big inside, beer, and amazing pizza. These are usually my favorite beers too! Favorites: Falcon Smash IPA & Clever Girl IPA.
The Veil- Literally all of their beers are good. We typically steer toward IPA’s and the Veil is very IPA focused. They have a great location and always have lots of events happening, sometimes food trucks, etc. It’s a fun place to go especially in the warmer weather and grab a beer and hangout with friends/ family. People also always have kids and dogs!
Hardywood- Great place to bring kids, dogs, etc. They have a huge outdoor space and do a food truck court often. It’s super fun and one of their favorite things of our that they make is the Gingerbread Stout during the Christmas season. It sells out so fast & for a good reason. It’s literally Christmas in a beer and it’s phenomenal.
Places are popping up like crazy, and there are still so many places to try! For now, these are our favorites/ go-to’s! If you’re local or coming for a visit, I hope you enjoy these places like we do 🙂