Charlottesville and Albemarle County have long been known for their impressive array of dining options, and though this past year hasn’t been easy on our lovely local cafes, restaurants, bistros, and breweries, their passions for what they make have not diminished in the slightest—nor has the exceptional quality of the food! Here you’ll find authentic cuisine from all over the world: Peruvian chicken, Asian-inspired tapas, French dishes and more. Below are but a few highlights.
Find Sultan Kebab just a few short blocks south of the Downtown Mall. Here you’ll find exquisite, authentic Turkish cuisine. Their platters—chicken sheesh kebab, lamb sheesh kebab, shrimp casserole—are flavorful and filling, but be sure to save room for baklava! Dine-in or order a meal to go.
If you love chicken, you will love Al Carbon. Their oven, imported from Peru, cooks chicken whole over coals. They offer a wide variety of sides as well, and specialize in providing you with everything you need for a family-style meal—unless, of course, you’re capable of eating an entire chicken whole, in which case their meals meant to share will serve as the perfect personal feast. Find Al Carbon along 29 North.
For some of the best Japanese cuisine around, head on up to Rivanna Ridge Shopping Center. Here you'll find Kabuto, known for their amazing sushi rolls and hibachi lunch options. On your drive back down the hill from Kabuto, be sure to look up. The view of downtown Charlottesville and of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains never disappoints.
Well known for their excellent margaritas, Continental Divide offers a robust menu of southwestern cuisine. Order a meal to go! Continental Divide is conveniently located along West Main Street between the University of Virginia and the Downtown Mall.
"Maharaja," Hindi for "the great king," has long been a staple of Charlottesville's culinary scene. Since 1991, Maharaja has been a go-to for family dining. A great deal of effort has been put forth over the years to keep the recipes authentic. The result is a menu full of healthy, tasty starters, salads, sides and main courses.
Find Lampo just across the Belmont Bridge from the Downtown Mall. Lampo, a Neapolitan pizzeria, is open for takeout five days a week, Wednesday to Sunday.
A staple of the Belmont neighborhood, Tavola specializes in rustic Italian food and is taking reservations Tuesday through Saturday. Tavola delivers, too! For details about their pickup locations, check out the latest details on the homepage of their website. If you’d like to eat at Tavola, definitely do make a reservation, though—for your safety, that’s the only way to go for dining in.
Fleurie offers a fine, sophisticated French dining experience. The attention to detail is remarkable, as is the presentation of each dish. Though Fleurie is certainly at its best when you can sit down and enjoy the meal at the restaurant, the quality of each dish remains just as high to go. Find Fleurie half a block north of the Downtown Mall, not far from the Paramount Theater.
A bit more casual than Fleurie, Petit Pois changes their menu seasonally in order to use as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible. Here you’ll find familiar French fare like French onion soup and bourride and some of the freshest greens around. Outdoor seating is first come first serve. Takeout is an option as well! Supporting Petit Pois is a great way to support local farmers, growers, artisans, and vintners. Click here to learn more about where Petit Pois sources their food.
Mas Tapas is Charlottesville’s original tapas bar, and they really, really, really know what they’re doing. The best way to enjoy a meal there is to have the kitchen staff send you whatever they want to. If that sounds too chaotic, ask for recommendations or go for some of their most popular dishes: habas fritas, gambas al’ parilla, and duck confit with figs. Located in the Belmont neighborhood, Mas is an easy walk from the Downtown Mall. You can also order Mas to go! Call ahead or place your order online.
Bang! is well-known for its Asian-inspired tapas, and is one of the best places in town for vegan, gluten-free or vegetarian options—it’s their specialty! Be sure to try their sweet potato gnocchi or their kale ceaser with shaved brussels. Dine outside on their back patio or order your tapas to go.
Open for carry-out, Himalayan Fusion has long been a local favorite. With its convenient location near the eastern end of the Downtown Mall, it is our recommendation to park in the Market Street parking garage to pick up your food. Choose from delectable starters and small plates and a wide variety of superb vegetarian curries. And be sure to sample their naan!
As mentioned above, these are just a few highlights of Charlottesville and Albemarle County’s dining options from around the world. The ingredients, however, are sourced locally as much as possible. Though some establishments are better known than others for using locally-sourced ingredients, the farm-to-table movement has long been a part of our local dining culture. Between meals, we encourage a hike on a warm winter day or some holiday shopping along the Downtown Mall. Need a place to stay? Check out our full list of hotels here.