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Dining on West Main

10 Great Restaurant Recommendations along West Main


A pleasant stroll from either the Corner or The Downtown Mall, West Main Street has exploded with numerous, exciting restaurants and become the ideal “connector” between the university and downtown long ago envisioned by town and University officials. 

Visitors can find intimate dinner settings in numerous, small, boutique-style restaurants on West Main. One such is Public Fish & Oyster. Known by the locals as “Public,” the restaurant operates as Charlottesville’s go-to spot for oysters and raw fare. Mel’s is a popular African-American eatery on West Main, where southern comfort fare may comfortably be enjoyed inside or out. Several doors down is Mangione’s, started in 2019 by UVA couple Bert & Elena Crinks, specializing in delicious Northern Italian dishes that may be delightfully shared in a warm and open setting. Next door is Korean sensation Doma. With polite and quick service and all orders instantly created across the bar, Doma is an exotic and delicious experience. Peter Castiglione’s Maya is another longtime Charlottesville standard, located in the original Southern Culture, and awaits diners hungry for delectable local fare, from trout from Rag Mountain to Tenderloin from Lucky Moon Farm. Several doors down, Oakhart Social is a tapas-style, open-floor eatery masterfully created by Ben Clore. If the wait here proves too long, consider Clore’s other delightful option, Little Star, a tapas bar and restaurant, across the street. Be sure to book ahead. And the piece-de-resistance along West Main? You’ll find it in Ashley Sieg’s restoration of Tavern & Grocery, an elegant dining and entertainment experience on three levels, featuring a locally-source continental menu and fun cocktails. Be sure to check out The Lost Saint, a downstairs speakeasy managed by Bruce Springsteen’s favorite bartender.

Aside from the nearby shops and entertainment, West Main Street urges visitors and students to try the exquisite dining options. Feast!, a gourmet grocery store, provides locally-grown, fresh food that supports family food businesses. Offering a variety of boutique salts, oil and vinegars, candies, dried fruit and nuts, and much more, Feast! provides a slice of Charlottesville’s finest local produce. With ready-to-eat plates, Feast! is a great option for shoppers and tourists looking to grab food on the go. Can anyone say tailgate?

For visitors looking to experience the award-winning centers for libation in Charlottesville, West Main Street, as well as nearby Preston Avenue, offer a variety of options only a short car ride, or even walk, away. For more information on breweries on and near West Main Street, visit the Charlottesville Guide Breweries listing.

Because West Main Street lies between The Corner and the Downtown Mall, there are a variety of parking and transpiration options. For information on parking near the Charlottesville Corner, visit the University of Virginia Attractions page. The Downtown Mall also offers a variety of parking options, including garages, parking lots, and free two hour on-street parking. For more information on parking on and near the Downtown Mall, visit the Downtown Mall Attractions page.