Best Restaurants in Williamsburg, Jamestown & YorktownOur favorites include some of this destination's best restaurants—from fine dining to simple fare.
By Inspector 55
Local restaurants in Colonial Williamsburg range from 18th-century taverns to ultra-modern bistros. Several popular spots are clustered around Merchants Square. The small brick building at Berret's Seafood Restaurant and Taphouse Grill was the town's first gas station and Ford dealership in the 1930s. The restaurant offers two distinct dining environments: a casual patio overlooking the sidewalk scene and a stylish interior decorated with regional artwork. The dining room menu reflects contemporary fine dining with an emphasis on fresh Chesapeake Bay seafood in both traditional and original preparations, while the patio menu offers raw bar favorites, steamed seafood, sandwiches and appetizers well-portioned for sharing.
Julia Child videos play on the flat-screen monitor above the bar, and portraits of famed French and American chefs grace the walls at Blue Talon Bistro . Chef David Everett left the world of haute cuisine to open this chic but casual bistro, where the theme is “serious comfort food.” Start with a classic French appetizer of duck foie gras terrine, escargots bourguignon or mussels Provençal. Rich but affordable entrees range from the traditional—steak with pommes frites, beef braised in red wine, chicken crepes, lamb shanks with apricots—to the unconventional eight-ounce hamburger with bacon, cheese and a fried egg. Daily lunch and dinner specials rotate favorites such as cassoulet, scallops St Jacques and prime rib. Blue Talon offers an excellent wine list and a wonderful Sunday brunch, as well as classic French pastries and coffee every morning for breakfast.
Set against the historic backdrop of Old Williamsburg, Fat Canary is a stylish, modern space with crisp lines, canary green walls and distinctive artwork. The creative gourmet fare changes seasonally and reflects a rich Southern influence, although Chef Thomas Power Jr. draws his contemporary inspirations from around the world. The pastry chef is likewise inspired—try the crème brûlée milkshake for dessert.
The Cheese Shop , a favorite among locals and tourists since 1971, moved to its location adjacent to Fat Canary in 2003. The Power Family owns both establishments. A Cheese Shop sandwich—fresh French bread topped with deli meat and the beloved house dressing—is worth the wait in line. The gourmet shop offers a wide range of specialty foods, including Virginia delicacies, prepared salads, pâtés and, of course, an outstanding selection of more than 200 cheeses. The 4,000-bottle wine cellar features both international and regional labels.
To sample some of the region's finest vintages, visit Williamsburg Winery . On the Wessex Hundred estate, this Old World-style vineyard produces more than 60,000 cases each year, making it Virginia's largest winery. Guided tours include a video presentation about viticulture and winemaking, a visit to the barrel cellar and production area and tastings of chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, seyval blanc and vidal. The Gabriel Archer Tavern offers cheese and pâté platters, baguette sandwiches, tasty salads and a pretty view of the vineyards.
The charming, Old World ambience of Christiana Campbell's Tavern includes roving balladeers, servers in period costume and Southern seafood specialties—many made from heirloom family recipes, such as George Washington's favorite oyster fritters. Menu highlights include stuffed trout, sherried crab stew, spoonbread and rum cream pie. You'll meet the character of Christiana Campbell herself—the proprietor in Colonial times—and hear delightful tales from the tavern's glory days.
Old Chickahominy House , is set in a restored 18th-century clapboard cottage on the road between Williamsburg and Jamestown, west of the historic area. Open only for breakfast and lunch, this charming Colonial restaurant serves such traditional favorites as country ham and biscuits, Brunswick stew and buttermilk pie. Lunch is a busy time, but service is swift to keep up with demand; explore the antique and gift shop while you wait. The plantation breakfast—Virginia ham with eggs, biscuits, country bacon, sausage, grits and coffee—is a hearty start to a day of sightseeing.
Northwest of the historic area on US 60 is another neighborhood favorite, Giuseppe's Italian Cafe . Here you'll find plenty of interesting pasta and pizza combinations, as well as traditional Italian dishes. Unique pastas include fettuccine New Mexico, steak and Gorgonzola over penne and the “orzotto” dishes (orzo pasta cooked in the Italian risotto method). Guiseppe's lentil soup was featured in Bon Appétit Magazine. Photographs and prints decorate the walls of this comfortable café, a popular rest stop for shoppers from the neighboring outlets. Servers are friendly and prompt, and the cordial owner often roams the dining room, chatting with customers.
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Virginias Historic Triangle, VA
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