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Hampton Roads Area, VA

Best Restaurants in Hampton Roads AreaOur favorites include some of this destination's best restaurants—from fine dining to simple fare.

Find the Beach Pub just a few blocks inland from the Virginia Beach strip. This restaurant is a combination of casual dining fit for families and a crowded bar packed with locals (even in the middle of the day). The pub sports a retro theme—prints and photos from the resort city's past line the walls. Of course, the specialty here is fresh Atlantic seafood with such favorites as creamy crab dip or crab cakes, fried flounder, and boiled shrimp, but the burger and fries also are a popular choice. For those who like Southern eats, try the country-style vegetables. Before the rooster crows, get here for breakfast—the pub is open early. The staff is young and friendly, and the T-shirts are a popular souvenir.

Local Restaurants

Mary's Restaurant has been a Virginia Beach favorite for breakfast and lunch for more than 40 years, and you'll find yourself eating alongside executives, surfers and tourists. This cozy spot offers such down-home Southern favorites as country-fried steak, barbecue and homemade soup. In addition there's always a rotating selection of daily specials. Desserts include a mouthwatering array of cakes and pies sitting on the counter under glass cake domes. Try the all-day breakfast, which includes the “Old Virginia,” homemade biscuits, omelets and pancakes.

Many come by land; others come by sea, mooring their boats to one of the docks at Chick's Oyster Bar. Arrivals may differ, but this destination is a fun and casual spot on the Lynnhaven Inlet. The views of the water and million-dollar homes are spectacular, and the people watching on Chick's open-air deck can't be beat. The bar is well known for its fabulous fried butterfly shrimp and its oversized steamer platters, but other favorites include fried flounder, crab cakes and the grilled catch of the day.

Coastal Grill in Virginia Beach is more than just a great neighborhood bistro— it's a place with a menu that locals love. Try the lamb with eggplant puree, the spinach salad with chicken livers in a deglazed-pan vinaigrette, the pepper-crusted tuna or the soft-shell crabs (in season). The side dishes change seasonally—the restaurant serves grilled corn in the summer and brown sugar-glazed butternut squash during colder months. The decor is understated, punctuated by butcher's paper over green tablecloths, bistro curtains and handsome artwork. Coastal Grill does not accept reservations, so expect a wait at peak times.

Nearby Restaurants to Try

Steinhilber's Restaurant has been family-owned and operated since 1939. This former country club occupies a prime spot overlooking the Lynnhaven River and offers nostalgic charm with its mahogany paneling, vaulted ceiling and a portrait of the restaurant's founder hanging over a stone fireplace. The signature dish is the fried fantail jumbo shrimp, but the delicious she-crab soup, grilled fresh fish, back fin crab cakes and steaks are other wonderful choices. For dessert, order ice cream—made by a small, local dairy—or the pecan pie. The staff is warm and constantly attentive. There is a large patio overlooking the river, which is fun in warmer months.

The Doumar family has run its orange and white drive-in in Norfolk since 1915. This joint's all about good eats and nostalgia— Doumar's Cones & Barbecue still offers carhop service. Flash your headlights to prompt a carhop to approach your driver's side window. The drive-in sits between downtown and the trendy Ghent neighborhood and serves up traditional Southern barbecue, burgers, french fries and old-fashioned soda fountain favorites. Try their specialty, the banana milkshake.

Bolivian sisters run Luna Maya Cantina , a small and hip eatery in Norfolk where fresh ingredients and great tasting food prevail. The restaurant mixes Mexican and South American cuisine, and the menu includes chorizo corn casserole, fabulous sweet and spicy beef tamale and shrimp burritos. All meals start with chipotle salsa and fresh chips, and Luna Maya's made-to-order guacamole and white sangria are must-haves. Pale orange walls strike a warm tone contrasting with the cool and sleek chrome bar.

Crackers Little Bar Bistro in Norfolk serves numerous tasty dishes in equally small, appetizer-style portions. It's the perfect menu for those who like to sample many tastes. The offerings constantly change, but you can always expect to find the tomato mozzarella stack, the fried dumplings, the petite beef filet and the daily fondue special on the menu. The s'mores pu pu platter is a fun and sweet way to end a meal. Cracker's also offers a great wine and beer list—don't miss reading the humorous reviews.

A small, brightly decorated spot in Norfolk, the No Frill Bar & Grill has a cozy neighborhood feel and a heated patio for chilly winter evenings. Chalkboard specials shine with creativity and fresh seasonal influences, and the daily menu lists sandwiches, salads, burgers, local seafood and house specialties. Try the award-winning ribs, the famous chili, some barbecue, the grilled portabellas or the wonderful Spottswood spinach salad, piled high with crisp apples, blue cheese and caramelized onions. Desserts are excellent here, too—order the Carnegie deli cheesecake or the multilayered carrot cake.

Todd Jurich's Bistro is located in a new tower in Norfolk's increasingly sophisticated downtown. The seasonal menu presents unusual and delightful combinations of local products from the region. Cuisine influences range from Tuscan to Thai—try the grilled tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes or the sophisticated crab sauté over Johnnycakes. The wait staff is smooth and professional with excellent knowledge of the large stock of wines, which are stored in the restaurant's glass-walled wine room.

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Hampton Roads Area, VA

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