Array of canapes

Downtown to West Main Dining

Everybody’s got to eat, and in Charlottesville, we eat well. This season, treat your palate on the Downtown Mall with fine dining favorites, sumptuous brunches, and simple celebrations. 



This historic restaurant at the end of the Downtown Mall has recently reopened to the public, with adjustments for Covid-19, of course! Offering a 3-course prix-fixe menu ($68) on their outdoor patio, gallery, and whimsical upstairs dining room for parties up to six, this Charlottesville staple is a must-eat for any resident or visitor. Local favorites include their veal sweetbreads, rack of lamb, and dessert cheese board. Going for takeout? Make sure to grab a carry-out jar of Arsenic and Old Lace (gin, dry vermouth, creme de violette, absinthe rinse) or a bottle of well-paired wine to go. 


Petit Pois

Charlottesville’s “Little Green Bistro” has adjusted to a takeout and patio service only model, due to their Parisian cafe-sized interior. With no reservation policy, they remain one of the few spots on the Mall that diners can drop in during an afternoon shop & stroll, or pick-up quick on the way home. Try their shrimp risotto, vegetarian gnocchi with local mushrooms, and a shake-and-take dirty martini for the road. 


The Fitzroy

This modern American classic is back at full service on their socially distanced patio, and is serving indoors with limited seating. While they’re an excellent dinner spot, they’re also one of the few spots still serving Sunday Brunch–replete with chicken & waffles, house-made donuts, and sparkly French 75s. 


The Bebedero

Tequila and tacos, in house, on the patio, to go, or delivered to your door– Bebedero’s classic Mexican fare is a far cry from Tex-Mex American food. Aside from the entirety of their tequila and mezcal offerings, curated by bar manager River Hawkins (who happens to be one of the world’s foremost mezcal professionals), we love their naturally gluten-free empanadas, brisket tacos, and steak torta.


The Alley Light 

This Second Street speakeasy is one of the best cocktail bars on the Mall, with weekly changes to their upscale, French-inspired small plates and cocktails, mixed with house-made, proprietary blends that make them truly stand out. Feeling like a little irony this season? Warm up with a Doctor’s Orders, a hefty drink made with Rittenhouse Rye, Local Organic Elderberry, Punt e Mes, Fernet Branca, or enjoy the only handshake you’ll be having this year with a Hardy Handshake (Tanqueray Rangpur, Hardy Orange marmalade, passion fruit, citrus, bitters). Open for limited indoor seating and carry-out.



Public Fish & Oyster 

This West Main seafood spot is a summer favorite due to their cool indoor space and broad selection of oysters on the half shell and light seafood entrees, but they should be on your winter list, too, if just for their house lobster rolls. Served dine-in only during Happy Hour from 4-6, choose chilled Maine or warm Connecticut style. Get there early, however, as they’re known to sell out. Another recommendation is The Steampot, featuring Alaskan snow crab legs, mussels, shrimp, and house chorizo. Reservations are strongly suggested for limited indoor and outdoor seating; takeout is available. 

For our complete Guide to Charlottesville dining, click HERE.