1. Mas Tapas — If you don’t mind long waits and you love Spanish tapas, Mas is the place for you. Be sure to try the delectable bacon wrapped dates and the queso manchego with jam and bread. The menu changes depending on the season, so it’s always fresh and local. They don’t take reservations so make sure you have enough time to sit down and wait at the bar sipping on some sangria while you wait for your table.
2. Ten — As soon as you walk into Ten, you get a certain vibe that just screams sophistication. And the food, much like the ambience, does not disappoint. Ten serves tapas style sushi–meaning the portions are small and pricey, but the sushi is fresh, creative and delicious. The menu changes constantly, bringing Charlottesville the most original flavors of Japan. Ten also boasts one of the largest sake collections on the East Coast.
3. Eppie’s — A fun and casual restaurant on the downtown mall that offers sandwiches, salads, and more! They use fresh bread from the Albemarle Baking Company and fresh, homemade pasta from Mona Lisa Pasta – you’ll be supporting local businesses while enjoying delicious food! Definitely be sure to try their macaroni and cheese and “cast iron” cornbread, too.
4. Positively Fourth Street — A swanky yet comfortable American restaurant on the downtown mall that provides a wide range of gourmet burgers including the 4th St with onion straws, house pickles, and bacon-onion marmalade to the Mediterranean Veggie with tzatziki sauce, avocado, and goat cheese. Their appetizer and late night menus also feature fried artichoke hearts with a spinach pesto sauce. Delectable!
5. Thai 99 — Looking for some Pad Thai or Panang Curry on the run and on a budget? For $10, you can get a heaping serving of your favorite Thai dish to either eat-in or take-out from Fontaine Avenue. Sometimes it’s hard to get through via phone, but this is still one of the best pad thai dishes in town. Definitely worth it!
6. The Flat — The Flat is the perfect alternative for a delicious dessert or snack on the go. Swing by the little window on Water Street and get your pick of sweet or savory crepes made on the spot. You can order your classic nutella and strawberry crepe or perhaps you can be a little more adventurous and get something like a brie, chicken and spinach crepe. Either way, prepare yourself for a treat, make sure to check the schedule, and bring cash.
7. Fry’s Spring — Tucked away at the end of JPA next to Crossroads, Fry’s Spring is an unexpected gourmet gem, serving delicious, creative pizzas, salads and paninis, as well as a wide selection of wines and beers. Located in the 1931 building that once served as Fry’s Spring Station, the restaurant has a wide patio that provides a pleasant sitting area during warm weather. Make sure to try “The Jefferson” pizza and their half-off wine on Wednesdays!
8. Bellair Market — It may look just like any other gas station in town, but Bellair Market houses some of Charlottesville’s best sandwiches. They offer a great selection of different breads, meats (cracked pepper turkey, anyone?), cheese, and condiments. Be sure to try their famous Birdwood sandwich and the herb mayo. Who knew a gas station could be so delicious?
9. Ariana Grill Kabob — Whether you want to dine in our take out, Ariana Kabob is an excellent option for nights when you just don’t know what to have for dinner. The traditional Afghan restaurant has a small menu, but each item is cooked to perfection, including chicken kabobs, gyros, or vegetarian curries. Do not miss the pumpkin or chickpeas curries, they are truly one of the highlights of the menu. And the best part? You can find them on campusfood.com!
10. Aquí es Mexico — Craving Mexican food? Instead of driving to Chipotle and standing in line for half an hour why don’t you head over to Aqui es Mexico, just a few miles past the downtown mall? Aqui es Mexico provides a nice combination of traditional Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican/Central American dishes and flavors that are sure to satisfy your cravings. Whether you’re in the mood for a burrito or an enchilada, or even a pupusa, Aquí es Mexico provides a wide variety of Latin American dishes and sides on a budget.
Post by Mary Drach and Vanessa Orco