The University of Virginia (UVA) is one of the most beloved universities in the nation, but many people don’t know that Charlottesville has some of the best restaurants in all of Virginia!
UVA, Home of the Hoos
The University of Virginia, founded in 1819 by President Thomas Jefferson, is one of the leading institutions for higher education. From having nationally ranked schools and programs, to a major academic medical center, to a thriving value of arts and culture, to the renowned NCAA Division 1 athletic programs, UVA has it all.
UVA is ranked #4 in the nation for the Best Public National University, #2 in the nation for Best Value Public University, and the #1 Hospital in Virginia. For UVA, the possibilities are endless and they are always achieving greatness. In fact, UVA won the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship!
Located in central Virginia, in the town of Charlottesville, you might be wondering what there is to do at UVA besides staying on campus. Well, even though Charlottesville is a smaller town, it has the restaurants of a big city! Let’s talk about Charlottesville and all the best places to eat at while you’re there. And trust us … as much as we wanted to highlight ALL of the great restaurants in C’ville, we realize we have kept a few off the list.
The Vibrant Community of Charlottesville
UVA is located right near the Blue Ridge Mountains right in the heart of Virginia. The town of Charlottesville offers an endless list of fun activities to do. You can explore the historic downtown mall and visit Thomas Jefferson’s famous Monticello summer house!
You can appreciate the stunning beauty, rich culture, and amazing history that central Virginia has all around it! You can go to weekend concerts, go hiking in the mountains, and enjoy REALLY good food. Honestly, whatever you do, Charlottesville is the cultural hub of central Virginia, bringing together a community of a small city, with the culture and amenities of a huge city! It’s the best of both worlds, and UVA is right in the middle of it!
Although it’s a small town, Charlottesville is celebrated for its amazing food. I’m not kidding! Charlottesville ranks in the top 15 places with the most restaurants per capita! That’s a lot of food! Are you starting to get hungry? Let’s just get right to it then!
Sandwich from Take It Away Sandwich Shop
If you’re in Charlottesville, Take It Away Sandwich Shop is a MUST! This is a perfect place for lunch when you’re craving a yummy sandwich packed with delicious, fresh ingredients. The shop is a favorite amongst UVA students, with a huge selection of chips and fresh bread made from scratch everyday! Just a tip: order the house dressing on the side! It’s a secret dressing that makes the shop that much better! Plus, it’s an affordable meal! Doesn’t that sound amazing?!
An iconic burger from Citizen Burger Bar
This is a hotspot place on the weekend, but boy is it worth the wait! The Citizen Burger Bar burgers are FAMOUS in Charlottesville, but the truffle fries are top notch as well! My friends and I always order truffle fries at the very start while we wait for our amazing burgers to arrive! And don’t worry, there’s yummy options for meat lovers, vegans, vegetarians, you name it! You won’t be disappointed!
Literally any pastry from Paradox Pastry
Okay, you can NEVER go wrong with a dessert. But, listen up: the owner of Paradox Pastry went to Paris for cooking school and interned in one of the most iconic bakeries in Paris. Treat yourself to ANY of the amazing goodies. P.S., the cookies are STELLAR! But, you can’t go wrong with any of the options!
Smoothie Bowl from The Juice Laundry
Although The Juice Laundry is a newbie to Charlottesville, it’s quickly becoming a fan favorite for its fresh, nutritious juices, smoothie, and acai bowls. While this place is known for the health junkies, EVERYTHING is delicious. Even if healthy foods aren’t necessarily your favorite, you’ll love the tasty smoothie bowls and feel so great and energized afterwards!
A warm bowl of ramen from Miso Sweet
Listen up! Miso Sweet is not like the 99-cent ramen you heat up in your dorm room at 1 AM while you’re cram studying for your exam tomorrow morning. This ramen is HEAVENLY! Every order of ramen comes with a load of noodles, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, and a soft-boiled egg. Then, you can choose what broth you want and what meat you want! If you’re feeling extra “saucy”, you can add bold choices like pig ear, kimchi and a bunch of other options!
An incredible bagel from Bodo’s Bagels
This is a HUGE FAVORITE spot for UVA students and alumni, because it’s really cheap, really fast, and really delicious! Bodo’s Bagels has an endless variety of bagel options, from the type of bagel bread, to COUNTLESS cream cheese spreads, toppings, breakfast meats and more! Trust me, this shop will turn anyone into a bagel lover after the first bite!
Amazing sushi from Ten
This is probably one of the best sushi places in Charlottesville! Ten Sushi puts a modern take on traditional Japanese sushi dishes! Your dish will look like a modern piece of art with the same classic sushi taste we know and love! These sushi dishes will please both the mouth and the eyes!
Anything from Boylan Heights
Honestly, you’re not even a UVA student until you try out Boylan Heights (kidding! But seriously though…). Boylan Heights is a C’Ville classic! It’s UVA’s finest burger joint and sports bar! If you want to have good food and a good time, Boylan Heights is a must! Also, if you’re feeling crazy and want to treat yourself, the milkshakes are truly a work of art!
Chicken and waffles from Ace Biscuit & Barbecue
UVA is below the Mason-Dixon line! When you’re in the South, you gotta eat some barbecue (BBQ!). Ace Biscuit & Barbecue serves up some of the best barbecue in all of Charlottesville. But, if you really wanna go wild, try out their famous chicken and waffles! It’s a Southern food favorite! I understand that eating fried chicken for breakfast might not sound too great, but you’ll thank me later. Still, if you’re stopping here for breakfast and really don’t want fried chicken for breakfast (WHICH IS CRAZY), their breakfast sandwiches are to die for!
Breakfast at Blue Moon Diner
Breakfast from Blue Moon Diner is a C’Ville must! It’s a classic diner with that vintage, diner feel everyone loves. They have literally any breakfast food you can think of! As a personal breakfast food junkie, this diner is a favorite of mine. If you’re craving pancakes, you’re in luck. Order pancakes and wait to see what famous face the chefs create out of powdered sugar on your pancakes! Fun, I know!
Soup or sandwich at Revolutionary Soup
I mean, it’s in the name, so clearly the soup has gotta be a specialty here! The two most popular soups at Revolutionary Soup are probably the french bisque soup or the classic tomato basil soup. But, be sure to try out the sandwiches too. They’re honestly equal to the soup, which means the sandwiches are delicious. The gourmet grilled cheese is always a favorite, since it’s pretty fancy filled with brie, goat cheese, roasted peppers, and pesto. But if you’re a simple eater, don’t worry! They have a sandwich for everyone. Plus, you can enjoy a yummy sandwich with a warm bowl of soup on the side!
Amazing gelato from Splendora’s
Alright, let’s get back to dessert. Yes, ice cream is a classic, and yet it’s one of my favorite treat yourself foods. But, I think of gelato as the fancier version of ice cream, a creamy, rich dessert that satisfies all my sweet tooth cravings. At Splendora’s, they know how to make gelato right. It’s INCREDIBLE! They have 36 flavors of freshly made gelato EVERY SINGLE DAY. From classic flavors like chocolate and strawberry, to iconic Spendora’s flavors like Dulce-De-Leche, hazelnut, and espresso. AND ESPRESSO FLAVOR! For coffee fanatics, this flavor is a must!
The Showalter from Jack Brown’s
Alright, let’s talk for a second. All the burgers at Jack Brown’s are incredible, but the Showalter is truly a show stopper! It’s just like any old classic burger, but instead of normal hamburger buns, it’s donuts. That’s right! You know those amazing desserts and burgers you see on your Instagram explore page and you scroll through all those pictures at 2 AM? Well, they have that at the Showalter! I mean, putting a burger between two donuts seems so wrong but tastes SO RIGHT. But, if this flavor combo intimidates you, don’t worry! They have classic burgers everyone loves, mac and cheese and so much more.
The White Spot
OK, we would do C’ville a disservice if we left off The White Spot on our list. The White Spot is an iconic UVA restaurant for both students and alums and well-known for its famous “Gus Burger”. The White Spot, however, has a lot more to offer than just the Gus Burger, including great sandwiches and you have to try the fries!
C’Ville, the best food spot in VA
I know every college town tries to claim their spot as the best food places in their state, but come on. Charlottesville wins the state of Virginia. Hands down! Argument over. From the hundreds of dining options, the possibilities are endless for a tasty, one of a kind meal here in C’Ville. So, whether you’re a new UVA student, a current UVA student, a UVA alumni, or you’re just stopping by Charlottesville, be sure to try out any of the amazing food options Charlottesville has to offer!