Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville is a charming city with plenty of places to go to celebrate romance from cozy, intimate spots to elegant, fine-dining establishments. The gateway to Shenandoah National Park, the city boasts several attractions, including the Thomas Jefferson-designed University of Virginia, his mansion, Monticello, and the home of President James Monroe, Highland. Here are some of the best places to go to Charlottesville to enjoy a romantic dinner for two. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
© Sedona Taphouse
Sedona Taphouse offers a unique dining and drinking experience where diners can enjoy a wide range of finely crafted beers and wines from around the world accompanied by seasonal Southwest cuisine. The taphouse boasts one of the largest craft beer selections on the East Coast featuring old classics and new-age taps, as well as a wide range of craft ales and beers from the United States and around the world, craft cocktails, freshly squeezed juices, and other drinks. The casual menu offers a selection of Southwest cuisine such as Braveheart Choice Black Angus Beef, fresh seafood dishes, locally sourced and organic vegetables and herbs, and mouthwatering desserts. Sedona Taphouse is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
1035 Millmont St, Charlottesville, VA 22903, Phone: 434-296-2337
2.Shebeen Pub & Braai
© Shebeen Pub & Braai
Get a real taste of South African fare and wines at Shebeen Pub & Braai. Located in the heart of Charlottesville, the cozy pub-style restaurant boasts a tavern setting with comfortable sofas, flat-screen televisions and a charming patio for alfresco-style summer dining. Open for weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner, the tavern serves a menu of traditional South African fare such as peri-peri chicken wings, fried calamari, Cape mussels, shepherd’s pie, lamb curry potjie, Durban spiced curry and sosaties. Entrées are cooked on the open fire, known as a ‘braai’ in South Africa, and the food is paired with some of the country’s top wines, beers and dessert liqueurs like Amarula and Cape Velvet. Shebeen Pub & Braai is open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
247 Ridge McIntire Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903, Phone: 434-296-3185
3.The Ivy Inn Restaurant
© The Ivy Inn Restaurant
Located a few miles west of downtown Charlottesville, the Ivy Inn Restaurant is an elegant family-owned restaurant based in an early 19th-century house that serves refined locavore American fare. Exuding an Old Virginia feel, the restaurant was once part of Southern aristocrat William Faulkner’s estate and features period décor, warm hues, and soft lighting, making it a perfect place for a romantic dinner. The menu features signature dishes such as Angus beef tenderloin, sautéed sea scallops, grilled farm-raised quail, and grilled Scottish salmon. The cuisine is accompanied by a range of fine wines, champagnes and sparkling wines, and handcrafted cocktails. The Ivy Inn Restaurant is open for dinner only, seven nights a week.
2244 Old Ivy Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903, Phone: 434-977-1222
Vivace is an authentic Italian restaurant based with an elegant charm that serves traditional Italian cuisine in a historic farmhouse. Established in 1995 and serving the community delicious Italian cuisine ever since, the friendly bar and eatery feature comfortable indoor and outdoor seating with bright décor, sandstone statues, and European artifacts. The outdoor area boasts a tranquil, romantic feel surrounded by tall trees with fairy lights and flowering plants. The restaurant’s menu features a variety of Italian fare such as house-made pasta like clams oreganata, along with signature plates of oyster parmesan risotto and veal marsala. Italian wines by the glass or bottle are the perfect partner for the cuisine, while decadent desserts add a sweet note to the end of the meal. Vivace is open for dinner Monday through Sunday.
2244 Ivy Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903, Phone: 434-979-0994
© Parallel 38
Parallel 38 is a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant owned by Justin Ross that offers a unique dining concept by offering cuisine that comes from the temperate latitude of the Earth’s 38th parallel such as Alicante in Spain, the Greek Ionian Islands, Italy's Calabria, the Napa Valley, and Charlottesville. The restaurant presents seasonal, small plates, or otherwise known as mezze, which encourages a sharing, socializing experience. Dishes include a wide variety of housemade spreads and cheeses, meat and vegetables, fresh seafood, and creative desserts, and drinks range from innovative cocktails, assorted craft beers, an extensive wine list from handpicked wineries. Parallel 38 is open for dinner, Tuesday through Sunday.
817 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22903, Phone: 434-260-8793
6.Red Pump Kitchen
© Red Pump Kitchen
The Red Pump Kitchen is a contemporary European café-style restaurant and bar in the heart of Downtown Charlottesville that serves Mediterranean and Tuscan-inspired fare in a casual, relaxed setting. Based in the Charlottesville’s historic Pedestrian Mall, the restaurant is centered around an open kitchen with a traditional wood-burning oven and boasts a full-service bar and outdoor seating for alfresco-style summer dining. The menu features delicious dishes such as gourmet, hand-tossed pizzas, house-made pasta, such as seared potato gnocchi and littleneck clam linguine, and fresh seafood and meat dishes like pan-roasted branzino, and Seven Hills Skirt Steak. An award-winning wine menu offers a range of fine wines to pair with each meal, and the restaurant caters for group dining with a special Chef’s Table five-course prix-fixe menu with optional wine pairings. The Red Pump Kitchen is open for dinner only, Tuesday through Sunday.
401 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902, Phone: 434-202-6040
7.Aberdeen Barn Steak House
© Aberdeen Barn Steak House
Aberdeen Barn Steak House is a classic steakhouse with cozy red leather booths, wood paneling, and an elegant piano bar with flat-screen televisions showing the latest games. Family-owned and operated since 1965 by Greek-born George Spathos, the restaurant offers an unforgettable dining experience with a menu of traditional steakhouse fare ranging from prime-cut Stockyard Angus Premium Beef steaks and fresh seafood dishes to hearty sides and decadent desserts. A full-service piano bar offers a great list of handcrafted cocktails, craft beers on tap and by the bottle, global wines by the bottle and glass, cordials, and other libations. Diners can enjoy light jazz piano Friday and Saturday evenings, and flat-screen televisions show the latest sporting games. The Aberdeen Barn Steak House is open for dinner only, Monday through Saturday.
2018 Holiday Dr, Charlottesville, VA 22901, Phone: 434-296-4630
© Philip Stridh/stock.adobe.com
Bizou is a French-style bistro in Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall that boasts a cozy, intimate atmosphere and serves a menu of classic Virginian fare. The scratch kitchen is committed to producing sustainable food with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and regional produce, such as traditional meatloaf, roasted Porchetta, pan-seared salmon, sweet potato gnocchi, rag mountain trout, and mushroom pappardelle. Desserts feature pastry that is made in-house like croissants, pain-au-chocolat, and fluffy scones, and drinks include freshly brewed, locally roasted coffee, freshly squeezed fruit juices, and mimosas for brunch. Bizou is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
119 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902, Phone: 434-977-1818
Located in a historic building across the street from the old Chesapeake and Ohio train station, The C&O is an elegant restaurant that serves celebrated country French fare and fine wines in an intimate and romantic setting. The C&O features six different dining areas with brick walls and barn wood finishes that cater for quiet dinners for two, casual walk-ins, and celebratory gatherings for groups, and serves a menu of farm-to-table cuisine with specialty items from local farmers, cheese makers, vintners, and ranchers. The C&O also serves a hand-curated wine list of vintages from around the world, which can be paired with each dish or simply enjoyed by the bottle, along with craft beers on tap and by the bottle and classic cocktails. The C&O is open for dinner, seven nights a week.
515 Water St E, Charlottesville, VA 22902, Phone: 434-971-7044
, Michigan beaches
Based in the village of Ivy, five miles west of Charlottesville, Duners is a long-running, fine-dining restaurant that serves a seasonal menu of creative New American fare and global libations in a chic setting. The culinary team uses fresh locally sourced ingredients to create the daily changing menu which features signature dishes such as Panko-Crusted Fried Oysters with Ponzu Ginger Citrus Aioli, Sesame Crusted Tuna and Crispy Chinese Cabbage Cake, Seared Duck Breast with Parmesan Risotto, and Sautéed Veal Scaloppini with House Made Fettuccine. Duners also serves an extensive wine list from the full-service bar, as well as classic cocktails, craft beers, and other drinks. Duners is open for dinner, Wednesday through Sunday.
4372 Ivy Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903, Phone: 434-293-8352
© Fleurie Restaurant
Fleurie Restaurant offers an unforgettable French fine-dining experience in the heart of Charlottesville. Located on a charming side street off the Downtown Mall, Fleurie serves an award-winning seasonal menu of classic and modern French cuisine with signature plates like butter-poached lobster, shrimp risotto, and roasted beef tenderloin. Diners can choose to enjoy à la carte, pre-theater or tasting menus, and the restaurant caters for private events and functions for groups with special tailor-made menus. The full-service bar offers an extensive list of fine wines and rare vintages, craft beers, and handcrafted cocktails made with imported spirits. Fleurie Restaurant is open for dinner only, Monday through Saturday.
108 3rd St NE, Charlottesville, VA 22901, Phone: 434-971-7800
12.Hamiltons' at First & Main
© Hamiltons' at First & Main
Located in the heart of Charlottesville’s Downtown district, Hamiltons’ at First and Main is a stylish and sophisticated restaurant that offers contemporary New American dining in a casual, relaxed setting. Perfect for a laid-back afternoon lunch or a romantic evening dinner, the restaurant has an elegant dining room and seasonal outdoor patio for alfresco dining in the warmer months. The talented Chef de Cuisine Curtis Shaver creates an exciting menu of contemporary American cuisine from locally sourced ingredients which is accompanied by an award-winning wine list boasting well-known and rare vintages from around the world. Hamiltons’ at First and Main is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday, and brunch only on Sundays.
101 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902, Phone: 434-295-6649
Located in the center of Charlottesville Virginia’s Midtown, Maya is a casual restaurant that serves locally sourced Southern fare and imaginative cocktails in a refined exposed-brick setting. The restaurant prepares and serves a seasonal, made-from-scratch menu of heart-warming Southern food which pays tribute to the Old Southern Kitchen. Signature dishes include hangar steak with red wine sauce, pan-seared crab cakes with green tomato chow-chow, baby back ribs with housemade barbecue sauce, cornmeal-crusted catfish, and local trout with brown caper butter. The cuisine is accompanied by local and global wines, craft beers on tap and by the bottle, and handcrafted cocktails. Maya is open for dinner and late-night dining, seven nights a week.
5543, 633 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22903, Phone: 434-979-6292
14.Old Mill Room
© Old Mill Room
Located in the Boar's Head Resort, the Old Mill Room is an upscale, resort eatery that features original architectural detailing of the former mill in which it is housed and serves contemporary American fare and fine wines. The only restaurant to have been awarded a Four-Diamond Award for the past 28 consecutive years, the Old Mill Room is helmed by an expert team who create culinary masterpieces that tantalize the palate. Signature dishes include Baked Whole Carolina Mountain Trout, Southern Grilled Pork Loin Chop, Ancho Chili Rubbed Domestic Lamb Loin, Roasted Duck Breast, Pan Seared Striped Bass, Little Neck Clams Chowder, and Honey Butter Roasted Scallops. An extensive wine list boasts casual labels and rare vintages, along with craft beers, and handcrafted cocktails.
200 Ednam Dr, Charlottesville, VA 22903, Phone: 434-972-2230
15.Orzo Kitchen & Wine Bar
© Orzo Kitchen & Wine Bar
Nestled in Charlottesville’s Foodie Mecca, the Main Street Market, Orzo Kitchen & Wine Bar is a casual industrial-style eatery with a dynamic chef-led open kitchen that serves locally-sourced Mediterranean fare and easy-drinking wines in a stylish dining space. The welcoming dining room features dramatic Mediterranean landscape paintings, private dining spaces for special celebrations and romantic dinners, and a modern patio decorated with flowering plants and herbs for summer dining. A full-service bar offers craft cocktails, a variety of local beers on tap and over 30 casual wines by the glass. Orzo Kitchen & Wine Bar is open for lunch Monday through Saturday and dinner Monday through Sunday.
416 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22903, Phone: 434-975-6796
16.Public Fish & Oyster
© Public Fish & Oyster
Public Fish & Oyster is the best place to enjoy fresh oysters in Charlottesville. Boasting large displays of oyster cans in a rustic, but modern space, the restaurant’s dazzling array of fresh oysters and clams are the central feature of the eatery, and a chalkboard showcases the daily specials. Oysters are offered in a range of styles from broiled and fried to stewed, and other seafood delights in the menu include classic lobster rolls, fresh fish, crab cakes, and a range of sides. Public Fish & Oyster offers specials like ‘Five Finds on Fridays, which involves a local chef or personality naming the best dish in town. The cuisine is accompanied by craft beers, casual wines, and classic cocktails, and the restaurant is open for dinner, seven days a week.
513 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22903, Phone: 434-995-5542
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Located in the hip and trendy Belmont neighborhood, Tavola is a stylish bistro that serves rustic Italian in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. A short way from the Downtown Mall, the romantic restaurant, whose name translates to ‘food table,’ offers a cozy and intimate dining experience. Begin with handcrafted cocktails at the Cicchetti bar, followed by a multi-course dinner of handmade pasta, wood-fired pizza, fresh seafood or prime meat dishes, and decadent desserts. Sip globally-inspired wines by the glass or the bottle, local craft beers on tap or by the bottle, or imported liqueurs. Tavola is open for dinner only, Monday through Saturday.
826 Hinton Ave, Charlottesville, VA 22902, Phone: 434-972-9463
Ten is a relaxed Japanese eatery that serves freshly prepared sushi, sashimi, and sake in a sleek and sophisticated setting. Translated as "heaven," "above" or "celebration," Ten focuses on serving traditional Japanese dishes prepared with the freshest, locally sourced ingredients and presenting them as culinary works of art. The menu features a variety of sushi, sashimi, fresh fish dishes, shellfish, and cooked seafood, and a variety of hot and cold á la carte items, along with vegetarian and non-seafood plates. Ten also serves an extensive wine list, traditional sake and specialty cocktails using unique ingredients such as aloe juice. Ten is open for dinner, Monday through Saturday.
120 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902, Phone: 434-295-6691
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19.The Alley Light
© The Alley Light
Located in an alley on one of the side streets off Charlottesville’s historic Downtown Mall, the Alley Light is a charming bistro-style restaurant that serves French-inspired fare in an elegant setting. The restaurant serves a menu of shared boards and platters, three- or four-course dinners, and decadent desserts, along with handcrafted cocktails, Old-world wines from, craft beers by the bottle or on tap, and other classic and seasonal drinks. Signature shared plates include Rhubarb Carpaccio and Foie Gras 'Brulee', Wild Mushroom Risotto, Lamb Carpaccio with Parmesan, Fresh Sheep Ricotta with Crispy Prosciutto and Peas, and Braised Halibut Steak with Mussels, and Saffron Broth. The Alley Light is open for dinner only, Tuesday through Sunday.
108 2nd St SW, Charlottesville, VA 22902, Phone: 434-296-5003
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20.The Downtown Grille
© The Downtown Grille
The Downtown Grille is a laid-back restaurant serving Midwestern cuisine on Charlottesville's historic downtown mall. The restaurant has an elegant dining room and options for private dining for special celebrations for groups of up to 60 people with tailor-made menus paired with fine wines from the award-winning wine list. The menu features creative dishes using the highest quality, locally sourced ingredients, including Midwestern corn-fed beef and fresh seafood, along with vegetables and herbs from regional farmers. A highly acclaimed wine list has a wide variety of fine wines from around the world, ranging from casual to rare vintages, which can be enjoyed by the bottle or glass, along with handcrafted cocktails, craft beers and more. The Downtown Grille is open for dinner, Monday through Sunday.
201 West Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902, Phone: 434-817-7080
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Conveniently located in the Charlottesville Downtown Mall, Zocalo is a Latin American restaurant that serves a delicious fusion of Mexican, Spanish, and South American cuisine along with tropical cocktails. The casual bistro-style eatery has a large outdoor patio for alfresco dining and a warm and welcoming ambiance. Open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, with a lunch and brunch menu soon to be introduced; Zocalo presents dishes prepared using fresh, high quality, locally sourced ingredients, and traditional French techniques. The cuisine is paired with wines from Zocalo’s extensive wine list, which features a broad selection of Spanish, South American and local Virginia wines, as well as signature cocktails, such as traditional Mojitos. Zocalo is open for dinner, Tuesday through Sunday.
5254, 201 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902, Phone: 434-977-4944
Fellini's is a casual Italian eatery that offers sumptuous Italian cuisine, fine wines, local art, and live music all under one roof. Helmed by Executive Chef/Co-Owner Chris Humphrey, the restaurant focuses on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients to prepare a delicious farm-to-table menu with favorites like fried or grilled calamari, spaghetti Bolognese or marinara, and home-baked focaccia, along with daily specials. The eatery also serves a variety of libations from Italian and global wines, craft beers, signature cocktails, and imported liqueurs, and is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, and Sunday brunch.
200 Market St, Charlottesville, VA 22902, Phone: 434-284-7676
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Located in 29th Place, Carmello’s is a warm and welcoming Italian restaurant in the heart of Charlottesville that has been serving traditional rustic northern Italian fare for the past 25 years. Founded by Bill and Stella Hedges, the restaurant specializes in Northern Italian cuisine paired with unique Italian and global wines. Famous for their family-friendly ambiance and pleasant atmosphere, Carmello’s serves signature Italian favorites like pepperoni arostiti e mozzarella, carcioffi fritti, calamari fritti o saltati, cannelloni all Toscana, tortellini con Panna, and scampi gamberi. Carmello’s is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday, and dinner Tuesday through Sunday.
400 Twentyninth Pl Ct, Charlottesville, VA 22901, Phone: 434-977-5200
24.Petit Pois Restaurant
© Petit Pois Restaurant
Petit Pois is a quaint bistro-style eatery that serves locally sourced French fare and casual wines in a laid-back, relaxed setting. The restaurant features a charming dining room and a shaded patio for summer dining and serves lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. The menu features a variety of creative dishes prepared with fresh, high-quality regional ingredients such as starters of the signature split pea soup, chicken liver mousse, steak tartar and escargot, followed by French-inspired entrées of ratatouille, arctic char, trout amandine, steak frites, and lamb gnocchi. Desserts include homemade chocolate mousse, puff pastries, or goat cheese custard. Petit Pois is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
201 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902, Phone: 434-979-7647
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25.Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar
© Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar
Located in The Shops at Stonefield, Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar is a small chain of casual Italian restaurants that serve contemporary American Italian cuisine in a relaxed setting. Owned by Mark Craig and Kevin Cox, who were inspired by the beauty, food, and wine of the Napa Valley to open the restaurant, Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar offers an ever-changing menu of classic and traditional Italian food. Dishes are prepared using fresh, locally sourced, and regional ingredients and are accompanied by an impressive collection of carefully-chosen wines. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are also available, and Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
2075 Bond St #100, Charlottesville, VA 22901, Phone: 434-244-3304
25 Best Restaurants in Charlottesville
- Sedona Taphouse, Photo: Sedona Taphouse
- Shebeen Pub & Braai, Photo: Shebeen Pub & Braai
- The Ivy Inn Restaurant, Photo: The Ivy Inn Restaurant
- Vivace, Photo: Vivace
- Parallel 38, Photo: Parallel 38
- Red Pump Kitchen, Photo: Red Pump Kitchen
- Aberdeen Barn Steak House, Photo: Aberdeen Barn Steak House
- Bizou, Photo: Philip Stridh/stock.adobe.com
- The C&O, Photo: BillionPhotos.com/stock.adobe.com
- Duner's, Photo: Duner's
- Fleurie Restaurant, Photo: Fleurie Restaurant
- Hamiltons' at First & Main, Photo: Hamiltons' at First & Main
- Maya, Photo: Maya
- Old Mill Room, Photo: Old Mill Room
- Orzo Kitchen & Wine Bar, Photo: Orzo Kitchen & Wine Bar
- Public Fish & Oyster, Photo: Public Fish & Oyster
- Tavola, Photo: Tavola
- Ten, Photo: Ten
- The Alley Light, Photo: The Alley Light
- The Downtown Grille, Photo: The Downtown Grille
- Zocalo, Photo: Zocalo
- Fellini's, Photo: lsvsvl/stock.adobe.com
- Carmello's, Photo: Carmello's
- Petit Pois Restaurant, Photo: Petit Pois Restaurant
- Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, Photo: Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar
- Cover Photo: Edalin/stock.adobe.com