Richmond is a great city to visit year-round, in big part due to its vibrant restaurant, cafe and bar scene. Whether you are looking for authentic Southern cuisine or international flavors, your taste buds won't be disappointed.
Most romantic Richmond restaurants on our list work with local farmers and producers to source the freshest seasonally available ingredients for their dishes. Savor farm fresh New American cuisine, European favorites, Indian and Asian flavors coupled with award-winning wines, beer and handcrafted cocktails. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Max's on Broad
5.Old Original Bookbinder's
6.Julep's New Southern Cuisine
7.Anthony's on the Hill
12.Buz and Ned's Real Barbecue
14 Best Richmond Restaurants for Romance
- Max's on Broad, Photo: Max's on Broad
- Millie's Diner, Photo: Millie's Diner
- Lemaire, Photo: Lemaire
- Heritage, Photo: Heritage
- Old Original Bookbinder's, Photo: Old Original Bookbinder's
- Julep's New Southern Cuisine, Photo: Julep's New Southern Cuisine
- Anthony's on the Hill, Photo: Anthony's on the Hill
- Lehja, Photo: Lehja
- The Roosevelt , Photo: The Roosevelt
- Tarrant's Cafe, Photo: Tarrant's Cafe
- Amuse Restaurant, Photo: Amuse Restaurant
- Buz and Ned's Real Barbecue, Photo: Buz and Ned's Real Barbecue
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
More Ideas: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Located in Richmond, Virginia, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a public art museum that is ranked as one of the top 10 most comprehensive art museums in America. Housing over 35,000 works, the museum is also home to a theater, a full-scale restaurant, and a 4-acre sculpture garden.
The museum's roots trace back to 1919, when Judge John Barton Payne, a wealthy Virginia citizen, donated 50 works from his personal collection to the state. Over the next decade and a half, additional donations from private collections, as well as financial donations, were made toward the opening of a public art museum. Federal funding was secured in 1932, and on January 16, 1936, the museum was opened. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, the museum continued to receive donations, adding to its collections. From 1948 to 1968, museum director Leslie Cheek Jr. brought significant expansions to the museum and its impact on the state of Virginia. These changes included a sizeable expansion, including the addition of a new wing and a theater, a large increase to the number of permanent works, and an art trailer program bringing the museum's art to the surrounding communities.
In 1976, a third addition to the museum was completed, giving the museum its sculpture garden. Another expansion was completed in 1985, and in 1999 a new building, the Pauley Center, was added to the museum complex. In 2010, the museum's largest-ever expansion was completed, featuring the addition of a third wing with a large glass atrium connecting it to the original wings, as well as changes to the sculpture garden and the expansion of public parking. These 2010 expansions won the museum a 2011 RIBA International Award.
Although the museum accepts private donations for artwork and operation, it is owned and managed by the Commonwealth of Virginia, one of the first museums in the region to be state-operated. Along with the Virginia Historical Society, it serves as an anchor attraction for the city's Museum District.
The VMFA is divided into three wings, featuring an impressive collection of international art. Its permanent collections span thousands of years of human history, with ancient works dating back over four millennia.
The museum's African collection is regarded as one of the most inclusive African exhibits in the country, featuring works spanning from ancient Africa to the modern day. The continent's works and artifacts, including a preserved mummy, are also featured in the Ancient Art collection, which includes works from the Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine empires.
Asian works are divided into two collections, an East Asian Collection focusing on the broad cultural emphasis of East Asian religions and customs with works spanning over 4,000 years, and a South Asian Collection, centered on a Mughal garden pavilion from Rajasthan, India, which includes one of the largest collections of Himalayan art in America. The European Collection houses works dating back to the medieval period and also includes pieces from legendary artists such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.
The Ancient American Art collection focuses on the art and culture of the indigenous peoples of North and South America. A large collection of American art features works from Payne's original donation alongside newly acquired pieces that emphasize the voices of women and artists of color. A collection of mid-to-late 20th-century art is focused on American works from 1950 to 1980 and European art from the 1980s, highlighting works by Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, and Willem de Kooning. Contemporary exhibitions include a large collection of art nouveau and art deco pieces, featuring works by Emile Galle, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Frank Lloyd Wright, and a growing collection of 21st-century art.
In addition to its international galleries, the museum also houses three specialized permanent object collections. The English silver collection showcases 18th and 19th-century silver from the most accomplished silversmiths of the time period. The Pratt Fabergé collection, home to over 400 eggs, is the largest collection of its kind outside of Russia. A rare books collection features over 3,000 multidisciplinary art books and manuscripts.
Performances and Programming
Since 1955, the VMFA has been home to the 500-seat Leslie Cheek Theater. Until 2002, the theater hosted its own theater company, the Virginia Museum Theater, later known as Theater Virginia. Throughout its four-decade run, the company staged eight world-premiere works, including an internationally broadcasted premiere of Maxim Gorky's Our Father, along with a variety of popular musicals and dramatic works. The theater was closed for a decade before reopening in 2011 as a touring venue for local and international theater, dance, and film. It is the host for the annual VCU Southern Film Festival, a 3-day event exploring portrayals of the American South on screen.
The museum's educational programming seeks to inspire young artists and make collections and art appreciation accessible for the Richmond community. Since 1940, a Fine Arts Fellowship program has awarded more than $5 million in grants to local artists and art students. A range of educational programs are hosted in the museum's Art Education Center, Pauley Center, and Studio School, including painting, drawing, photography, and digital arts courses for students from 3 months to 17 years. Guided tours are also offered, including school tours designed to meet state educational standards. A digital outreach program, known as ARTshare, aims to expand the museum's audience online.
200 N Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23220, Phone: 804-340-1400
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More Ideas: Byrd Theatre
The 1300-seat Byrd Theater in Richmond, Virginia was built in 1928 and is both a state and National Historic Landmark. The Byrd is unique in that it has operated continuously as a movie theater since being built, and its interior has survived mostly unchanged for close to 90 years. The rich architectural detail of the Byrd Theatre is its greatest asset.
The movie house was designed by Richmond architect Fred Bishop in the French Empire, or Renaissance Revival style, a design known for its opulence and imitation of the gilded Opera Houses of Europe. The $900,000 structure in 1928 currency would cost upwards of $12 million to build today. A unique feature of the architectural design is the cantilevered balcony. The lack of vertical supports underneath the balcony means that no seat has an obstructed view. The shape of the balcony also contributes to the effect of superior sound in the auditorium, reducing front to back echo. The theatre when built was outfitted with two sound systems. The Vitaphone was new in 1928 and the Byrd pioneered in its installation and use at a time when the success of “talkies” was yet to be determined. A Wurlitzer Theatre organ accompanied the silent films.
The organ was installed by the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company itself when the theatre was built. The “one-man orchestra” for silent films occupies much of the theatre. Four floors over the stage house the organ pipes, as well as the alcoves, which house drum, horn, xylophone and harp effects, all of which are manned by the organ. A vacuum blower for the organ is located in the basement, and the console is at the center of the orchestra console pit. Paintings and murals at the theatre recall a Rococo style. Hand painted murals and cameos decorate the lobby, the alcoves, the auditorium’s sidewalls and the opera boxes. The largest paintings depict themes of Greek mythology. An 18-foot tall Czechoslovakian chandelier hangs over the auditorium. The crystal chandelier is decorated with 500 lights. Two smaller, 7-foot chandeliers hang in the alcoves, and one in the lobby at over 8 feet tall. Throughout the theatre, décor reflects an abundance of crystal, crimson velvet, gold leaf, and marble. The mezzanine is adorned with plaster decorations and some of the original mohair-covered patterned chairs still exist. An arc lamp dating from pre-1953 still exists continues to light the theatre logo against the closed curtain.
History: The theatre is named after William Byrd II, one of the founders of Richmond, Virginia. The original name, the State Theatre, was already taken by the time construction was complete in 1928. The first movie ever shown at the Byrd Theatre was on Christmas Eve. The silent film with added sound was called Waterfront. The manager on opening night, Robert Coulter, would continue to work at the theatre through 1971, and it is said that his ghost still haunts the site today. In 2007, the non-profit organization Byrd Theatre Foundation purchased the movie house with a promise to preserve and restore the theatre, and to integrate cultural and community programming and events. Remarkably preserved, the Byrd theater has never been remodeled save for a few updates to the screens, projectors and sound system, as well as the concession area. Ray Dolby, creator of Dolby sound systems visited the Byrd in 2004 and was so impressed with the theatre that he donated the upgraded Dolby Digital sound system, which was installed in 2006.
Ongoing Programs and Education: The Mighty Wurlitzer Organ is played by house organist, Bob Gulledge, who trained under the Byrd’s most famous organist Eddie Weaver. Weaver manned the organ at the Byrd from 1961 through 1981. Regular Saturday evening organ shows, Holiday sing-alongs and silent movie nights all make use of the organ. While the Byrd theatre mostly plays second run movies at a cost of just $4, other film programs at the theatre include the Virginia Commonwealth University French Film Festival, which has shown at the Byrd since 1996, the James River Film Festival and the 48 Hour Film Festival. The Byrd is Richmond’s most popular site for film premiers and HBO, Miramax and Disney have all released films there. Live events include musical performances, comedy and talks and presentations. The theatre is available for rental and also hosts events for fundraising and public service.
2908 West Cary Street Richmond, VA, 23221, Phone: 804-358-3056
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More Ideas: Real Richmond Food Tours
Real Richmond Food Tours is a company that offers tours around Richmond’s best food destinations all year round. Their walking tours happen around Saturday afternoons and are roughly 2.5 hours’ worth of going around local restaurants and gourmet locations. Waiting at each stop are samples and the chance to meet the restaurant owners and chefs. The tours are as educational as they are exciting; thanks to all the exposure the participants get to RVA’s vibrant history and architecture.
This establishment is the fruit of the works of two locals, Maureen Egan and Susan Winiecki. Egan is the author of Insider’s Guide to Richmond, among other publications, as well as the co-founder of the annual food gathering called the Fire, Flour and Fork. Winiecki, on the other hand, published the Richmond Magazine and its sister publications. Aside from co-founding Fire, Flour and Fork, she is also the chair for Broad Appetit since 2008.
All tours happen on Saturdays and are set to start at 2:30 PM. Most tours last for about 2.5 hours, including all the stops.
Booking a tour can be done online via fareharbor, featuring a neatly organized calendar where all the tours are plotted for guests to choose from.
Carytown/Museum District: Butchers, Bakers, and Beyond - this one features the various specialty food retailers along Carytown as well as the Museum District. Some notable spots include the Sugar and Twine, Belmont Butchery, Ellwood Thompson, 10 Italian Cafe, and more.
Both Sides of Broad - mainly focusing on Broad Street, this tour takes place at Monroe and Jackson, stopping at Rappahannock, Pasture, Mama J’s Saison, Comfort, J Kogi, Perly’s , Greenloafs Pool Room, and many other First Friday favorites.
Church Hill: From Spies to Pies - considered as one of the national press favorites, the Church Hill tour exposes guests to the location’s stories past and beautiful culinary scenes such as the WPA bakery, Union Market, Liberty Public House, Sub Rosa Bakery, Dutch & Company, Hill Cafe, Proper Pie, and more.
Scott’s Addition: Maker’s Mark - one of the company’s newer routes, this takes guests along the neighborhood that’s full of brewers, food manufacturers, coffee roasters, market vendors, farmers, restaurateurs, and many other artisans in the locality.
Shockoe Bottom/Church Hill: Shock & Awe - This is a 1.5 mile walking tour of Richmond’s oldest neighborhoods. Meanwhile, participants will be treated to various samples of distinct eateries and other points of architectural interest.
UR Here: Eating on the Avenues - this tour takes guests around Libbie and Grove avenues sampling food and browsing the shopping areas where there’s good wine and food that makes the 1 mile route worth the walk.
? The tours are roughly 1.5 miles of leisure walking, so try to wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
? There’s no specific amount of food that participants are guaranteed, but guests never walk away from these tours hungry.
For a minimum of 8 people, groups can call up the company for a private tour, which can either cover one or more of the regular tours or a customized one upon request.
For requests, inquiries, and other information, call 804-840-5318 or visit the official website of Real Richmond Food and Tours.
Real Richmond Food Tours, 4690 Arrowhead Road Richmond, VA 23219, Phone: 804-840-5318 or 804-564-1055
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